Saturday, March 15, 2008

Exploring Some More

With "hitch-itch" setting in again we hooked up Ole Yeller, fired up Ferd and took our seats to ride north from Yuma. This time we traveled about 90 miles to one of our favorite spots when we are in this neck of the woods, a wide open boondocking area just outside Blythe, California. Since we heard from our friends Chuck and Jan that they were passing that way, we thought: "Why not pause to visit for a while?" Yesterday the four of us jumped in their truck armed with our topo maps, gps, geocache locations, pb&j lunches and four open minds ready for exploring. And that we did!

First stop -- The old U. S. Gypsum Company town of Midland, just a few miles west of our site. It's interesting to see the remains and learn some of the history of this company town of 1,000 that operated from 1925 to the 1960s. Mostly foundations of a few buildings are left to actually see but a couple of other things are going on that grab you.
A former citizen of Midland has produced a history that is available in a unique type of library. In the aluminum container situated here next to the log seats are these books containing the handwritten stories, photos, news clippings and other types of information that tell the story of the people, their everyday life, and their company work. You can read updates that are added by the former residents who visit occasionally, adding some memories or an obituary to the history.

The other bit of interesting activity out here in this old town site in the desert are the current "lotholders" . Using the remains of the foundations around the town, several rvers use this as a temporary home, bringing back a bit of the life of the community. Thought we'd share a peek at the local directions to the town's activities.

Our route for the day took us about 100 miles round trip, venturing to four or five geocaches, enjoying the vast open spaces with overwhelming quiet and Big Maria Mountains around us. One of our geocaches was in the same vicinity as the Blythe Intaglios, a group of gigantic figures that are best viewed from the air -- but wait, they are between 450 and 2,000 years old. The earth is ground away such that these outlines remain. The local Indian tribes say they represent the creator of all life and animals who helped in creation. The biggest mystery is how the people who made them could imagine the view from the air - or whatever!! Here you can see behind us an arm and leg of one intaglio.

Winding our way back to our homestead through the fertile Palo Verde valley we identified wheat and alfalfa fields surrounding us.
On our way we passed a farmer using a bale retriever to load and stack hay bales. This looks like fun - driving through the field with a scooper that picks up the bale and flips it on a stack behind the cab. And then when the stack is the appropriate height the bed moves up and pushes the entire stack into the trailer until it's full of stacked bales. Then he unloads the entire truck mechanically, neatly aligning all the bales.Since Chuck and Jan are Iowa farmers who were generous enough to share their expertise, we pulled over for a while to watch how this process takes place. And look at the view this farmer has out in his field. What a nice workplace!

1 comment:

  1. You'll have to let us know where that "ghost town" of Midland is located so we can go out there and explore, too. Hope to see you in a couple of days...

    Hugs, Sharon & Ron


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