THE LONELIEST HIGHWAY IN AMERICA

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Around 1986 to 1988, Life Magazine is said to have ran a very negative article about Nevada State Highway 50 titled “The Loneliest Road.” An AAA spokesperson had described Nevada State Highway 50 route through Nevada in these words: “It’s totally empty. There are no points of interest. We don’t recommend it. We warn all motorists not to drive there unless they’re confident of their survival skills.”   NOT TRUE!!

THE FIRST TOWN ALONG THIS HIGHWAY IS BAKER. THERE YOU CAN PICK UP A PASSPORT. IF YOU GET IT STAMPED AT FIVE TOWNS BETWEEN BAKER AND THE END OF THE LONELIEST ROAD WHICH IS CARSON CITY, THEN YOU MAIL IT IN AND YOU WILL RECEIVE A FREE TEE-SHIRT AND HAT. OK, THE CHALLENGE IS ON.

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THIS HIGHWAY RIBBONS THROUGH SOME OF THE MOST HISTORIC AREAS IN THE WEST AND LOOSELY PARALLELS THE PONY EXPRESS ROUTE. WE STARTED AT GREAT BASIN NATIONAL MONUMENT WHICH IS NEAR BAKER, NEVADA. HERE WE CAMPED ALONG THREE MERGING BROOKS, DROVE UP THE MOUNTAIN WHERE BRISTLECONE PINES ARE GROWING SOME 13,000 FEET UP, HEARD A RANGER TALK ABOUT MOUNTAIN LIONS AND LOOKED OVER OUR SHOULDERS AFTER THAT. WE WENT TO AN ASTRONOMY LECTURE, AND TOURED THE LEHMAN CAVES

AT GREAT BASIN WE DROVE JUST BELOW WHERE THE BRISTLECONE PINES GROW, AT THE BASE OF MT. WHEELER

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GB4.MTNOUR CAMPSITE (below) IS ONE OF OUR ALL-TIME FAVORITES.  THREE BABBLING BROOKS CONFLUENCED JUST A FEW FEET FROM OUR FIRE PIT.

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SO, WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU HAVE ALL THAT ICY WATER AROUND? MEET THE CHALLENGE OF COURSE.

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TOURING THE LEHMAN CAVES IS ANOTHER ADVENTURE IN THIS PARK.

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LEHMAN CAVES IS A SINGLE CAVERN PENETRATING A QUARTER MILE INTO THE LIMESTONE AND MARBLE THAT FLANK THE BASE OF THE SNAKE RANGE. IT IS ONE OF THE REGIONS MOST PROFUSELY DECORATED CAVES.

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NEARBY IS THE WARD MINING DISTRICT WITH LOTS TO EXPLORE.

WARD1.CEMETERYWARD2.CEMETERYWARD3.CEMETERTWARD4.MINEWARD5.MINEWARD6.CORESAND ALAN DISCOVERS GOLD (the fool)WARD7.GOLDBELOW IS THE TOWNSITE.WARD8.TOWNSITEWARD9.CAFEFOLLOWING A SIGN TO A “CAFE,” THIS IS WHAT WE FOUND.  AFTER GOING INSIDE WHERE THE OWNER WAS ON A COUCH WATCHING TV, WE DECIDED NOT TO EAT THERE.

GB6.CAFE GB7.BUFFALO GB8.CAFEINSIDE BUT THERE WAS A REWARD.  OUT BACK OF THE “RANCH” WE SPIED A PRONGHORN ON THE FIELD.

WARD11.ANIMALAND THEN TWO PRONGHORNS IN AN X-RATED ACTION.WARD12.ANIMALS DOING ITNEARBY WE VISITED THE CHARCOAL OVENS STATE HISTORIC PARK WHICH IS BEST KNOWN FOR ITS 8 BEEHIVE SHAPED OVENS.  THEY CONTINUE TO REPRESENT A UNIQUE CHAPTER IN NEVADA’S MINING HISTORYWARD13.KILNSWARD15.KILNS

FLOWERSWHEN YOU LOOK CLOSELY YOU CAN SEE THAT WITHIN THE HARSH LANDSCAPE THERE ARE SEVERAL TYPES OF FRAGRANT SAGE AND COLORFUL FLOWERS SUCH AS THE PRICKLY POPPIES ABOVE.

TIME TO LEAVE GREAT BASIN AND BRAVE THE LONELIEST ROAD IN AMERICA WHICH, FOR US, BEGINS IN BAKER

LR2.SIGN.CARWE GOT A LITTLE WORRIED WHEN WE SPIED THE CARS BELOW JUST OFF THE ROAD.  MAYBE THIS WASN’T SUCH A GOOD IDEA. LR4.CAR LR5.CARSKULL

ON TO ELY, NEVADA VIA THE LONELIEST ROAD

Ely was founded as a stagecoach station along the Pony Express and the Central Overland Route. Ely’s mining boom came later than the other towns along US 50 with the discovery of copper in 1906. Though the railroads connecting the First Transcontinental Railroad to the mines in Austin and Eureka have long been removed, the railroad to Ely is preserved as a heritage railway by the Nevada Northern Railway and known as the Ghost Train of Old Ely.

OF COURSE WE HAD TO TAKE A RIDE ON THIS HISTORIC TRAIN.

CLICK ON TRAIN VIDEO BELOW.  IT TAKES A FEW SECONDS TO START.

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IT WAS A SPECIAL NIGHT COMMEMORATING THIS RAILROAD’S ATTEMPTS AT REFURBISHNG THE ANTIQUE TRAIN PARTS THAT HAD BEEN STORED.  THEY HAVE HAD SEVERAL PIECES RESTORED ON THE TV SHOW “AMERICAN RESTORATION.”

