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Saturday, 15 December 2018 00:22

Desert Explorers Meeting Minutes

September 29, 2018  Attending: Axel Heller, Bob & Sue Jaussaud, Ruth & Emmett Harder, Steve Marschke & Debbie Miller-Marschke, Lindsay Woods, Terry Ogden, Allan & Ding Wicker, Jerry Dupree, Neal & Marian Johns, Tracy Wood, Bob Jacoby, Jay Lawrence

Regrets Bill & Julie Smith

Meeting Opened 11:40 a.m.

Previous Minutes Approved.

Treasurer Reported by Bob Jacoby for Bill Smith. We’re solvent and in good shape. Current funds as of 9/25 are $4,727.

Newsletter Newsletter submissions are flowing in and much appreciated. Bumper stickers and DE business cards were distributed to everybody in attendance. Get yours at the Holiday Party or see Jay. You need to get them in person, since they get beat up terribly in the mail. We’ll make them available to every trip leader in the future so all attendees who want them can have them. They are free to DE subscribers. Our February meeting will have a software demo to show folks who are interested how the newsletter goes together. Also, anybody who would like to learn how should contact Jay to set up a hands-on session. It’s easy to get started and we could use an extra hand now and then for backup and to build a page once in a while. Several folks have already expressed interest in learning.

2019 Rondy Mignon is leading the planning, with Jerry Dupree and Bob Jacoby in the wings. Our site is the Clubhouse Meeting Room in Broadbent Park in Boulder City, Nevada. Dates are April 5-7, 2019. The site will accommodate 120 people and includes a kitchen, restroom, barbecue and chairs. Two campgrounds are nearby in the national park, plenty of hotel accommodations also. We will work to find a motel who will offer a Desert Explorers discount for Rondy attendees. Lake Mead National Park campground is also nearby. We will have a 

dinner speaker who will talk about the building of the dam. There are many trip opportunities in the area. One will be to the famous Walking Box Ranch between Nipton and Searchlight. Other possibilities are El Dorado Canyon, Black Canyon, Keyhole Canyon petroglyphs and a private mine tour at the Techatticup Mine. Details will follow as the date approaches.

Website Deb reported that the site is doing well and up-to-date.

Subscriber Guide Tabled.

Museum Deb reported that there have been several break-ins in August, money was stolen and the culprits arrested. Extra cameras have been installed for more protection for the site and museum workers. Mike Boltinghouse’s new book on Pre-Route 66 has been derailed until he can secure rights approval for the maps. He will be doing a presentation at the November MVRM meeting. Bob Jacoby suggested that we continue our MVRM work parties in the future, perhaps several times per year. The last one, headed up by Nelson Miller was a grand success and much appreciated by the museum. Plus, it was a good time! It was moved and seconded to give the work party leader a petty cash allowance for on-site necessities and hardware purchases. Unanimous approval.

Trips Jerry noted upcoming trips and is looking for more. Always more.

Upcoming trips:

  • • Jerry Dupree - San Andreas Fault, Living Desert & 1-2 nature preserves
  • • Fred Raab - San Diego/Imperial county area trip in the planning stages. No dates yet.
  • • Death Valley Area - Emmet Smith will follow up with Matt
  • • Route 66 - Axel pre-running, will report in November newsletter. 
    • • Back way to Panamint Valley on east side of Red Mountain (maybe) - Emmett Harder and company
    • • Talked about Fisher’s Landing day trip, jet boat upriver, historic sites, canoe back. Room for 25 people from Martinez Lake Jet Boat Tours. Info from Deb, Neal says “You’d better listen to my floozy!” so I guess we had better listen... Stay tuned.

    New Business Bob and Sue are researching the Route 66 closure near Danby. Reminded everybody that October 6th was Old Spanish Trail Days.

    Next meeting December 15th including our annual Yule Foolishness Gathering at Ding and Allan Wicker’s home.

    Adjourned: 1:00 p.m.   

