Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It feels like spring, and it's just Tom's birthday

Well it's now official that Tom has begun the last year of the 6th decade, and so far so good. (Not so for Penn State at the Rose Bowl, and that's too bad after a great season) The day was spent in subdued reflection with the high point a great brunch at the Crowbar Cafe in scenic nearby Shoshone, a wholly-owned private town. The evening was spent greeting patrons at the hot springs and later cleaning the pools.

This town was founded to service the Tonapah & Tidewater RR in 1909. There is the Charles Brown General Store (and gas station), the Amargosa River Conservancy office (a "river" runs through here and Tecopa ending in Badwater Lake at 232 below sea level in Death Valley), the Shoshone Museum (home of a composite mastadon skeleton), a post office, motel, land development office, clinic and a French restaurant. Not bad for the middle of the highway and halfway to Death Valley (from Baker, CA that is).

Nearby are some cave dwellings from earlier inhabitants and likely prospectors and railroad workers. These dwellings were carved into the mud hills on the outskirts of town.

The view here is along the well-maintained Hwy 127 between Tecopa and Shoshone. The Lake Tecopa Yacht Club does a wonderful job keeping the roadside free of litter. This whole region was lakebottom real estate millions of years ago and the mudhills and mineral rings around the area are testament to that time long ago.

Weather has been incredibly sunny and balmy with temps in the 70's and almost no wind. The smells are of spring. (It was in the 80's earlier in the week in SanBernardino with wildflowers blooming along some of the roadways!) All else is well here as we look forward to January 20, 2009 and the Inauguration. Be well and keep in touch...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

All's well in our world here at the hot springs! We had a busy 2 weeks with lots of bathers from LA and LasVegas, many from Korea, where public baths are a tradition, and lots of campers on the way to or from Death Valley. Definitely looking forward to a bit of quiet that should come in the new year.

Father Christmas, as he's known in these parts, made a guest appearance along with Father Time at the annual Community Center Christmas party. The Center is pretty much the "center" of life in Tecopa and this whole area. It's located inside the RV park owned by Inyo County and operated by California Land Management (who Tom works for). The party brought together children from nearly 25 miles away along with RVing "snowbirds" far away from their families and homes in Washington, Oregon and even Alberta. Everybody had a good time. There is a post office two miles away, a library open a couple of days a week and a "Bistro" opened on weekends and special occasions. It's also where we had our new year's eve meal. Something to be said for walking to the restaurant, then returning home and bed by 11pm...I guess new year isn't what it used to be.

After watching the weather for the rest of the country, I realized how
much I missed the snow, but not enough to drive far to see it or touch it. After all, here the ground is white, like snow, year around. However, it's not very tasty or wet. In fact it's pretty salty stuff...alkali in fact. It's in the water and dries and wicks up through the ground. This area was formally a rich mining area for gypsum, talc and borax, along with gold and silver.

And for the real snow, you have to drive a ways into the mountains. Here the view is to the east towards LasVegas 80 miles away. This was about as close as the snow got this year (so far) Today temperatures are in the high 50's. Should be a great day for the Rose Bowl and Penn State!

Happy trails in 2009!