Jump to content
Explore Forums
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

Recommended Posts

I have a good phone booth story.

Way back in the olden days, before cell phones, and when I was still a slick sleeve patrolman doing graveyard shift, one wintry night it was snowing like the dickens and my beat was...well...the hinterland. Dispatch asked me to call for a detail...never a good sign if they don't want to put it out on the radio. I went to a phone booth, dialed 911 and dispatcher answered. (We used to call it the save a dime line) Seemed she had been called by the highway patrol and they had a couple of drunk people stuck in the snow about 30 miles up a lousy road to nowhere....where a phone booth was.

I was in a 4x4 Bronco. I got elected.

So I am in 4lo for about 25 of those 30 miles....sketchy as heck...but I make it. These people are supposed to be waiting at the phone booth.  This is in an area where there was only one year round resident. My group was not at the booth. I went over and banged on the door at the house....they hadn't seen anyone. At this point I was more than a little angry...and naturally our repeater had gone down so I couldn't get out on the radio. Snowing like crazy and my tracks were rapidly disappearing. I went over and got into the phone booth and hit the save a dime line number.

"911 Emergency."

"Hey...this is Arch. I am 10-97. There isn't anyone up here, Bob the local says he hasn't seen anyone since morning...what the heck?"

"This is 911. Do you have an Emergency? Where are you sir?"

Well it took about 3  minutes before we figured out she wasn't my dispatcher..and I wasn't her deputy. In fact somehow the fine folks at ATT had decided to put me through to the Alameda County Sheriff's 911 center...in Oakland...California. About 185 miles from my actual location. I told her where I worked, she asked me about the weather and I told her about the call and that I was up to my knees and then some in snow. She was just as befuddled as I was...said her screen didn't tell me where I was calling from. In fact she had never heard of where I was calling from.

I asked her to call my dispatch and tell them I was ok and going to try to get the hell outta there. She did. It took me 3 hours to get down to where I could unlock the hubs. When I was finally able to call my dispatch center she was amazed. She and the Alameda gal chatted for about 10 wondering about how this had happened.

The clowns that called for help called and cancelled the next day. They got cold and so they went back to their cabin, built a fire in the woodstove and made it out the next day. The following summer...and every summer thereafter when I was in that area I hit 911 on that pay phone. Never again did I talk to the nice lady in Oakland.  Crazy.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool find Jack, I will have to go back and follow the telephone lines and find more of them! There was a decent road that followed the telephone lines, but I didn't even think to follow them for more! 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be interesting to see what you would find along that pole line.  There was another phone booth in Lanfair but that was also removed.  The Mojave Phone Booth was on the line north of Danby.

1944 Bell Telephone Magazine - Building the West’s New Telephone Route


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 395 Guests (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Our picks

    • This is the location of the famous Mojave Phone Booth. Unfortunately not much is left today, but it's still a cool location to visit with an interesting history. 
      • 1 reply
    • 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.

      • 24 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.


      • 9 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.


      • 4 replies
  • Create New...