Spring Break 1992

April 30th

Once again, Lolli and I and Ed and Suzanne are heading out for spring break. Ed and Suzanne finally got tired of camping out of a pick-up shell.

Here they are "discussing" where to put stuff in their new 1985 Vanagon.

Anyway, two years ago, during the 1990 Spring Break, Lolli broke her leg in two places. We had just finished enjoying Ed's world famous barbecued chicken with "Nook Mom" sauce and were heading back to the hot spring for another soak when Lolli slipped and tragedy happened.

Well, this time we decided to proceed boldly, tempt the fates, and continue on from where we left off by having Ed cook up,

"Nook Mom, Part Two, the Adventure Continues".

So, there we were, camped for the evening at the Trona Pinnacles,

And in no time at all Eddie had the barbee out, the charcoal smoldering and was slathering the "Nook

Mom" on to the chicken parts. The dinner was as good as ever and as a result we only experienced two flat tires, got stuck in the sand twice, and were bracketed by two earthquakes!

That "Nook Mom" is powerful stuff.

But back to the story.

So, where all did we go?

Well, we spent all of the first day roaring down Interstate 5 in order to get to Bakersfield and one of our favorite Basque restaurants before closing time in order to enjoy our traditional Basque "Last Supper in Civilization" feast. Once we were full of lamb and tongue and chops and wine and dessert we staggered out into the night and moseyed on up over Tehachapi Pass and coasted down towards the lights of Mojave, then turned off onto a desert side road and, since it was quite windy out in the open, holed up in Jaw Bone Canyon.

In the morning, while I was making coffee, Suzanne discovered something on her map called the "Butterbretch Canyon Bird Sanctuary".

Oh no!

She pointed out that it was just a few miles to the north of us!

Oh no!

Sure enough and soon, all too soon, there I was, down in Butterbretch Canyon watching Suzanne and a bunch of other bird-minded folks, watching some bird!

"Hush! It's the Hooded Warbler!"


Having finally seen the bird, or maybe not, what-ever, we were now free to continue on and head for the California City Airport so Eddie could jump. He just happened to have brought his parachute along!


Finally, with all of these side issues now out of the way we could get on with the "serious" part of vacation.

We visited the mining town of Randsburg and checked out their wonderful museum and collection of narrow gauge mining railroad stock out back, then drove out to the Trona Pinnacles where we set up camp and had our, above mentioned, second infamous "Nook Mom" chicken barbee feast.

In the morning I studied my map. I seemed to remember reading about a place called Anvil Canyon, located up some bad, lonesome road in the sticker bush and granite rock country, somewhere east of the Pinnacles between Panamint Valley and Death Valley.

As I recall the story, it tells about a group of lost pioneers who, back in the 1890's, finally staggered up out of Death Valley after having burnt their wagons for heat and ate all their animals for food; trying to save their lives. As they clawed their way up out of a canyon they came across a one hundred pound anvil lying there in the dirt. No one knows who the poor bastard was who had hauled it so far, only to finally have to give it up...or die.

It seemed to me like just the place enjoy some peace and quiet.

We packed up and headed out but when we arrived at the road I thought would lead us up into Anvil Canyon,

there was a gate across the road.

Turned out Anvil Canyon was now located within a Military Reserve.

Darn. Forget that.

So, north to the Panamint Valley and Ballarat. We tried to get up Surprise Canyon to visit Panamint City but the road up the canyon was still washed out from the 1985 flood. Next we went up Wildrose Canyon to the

charcoal kilns left over from the old mining days and then back down to the North end of Panamint Valley for the night.

The desert "Five Spots" were at full strength.

The next day we found Death Valley to be one hundred and six degrees with gale force winds at the Southern end. The Tecoupa Hot Springs were a real treat after that.

In the evening we found a small oasis up a mountain side and a perfect place to camp beside some trees and running water! Of course, in the morning the birds were making a racket and soon Suzanne

was hot on the trail.

And on and on. You know how travelogues are.

In the Eastern Mojave Wilderness we saw three Desert Tortoise.

Two big ones, about fourteen inches in diameter and one youngster, around three inches in diameter.

We were in the Mitchell Caverns the day after the Desert Hot Springs earthquake. The Park Ranger

went into the cave first to make sure it was safe!

Later in our travels we saw one rattle snake cross the road and head into some rocks. Ed and I slammed on the brakes and rushed off in hot pursuit but Suzanne and Lolli started making so much noise hollering at Ed and I to,

"Get back!!",

that we didn't get to identify what kind it was. Later on we did see a five foot long Coachwhip snake, a Golden Eagle, a coyote and on and on, you know how travelogues are.

We swam at Dirty Socks warm springs and soaked at "The Tub" and "Travertine" hot springs.

Eddie even got in some quality time with my dog Sarah.

It was a wonderful vacation. One of the best ones yet.

It wasn't until we cleared the Sierra's crest that we heard about the
earthquake in the Lost Coast area of Northern California.

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