A Trip Through Time: The Mojave Desert Then and Now, Part II

Welcome to our second installment in our continuing series.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the Fasten Seat Belt sign.

We hope you enjoy your flight with us as we return to the magical, majestic and oftentimes mysterious past.

We’ve added a few surprises along the way. It’s a short flight so don’t expect candied peanuts.

Buckle up, buttercup. It’s going to be a heck of a ride…

Remember, while exploring remote parts of the desert, the true test of character is doing the right thing, even if nobody else is watching.

Rustic cemeteries dot the outskirts of Old West ghost towns where the early inhabitants lay in eternal rest. We thank you for being mindful and respectful of the departed. Their lives touched many and in retrospect added to the complex tapestry of history known as the Mojave Desert.

Modern unsung heroes continue to pay homage to their legacies…

Driving along Pearblossom Highway (Hwy 138), it’s just you and maybe a few hundred cars and trucks passing by in both directions. Perhaps lost in thought, or just concentrating on surviving the drive, you look ahead and the roadway becomes a beacon to place unknown to most people, even though they may pass it every day. You’re approaching the ruins. Soon, you will know what others don’t. The history of a failed dream. Welcome to the Socialist community of Llano Del Rio…

“There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do.”

—John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Perhaps no dusty desert town from the 19th Century exemplified Steinbeck’s quote better than Daggett, California. Shootouts, saloons, hangings and frontier justice, the old town had it all, and so much more…

Sandwiched between Old Route 66 and Interstate 40, Daggett Pioneer Cemetery goes virtually unnoticed by passerby’s. There is a distinct sense of peace among the weathered tombstones and grave markers found here. Even 20 years after my initial visit, it still is a palpable feeling and it remains one of our favorite historic cemeteries…

Originally, this path was an ancient Native American trade route that eventually led to the Pacific Ocean. In 1776, a Spanish Franciscan Friar, Francisco Garcés, traveled the same trail as he explored the desert on behalf of the Pope and the Spanish crown. By the time of the Civil War, the trail had evolved into what we now know as the Mojave Road…

By 1963, Robert McCulloch moved his businesses to Arizona and bought 26 acres of land right next to Lake Havasu. He paid a little over a million dollars for the place, and Lake Havasu City was born. He even opened a chainsaw factory that employed several hundred workers. After all, every city needs a population. So then, when you’re at the top of your game, and you own your own city, what do you do next? A multi-million ton antique to decorate the place might be nice…

Have you ever wondered what it used to look like in the Mojave Desert in yesteryear? When ingenuity and pure desert grit was king? Do you want to learn secrets the desert has to tell?

Please join us for Part One of many trips through time illuminating the Mojave Desert’s amazing past and present. Trip the light fantastic with us–the desert way…

Grab a jackass, a single blanket and a jug of Oh Be Joyful and come with us to meet some of the most colorful characters in one of Death Valley’s most notorious ghost towns. A pivotal scene from the 1969 movie “Easy Rider” was even filmed here. But it sure wasn’t the last.

Ballarat, Baby…

Did you know there’s a fascinating connection between Seligman, Arizona, the Panama Canal and President Lincoln’s widow, Mary Todd Lincoln? Despite Seligman Cemetery’s close proximity to busy Interstate 40 and nearby railroad tracks, the cemetery imbues a sense of peace and majesty of the not-forgotten past…

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