BELOW IS THE INSIDE OF THE STATION. TRAIN5.INSIDEAND THE EXTERIOR TRAIN6.STNWE GOT OUR TICKET….READY TO RIDE! TRAIN7.TICKETALL ABOARD TRAIN8.ALLABOARDTHE BEST VIEW IS ON THE OUTSIDE CAR, BUT WHEN THE SOOT STARTS FALLING IT CAN COVER YOU IN BLACK GRIT. TRAIN9.ME

WE MADE A STOP TO SEE SOME OF THE RESTORED EQUIPMENT. TRAIN10.RECONSTRUCTBACK IN THE TRAIN WE CONTINUED UP-CANYON. TRAIN12.INSIDE TRAINAS THE SUN STARTED TO SET, EVERYTHING TURNED PINK. TRAIN13.SUNSET TRAIN14.SUNSET TRAIN15.WORKERHEADED BACK TO THE STATION WE GOT A GOOD VIEW OF DOWNTOWN ELY AND THE NEVADA HOTEL AND CASINO. TRAIN16.HOTEL

RIDING THE TRAIN WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH FOR ALAN.  UP EARLY THE NEXT MORNING WE RUSHED TO THE STATION, TOOK MORE PICTURES THEN HEADED UP THE HIGHWAY STOPPING AT STRATEGIC SPOTS TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE TRAIN AS IT PASSED.  WE WERE NOT THE ONLY PEOPLE DOING THIS!

HAD TO STOP FOR A PICTURE OF THE LAST REMAINING BROTHEL IN TOWN:

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UP THE HILL FROM THE TRAIN ROUTE IS GARNET HILL – WE DECIDED TO GO GET RICH!

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CONTINUING ON THE LONELIEST HIGHWAY WE TOOK A SIDE TRIP TO CAVE LAKE. ACTIVITIES AT THIS PARK IINCLUDE TROUT FISHING, BIRD WATCHING AND HUNTING.

CL1.LAKE CL2.CAVEDRIVING HIGHWAY 50 TAKES YOU THROUGH MANY MILES OF WIDE VISTAS WHERE YOU CAN SEE MILES OF TUNDRA ON BOTH SIDES.  HIDDEN AWAY ARE MINES AND OLD TOWNSITES AND CAMPS.  BUT THERE ARE TOWNS, AND EUREKA IS ONE OF THE SPECIAL ONES.  WE STOPPED AT THE EUREKA MUSEUM TO GET ALAN’S PASSPORT STAMPED, AND WALKED AROUND TO SEE THE RENOVATED BUILDINGS SUCH AS THE 1879 COURTHOUSE BELOW.

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AND THE 1880 OPERA HOUSE EUREKA2.OPERAAND THE MUSEUM EUREKA3.MUSEUM EUREKA4.MUSEUM EUREKA5.MUSEUM

The town of Eureka was first settled in 1864 by a group of silver prospectors from nearby Austin, who discovered rock containing a silver-lead ore on nearby Prospect Peak.  Mining, especially for lead, supported the town and is still the town’s mainstay today.

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THIS TOWN FORMED WHEN SILVER WAS DISCOVERED IN 1862.  TODAY MANY HISTORICAL BUILDINGS REMAIN.  BELOW IS THE CHURCH

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AUSTIN IS ONE OF THOSE RARE PLACES THAT IMPRESSES, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.  WE WERE LUCKY TO KNOW SOMEONE IN TOWN WHO PASSED ON SOME OF THE TOWN’S SECRETS.  CINDY, SISTER OF OUR GOOD FRIEND RANDY KING, GREETED US AT HER HOTEL.

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THERE IS A VERY IMPRESSIVE TURQUOISE SHOP IN TOWN.

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THE RUIN SHOWN BELOW IS WHAT IS LEFT OF THE BUTTERFIELD STAGE STATION AND LATER ALSO A PONY EXPRESS DEPOT.

LONELY1 LONELY2.OVERLANDTHE POST BELOW MARKS WHERE THE FOLLOWING ENTITIES WERE ONCE SITUATED: THE OVERLAND STAGE STATION,   PONY EXPRESS STOP, THE BUTTERFIELD AND WELLS FARGO EXPRESS ROUTE AND LATER THE OVERLAND TELEGRAPH TRANSCONTINENTAL LINE, EACH MARKS AN UPGRADE IN TRAVEL AND COMMUNICATIONS AT THE TIME. LONELY3.POST LONELY4.TRAILER

SAND MOUNTAIN FORMED BY QUARTZ PARTICLES GROUND BY GLACIERS FROM HARD SIERRA GRANITE AND WASHED DOWN THE WALKER RIVER.  THE PARTICLES WERE CARRIED BY THE WIND TO THIS LARGE BASIN BELOW THE STILLWATER RANGE.LONELY5.SAND

THE NEXT “TOWNS” WE HIT WERE FALLON AND DAYTON.  NEITHER HAD STAMPS FOR ALAN’S PASSPORT SO WE WENT ON TO CARSON CITY WHERE HE GOT HIS LAST STAMP THEN RAN TO THE MAILBOX TO SEND IN FOR HIS TEE SHIRT!

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AND SO ENDS OUR TREK ON AMERICA’S LONELIEST HIGHWAY WHICH WAS ANYTHING BUT LONELY.  TRUE, THIS STRETCH OF HIGHWAY IS FRAMED BY MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS AND ENDLESS VISTAS, BUT IT IS ALSO THE KEEPER OF MINING HISTORY,SAGAS OF THE WILD WEST.AND PERHAPS WILD HORSES AND PRONGHORNS.

