Sunday, March 6, 2011

Adventure FAIL

I love Google Earth. You can go to most anyplace on earth, on this thing, and in most places people have posted a picture they took while there. A while back I had found this place near Edwards Air Force Base out in the Palmdale Ca. area. I was looking at landing site for the space shuttle they have in the dry lake bed at Edwards. It is interesting to look at from a satellite image because they have marked the lake bed with a 350 Degree wheel. This thing has to be 1500 feet across. You can tell when someone has uploaded an image on Google Earth, there is a little blue square, you click on it and an image appears. I clicked on an image near the dry lake bed and it had a picture of a B-52 Bomber in a plane wrecking yard kind of condition. I clicked on another square and a B-58 Hustler popped up, in the same condition as the B-52.
I could see these planes were out in the open and I wanted to go see them. I followed the roads in the images and could see how to get to them. I could see that I had to go through a small town that had some pictures posted on Google Earth also. Some cool old buildings and old signs to see.
Towards the end of January my daughter wanted to come over so I could change the brakes on her car. She and her new husband came over. We started to do the brakes but it didn't need them. I asked them if they wanted to go on an adventure. I had my son that week end so all 4 of us jumped in the truck and headed toward Edwards.
I had it mapped out so we would pass through the small town of Hi-Vista Ca. I guess they filmed part of a movie called "Kill Bill" there. I haven't seen the movie but some of the buildings looked cool and it was on the way so I thought we could stop. The pictures I saw online showed an old sign for a Dinner there and I wanted a picture of it. We pulled into town and it was a run down affair with frumpy looking houses and this old Mission Style Church, But someone had torn down the sign I wanted to photograph. Fail number
We headed down the road I had mapped out. Over hill and dale heading towards Edwards. I never saw the street I was suppose to turn on, but eventually we came to a very sturdy gate.
Here is the problem with Google Earth as a reference. All the images are taken from the air or from space. They don't show much depth, and things like gates and fences just don't show up.
I did find out what those planes are for.

As we came down the hill toward the gate we could see what looked like planes set out at different intervals paralleling the fence the gate was on. Fail number 2....sigh
We just were not going to get to see the planes today.
This is as close as we got.

When I got back home you could see how the Air Force had this bombing range set up when I looked it up on Google Earth.

Maybe it isn't a good Idea to see these planes. I can see them at an air museum somewhere another time. So we headed back home with the words FAIL on our lips. Oh well. It was a fun ride.

Adventure with the Daughter

A few days before New Years I went out to Barstow Ca. to see my daughter. She lives here so she can be close to Calico Ghost Town, where she has a part time job. It was time for some father/daughter time and we thought we would go on an adventure out in the surrounding desert.
The area around Barstow is full of history. You can't throw a rock in the air with out it falling into an old Silver mine out there. It has been a way station since the days of the stage coach. The old steam trains stopped here, and is still a huge hub for all things railroad. Also Route 66 goes through Barstow.
So I loaded up the daughter and we went to Del Taco for some burritos, tacos, and drinks. We stopped and ate for a bit at the old train depot. I posted here not to long ago about this old depot, and the Harvey House that is at the Train Station there.
I had found on Google Earth that there are some Petroglyphs out in an area near a place called Rainbow Basin. She hadn't been to Rainbow Basin yet so I thought it would be fun to go through there and show it to her first. Here is where the adventure starts.
Just before Christmas last year it rained by the buckets out here in the desert. So much so that the normally dry Mojave River over flowed it's banks in Barstow and flooded a few homes.
The problem with making a dirt road in the Mojave Desert is that during rain the roads become rivers or worse the dry gulleys that cross the dirt roads totally wash the road out.
Well when we got to the road that takes you to Rainbow Basin it was a washed out mess. It was drivable as far as I could see and we were in the 4X4 so we pressed on. We had no problem getting to the entrance to the basin.
About the basin, it is actually a small slot canyon that takes you up into some hills that have all these pretty colored layers of rock. The normally graded dirt road that takes you through the basin was non-existent because of all the water that ran through that slot canyon.
It looked like fun so we pressed on. We had to get out a few times to move rocks from the middle of the path so as not to kill the undercarriage. A little rock crawling in some places and still running water in others we made it to the top. These pictures don't do the place justice.

The drive through Rainbow Basin is actually a loop. You go up one slot canyon and go down another. The down hill canyon was a lot worse than the up hill. We had swung around and down a couple of sharp turns so backing up wasn't an appealing option. In one spot, the way the road had washed out it made it so we were close to the canyon wall and the front tire was going to drop into a hole and put us closer than I liked. In situations like this you may have to get rocks and build a ramp or move rocks to get into better positions. During this I found a cool rock with all this green and white layering to it. The Daughter being a Larsen is a rock hound of course so she snapped it up. Thank goodness this one was pocket sized. I made it so we could rock crawl down this section and we made our way back down and out. That road was a mess the whole way down.
Now to find the area that had the Petroglyphs. According to the Google Earth images I had seen they were to the west of Rainbow Basin and to the north up a small valley. We found the road with no problem it just took us a while to get there because of all the road wash outs. There must have been actual rivers running out of those hills to wash out those huge chunks of road.
We start heading out this road towards our petroglyphs and a Jeep Cherokee covered in mud is coming down the other way. Normally out here in the desert you get your car dusty not muddy.
We found the cause for the mud a mile farther up. A big hole in the road with water in it. I'm not one for having to get out into mud if I get stuck so I didn't go splashing through like the
4X4 around is better.
We finally came to an ancient lava flow that pushed it's way out into this valley. I wonder what it was like back then. There was a sign for us.

After reading that I couldn't help but think that who ever wrote that projected their own worries and beliefs about the environment onto this plaque. Why isn't it just these local prehistoric people chipping these images on the rocks to show that their ancestors had seen these rocks flow from the earth. It is hard to tell what they were doing here. The Glyphs look like loaves of bread to me.

They are very interesting to see, and you can't look at them and not wonder why the ancients put them there. It is interesting that it is at this volcanic area which is totally different from most of the rest of the desert.
We crawled all over these lava flows looking for more. We could see where more modern rock carvers have come out and chipped into the rocks. Some of them were chipped in with the year, 1918, 1924 and such. Modern nerds come out and dull there knives on these diamond hard rocks but get no where.
you can see where some idiot had modified one of the rock drawings.

You can tell by the lighter areas on the rock. The older the petroglyph the more the desert varnish darkens them again. What are they is all I keep thinking. I think someone was trying to make the one above look like an alien or something.

Maybe this was a long ago tatoo parlor and this was the menu. I just wish people had the sense god gave a dog to not destroy these glyphs. Interesting is all I can say. The daughter loved the outing and was still recovering from her surgery almost 2 months back so she climbed carefully.
It was a blast to be up there with her. Talk to her about what she thought they were. It was getting late so we couldn't stay long.
We trucked on back out of the desert and into Barstow. I dropped her off and gave her a hug and a kiss on the head. It was a fun day.
I took the back way home, up a road that heads due south from Barstow back again into the desert. It takes you to Lucerne Valley, a cross roads of sorts that takes you to Big Bear in the mountains, More Desert towns to the south-east, or in my case west to home in Hesperia.
As I was coming into Lucerne I took this pick of the normally dry desert.

Water. Just more proof. Global Warming is dead. Long live Global Cooling.