Well it’s been about two and a half years since I was last able to get out to the desert and two years since my first Jeep died. Last weekend I was able to finally get out into the great wide open. My first trip was back to the El Paso Mountains just south of Ridge Crest and north of Cal City. Nestled between the 14 and 395, the El Paso’s share a portion of their territory with Red Rock State Park.
The entrance to the El Paso’s is on the east side of the 14 Freeway about 10 miles north of Red Rock. The trip began with taking Bodie into the dirt for the first time ever.
Meeting up with Scott in his XJ.
The first stop along the is the Dutch Cleanser Mine. A pumicite mine, the powdery mineral is used in soaps and make up products. The mine opened sometime in the early 1920′s and had closed shortly after the end of WWII in 1947. You can still find Dutch Cleanser Products in grocery stores although the pumicite is now mined outside of California.
The mine consists of 4 or 5 horizontal shafts extending far down into the side of the mountain. When you reach the bottom a lateral tunnel extends about 1800 feet. There are old mine carts, track, various support beams, and even little rooms carved into the side of the tunnel. I’ve been down there a few times and would recommend a good pair of hiking boots, a helmet, and a flash light if you are going to go down there. Also be aware of barbed wire.
Our next stop took us to the Bonanza Gulch Post Office. When mining operations were in full swing the Post Office served the communication needs of every one including the Chinese Immigrants who worked the mines along side the claim owners. There isn’t much else to say about the Post Office except that it has almost been completely rebuilt. I wish they had preserved it in a state of decay.
Stay tuned for Part II as we head towards Bickle Camp and bring you the first ever aerial footage of that location.
As I gear up for new adventures in the desert one of the places I’ve always wanted to revisit was Barker Ranch. As you all know Barker Ranch was the last hideout of Charles Manson. A few years ago the Ranch was burned to the ground and all that remains are remnants of the structure. Please take a moment to search through my blog and read about my other adventures.
You can find pictures of the original structure here.
I’d like to introduce my yet unnamed 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. I’m trying to think of a Ghost town to name him after. Any suggestions? I’m looking forward to getting back out to the desert and creating new and exciting trip reports!
Currently I have a trip to the El Paso’s coming up on February 17th and a Barstow to Vegas trip in May.
Here is my poser shot for the day!
Well it’s been almost 2 years since I have travelled to the desert. In that time so much has changed! Bodie the Blue Jeep died (crankshaft rod bearing broke to due a botched oil change from a repair shop), I was married =), and my travel for work increased significantly.
Everything seems to be settling down back to an enjoyable routine so I figured it’s time to start looking for a new rig.
I’ve decided on a 2014 Unlimited Rubicon. In the next few months I’ll be ready to purchase. I settled on it because of the factory front and rear lockers, the availability/low cost of accessories and armor, and I love Jeep.
I’ll be lifting it with a 3 inch lift by Mopar and adding 35 inch tires.
Looking forward to the day when I can get back out there and enjoy the wide open.
Greetings All….I am still here. Working on getting a once a month post back up. Stay tuned for the first part of a Google Earth tour of the El Paso Mountains!!!
The increase in views has been great. I’ve been on the road traveling for work but am fortunate to be home for the next few weeks. Over the next few days I’ll be uploading my El Paso Virtual Trip files. I’ll be narrating the trails in Google Earth so you can download the KMZ file and play it on your computer. All the photos coordinates will be in there. All you have to do is download it, load it into Google Earth, and watch! Thats it. part 1 should be up in the next few days.
If you need a tutorial in Google Earth please go here…