COMING HOME ON HWY 395 WE WERE ON FAMILIAR TERRITORY, CAMPING AT JUNE LAKE AND THEN BOULDER CREEK RV PARK IN LONE PINE. SOUTH OF LEE VINING AT THE JUNCTION OF THE TIOGA PASS HIGHWAY WE STOPPED AT OUR FAVORITE RESTAURNT IN THE EASTERN SIERRAS:  THE  MOBIL STATION WHICH SERVES EXCELLENT FOOD AND A GREAT VIEW OF MONO LAKE. MOBILCAMPING AT JUNE LAKE IS ALWAYS A PLEASURE:

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JUNE3.DEERAND SO OUR CAMPING BUDDY, MR. TIKI, SAYS GOODBYE.  SEE YA NEXT TIME. JUNE4.TIKITHE LONELIEST ROAD WAS THE LAST LEG OF A THREE WEEK JOURNEY WHICH BEGAN IN KINGMAN ARIZONA WHERE WE ATTENDED THE INTERNATIONAL ROUTE 66 ASSOCIATION FESTIVAL.  TO SEE THE FIRST PART OF THIS TRIP, GO TO THOSE BLOG ENTRIES.

 

 

LAKE POWELL, NO. RIM GC, LEE’S FERRY AND THE GEM: CORAL PINK SAND DUNES AND BRYCE CANYON

 

THE CAMPGROUND AT WAHWEAP MARIINA IS ONE OF  OUR FAVORITES.  A LOVELY VIEW OF THE LAKE AND BIG CAMPSITES.  WE CAN SIT IN CAMP AND WATCH BUNNIES AND SQUIRRELS SCAMPER ABOUT.  THE NIGHT SKY IS AMAZINE.

LP1  WAP5.POWELLYour campground stay includes use of the hotel pool.

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Someone has to do it!!

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DSC_0557WE TOOK A BOAT RIDE AND ALTHOUGH THE WATER LEVEL IS LOW ,THE SCENERY IS STILL AWESOME, A STARK BEAUTY OF SUBTLE COLORS AGAINST AN ARIZONA SKY.LP2.BOATLP3.WALLLP4.COVELP5.SUNSET

LEE’S FERRY IS A TINY SETTLEMENT ON THE BANK OF THE COLORADO RIVER.  IT IS NAMED AFTER THE MORMON SETTLER, JOHN LEE, WHO ESTABLISHED A FERRY THERE IN 1871.

LP6.RIVER FROM NAVAJO BRIDGEBELOW IS NAVAJO BRIDGE WHICH SERVES AS A VIEW POINT. LP7.NAVAJO BRIDGEBELOW YOU CANSEE NAVAJO BRIDGE AND THE HIGHWAY BRIDGE OVER THE COLORADO. LP8.BRIDGESTHE TINY LEE’S FERRY SETTLEMENT IS VERY PICTURESQUE, AS YOU CAN SEE! LP9.SIGN LP10.LEES1 LP11.WHEEL LP12.RIVERA PARTY OF RAFTERS WERE GETTING READY TO TAKE OFF FOR THEIR EXCURSION DOWN RIVER.  WE LEFT FROM THIS POINT MANY YEARS AGO WHEN WE RAFTED THE CANYON. LP13.RAFTS

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LEAVING THIS PHOTOGENIC AREA, WE HEADED THROUGH THE VERMILLION CLIFFS FOR JACOB LAKE – THE KAIBAB CAMPER VILLAGE – ABOUT 40 MILES FROM THE NORTH RIM OF THE GRAND CANYON.  IT WAS A TREK TO THE RIM BUT THE RV PARK WAS LOVELY, SHADED WITH PINES AND SURROUNDED BY MEADOWS LUSH WITH FLOWERS, MUSHROOMS AND GRAZIING HORSES.

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SPENDING A DAY AT THE RIM, WE HAD SUCH A PERFECT PICNIC TABLE.THAT PEOPLE WALKING BY STOPPED TO JOIN US AND COMMENT ON THE MAGNIFICENT VIEW. NR4.VIEW NR5.VIEW NR6.viiew NR7.TREEVIEW NR8.WINDOW NR9.VIEWTHE VIEW WAS EVEN BETTER FROM THE LODGE WITH A GIN ‘N TONIC IN HAND! NR10.VIEWHOTEL NR11.VIEWHOTEL NR12.BLDGNRALL GOOD THINGS COME TO AN END.  THE SUNSET AND WE LEFT THE RIM FOR CAMP. NR13.SUNSET  .LP14.CAR

ON THE WAY TO CORAL PINK SAND DUNES, WE STOPPED AT THE MOQUI CAVE – HOME TO THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF DINOSAUR TRACKS IN SOUTHERN UTAH.  OWNED AND OPERATED BY THE CHAMBERLAIN FAMILY FOR OVER 50 YEARS, LEX CHAMBERLAIN GAVE US OUR TOUR.   (HIGHWAY 89).

MC1.DOOR MC2.DOOR MC3.INSIDE MC4.ROCKSGREETING US AT THE GATE WAS MY FAVORITE TOTUM, KOKOPELLI. MC5.KOKO

OK, WE ARE DRIVING ALONG AND SPY A SIGN “CORAL PINK SAND DUNES STATE PARK NEXT LEFT.”    ABOUT JACK KNIFED AS ALAN MADE THE TURN AND HEADED FOR ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SPOTS ON OUR TRIP AND ONE OF THE TOP 5 CAMPGROUNDS WE HAVE HAD THE PLEASURE TO CAMP IN.  AND…VERY FEW PEOPLE AROUND.  OUR CAMERAS WERE CLICKING.

