This exciting day of desert exploration began at the Halloran Springs Road exit from the I-15 Interstate about 11 miles north of Baker, the town famous for the world’s biggest thermometer which is not now functioning. Our trip leaders, Sue and Bob Jaussaud had made several preruns to the area and knew exactly where the treausres could be found. Above is our first stop where we saw several petroglyphs.
HALLORAN SPRINGS RUINS: These ruins are on the old historic Arrowhead Highway and are rumored to be the old Hallroan Springs gas station and store. Desert traffic traveled from watering hole to watering hole .
ZZYZX: FROM HEALTH SPA TO DESERT STUDIES CENTER
From ragtag desert rats to Hollywood bound stars, they arrived at Zzyzx to be rejuvenated! Located a few miles off I-15 near Baker, the area is only a shadow of its glory days. Once the mineral springs promised new life to patrons who also bought creams and vitamins from the owner,Preacher Curtis Springer. He promised many health benefits, but few were realized. Springer owned the land through a mining claim and lived there from 1947 to 1974 when he was evicted for misuse of the land and making false health claims.
The compound was saved from demolition when the California University system purchased it for a desert studies center. There is a bunkhouse for men and one for women, a bathhouse, meeting and classrooms, kitchen, etc. Sadly no more spa! We were there for the weekend with the Desert Explorers.
This pond dominates the scene, one of two on the grounds.
From the unique experience at Zzyzx, we headed for Kelso, a once vibrant railroad town. There the architecturally beautiful train depot dominated the area, but sadly fell victim to the elements after it was abandoned. For years we watched it deteriorate, but alas! In a tale we hear too seldom, it was saved, renovated and now serves as the official visitor center for the National Mojave Preserve.
After a nearly two decade-long haitus, the Kelso Depot lunch counter-“The Beanery”-is back in business. Enjoy a hot cup of coffee, cold ice cream, a fresh deli sandwich, or the latest gossip in this unique setting, painstakingly restored to its historic, 1924 appearance.
For a change of pace, after the sparse accommodations at Zzyzs, we headed for some R & R at a surprising place. Everything about the Roughly Manor is a surprise considering it is located in the town of Twenty Nine Palms. Once considered a derelect area, this town has come a long way.