Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I dared my friend Paul Styles to accompany me across Americas' deepest desert, the Mojave,
from Blythe, California to Death Valley---the hard way---North to Rice, Amboy, Kelso, Baker, Tecopa and Death Valley. He accepted!

I can tell this story thanks to my friends Mary Matzos and Jim Jaillette who sat me down to my new computer and showed me how to use it. There's too much story for one entry, so here's the first segment--Blythe to Rice, Ca. We decide to go wherever this road and a tankfull of gas will take us.
It takes us to the long forgotten ghost town of Midland, Ca. We prowl the streets looking a good place to camp.
Very soon we have pleasant company, the security guard and his wife who welcomed us, invited us to stay as long as we wished and told us the town story: Hundreds of people once lived here making drywall from the gypsum found there. They've lived here for 8 years and fallen in love with the place. A guard is needed because nearby are dangerous pits and caves the company feels responsible for. (attractive nusiance lawsuit perhaps) Also, the state ecological interest want the bat caves kept safe for the bats.

We settled in adjacent to a huge concrete slab and began to hatch a plan to bring our singles group out here for a dancing in the desert event.

This is Paul in his kitchen preparing one of his many delicacies.

The view out my back door

A classic bit of poetry sprang to mind as I look at these ruins:
"For the boast of hearldry and the pompt of power,
and all that beauty and all that wealth ever gave
awaits alike that inevitable hour,
for the paths of glory lead but to the grave."
Astonishingly, there is community spirit even out here. Several desert rats (they say it of themselves) live here and assemble often for pot lucks and games.

And I suppose people continue to be buried her. CMA stands for California Mineworkers Association.
The mystery is how they dug the grave in this rock.
I demonstrate to Paul my best moves. He smiled at my efforts.
Here's what I learned during this brief stop:
1. That silence and near-solitude can become addictive. The pictured couple said so---that a trip to town jangled their nerves and hurried them back to the quiet.
2. That the ecology movement has long arms, reaching even here, preserving a home for bats.
3. That legal concerns; vulnerability to lawsuits linger even after a corporation departs.
4. That thriving towns can suddenly die.
5. That the most solitary humans retain the need to connect.

1 comment:

wisesongbird said...

Wow! Who would have thought all this in a barren - almost - wasteland. Perhaps not so wasted afterall. You have a gift for seeing much where most see nothing and then the unique ability to make evident. Thanks again, Randy.