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ALL THAT BEAUTY INSPIRED ALAN TO PLAY THE FLUTE.  NO BOB GOODWIN, HE’S NOT SMOKING A PEACE PIPE.CPSD1.FLUTE

ENDING THIS LEG OF OUR JOURNEY, WE CONTINUED ON TO BRYCE CANYON, FOR MORE ORANGE ROCKS, HOODOOS, BLUE SKIES AND RED CLIFFS.

 AND ON TO BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK

HEADED FOR BRYCE WE DROVE THROUGH A TOWN CALLED ORDERVILLE AND STOPPED AT THE ROCK SHOP.  ALAN WAS WOWED BY THIS TUB OF BLUE GLASS ROCKS..

BRICE1.ROCKSMADE IT THROUGH THE TUNNEL BRICE2.TUNNEL  BRICE4.TUNNEL EVERYWHERE IN BRYCE WE SAW HOODOOS BRICE5.HOODOOTHE CANYON IS AMAZING AND REFLECTS VARIOUS COLORS DEPENDING ON THE TIME OF DAY.  FIERY COLORS AND ENDLESS VISTAS GIVE WAY TO A DREAMY LANDSCAPE. BRICE6.VIEW BRICE7.VIEW BRICE8.VIEW BRICE9.VIEWTHE RIM TRAIL OFFERS HORSEBACK RIDERS AND HIKERS A CLOSE UP VIEW OF THE MAJESTIC FORMATIONS.  THE TRAIL BOSS KEPT YELLING BACK TO THE TOURISTS FOLLOWING HIM:  “DON’T LOOK DOWN!!!”BRICE10.HORSE

WITH ALL THESE AMAZING PLACES BEHIND US WE WERE ABOUT TO ENTER NEW TERRITORY WHICH PROVED TO BE A GREAT ADVENTURE. ON “THE LONELIEST HIGHWAY IN THE UNITED STATES.”

EXPLORING THE MYSTERIES, LORE AND GORE OF TWO GUNS & DIABLO CANYON

Headed for Flagstaff and our usual visit to Black Barts, we made the obligatory stop at the Route 66 town of Seligman.  The entire town is a museum celebrating Route 66.  Memorabilia shops and restaurants abound and the street is thick with tourists from all over the world.

IMG_1759 The angel of Route 66, Angel Delgadillo, is often at his barber shop in Seligman to welcome fellow Route 66 fans.  Below is his barber chair.  Angel received his barber’s license in Pasadena, California! IMG_8432 IMG_8434 ON TO TWO GUNS! IMG_8438

OUR NEW FRIENDS FROM FLORIDA, JOE AND LANYING ZEIGLER, FOLLOWED US TO THE SITE OF TWO GUNS WHERE ALAN LECTURED ON THE HISTORY OF THIS FASCINATING SPOT.  IT WAS ONCE A FAMED STOP ALONG ROUTE 66, BUT THE TRUE STORY INVOLVES THE APACHE DEATH CAVE AND STARTS LONG BEFORE THE MOTHER ROAD WAS A CONCEPT.TG1.signTHIS SPOT IS EASY TO MISS.  WHEN WE TOOK OUR SANTA MONICA TO CHICAGO ROUTE 66 TRIP WE MISSED IT COMPLETELY.  IT WAS ONLY LATER WE LEARNED THE GRUESOME STORY AND VISITED THE AREA TO INVESTIGATE. TG2.mtn.lionMOUNTAIN LIONS (ABOVE)???? WHAT IS THAT DOING HERE?  LOCATED OUTSIDE OF FLAGSTAFF BETWEEN THE TWIN ARROWS AND METEOR CITY,  THE CRUMBLING ROCK SHELTERS WERE ONCE CAGES IN A TOURIST TRAP ZOO ALONG THE ROAD.  TWISTED BARBED WIRE FENCES REMAIN.  QUITE PHOTGENIC, ESPECIALLY UNDER AN ARIZONA SKY.TG3.window TG4.cages

ACOSS THE BRIDGE MORE RUINS MAY BE EXPLORED. TG5.bridge TG6.rockwall TG8.rockBUT THE REAL STORY THAT DRAWS VISITORS INVOLVES THE APACHE DEATH CAVE.  THE CAVE IS LOCATED BELOW THIS ROCK SHELTER.  YOU CAN PROBABLY CLIMB DOWN TO ENTER, BUT IT LOOKS PRETTY DANGEROUS.  AND WHY WOULD YOU ENTER A DEATH CAVE ANYWAY? TG9.caveAS THE STORY GOES, HOSTLE APACHES ENTERED THE CANYON, SLAUGHTERING MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN.  THEY CARRIED OFF NAVAJOS FOR SLAVES.  ALTHOUGH NAVAJO WARRIORS BLOCKED OFF THE EXIT TO THE CANYON, THE APACHES NEVER SHOWED.  WHERE WERE THEY?  HOW DID THEY ESCAPE?  THE ANSWER WAS EVENTUALLY DISCOVERED:  THEY WERE HIDING IN A LARGE CAVE WITH THEIR HORSES AND CAPTIVES.TG10.caveABOVE IS THE PRESENT DAY CAVE ENTRANCE.  WHEN THE NAVAJOS REALIZED THE APACHES WERE HIDING IN THE CAVE, THEY BUILT FIRES TO SMOKE OUT THEIR ENEMY.  TO PROTECT THEMSELVES, THE APACHES KILLED THEIR HORSES, STUFFING THE BODIES INTO THE CREVICES TO STOP THE SMOKE.  IT DID NOT WORK AND THEY ALL DIED.  AND SO, TODAY WE ARE LEFT WITH REMNANTS FROM THIS GRUESOME STORY OF THE APACHE DEATH CAVE!

