Thirteen miles south of Lone Pine/seven miles north of Cartago, an unremarkable dirt road heads east off U.S. 395 to the remains of two charcoal kilns and thence to the shoreline of the dry Owens Lake. The beehive-shaped kilns were built of clay bricks, and were then covered in plaster as protection against the elements. But why are they here?Read More
The Mojave Desert
The Mojave is a desert of wind, temperature extremes, Joshua Trees and solitude. When most people hear the word ‘desert,’ images of tumbleweeds, rattlesnakes and bleak desolation typically come to mind. In reality, the Mojave is anything but a wasteland. Amongst the sand and sagebrush lie many places of beauty and wonder, and of historic importance. Some are the result of time and the elements, some are the result of man and his efforts to live in the Mojave, both in recent and prehistoric times. Let’s go see what we can find.
Have you ever found yourself speeding along a lonely stretch of road in the desert, or anywhere for that matter, only to catch something out of the corner of your eye and wonder, "What in the world was that?" Do you ever take the next opportunity to turn around and go back to investigate? That's how I often discover the most interesting places on a roadtrip.Read More
I can't count the number of times I'd driven by the California Landmark sign on 395, just north of Lone Pine, Cal. without stopping to investigate. It always intrigued me. Finally, it pulled me in and I stopped to see what I could find.Read More
The first time I tried to visit the Devils Postpile, it was closed because of a government shutdown. That was in 2014. Luckily for me, the government was open on my next opportunity and so I was able to drop in for a visit.Read More
If you've ever driven through the Mojave Desert on U.S. Route 395, chances are you've seen this abandoned stone restaurant and wondered about its history. All you catch of it is a glimpse when you're doing 85 mph on the highway. But it's interesting. It sticks in your mind. It beckons. You say to yourself, "self, one day I'm going to stop at this place and see what I can find."Read More
I’d seen the sign for Convict Lake numerous times while driving by on Hwy 395, but this trip was the time I would turn off the highway and check it out. I’m glad I did. It’s only two miles from the highway, but once you get there it’s like being in another world. You’ve got the Mojave Desert type of terrain along 395, but two miles later you’re next to a 170-acre lake nestled in the aspens of Convict Canyon, with the towering peak of Mount Morrison stretching skywards above you. What a dramatic change in view in just two miles.Read More
Located about four miles south of Johannesburg, the ghost town of Atolia has quite an interesting life story. Gold is generally the reason for most of the mining in this part of the state, but Atolia rose to prominence as a Tungsten Town.Read More
As the story goes, a little girl was informed by her parents that they were moving to Bodie, a town known for its wickedness, badmen and “the worst climate out of doors.” Thinking of the remote and infamous town prompted her to write in her diary: “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.”Read More
The Ghost Town of Reward, Cal dates back to the early 1860s, when the Eclipse Mine began operations. It was the first gold mine in the Owens Valley and operated off and on until the 1980s. It’s a fascinating site with stone wall ruins, tailing piles, old mining machinery and colorful mountains. Definitely worth a visit.
Independence…..Citrus….Kearsarge Station. Place names often change during their evolution. Originally established as a stagecoach depot in 1866, Independence transformed to a railroad station in 1883 and soon became known as Citrus. And in 1913 the place was called Kearsarge Station.Read More
Also known as Manzanar Airport and Inyo County Airport, the Manzanar Airfield is one of the best-kept secrets of Hwy 395. I chanced upon it by accident, while heading east on Manzanar Reward Road in search of gold mines.Read More