Saturday, 15 December 2018 00:13

Gettin’ My Kicks on Route 66 in Arizona

by Axel Heller

I pre-ran the proposed trip of Route 66 through Arizona in October, anticipating that it will be near the end of April as a DE trip, three to four days.

I have highlighted exits along I-40, for sights to see. Of course there are many more attractions of Route 66, where I followed as many alignments that I could locate. I-40 did not “pave” over Route 66, but followed it for a lot of the distance. Since everybody is in a hurry these days, they made a straighter road with less elevation gain/loss and FASTER (75 MPH). Business loops, that were 66 roadbeds, became the norm for many cities and they tried to capitalize on that. Alas, many towns became ghost towns, like Two Guns and Twin Arrows, even though there were off-ramps to them. Other towns were completely bypassed, like the fictitious town of Radiator Springs (Cars movie by Pixar), but I did find that particular town (or claimant to the title) in my journey. You’ll have to sign up for the trip to find it, with all of the old cars.

Oatman The Ghost Town that refused to die. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their first night of married bliss at the Durlin Hotel after being married in Kingman in March 1939. Today stores and burros are the main attractions.

Kingman exit 44-53 One of the best and longest segments of Route 66 (Arizona 66 now). Over 83 miles to Seligman (exit 123). On this stretch of highway, they have erected some “old” Burma Shave signs. There are many small towns along this road. You used to be able to get a special stamp “cancellation” on 

Valentine’s day from the town of Valentine. A stop at the Grand Canyon Caverns is well worth it. An hour long tour is available into the caverns, and you can actually spend the night inside.

Seligman exit 123 This town is designed for the traveler. Birthplace of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. Looking for a place to eat? Try the Roadkill Café.

Williams exit 161-165 Williams was the last town that was bypassed, on October 13, 1984. Very interesting town, with many museums and eatery places. Gateway to the Grand canyon, especially by railroad. I found an old bridge on post 1930 Route 66 with a tree growing on top of it! It was a nice gravel road to the town of Belmont (exit 185)

Flagstaff exit 191-204 Inside of Flagstaff , you travel on the Business Loop of I-40, the original Route 66 going through the town. The pre-1947 alignment will get you to Winona (exit 211)

Twin Arrows exit 219 Marking this exit are two large Arrows, inspired by Two Guns on Route 66. Remains are the arrows and a diner and trading post. It became a ghost town in 1995, due to I-40. Across the highway is the Twin Arrows Casino, operated by the Navajo Tribe.

Two Guns exit 230 This little town was developed near Diablo Canyon, as a construction/crew site for the Santa Fe/Atlantic to Pacific RR as they built the bridge across Diablo Canyon about three miles north of the “town” in 1880 or so. When the bridge site was surveyed, it was thought that the canyon was only 100 deep, but in reality it was nearly 250 feet, almost bankrupting the A&P building this bridge. Remains of some foundations can still be seen next to the current bridge.

Other history: A group of Apaches raided the local Navajos on a regular basis until 1878, when their hiding place was discovered. The Navajos built a fire at the entrance of the cave 

and shot anyone coming out, and hence became known as the “death cave”.

In 1907 the National Old Trails Highway was built and became a waypoint for travelers. By the twenties there was a zoo and a bridge across the canyon. Today a KOA campground sign and lots of stone buildings remains.

Meteor Crater exit 233 About 50,000 years ago, a meteor struck. Traveling at over 65 miles per SECOND, it entered the atmosphere, slowing down and burning up. Impact was estimated at 12 miles per second, creating a hole about 3/4 of a mile in diameter, and about 550 feet deep. Size of the rock? Estimated at 150 feet across with an explosion of about 10 Megatons. It was a very bad day for the wooly mammoths living in the area at the time.

The crater was utilized by NASA to train the Apollo astronauts of what to expect on the moon, for a debris field. One of the astronauts actually tore his suit in the crater, and a redesign was done, good thing it happened here instead of the moon.