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TG11.US AFTER EXPLORING THE AREA AND TALKING ABOUT THE HISTORY OF TWO GUNS, WE TAKE OFF FOR ANOTHER ADVENTURE, ONLY A FEW MILES AWAY.  SOON THE BLUE SKY TURNS GREY AND AN APPROACHING STORM HURRIES US ALONG.  THIS IS NOT AN AREA WHERE YOU WOULD WANT TO BE CAUGHT IN A FLASH FLOOD.

EXPLORING DIABLO CANYON

AFTER A FEW MILES OF DIRT ROAD WE FIND THE SIGHT OF THE RAILROAD TRACKS AT DIABLO CANYON.  LOOKING AHEAD THINGS APPEAR ROSY, BUT WHEN WE TURNED AROUND….DC5.bldgWE COULD SEE THE STORM APPROACHING.  PHOENIX WAS JUST WIPED OUT BY MANSOON FLOODS, SO I WAS A BIT CONCERNED!  OUR FRIENDS JOE AND LANYING STUCK WITH US. DC4.stormFROM 1880 TO 1882, THE RAILROAD CAMP CALLED DIABLO CANYON SUPPORTED CONSTRUCTION CREWS “AND A BEVY OF RUTHLESS CHARACTERS.”   IT IS SAID THE MAIN STREET WAS DUBBED “HELL STREET” FOR THE FOURTEEN SALOONS, TEN GAMBLING DENS AND BROTHELS.

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DC3.tressle DC2.tressleTHE BRIDGE SHOWN ABOVE IS THE CURRENT BRIDGE OF MORE MODERN CONSTRUCTION.  IN THE CANYON BELOW ARE REMNANTS OF THE ORIGINAL TRESSLE BRIDGE FOUNDATIONS WHICH WAS HIGHER AND VERY PRECARIOUS.  THE TRAINS (AT&SF AND TODAY BNSF) TRAVELLED TO FLAGSTAFF AND ALL THE WAY TO LOS ANGELES IN A PATTERN FOLLOWED BY ROUTE 66 WHEN IT WAS INITIATED.  DC1.tressle

DC6.TWIN ARROWS HEADED BACK TO FLAGSTAFF WE STOPPED AT THE TWIN ARROWS CASINO TO MAKE OUR DONATION TO THE NATIVE AMERICANS!

BUT THE DAY’S ADVENTURES WERE NOT OVER.  HEADED BACK TO FLAGSTAFF WE DROVE OUT TO WUPATKI SUNSET CRATER VOLCANO NATIONAL MONUMENT.

WAP1.viewHERE REMNANTS OF THE  DWELLINGS OF PUEBLOAN PEOPLES ARE PROTECTED AND A VISITOR CENTER AND MUSEUM OFFER EXHIBITS AND A MOVIE TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC.WAP2.paintingTHE PEOPLE OF THE WUPATKI PUEBLO STRUGGLED THROUGH HARSH WEATHER CONDITIONS AND POOR SOIL.  RAISING CORN WAS DIFFICULT UNTIL THE LAND RECEIVED A BENEFICIAL ASH FALL FROM NEARBY SUNSET CRATER.  HOWEVER, THAT SOON DIMINISHED AND EVENTUALLY THEY MOVED ON. WAP3.VIEW2 WAP4.PAINT AND SO ENDS OUR ADVENTURES IN AND AROUND FLAGSTAFF.  WE WERE READY TO HEAD ONWARD AND EXPLORE IN AND AROUND LAKE POWELL. WAP5.POWELL

 

INTERNATIONAL ROUTE 66 FESTIVAL – KINGMAN AZ

The movers and shakers in the effort to celebrate Route 66 internationally were all in one place at the festival in August, 2014.  Authors, producers, foreign guests, musicians, and just plaiin Route 66 lovers gathered, shared stories, and networked.  What fun it was and well attended!  We didn’t sell many books but enjoyed the company!

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What a treat to talk with Angel Delgadillo – a humble and loving man.  This small town barber is one of the most recognized and beloved characters along the Route.  Drop in to see him at his barber shop in Seligman.  He’ll even give you a shave.fest.angel fest.bagpipeHotel Beale below:  Once the premier hotel in Kingman, it catered to the many passengers of the Santa Fe Railroad.  In 1906 it was purchased by Tom Devine, father of Actor Andy Devine.fest.beale.hotel

What a great concert by The Road Crew – spreading the history and lore of Route 66 through their music.  They are known as the official musical ambassadors of the Mother Road. fest.concert

Below I have the honor of talking with Dries Bessels and his wife.  Dries is the head of the Amsterdam Route 66 Association and a true fan of the Road.  Every year he leads car and motorcycle tours and has investigated every nook and cranny of Route 66.  We have communicated for years, but this was the first time I was able to meet him in person.   fest.dries

Jim Hinckley (below) is one of the Road’s biggest champions.  He has authored a number of books including Ghost Towns of the Southwest, Backroads of Arizona; and Backroads of Route 66.  I have found him to be kind, humble and more interested in helping fellow authors than competing with them.  He was a driving force behind this Festival.  fest.hinckley fest.kingman fest.mr.Ds.carr fest.mr.Ds fest.red.carWe enjoyed the festival and meeting fellow Route 66 fans, but when it ended we were off to new adventures beyond Kingman.   So much to see, so little time!  Our ultimate goal was to cruise The Loneliest Highway in America (Route 50, Nevada), but there are adventures to be had en route to the lonely road – and we are ready!

Celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary Lone Pine Style

Despite the 3 hour trek, family and friends graced us with their presence at the celebration of our 50th Wedding Annivsary at Boulder Creek RV Resort in Lone Pine.  Before the big party, we all gathered at the Lone Pine Movie Museum and caravaned through the Alabama Hills (pictured in this blog separately).  The night of the party, we ate, danced, embibed and had a wonderful time.  Sandy and the Country High band from Independance entertained as well as some talented family members.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith our children: Holiday & Jenner OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith our grandkids: TajBeau, Joseph, Sierra, Hailey & Kirra

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Alan with Sheri & Kathy alan.sierraA hug for Sierra OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASandy and the Country High Band entertain… OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo the delight of the children band1 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA band3 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA CAdanceGrass isn’t the best dance floor, but that didn’t stop anyone. cake.eatA re-enaction of the June 1964 wedding! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACassidy & Kennedy Garrett cassidy.kennedy2

The caterers did a great job: tri tip, ranch beans, cheese enchiladas, salad, etc.

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claudia.alan  coco.kids OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                                   Connie & Chris -

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                 Connie, Chris and Kimball crowd OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cindy and Cassidy OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore dancing…. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    The Heller family joins the band for a round of “Get Your Kicks on Route 66.group.song  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJenner & Erin, TajBeau and Kirra  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jenner delivers a toast to the anniversary couple

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(below) In honor of our mother, Kimball and Kirby sing a round of Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road.  No offence – it was mom’s favorite! kim.kirb.skunk OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKirby & Cindy kirb.ken.sing Kennedy and Kirby entertain.  Kennedy is about to start college at San Luis Obispo.  It’s no surprise that she has musical talents!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKirra OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA mcveysThe McVey family  molina.deroseKathy Molina and Pat DeRose OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Jim Newton (my Hollywood High buddy, now residing in Lone Pine) O Linda Smith and Jim Newton. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANita Norgard, Chuck Tipple and Yolanda Bowers  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARobby and Joseph OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Robby, Kirby and Cindy OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATajBeau and Robby sheri.alan.kathy Sheri, Alan & Kathy OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Sisters: Sierra and Hailey OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA table.set OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABackground: sisters Carie and Zoe Osburn OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA table4 table6 table7 table8   yo.chuck zoe.carrie.sing

Carie and Zoe entertain with Kirra (foreground) on the bongos.

IT WAS A FUN NIGHT WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY.  THANK YOU ALL FOR COMING OUT AND HELPING US CELEBRATE THE ADVENTURE WHICH STARTED AT HOLLYWOOD HIGH SCHOOL ALL THOSE YEARS AGO!

 

June Lake’s Silverlake – and where you can get from there!

California’s drought is obvious on the June Lake Loop.  Grant Lake is a series of ponds where a vast lake once graced the land.  Silverlake, however, has not yet dwindled much and waterfalls are trickling down.  When we arrived the campground was almost full, with about one spot left – the exact spot we wanted.  It is a double site with plenty of room for our group, and only feet from the lake.

camp camp1  deer heather.obsidianA short drive takes you to Mono Lake arrea Obsidian Mountain.  Heather checks out a chuck of the glassy volcanic rock.   monoMono Lake (in the distance) is suffering, but is protected by a Supreme Court ruling.  Los Angeles must c ut back on stealing water from the tribuutaries if the lake level falls below a specified measurement.  If the level is too low, a landbridge appears, making it easy for preditors to cross onto an island where gulls nest.

This plaque and educational signs in the area tell of the logging that once dominated this area to the south of Mono Lake.

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There are so many sights to enjoy between Silverlake and Mono Lake, that it is difficult to stay put.

 

ANOTHER VISIT TO THE ALABAMA HILLS, JUNE 14, 2014

 

Celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, we invited our friends and family to party with us in Lone Pine.  Early Saturday we all gathered at the Lone Pine Movie Museum and proceeded on a trek through the Alabama Hills.movie.museum On  one stop everyone exited their cars and climbed the rocks – enjoying the lovely day and magnificent views! alabamahills2 Below Alan lectures on the history of the area. alan.lecture

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We descended the trail for a hike to an arch.

arch.jen archFound it!  Alan offers a dollar to the first person who spies the next arch on the trip.

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Taj & Kirra throw a line into Whitney Portals pond.

Everyone loved the Alabama Hills and we were thrilled to share the experience with friends who had never visited the area!  After a day of adventure, we all rested up for the evening where we hosted a bbq dinner at Boulder Creek RV Park with entertainment by Sandy and the Country High.  It was a fun night of food, music, dancing  with family and friends to celebrate our 50 yearr marriage.

 

EASTERN SIERRAS – ALABAMA HILLS TO JUNE LAKE. WHERE’S THE WATER?

