A famous Hobbit adventurer, Bilbo Baggins, once said, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” No better advice given! And I am a Hobbit that loves a good Adventure. Today was magnificent Adventure.
This hobbit left her little Hobbit Hole early in morning. Well, early by Hobbit standards, 8 am. I stopped for some provisions and was off. First stop was the China Ranch Date Farm. While the munchables there are quite fine, even by Hobbit standards, road there is otherworldly. I went by way of the Old Spanish Trail to Tecopa. There is something magical about the low desert. The harsh landscape is seemingly barren of life, but in reality it is an amazing ecosystem. AND there is a peace in desert you can’t find anywhere else.
The next stop was Death Valley Junction. This amazing town is famous for the Amargosa Opera House where Marta Becket performed for over 40 years. She purchased the town and renovated the theatre. So, she would always have an audience, she painted a Spanish royal court on the walls. Marta was a dancer, singer, artistic and an amazing person. For a brief while, she and her partner Tom were clients of my father. I loved seeing her shows as child.
I finally made it to Death Valley. I made two stops there. I drove through Mustard Canyon, and I walked at Salt Creek. Yes, there is water in the hottest place in America. What is most amazing is in the brackish, salty water live the Death Valley Pupfish. These little marvels live for about a year. They are only found in two places. There are other small pockets of Pupfish in other areas in CA and NV. But Pupfish are endangered. So, it is fun to go to the creek in the rainy season and see them.
Then I drove to Rhyolite. I love this incredible place. I worked with a preservation organization in the early 1990. I used to give tours during the Living History festival. I dressed as Louise Presser, the school teacher. You can still see the train depot, Cook bank building, the school, Porter’s store, the Jail and the “grave” of Isabelle Haskins/Mona Bella. Isabelle murdered by her lover, Fred Skinner. While Isabelle was actually buried in Washington state, an unmarked grave was marked as hers. People still leave gifts. Another interesting story, Alanis Morrisette filmed her video “You Oughta Know” in the Cook Bank Building.
Right before the town is Goldwell, an open air museum of desert art. Artists have been adding to this museum since 1984. It is one of the amazing, quirky desert things that I just love.
I hope you enjoyed my Adventure. Stay tuned. I will be having more!!!