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David A. Wright

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Everything posted by David A. Wright

  1. Y-Bar Cafe in Grand View ... 🍔🍽️☕ Mmmmm Good!
  2. Hmmm ... radio silence ...
  3. Nice. Was it difficult to determine the location and ruins?
  4. At least that water ain’t going to LA! I was wondering how much snow had melted. The TV Hill camera at http://www.alertwildfire.org/tahoe/firecams.html generally takes in Aurora and the snow melt in the area has been rapid.
  5. If you can get to them before the birds, squirrels and deer ... 😎
  6. I found the creek below Star City full of elderberries. The won’t be ripe until late September. There may be elderberries at Humboldt City, but the creek is put into a conduit above the townsite to be sent to the Humboldt House ranch below, so growth is limited in the old creek channel.
  7. When I used to commute between my home in Big Pine and my job in Trona, I nearly mowed down two guys taking a leak in the road. It was before dawn on a blind curve at the crest of a hill about a mile before the turnoff to Saline Valley. I'm doing 70, rounded the curve and crested the hill to find a set of taillights parked in the driving lane. Barely had enough time to miss the car then see two bodies against the car. I presume there was a little fecal matter in the pee on the pavement. There nearly was in my driver seat!
  8. It has been my experience, without exception, no matter how remote, no matter if you can see 50 miles without any sign of a vehicle or person, is to start to take a leak and within seconds someone comes along ... 🤢
  9. Looks like a pretty place. Thanks!
  10. Nice! Driven by the turnoff on NV360 countless times, but never turned.
  11. There was a list of drones at the end credits. I remember DJI Phantoms 3,4 and 4 Pro. Plus others.
  12. I guess your drone got its ass kicked, eh? 😎
  13. Very nice! Amazing what can be seen by getting up in the air, things otherwise invisible or nearly so at ground level.
  14. Very nice production! I enjoyed it very much. Nice and smooth video and flight. Looking forward to part 2.
  15. I enjoyed that video! I saw a number of ruins of building sites from the air that I’ve not seen on the ground in my previous visits. I think a drone makes a good addition to the ghost towner’s toolbox.
  16. Thank you for your candor, Kimmikwood. And thank you for your ethics in the desert.
  17. Good answer! When I see posts like the above, the poster having joined likely just to do so, then the hair on my back also raises. Except because the request - blunt with no apparent humbleness - is probably for instant gratification without willingness to do their own research. And, these young Millenials just seem to have no respect for helping maintain places explored, but only want to exploit them with the least amount of time and energy for their latest You Tube video.
  18. Decades ago, civic minded individules removed a cabin at Aurora and moved it to Reno. However, there is evidence it was not the one Twain lived in. Check out this document prepared by the US Forest Service for an in depth look at Twain’s life in Nevada. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3795313.pdf
  19. Sam Clemens came to Nevada after his brother was appointed first territorial governor of Nevada. He wandered around several Nevada early communities before settling in Virginia City. It was there, working for the Territorial Enterprise, he started writing witty articles then editorials using his nom de plume of Mark Twain. As the late Paul Harvey use to say, “Now you know the rest of the story!”
  20. I go away for a couple days and return to find that mayhem struck ... 🤡
  21. A couple of photos, taken about winter of 1994/1995, of the daily Southern Pacific train on the “Jawbone” at and near the Searles Tunnel. I am standing atop the southern portal of the Searles tunnel, taking 35mm images and video. The inbound train is bringing in empties to the tie in with the Trona Railway at Searles. Even pulling a light load, in the video you can hear the locomotives straining on the relatively steep gradient, the train going maybe 10 mph. Later near dark in the late afternoon, the same train is returning to Mojave taking loaded bulk cars. The train wasn’t going that fast, maybe 15-20 mph. After taking this shot (zoomed in), I ran over to the tracks and placed a penny, to the delight of my grandson.
