Monday, April 2, 2007


Saturday, March 31st, 2007. The Mojave Desert. The desert is an endlessly strange and interesting place to explore. With the Mojave only 20 minutes away, we took a day trip there.

The road to Randsburg

I have a weakness. I love a good ghost town.

While way too lively to be a ghost town, Randsburg, California comes close with its remoteness, buildings dating back to the early 1900s, some of which are abandoned or in ruin, a population a fraction of what it used to have, and by having the feeling of being lost in time.

Randsburg in the 1920s.

Whats cool about Randsburg is that its far enough off the beaten path to retain most of its “Wild West” appeal, as opposed to the expensive “boutique” ghost towns found on highway 49.

But not far enough off the beaten path. Apparently there are still gold in them thar hills, namely in antique mining equipment. These oar cars fetch a pretty penny. Needless to say, I left Randsburg without one. Maybe someday though... maybe someday.

Do I look convincing as an 1890s hard rock miner?

Prospector Parkie off to try his luck in the mines.

Mines in various states of decay surround the town.

This seems to have been an entire mining company, with shaft, oar bin, mill, tailings pile, company store, and a history of automobiles.

This locomotive hauled oar cars out of the Yellow Aster Mine, the big mine in town. The Yellow Aster was the most prosperous mine in all of southern California. Having abandoned the tunneling method of mining, the Yellow Aster is now a giant open pit mine, processing a rumored 4000 ounces of gold a week, and employing some 80 miners.

There is a whole parking lot with hitching posts for modern day cowboys to hitch their steeds and then mosey over to...

... the White House Saloon. We were ready to eat, so we ventured inside.

The interior of the White House Saloon retains its wild west saloon ambiance. We dined on refreshingly cool hamburgers, and nice warm soda. Just like the old timey prospectors did a hundred years ago!

After a quick visit to the “facilities”, we're ready for more exploring.

No trip to a ghost town is complete without a visit to the the old cemetery.

There are a lot of forgotten souls at this cemetery. The inscriptions on this marker are long lost. Most graves don't even have a marker anymore and all traces are of there even being a grave there are lost to the elements. Even still, someone took the time to commemorate them by placing a flower at each of the grave sites. Spooky...

Welp! They roll up the sidewalks at 5:00pm in Randsburg, so that ends our visit here. I don't want to stick around for when the ghosts take over the town. But this isn't the end of our visit to the Mojave. Our next stop is to a graveyard of a different sort. I'll blog about that in part two. You won't want to miss it!


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