AH1WE WERE TOLD BIG HORN SHEEP HAD BEEN SPOTTED IN THIS PART OF THE ALABAMA HILLS, SOUTH OF THE PORTALS ROAD.  UNFORTUNATELY WE DIDN’T SEE BIGHORNS BUT THE VIEW AND FLOWERS WERE SPECTACULAR! AH2 AH3 AH4 AH6 AH7 AH8.LUPEN

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WE DROVE “MOVIE ROAD” AND MARVLED AT THE ROCK FORMATIONS.  A WORTHY OPPONENT OF THE ROCKS IN JOSHUA TREE.  AND WE SPOTTED SEVERAL ARCHES!

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Why is this area named “Alabama Hills”?  After the warship The Alabama. AH10 AH11 AH13 AH14

I like this photo because it is ominous.  That cow skull was probably left to be scorched by the sun.  Note the Sierras in the background.  Here it was, springtime (May) and the snowpack was practically nil.  What will this area be like mid summer or Fall?  The lack of water, as you will see shortly, is of great concern!

A trek up to Whitney Portals proves the point.  The pond was shallow.  We did get a few trout.

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And across the pond is the camp store which makes the best burgers and fries!

Trout burritofish.burritoTrout benedict fish.benedictTrout, bagel ‘n eggs IMG_7776

How sad!  Lake Sabrina, about thirty miles out of Bishop.  It is no longer a lake but a string of ponds.  Good fishing!  The poor fish are captured into little lakes so easier to catch.  Here the boats line up on shore.sabrina.boats sabrina.

BELOW ARE PETROGLYPHS AT FISH SLOUGH.

Fish Slough Petroglyph Panel, Bishop, California

Fish Slough Petroglyph panel and the Bishop Petroglyph driving loop are located just north of the town of Bishop, California in the northern end of the Owens valley.

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The petroglyphs are thought to be between about 1000 and 8,800 years old, and possibly made by the ancestors of the native Paiute-Shoshone people who still inhabit the valley. The style of the petroglyphs is classified as Great Basin Curvilinear

PETRO2 PETRO3 PETRO4JUNE LAKE LOOP!  We camped at Silverlake in the primitive campground – well, not so primitive – it had showers!  But it is right on the lake.  Across the road is the RV park but we decided we didn’t need hookups.  Our waterfall view was awesome.

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Below is Grant Lake.  A party fishing where this river emptied into the lake were catching lots of fish.  The lake level is so low, you could drive across it in places. grantlake1

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MR TIKI HAD A GREAT TIME!

MANY SURPRISES IN AND NEAR TWENTYNINE PALMS!

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Relax by a lagoon, or on the porch of your adobe cottage.  Take a short walk to an art gallery, history museum, brand new casino or National Park Nature Center.  Venture into scenic Joshua Tree to enjoy the Spring wildflowers.  Dine poolside to live music.  Now the shocker:  all this only 1.5 hours away in Twentynine Palms!

Where to stay?

THE 29 PALMS INN

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On 70 acres of lush land, this Inn is located at the Oasis of Mara, a life-giving source of water first settled by the Chemehuevis.  It continues to sustain wildlife and migratory birds.  Enjoying the Oasis we spotted an American Bittern, Kingfisher, several turtles, and a half dozen Western Tanagers.  There is even a rentable houseboat on the pond.

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The rooms feature adobe bungalows and wood framed cabins.  Nothing here is cookie cutter.  The restaurant is excellent and features inside or poolside dining, live music and from experience I can say a great ribeye.

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When we arrived there was a two-man play in progress on the lawn – it was Lee Stetson as John Muir, in a conversation with Teddy Roosevelt re-creating what the conversation may have been when they camped together and discussed how to best preserve Yosemite.

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ROUGHLY MANOR

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Nearby is a bed and breakfast of equal but very different charm.  Constructed of native stone and with Maplewood flooring throughout, this 1928 mansion is delightfully furnished and surrounded by grounds teeming with wildlife.  Enjoy the pool or sit on the tree-shaded patios to take in the desert air.  At night the sky is diamond studded.  The owners are charming and serve a delightful breakfast that is as much art as nourishment.  There are rooms, all with private baths, in the manor, and cottages on the grounds.

THE PLACES BELOW ARE WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF THE 29 PALMS INN:

Schoolhouse Museum:  Twentynine Palms Historical Society owns and operates the Old Schoolhouse Museum. Housed in the oldest public building in the area, it provides visitors a chance to experience a 1920s-era schoolroom, view artifacts and exhibits pertaining to the history of Twentynine Palms and surrounding desert.

29 Palms Creative Center and Art Gallery: Here is a wonderful nest egg of local talents all in one happy place for you to feast your eyes on & take away to your journeys end.  Also a nice gift shop with creative jewelery and other handicrafts.

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Tortoise Rock Casino:  This new casino and entertainment center is affiliated with the Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella.  Make your donation to the 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians.

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Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center:  Enjoy a nature hike around the grounds.  You are sure to see a phainopepla!  A ranger is on hand to answer questions.  Peruse the museum.  The gift shop features guides to trails, animals and flowers within the park.

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK 

The park entrance is only a few miles from the Inn and the Manor.  Within this spectacular park there are myriad choices:  Whether you visit for a day, a few hours or a week, you will not see all of the wonders of this park.  You can drive through the park and head home, or spend the day and return to 29 Palms for the night.

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HEADING HOME ON HWY 62

If you opt to drive home on Highway 62, be sure to drive through 29 Palms to see all the beautiful historic murals which grace many of the buildings.  They are like a picture book of local history.  29 Palms is now known as the mural capital of California!

On Highway 62 you will travel through Yucca Valley where antique stores are the best!  (If you dare hop off the main road for 4 miles you can visit Pioneer Town!).

