2017 Amgen Tour of California

With no Mother’s Day get-together planned for our family, I headed off to Sacramento for the Amgen Tour of California bike race. I watched the roll out of the men’s stage 1, wandered around the women’s team buses getting photos of the women racers, and then watched the women’s 20-lap criterium. Then the men arrived back in Sacramento for 3 laps before finishing in front of the State Capitol.

UHC team leading the yellow jersey (Katie Hall) around. Katie lost the yellow jersey by 1 second because she missed out on an intermediate sprint.

Men’s neutral roll-out start.

2017 Amgen women’s stage 4 gallery
2017 Amgen men’s stage 1 gallery

Cerro Gordo trip

I have wanted to visit Cerro Gordo, a ghost town high in the Inyo Mountains, for several years. A fund raising event for Cerro Gordo announced on a Facebook page attracted me to do it this year.

Our first stop on the trip south was Soda Lake in the Carrizo Plain where the flower bloom was really showing off.

Super bloom at Carrizo Plain

We stayed in Lone Pine so of course we spent some time in the Alabama Hills. Here’s a distant view of Mobius Arch.

Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills

Cerro Gordo is a private, but fairly well-preserved ghost town high in the Inyo Mountains. The day we visited was windy and cold so the fire in the big wood stove in the hotel was very welcoming.

American Hotel, Cerro Gordo

On our way home we stopped to hike a short way in Rainbow Basin near Barstow.

Syncline in Rainbow Basin

Check out the photo gallery for lots more photos.

Cerro Gordo 2017 photo gallery

Mojave National Preserve

Even though we visited the southern California desert last month, there were still locations I wanted to visit so I embarked on a solo trip to the Mojave National Preserve. In my research with Google Earth I had located a number of mines and mine cabins.

The Evening Star mine was the first one I stopped at and I was amazed at how good a condition it was in. I suppose this is due to the mine being active during 1939—1944. It was the only producer of tin ore in the Mojave Desert.

Evening Star mine

J. Riley Bembry filed a claim on the site as a copper prospect but sold it before developing it. My next stop was at the Riley cabin. Riley Bembry was a long-time resident in the area.

Riley cabin

There are several mining cabins in the area. Riley’s has been refurbished and is available for overnight stays. While I was looking around a couple of park service folks stopped by for a sort of inspection. One of them was the guy who did much of the refurbishment. I followed them around as they visited other cabins in the area. It was interesting to hear them talk about what has been done and what is yet planned to be done.

Below is a photo of a cabin that will be refurbished to give an indication of how much work it will be. The site has already had most of the trash removed, but there are certainly a lot of structural repairs required.

Interior of a cabin to be refurbished.

Out by Ivanpah I stopped at the Goldome Mining complex which shut down less than 40 years ago. It’s a fairly modern gold ore processing facility that seems to have been systematically stripped of anything small enough to carry away. It’s also a superfund site—I assume because of cyanide contamination.

Just a small part of the Goldome complex

I stayed in Barstow so I went out Mule Canyon in the Calico Mountains. I again tried to find some nodules that might contain fossilized insects. I did find some concretion-like nodules, but it remains to be seen (after some lengthy acid dissolving) if they contain any fossilized insects. I also checked out the old Borax mining area (Borate) and hiked along the old railroad grade. The trestles would have been impressive, but when they stopped mining in the area they disassembled everything and took it to a new area in Death Valley.

The Harvey House (Casa del Desierto) is a nicely restored remnant of the bygone era of rail-travel.

Barstow Harvey House

I also did a short hike in Rainbow Basin and tagged along with a small group of college students on a geology field trip. The colorful rock layers are tilted and in some places jumbled. The photogenic syncline (a V shaped structure) was clearly revealed.

Rainbow Basin syncline

I have researched a few aircraft crash sites, and so far haven’t been able to reach any of them. A Piper Navajo (twin-engine) near the abandoned Hart airstrip was easy to get to. It’s not the first crash site I have visited, but it is the first I found just by perusing Google Earth.

Tail section of a Piper Navajo

After that I explored around the Hart site and saw a few more interesting things before calling it a day.

Mojave Desert, March 2017 gallery