Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Man has time flown. I started way back in July to tell you about our trip to the Ghost Town of Bodie. It was on the July 4th weekend if I remember
I better set this back up so you the reader can understand. On the 4th of July weekend we had planned on going to Bodie after a Class Reunion of sorts. For more click on the July entries here and read the first part of the trip...grin

I had wanted to see an old mining town called Masonic on the last trip to Bodie but had taken the wrong road. I google mapped it and found the fork I should have took. I knew I should have taken this fork the last time I was through here but took another one that took us back down a valley all the way to the Nevada State Line. Funny place though. It just had a wood plaque that said Nevada on it and there wasn't a Casino in sight.
The last time we went down that wrong road we discovered something rather interesting. The valley you go through is just ranch grazing land. It has a dirt road cut through it. The first time we drove down this road there was these black rocks scattered all over the road. We stopped to investigate. It looks like under the surface of the land there is Obsidian or Volcanic Glass as it is also known, and when you disturb the top soil the Obsidian turns up.

Well this time around we wanted to pick up a bunch of this stuff to build a fireplace with.We would like to make a possible Obsidian band somewhere in the rock fireplace we have dreamed up. We roamed around and picked up a bunch of it and loaded up the floorboards of the back seat with the stuff. We are such rock hounds. When I think about it, how all that Obsidian littered the floor of that valley, it puzzles me.

After getting the Obsidian we trekked down the correct road towards the mining town of Masonic. At one time this mining town, if you want to call it that, had an interesting way of getting the gold ore out of the hills and to the processing plant. They had this cable tram/bucket contraption suspended through their valley. In the info I had read online it said some of this stuff was still visible. Nope. Stripped and vandalized is the best description of this place now.
There was a Clint Eastwood movie called the "Gauntlet" way back when, and in the final scene of the movie Clint's character and his love interest/witness must drive a bus down this street and all the cops in the city fire on this bus as it passes. I digress this way to tell you what this old mine looked like. In the movie the bus finally comes to rest at the steps of the town hall all shot to hell. Swiss cheese. That is what this town looked like. Shooters come out and shoot at any structure they can see. Sad actually, some people have no respect for things...sigh

Masonic was a bit of a disappointment.

We headed down the road and met back up with Hwy 395. Headed back down towards Bishop so we could spend the night. On the way I took a picture of Mono Lake from a pullout up above the lake.

Hard to believe that the lake level was up higher than the road at the bottom of the picture, 15,000 years ago.

I talked cute fiancee into seeing more geologic formations on the way back to Bishop...grin
There is a place between Mono Lake and Mammoth Ca. It is called the Obsidian Dome..!!!

There is this huge outcropping of Obsidian off the 395. It has a sign pointing you to the dirt road it is on. Cool place to stop and have a picnic and for the kids to climb all over and damage

This Obsidian is different from the stuff we had picked up earlier in the day. The cute fiancee said some of this would look good on our dream fireplace too. All the sample around were huge and there was noway I could move them, or so I thought. What made this Obsidian different was that is was infused, if that is the right word, with Pumice. I looked for a piece I could lift, so I could possibly break a larger rock at the bottom of the formation. The rock I picked up was rather light. It took me a while to find the right rock to break. Mind you we don't go out and do this to disturb the site like the shooters that put holes in everything. We like taking samples and leaving the place pretty much has we found it. I had 4 good size chunks, that had they been real glass I would not have been able to lift them, to put in the back of our truck.

After spending the night again in Bishop we hit the road for home. We stopped in the town of Lone Pine for Breakfast. Lone Pine has this Movie Museum in it. I always thought it was out of place, until we had breakfast in this coffee shop in the middle of town. The coffee shop was full of movie memorabilia. On the menu, I think, was some literature on the Alabama Hills.

Odd name for some hills on the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, especially with Mount Whitney towering directly to the west. Looks like some prospectors in the area were Confederate sympathizers and had taken a liking to the exploits of the CSS Alabama during the Civil War and named some of the claims after it and it finally stuck to the whole mountain range.
Click on the blue link above for more info.
The Hollywood connection it seems it the fact that a heck of a lot of movies have been filmed in them thar hills. IBMD list of movies filmed there.
Serendipity strikes again. We had to see this place. The road is also the one that takes you to the hiking trail porthole to Mt. Whitney. We stopped at place with information and got bearings. This place also had some picnic tables and a stream running through it. Cute Fiancee had to put her feet in the stream.
Decomposing Granite. Besides Mt. Whitney that is all you see. Little kids would climb themselves sick on all those rocks.

Wind and rain have carve these rocks in to all sorts of cool formations.

There are dirt roads taking you all over these places. Lots of places where you can drive up some little cove and camp right up against the rocks.

It was a fun adventure. We hiked around some of the coves, but it was starting to get hot. We still had a long way to get back home. I like the Idea of sticking my feet in the water like the cute fiancee had done. My feet were hot from the hiking, so we found a place to park near the stream.
I balanced my butt on a rock and stuck my feet in the stream. Holy Makeral was that stream cold. I could only do it for maybe a minute it was so darn cold. We got in the truck and headed out. The bones in my feet hurt for a while after that, darn
Last picture Alabama Hills with Mt. Whitney behind.

Well you know we found some rocks there and had to put them in the truck too...grin

Cute fiancee gave the go ahead to take a side road back home. This road skirts Death Valley National Monument. We went out this road to maybe go to another Ghost Town Called Cerro Gordo, but chickened out. The town is actually private property and you need permission to go up to it. We did stop at the small community of Keeler. Cute fiancee fell in love with this quirky town. She was even more ectatic when a plaque told her the original name of the town. Hawley.
Her name is Holly so it fit. I think.
At one time Keeler was a busy shipping port, not that you see water anywhere nearby.
Back in the 1800's there was a lake in that valley, but do to the thirsty needs of the City of Los Angeles the lake is now dry. The, now dry, Owens Lake was a key water way that made Los Angeles grow first then they drank from it and dried it up.
Keeler was the ore processing town for the mine at Cerro Gordo up until the Silver Prices crashed in the late 1800's
Keeler had a short but busy life mining Silver, Zinc, Lead and Limestone. It also was the end of the line of a Narrow Gauge Railway that was finally closed in 1960. The train Depot is still standing.

Leaving Keeler we set out towards the town of Trona. There is a mine north of that town that was mining something green out of this black rock. That took us out into the Death Valley area.
Cute fiancee slept most of the way there. She liked the rocks. By the time we left the mine the bed of the truck was full.
We were pulling up this grade when cute fiancee says. "wait go back"
I stopped and backed up. Glad that the road is deserted.
She is pointing at this hole in the hill. "are those figurines or dolls or something in that little cave.
It was for sure a very weird diorama. A Barbie doll with a what looked like a Mr. Bill head on her, and some stuffie toys. Probably the set for Toy Story 4 or something.

It was hot that day and trucks temp kept getting to warm. Drive a little while with the A/C on then at a certain temp shut it off let the temp come down.
The rest of the drive home was uneventful. It was a good time.
I'm so glad I got to finish this

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