After Yucca Valley you will come to Morongo Valley.  Here is Willie Boys Saloon & Dance Hall which offers genuine smoked barbeque in a beautiful authentic wild west saloon atmosphere.  Stop there at night for a wild time, or for lunch where you can enjoy great barbeque.

Hanging out at Willie Boys

Soon after Willie Boys you will see Covington Park and Nature Center.  Here there is a nice boardwalk through the Oasis.  Be on the lookout for you may see a most beautiful bird called the Vermillion Flycatcher:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOT YOUR USUAL DEATH VALLEY VISIT!

eApril 2014

Escaping the city a bit early, we spent our first night at Calico.  Ok, its touristo, but does give you a glimpse of life in a mining town at the turn of the Century, and its only a few hours from LA.

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In the event of a fire:  GRAB A BUCKET calico4.buckets calico2 calico1  After a night at the Lakeside RV Resort and Casino (formerly Terrible Herbst) it was on to Death Valley Junction, Shoshone and Ash Meadows. The Junction is probably best known for the Amargosa Opera House where dancer Marta Becket entertained as a one woman show for over 40 years.  In order to not perform to an empty house she painted the walls with paintings of spectators of a bizarre sort.  Her artwork is as famous as her dancing.  Today she is in a wheel chair and suffers from dementia, but is still living at the Amargosa Hotel.

dvj1I would not recommend the hotel or the nearby cafe.  They are struggling and it shows! dvj2 dvj3.HarderAbove Alan poses with Emmett C. Harder, author of “These Canyons are Full of Ghosts: The Last of the Death Valley Prospectors.”  Harder is a writer, lecturer, historian and researcher and taught at Cal State university San Bernardino. He calls himself “an adventurer at heart.”

This trip was to attend the “Rondy” of the Desert Explorers, a club that is affiliated with the Mojave River Valley Museum in Barstow.  It is a 4 Wheel Drive club dedicated to exploring desert ghost towns, mining sites, caves, petrogliphs, etc. We camped at the Longstreet Casino, Hotel & RV park and below was the Rondy Potluck dinner and the Saturday night banquet where the speaker gave us the history of Henry Longstreet and his evil ways.

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Our Saturday trek involved about 15 cars in the caravan.  Our first stop was Beatty for a gas up and then a visit to a Nye County Nevada ghost town called Rhyolite.  The town began in 1905, attracting gold seekers from near and far.  However, it died as fast as it began and by 1911 was all but abandoned.  Today it is a popular movie filming site and tourist attraction. The old depot, casino and bar is pictured below.  Our first visit there many years ago Alan bellied up to the bar and said “Give me a red eye.”  Today the building is boarded up.

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The bank building below is probably one of the most photographed buildings in the desert. Rhy2.bank rhy3.rr Most of our group had visited Rhyolite numberous times, but many of us walked through the local cemetery for the first time. rhy4.cemeOkay, we’ve had our fun and now it is time to get serious.  Damn!  We trekked on a 4wd road that was pretty rough and scary and amazingly we all made it to Chloride Canyon without a mishap.

Below our group explores pegtroglyphs, Indian sleeping circles, alcoves, caves and remnants of the area’s days of mining.

chloride1 chloride2 chloride3.montaro chloride4 chloride5 chloride6Ah, break time.  While managing some civilized moments we set up chairs and table complete with covering, and pulled out our ice chests and sandwiches. chloride7  chloride9.cabin chloride10.mine

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And below the softer side of the desert:  wildflowers. chloride12.flowersHeaded back to camp, we found the road out was better than the road in. chloride13.driving

We took off on our own Sunday to visit the beautiful Ash Meadows and visit the endangered desert pupfish.

pupfish1.ashAsh Meadows is a National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for rare native wildlife,  Below is the Peterson Reservoir. pupfish2.reservoirTreking on the boardwalk to the Longstreet spring and cabin we passed this rock which resembles a sculpture. pupfish3.cabinrockLongstreet (“and his squaw”) resided in this cabin.  Nearby is a lovely spring-fed pool which now is home to many species of desert fish including the pupfish. pupfish4.cabin pupfish5.pondatcabin pupfish6.signAnd now the highlight of our trip.  In the 1970s Alan was one of the first to photograph the desert pupbish in its natural habitat.  He dove with a team of park rangers who were doing a “count.”  Back then his underwater camera was very unsophisticated compared to today’s technology and he took his underwater shots with FLASH BULBS!. The pool is bottomless, crystal clear and constant 92 degrees.  SURPRISE. When we reached the area we were shocked to find a team of rangers ready to make a dive. pupfish7.site pupfish8.diver

A TRIP BACK TO THE 70′S WHEN ALAN PHOTOGRAPHED THE DESERT PUPFISH.  THE COUNT HOVERED AROUND 400 FISH.  TODAY IT IS 30.

alan1Above is Alan’s photo of a pupfish – one of the first ever taken of the fish in its natural habitat.  Below he enters a pool at Saratoga Springs.  The little girl holding her dolly is Holiday.alan2

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Death Valley is a world of adventure, but much of it lies outside the mainstream valley. It was fun to visit Devil’s Hole 40 years after Alan dove there.  Once again we will join the movement;  SAVE THE PUPFISH!

Between Baker and Barstow is an area we had been wanting to explore.  Exiting I15 at Afton Canyon we bounced over a road that was a bit too rough for our trailer.  However, we made it to the campground and enjoyed a lovely site with a view of the canyon, a ramada, and surrounded by dozens of empty campsites.  A train trestle is nearby and an occasional train rumbled through.  This area is for 4WD exploration, which we will do next time we visit this little-known area.

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