Llano Del Rio: A Vision in Ruins

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…

John Cushenbury aimed to hit it big, and looking back, he did. A prospector and miner in 1860, Cushenbury discovered silver in the limestone deposit where Mitsubishi Cement Plant is now situated. Hopefully the next silver baron in California, Cushenbury set up a mining camp at the springs below his deposit. When word got out about the discovery the local desert came alive with dreams of grandeur that prospecting brings. Little did he imagine that someday his strike would result in a mega-million dollar kingdom of cement…

“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…

We’re not saying Apple Valley, California, is in the middle of nowhere, although Los Angelinos may argue differently. This 62 foot labyrinth is great place to go to clear your head and get back in touch with nature. To listen to the wind and not much else. Despite its popularity, of all the times we’ve visited here we’ve never come across anyone else at this spot. We hope you enjoy the same pleasure…

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…

Sedona, Arizona is equal parts rugged, equal parts resort. You can get all your positive vortices, New Age vibes, crystal readings, sound wave massages and breathtaking adventures you want, but you’re not likely to find a place in Sedona more peaceful than on some of the most coveted real estate in town…

It’s hard to see at first. The old airport sitting out by itself, between Newberry Springs and Daggett. Like many places in our desert, it’s too tough to disappear, and has a story to tell. Explore its fascinating history and find out what’s happened since the county mandated evictions in 2012…

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