So today found us once again going down highway 395. I love the drive anyway, and never tire of seeing scenes like this unfold ahead of me.
Ya gotta hand it to the engineers and road planners, to create roads that allow views like this to unfold. It's pure poetry. Further along, near Mammoth Mountain, humoressly enough is a California Welcome Center...nowhere near the border, by now you've been driving through the state for hours.
I've always been curious about this place sitting alongside the road near McGee Creek--it's been in this exact same condition ever since I first laid eyes on the thing in the early 1970's.
DH and I stop for a few minutes to check it out and stretch our legs. As for as we can tell, it appears to be some sort of official building, it looks very office-like inside rather than homey. It's now home to an army of rats, apparantly.
The exterior is weathering hard.
Whoever made the sign created it by taking a blowtorch to a chunk of plywood--no measly spray paint here! Creative spelling of the word 'acres' thrown in as a bonus.
A sign next to it is normally turned away during summer, otherwise tourists become easily confused.
Nearby is yet another EVC marker, this one talks about the McGee Mountain ski rope tow that used to be on the site in the '30's.
Some of the old pulleys are part of the marker. There isn't much to see of the rope tow other than some faint trail marks on the mountain.
A bit farther down the road, everyone slows to watch some military helicopters flying north, following the highway.
There were three of them, very impressive-looking. Since this was coming up on the 10th anniversary of 9-11, we watched them a bit apprehensively, hoping nothing was happening that required such a bristling show of force.
Later on we stopped to stretch again at the little ghost town of Dunmovin. We are always very careful to leave it the way we find it so that others can have the fun of discovering it. I've always had the urge to take a place like this and restore it, and live the rest of my life running my own little countryside cafe/store.
The place is in it's usual state of mystery and closely-held secrets., and we wander about wondering who lived here and why everyone left.
A sample of the wallpaper...
The sunlight makes interesting patterns.
An old Los Angeles DWP envelope from 1983.
HAVE A SEAT! Uh, no thanks, I'll wait...
In another building there is a flow of mid-1970's deitrus. See that Avocado Green, kids? Thank your lucky stars you didn't have to dress in an era of this hideous color, PLUS Harvest Gold and Burnt Orange. What they euphemistically referred to as 'Earth Tones'. Ugh. It's no bloody wonder that the '80's were a rebellious burst of neon colors.
My husband finds a newspaper covering the 1976 Olympcs. Love the shades, Edwin Moses had style!
Stairway to Heaven, Owens Valley style. Only two steps.
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This old fridge was lying on it's face the last time we came through, some enterprising soul had set it upright. The resultant rust left an interesting pattern on the front.
I walked by one of the long-broken windows and spied this sink.
Then I saw this lying in it, so we gently took it out. It's a catalog/almanac for 1955 from the Rawleigh company, who sold all sorts of household foods and products.
The 1955 artwork is awesome.
Another building has some brush practically fending you off.
After we leave we run into one of many summer rainsqualls.
We stop at Coso Junction and as always, toss some bread to the ravens that live there. The ones that see us feeding the others fly over, the adults with their deep croak and the juveniles a high-pitched, silly 'Caw!'. The one on the far left was just landing when I snapped this, so he looks like he's levitating.
This guy was a pure pig, and yes he did managed to pick up that 4th chunk of bread. Afterwards he took it over to the grassy area and cached it all.
We were startled to see a CHP officer pulled off to the side of the road north of Kramer Junction...he was off next to the barbed wire fence with his arms around two big sheep, obviously trying to keep them there and off the road till back-up arrived. Cue a whole bunch of bad puns about 'baaaad sheep' and wondering just how badly the guy was gonna get teased by his buddies. He looked in control of his small flock so we didn't stop.
Near Pearsonville we stop at the site of the old Blue Max mine, home to this Joshua Tree sculpture made of horseshoes.
It's a lonely spot.
The artist thoughtfully included a small metal box at it's base for anything comments or contributions people want to leave--contributions go towards a local charity. As we left our own we saw this in the box:
Awesome, I hope he gets the commission!
Dear GOD in Heaven, what IS this thing?! I suspect it floated to Earth from outer space and is only now forming it's pods. The thing is sporting pods.
We give the pods a wide berth and go up the hill to check out the old mine buildings, part of the exhibit.
Official government language has gotten much less flowery since 1983.
The interior is the usual cast-offs, this one with snazzy 1970's furniture.
Although the old bathroom cabinet with the pastel blue & pink swans was unexpected in such a butch place...
My husband spotted this rather large pink snake resting with it's head down a gopher hole, snoozing away. I suppose it's some kind of rat snake. We let sleeping snakes lie.
This old Kelvinator was still in place.
My husband popped opened the door to find this, and snorted, 'Oh hey look--Owens Valley ice.'
You know, I miss the days when you had to deal with refrigerator baffle-flaps. Whatever the Hell they are.
The outside of one building sports a patch in the proud tradition of Sierras, using anything: 'Good God, PATCH THAT HOLE QUICK TO KEEP THAT ICE-COLD DAMNED EVER-PRESENT WIND OUT.'
And lastly we find an old miner's cap for the place. Cool!
As we pass through Red Mountain again, this time headed south, this seems to sum it all up nicely.