  22. I was browsing old threads I started and found this one, which I forgot about. The photos are of the Trona Railway. Trona is an old industrial town in the northern Mojave Desert, southwest of Death Valley and northeast of Ridgecrest, California. Trona’s economy is based on borax, its history goes back to the late 1800s. The Trona Railway was built in the early 1900s, after Southern Pacific built its “Jawbone Branch” between Mojave and Lone Pine (pictured earlier). The Trona Railway branched off the SP at Searles, running northerly for about 32 miles and terminating at the industrial complex at Trona. There are miles of spurs and sidings within the plants, but over the past few decades many have fallen out of use as operations have modernized and portions of the plants abandoned and demolished. I lived in Trona between 1987 and 1992. I worked at the borax refinery between 1987 and 2004. When I went to work there, the Kerr-McGee Corporation owned and operated the plants. They stayed until they sold out in late 1992. A consortium called North American Chemical Company bought out KM’s interests and ushered in an era of major downsizing and modernization. I don’t recall the year, but before 2000, NACC’s interests were bought out by IMC Global. Since they owned large potash producing properties in Utah, and the prouction of potash in Trona was of a complex process with the oldest production equipment, IMC chose to shut down and demolish a large section of one of the central plants in Trona. I took a buy out and left in 2004, just as IMC sold out their interests to a corporation from India. Below are some photos of the Trona Railway. Over the years, the Trona Railway took pride in its equipment. The company was early to switch from steam to diesel, and operated the last of the diesels made by Baldwin. When I went to work there, these two Baldwins, sitting and idling in front of the railroad shops, were still in daily operation. There were several other Baldwins sitting on sidings around the shop, but they were slowly being canibalized to keep these two running. However, their capacity was too low to run the mainline all the way to Searles - at an elevation 1,700 feet higher than Trona, other than short trains. So the company contracted the SP to bring in the big coal trains (there were three large, coal fired power plants to produce power and steam for the plants plus for export into the Edison system), and take out borax. During NACC’s reign, efforts were made to get SP out of the picture. SP basically had a tight squeeze and monopoly on the companies operating at Trona and took financial advantage of it. So NACC and IMC were making efforts to buy SP’s line to Mojave. In addition, the company was eying the possibility to expand operations to Owens Lake. SP still owned the right of way to Lone Pine at the north end of that lake, but it was mothballed after the 1982 tunnel fire at Searles and dwindling mineral and timber operations. Rails were still in place to an old, abandoned chemical plant south of Lone Pine on the shore of Owens Lake. So NACC purchased a fleet of used SD-45s (I think that was their designation), and I think they bought eight or ten of them. They were refurbished over the next few years at the company shops. As they came online, SP equipment started to be seen far less on the mainline and in the plants. SP never budged in allowing the Trona Railway to share trackage rights or buy the line to Mojave or north to Lone Pine. But by the mid 1990s, Union Pacific bought out the SP, and scrapped the “Jawbone” north of Searles during 1998-2000. Environmental issues and concerns killed off interest in expanding mining to Owens Lake. In the bottom photo, the main plant complex can be seen in the background. In that photo and the one above, Telescope Peak, 11,049 feet high, is in the Panamint Range. Death Valley is at its eastern foot. In the top photo, a nothbound train is at the northern end of the West End Plant, four miles south of the main Trona complex. The old 20-mule team borax wagons used to run through the country in the background. In the plants during the early years of my tenure at Trona, there used to be around 20 of these GE dinky locomotives running all over the complex, doing various switching duties. These were operated by trained plant employees and not operated on the mainline, except to access the main railroad shops and piloted by TR engineers underal FRA rules (in plant operations fell under OSHA rules). As spurs were abandoned and eliminated, dinkies were pulled up to Searles and sat on an old shoo-fly for several years until sold (the shoo fly was built over the summit at Searles during SP construction in 1907 while the tunnel was being created; during the 1982 tunnel fire, it was bladed of brush and rails relaid to get trains rolling again as the fire burned for more than six months). When this photo was taken, this dinky was the last in operation and in daily use, staging cars of borax and derivatives in the back of a automated packaging plant.
  23. KTVU did another piece last night. The motorhome situation seems to be an area wide one. Each municipality is trying to address it. Some with compassion, some with agression.
  24. Doing fine, thanks! By the way, your screen name looks familiar. Are you a member of one of the Death Valley forums or ghosttowns.com forum?
  25. Today I received my 15-round magazines for my Ruger Security-9 from The Mag Shack. They are a bit different than the 10-round clips. Compare in the image below. The 15-round clips are in between my 10-round magazines. The 10-round magazines seem to have an insert to limit the magazine’s capacity, otherwiseboth are the same size. Now, if this rain would just stop, I can go and play with my new toys!
  • Our picks

