ON OLD HIGHWAY 66 IN THE MOJAVE DESERT IS A COMPOUND CALLED “GOFFS.” Established by the foremost author on the history of the Mojave Desert Dennis Casebier, it is now called The Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association. We have been privileged to be members for the past 20 years and enjoy the group’s annual Rendezvous held in October each year. These are dedicated souls with a passion for recording and enjoying the history of the area and mainly The Old Mojave Road. It starTed out as The Mojave Trail when local Indian tribes used it to travel to trade areas (all the way to the coast). It grew into a wagon road where settlers traveled and mail transported. Due to attacks by Indians, the government set up posts along the way for protection. Much evidence still remains along the road with remnants from old posts, spring heads, petroglyphs, old cabin runs, etc.
A DIRT-COVERED VEHICLE IS PROOF YOU TREKKED THE OLD MOJAVE ROAD!
THE ROCK SPRING LOOP TRAIL TAKES YOU TO THE SPRING AND TO A CABIN. The Rock House was constructed by Bert Smith in 1929. He came to this area to recover from poison gas exposure suffered during World War I. Doctors told him he didn’t have long to live, but the dry desert air proved so beneficial to Smith’s health that he lived here for 25 more years! The second long-term resident was artist Carl Faber, who lived and worked at the rock house in the 1980s, selling his artwork to passing travelers.
While on the trail we shared a picnic table with a youth group from Bishop. They were installing water guzzlers for small animal desert dwellers!
BACK AT GOFFS WE ENJOYED THE ACTUALLY WORKING STAMP MILLS AND A GIRATOR. WHAT DEDICATION IT TAKES TO RESCUE THESE OLD DESERT REMNANTS AND GET THEM INTO WORKING ORDER.
And our favorite is an old canon which is set off as one of the Rendezvous highlights:
The anchor of Goffs is the old 1914 Schoolhouse which served the area for many years. Abandoned at one time it was deteriorating dueto vandals and the harsh desert elements, but was rescued by this group and now serves as a museum and office at Goffs.
A MEMORIAL GARDEN GIVES US TIME TO REFLECT ON THOSE WE HAVE LOST. HERE ARE BRICKS FOR MY SON BEAU, AND FOR MY PARENTS. MY FATHER WAS A MEMBER OF THE MDCHA AND COLLABORATED WITH DENNIS CASEBIER WHEN WRITING HIS BOOKS.
DEBBIE MILLER’S TRIBUTE TO OLIVE OATMAN WAS A HIGHLIGHT OF THE RENDEZVOUS. Olive Oatman is not the only well-known captive who was recovered and returned to her home community, but her story does exemplify what happened to women who were captured by Native American Indians and the ongoing emotional trauma they experienced when they were returned to their families. AMAZINGLY DEBBIE MADE THIS DRESS HERSELF – A REPLICA OF ONE OF OLIVE’S OUTFITS. You may know Oatman as the burro roaming town on Route 66 near Laughlin.
A STOP ON THE WAY HOME: THE SALTON SEA
WE ENJOYED THE SOLITUDE AS THE ONLY ONES IN THE CAMPGROUND. ALTHOUGH WE SPOTTED BLACK NECKED STILTS, PELICANS, EGRETS AND HERONS, THE AREA WAS NOTICABLY DEVOID OF THE USUALLY ABUNDANT BIRD LIFE. DEAD DRIED TILAPIA LINED THE SHORE, TESTIMENT TO THE OXYGEN-STARVED SALINE LAKE. A WATER SOAKED PICNIC BENCH IS TESTAMENT TO THE FLUCTUATING LAKE LEVELS.
THE HIGHLIGHT OF OUR SALTON SEA CAMPING HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE BRILLIANT SUNSET, BUT IT WAS RATHER SUBDUED THIS TRIP.
WHERE OH WHERE DID COWBOY MAN GO? HE WAS MISSING FROM HIS SPOT IN MECCA AT AN OLD STRIP MALL. I STOPPED TO INQUIRE AND WAS TOLD HE WAS SOLD TO SOMEONE IN APPLE VALLEY. I’D LOVE TO FIND HIM. PLEASE REPORT IF YOU RUN INTO HIM!