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now for something completely different, a story from the past coming together due to a recipe for soda bread

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I was going through pictures and scanning everything in, when I found a recipe for Irish Soda bread that my grandmother wrote down on a card. Here's the recipe:


Soda Bread
from Clive and Eleanor Field, Sunnyvale CA

4c flour (white or whole wheat)
1.5tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
1.5 - 1.75cup buttermilk (or milk soured with lemon)

1: mix and sift dry ingredients
2: mix in buttermilk to make a stiff batter
3: knead for 5 minutes
4: form into round loaf, score top in shape of X
5: bake 25-30 minutes 325, or ?? minutes at 425


Oaten - 3c oats or oatmeal, 2c flour4
Wheaten - sub wheat flakes or germ (any combination) 3c for 2c flour
Fancy loaf - Add egg and 2 tsp honey/sugar or cut 2tsp shortening into dry ingredients.  Add raisins before buttermilk

The story from my mother was that Clive and Eleanor broke down near Panamint Springs, at the time my grandparents lived there at the Caltrans station.  Who were these folks from Sunnyvale, what really happened?

As luck would have is their son is a professor at Stanford, pretty easy to find and through him more details come out:


Hi, Brenden,

We were intrigued by your message.  We are still trying to collect details
and looking around for photos--from 1975!

We were camping in Death Valley with our then 4-year-old son.  Our car
broke down in the Panamint Valley, dozens of miles from human habitation.
It was December, probably Christmas Eve, clear and cold.  Our car simply
stopped mid-afternoon near a dilapidated hut in the middle of the
afternoon.  Sunsets come early in December in the valley, and it was too
cold to just stand around.

My husband fiddled with this and that and the car became operable again,
but we did not have much faith in it to go very far.  It was something like
14 miles to the nearest intersection, and we turned west, back towards Lone
Pine (not our original intention).  We eventually saw a sign for a highway
service point.  We went many miles further and eventually saw it.

There was a shed and a house.  No one was in the shed.  We knocked at the
front door.  Two women were inside.  They were baking lots of pies and
cookies for Christmas and were very hospitable.  They said their husbands
would be back in let's say, 90 minutes, but they suggested we call for a
tow truck, which we did.  Of course we had to wait for the truck to come
from Lone Pine, 75 miles away.

While we waited, we were warm and very well looked after.  Our son was
plied with fresh cookies.  I suppose we had an interesting chat, too.  I
can't remember a thing about sending a recipe, but we were very grateful
for the hospitality and the help in getting roadside assistance.  (This was
decades before cell phones existed, and anyway, I don't think I would count
on one working in remote areas.)

We did meet the gentlemen but do not remember much about them.  In Lone
Pine we had to stay in a motel on the 24th and 25th, waiting for a car to
be fixed.  That amounted to siphoning off the bad gas we bought in
Tehatchepi and replacing it was good gas.  Then it was tested by driving up
to 8000 feet and back.  Once it was certified, we continued our trip.

We don't make much Irish soda bread any more.  It is quite filling but very
easy to make.

We can send photos from that stop if we ever manage to find them.  That
highway depot was one of the most desolate places with permanent habitation
that we've run across.

Best regards,

Clive and Eleanor Field
Sunnyvale, CA 94087

I'm going to try and find pictures of my grandparents from 1975 and send them along.  Maybe they'll find some pics, who knows. 

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Pretty cool, I'll have to bake up a batch. What a place to break down lol been through that area once and there is nothing, except bad drivers.

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Indeed.  I took a random vacation in the 90's and passed through death valley.  Coming down the hill into Panamint Springs I saw a car stopped on the uphill grade.   4 door full size sedan, packed with.......dah dah daaa... terrorists.... okay not really it was a family of I believe Packastanis...  I stopped and helped.  They had put the car in park without putting on the parking brake, and it rolled back and jammed the parking pawl.  So I've got the older gentlemen sitting in the drivers seat with the ladies, the 3 other men and myself rocked the car forward and I got the guy in the drivers seat to shift outta park and get on the brake.  Whole operation went smoothly, they thanked me and were on their way.

I didn't notice if they had any supplies, might have been fine but sure could have been a disaster.  It was off season, everything was closed down.

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hahahaha  That's why I prefer to drive at night most of the time, way easier to get away with it.  In Death Valley somewhere coming from an overnight stay near Rhyolite, I had to go so pulled over in some twisty part of the road that was like driving through a small canyon. Just got done and a random truck goes by. Didn't hear him or even see him miles back.  On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes I can just stop in the middle of the road, walk over to the side and hop back in the truck without seeing a single car.

Same trip, heading to Lone Pine a few miles out with a river to my right going through a canyon a car was acting really weird behind me.  They would tailgate me, back way off and wasn't able to maintain the lane.  Passing spot came up and they nearly clipped my back bumper and probably would have if I didn't move over.  They were in front of me for a bit then going around a left hand bend, they nearly went straight off the road into the river. Caught it at the last second and the back end of the van fishtailed around the corner on the gravel shoulder. Lost sight of them for a second and thought for sure I'd be rounding the corner to see them flipping down the road but nope.  Followed them closely trying to get a shot of their plate and video their driving habits but they pulled into a little gas station.  4 older people inside and the driver wouldn't look at me at all. Passenger behind the driver popped out so I asked if there was a medical problem (Was going to go a totally different route but since they all looked 70+, I held back) Told the passenger I had seen them go off the road, "Oh, you saw that huh? No, we're ok!"  I got the heck out of there to put some distance between us then checked for accident reports when I got home, nothing found lol. 

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19 hours ago, David A. Wright said:

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 ... 🤢

Truth spoken!

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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!

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