Winslow exit 252-257 Business loop takes you down across on Route 66. The route is divided up into two one-way streets. East bound you will have to stop (2nd and Kinsley) and “Stand on the Corner” made famous by the Eagles (Take it Easy). Many gift shops and the Old Trails Museum in the area. The restored La Posada Hotel was a former Harvey House built in 1928.

Outside of town, they have built a monument dedicated to 9/11 with some steel from the twin towers.

Jack Rabbit exit 269 Excellent little store, with a giant rabbit in front (see last months edition of the newsletter). Good place to get some great stuff.

Holbrook exit 285-286: Business loop road. Many old places to explore. The Wigwam Motel is located here with displays of old cars. The 

Holbrook Visitor and Museum, located in the former courthouse.

Painted Desert/Petrified Forest exit 311 This is a National Monument and requires a National Parks & Federal Land Pass. There are two ways into the Monument – take 180 out of Holbrook or exit 311 from I-40. Landscape is AWESOME in colors. (There are actually two Visitor Centers, one at each end of the Monument.)

Over 65 Million years ago, trees fell into the riverbed and absorbed minerals, and now we find them after the hills have eroded & deposited them in the valley floors. The trees are harder than stone to cut and polish and very heavy.

Route 66 cuts through the Painted Desert area, the road was “destroyed” to prevent someone trying to travel on it. The only place to actually see the road is when you come across the old Studebaker frame that was abandoned.

Inside, about 2 miles north of I-40, is the restored 1924 Painted Desert Inn.

Houck exit 348 Can’t miss this, Fort Courage “Home of F-Troop”. It was basically a roadside attraction and trading post, and closed down about ten years ago. It is still “For Sale”.

Lupton exit 359 This is the last exit before entering New Mexico. Looking above the walls by the trading posts, you can see “animals” and a village on the hillside. On the south side of I-40, are the remains of several buildings along a five mile section of Route 66.

I found that every time I stopped  into a store, I came across a lot of history of Route 66 and a lot of local information. ~ Axel

Saturday, 15 December 2018 00:04

Global 4-wheeling and Rock Art

By Anne & George Stoll

Just back (10-2018) from another rock art exploration in Brazil, this time involving some serious 4-wheeling that might bring a DE smile. It’s all Bob Jaussaud’s fault, actually – he’s the one that insisted we see Iguassu Falls in 2010, our first intro to this remarkable country. This time we made it into a few more remote spots in northeastern Brazil thanks to our English-speaking guide Filipe, a most amazing Brazilian many-time off-road rally driver, Sabiá, and a classic lady, a very dark green vintage turbo-diesel Land Rover Defender. 

Wish I had a buck for every guy that offered to buy this car as we traveled through the Brazilian countryside! Between the Defender and our white hairs and dark glasses, we had people staring at us everywhere, which made it all that much more fun. Sabiá and that Defender did quite well with the two-lane “highways” in the back country, passing huge trucks with ease. But what that pair could do off-road was the really fun part.

September 22 we were headed for a rock art site, Toca da Figura, up on the plateau country outside of the town of Morro do Chapéu, Bahia state, Brazil. Vegetation in the cerrado is quite sparse and it was a pretty hot day. There were six of us on the trip, George, me, Filipe, Sabiá, our local guide and Franco, “the Professor” of tourism in town, perched on the roof to video the whole crazy adventure. It was decided that the hike would be too long if we parked at the usual spot and after all, there “used to be a road” right to the site (sound familiar?). You know what’s coming.

Sabia shifted into rock-crawling low gear, no foot on the gas necessary, and leaned out of the door to steer. With our local guide out front, we went crossed a chasm or two and went over some pretty rough terrain, with the Professor clinging to the roof hooting and hollering and all of us inside laughing, cheering and dodging vegetation.

The local rancher didn’t seem too impressed, but we certainly were!

Made it in fine shape to the rock art and back. Caipirinhas at dinner were on us! Respectfully submitted, Anne and George Stoll