2010 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Part One: Ghost towns, mines, trains and more!

Every year I spend my five-day vacation camping and exploring the desert, mostly in Nevada but also in the Mojave Desert. I explore old ghost towns, mines, mining camps and anything else of interest, while enjoying the beautiful scenery and wide open spaces. Here’s the scoop on my August 2010 adventure:

Skip to:   Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Four

Red Mountain, CA

The first day of the trip was spent driving north through the Mojave desert, then up highway 395 to Bishop before turing east into Nevada. Along the way I made a couple stops. The first was at the desert mining town of Red Mountain.

This wasn’t my first visit, but in the past I’ve never stopped for more than a minute or two. This time I walked around a little bit and photographed some of the old buildings, including an abandoned gas station, several former stores or saloons, and some decrepit cabins.

But the oddest sight in Red Mountain was this ghostly teddybear-bride with her cryptic sign!

Laws, CA

My next stop was the Laws Railroad and Historic Museum in Laws, CA. I arrived just at sunset but managed to get a lot of good photos before it got too dark.

There are several pioneer buildings preserved at Laws, plus lots of old mining equipment, vehicles, and artifacts. Some of these can be seen in detail on my Vintage Machinery page.

The museum also features the depot and other facilities of the Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge railroad, as well as this loco (below) and other rolling stock. Many of these can be seen on my Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge page.

Borax Works, Columbus Salt Flats, NV

I spent the night at the site of an old borax works, on the Columbus Salt Flats of Nevada. I was disappointed to find that the main building, a large wooden structure, had either collapsed or been torn down since my last visit several years ago.

I also discovered that the automatic locking hubs on my SUV weren’t working. I couldn’t get power to the front wheels. This would seriously limit my travel plans, as many of the places I wanted to visit could not be reached without four-wheel drive. I also couldn’t risk getting stuck somewhere in the middle of the desert.

Gilbert, NV

Working my eastward, I took a little side trip into the Monte Cristo Range and the site of Gilbert, NV. This small mining town peaked in the mid-1920’s and was abandoned a few years later.

The last of the town buildings has collapsed since the first time I came through here in the late 1990’s. There are several mining ruins still standing in the surrounding area, mostly ore bins.

I saw a few antelope near here but couldn’t get any photos.

Big Smoky Valley

Above: Looking across a hardpan mud flat in the Big Smoky Valley, towards the Monte Cristo Range.

Right: In some areas, the tiny pebbles sprinkled across the surface of the flats tend to gather along the cracks in the soil.

Tonopah Cemetery

After arriving in Tonopah, I checked out the old Tonopah Cemetery. This was the town’s first cemetery and was in use between 1901 and 1911. Many of the first occupants were victims of an epidemic that swept through the mining camp; some of the last persons buried here were victims of the tragic Belmont Mine fire of 1911.

Go to the next page to read more about my 2010 Nevada trip:

Nevada Trip 2010 Part Two

...the adventure continues!

Below: Remains of one of my rockets which had crashed and been lost since 2006. It was found by a pair of geologists, who arranged to have it waiting for me in Tonopah. The motor hardware is still in great shape and the altimeter still works. After connecting it new battery, it beeped out the altitude of the rocket’s last flight: 6721 feet.

Skip to:   Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Four


Note to modelers:

Many of the structures I’ve photographed would make great additions to your model railroad. It is my hope that these photos can be a useful reference resource. If you need larger, higher resolution images, just let me know. Also, in some cases I have additional detail photos that have not yet been posted online.

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