    • South Pass City WY
      South Pass City, approximately 90 miles north of Rock Springs, is a historic site administered by the state of Wyoming.  It consists of over 30 log, frame, and stone buildings, along with the Carissa Mine and Stamp Mill.

      South Pass City Historic Site
      • 11 images
    • Surprise Canyon, California
      Recently, I’ve been going through my old VHS video tapes and digitizing them to DVDs.  These tapes contain my travels and explorations between 1995 and 2009.  I thought I’d start releasing some video shorts of my early travels on this forum.

      The back story for this particular video is as follows.  On March 30, 1996, I made a short hike of about a mile and a third up the lower third of Surprise Canyon, on the western slopes of the Panamint Range, Inyo County, California.  This canyon is just outside of Death Valley National Park.  This canyon has running water running year round through the stretch shown, fed by substantial Limekiln Springs, and the canyon is a water wonderland.  For those not familiar with the area, refer to the two maps.  The first one shows the canyon in relation to the region, the other a close up of the canyon and the ghost town of Panamint City.  The blue line in the close up image shows the route that was taken.

      • 19 replies
    • Exploration Field Trips - March 31-April 2, 2000 - Into the Nevada Triangle with Lew Shorb
      My next series of videos will be based on a trip in 2000 that I took with Lew Shorb.  Lew is a board member here, as well as owner of the popular website http://www.ghosttownexplorers.org/ghost.htm

      In breaking with my past habit of culling out historical sites and ghost towns and creating short videos dealing with these, I decided to keep the exploring part of Explore Forums in and create videos of each day of my travel and exploration, including our camps.  Scenery, travel, camping ghost towns and wide open spaces.

      Part one of this series, as well as subsequent videos, will all appear here within this same thread. Part I will start in my garage, where I was finishing up with the packing my truck.  The following day, after work, I begin my travels to meet Lew Shorb at Rhyolite, Nevada ghost town.

      Our three day, two night travels prowled about the "Nevada Triangle" section of northeastern Death Valley National Park; and will include such sites as:

      1. The Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad
      2. Gold Bar
      3. Phinney Mine
      4. Strozzi Ranch
      5. Currie Well (LV&T RR)
      6. Mud Springs Summit (LV&T RR)
      7. Happy Hooligan Mine

      This video, that of March 30th and 31st, will start off this series; and is brief, only being 3:28 long.  Nevada-Triangle_Shorb-2000_Part-1.wmv

      So, below is my narrative of part one of this series to give full context of what is seen in the video.  It will probably take longer to read than the video is long.


      • 6 replies
    • Exploration Field Trips: May 1-3, 2000 - Trip with Alan Patera and Alan Hensher into Death Valley
      Exploration Field Trips:
      May 1-3, 2000
      Trip with Alan Patera and Alan Hensher into Death Valley

      What do you do with three authors, two 4x4’s, two two-way radios, three cameras, and camping supplies? Send them to Death Valley, of course. For three days in the first week of May, 2000, fellow authors and historical researchers Alan Patera, Alan Hensher and myself explored Death Valley north and south.

      Alan Patera writes and publishes the WESTERN PLACES series of monograph books.  Alan Hensher has been published in several periodicals as well as authoring several books, centering primarily on the history of Mojave Desert sites.

      Alan Patera, who hails from Oregon, came south to California and picked up Alan Hensher; then the two came my way. At the time I was living in Ridgecrest, California. After overnighting with my wife and I, the three of us took off for Death Valley.  Alan was busy researching and photographing for a future edition of WESTERN PLACES, this time centering on the camps of the Funeral Range, which forms the eastern border of east central Death Valley.  Circumstances and changes of our journey lead Alan to plant the seeds of two more future books, this time centering just outside the northernmost section of Death Valley.


      • 3 replies
    • Trip 2001 - Northeastern Nevada, Southwestern Idaho
      Reconnoitering Trips
      Northern Nevada, Southwestern Idaho
      (and a Blip of Southeastern Oregon Thrown in for Good Measure)
      June 19 - 28, 2001

      This is the trip that I consider to be my favorite trip I have ever undertaken.  It had been in the planning stages since the previous December.  Originally, quite a number of people were invited and had semi-committed themselves to come along.  Over time, however, eventually the number of people whose semi-commitments became firm commitments to this trip narrowed to four.  And I was one of them.

      Below, a list of historic locations we visited – in the order that we visited them:

      1. Bodie & Benton Railway, California.
      2. Stillwater, Nevada.
      3. White Cloud City (Coppereid), Nevada.
      4. Unionville, Nevada.
      5. Midas, Nevada.
      6. Spring City, Nevada.
      7. Paradise Valley, Nevada.
      8. Buckskin, Nevada.
      9. National, Nevada.
      10. Delamar, Idaho.
      11. Silver City, Idaho.
      12. Rio Tinto, Nevada.
      13. Pattsville, Nevada.
      14. Aura, Nevada.
      15. Cornucopia, Nevada.
      16. Edgemont, Nevada (from a distance – on private property)
      17. White Rock, Nevada (from a distance – on private property)
      18. Tuscaurora, Nevada.
      19. Dinner Station, Nevada.
      20. Metropolis, Nevada.
      21. Charleston, Nevada.
      22. Jarbidge, Nevada.
      • 14 replies
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