Monday, June 10, 2013

Golf Ball House or Arizona Death Star - Desert Oddity

Not too long ago I posted some photos and information about the ghost town of Yucca, Arizona. There is one other very unique thing about Yucca. We spotted it on the opposite side of the highway from the ghost town. After doing some research (I love the Internet) I found out that this desert oddity is called the Yucca Golf Ball House (among other things).  It was built in the mid-1970's and it doesn't really look that much like a golf ball to me.  I was told that it was originally known as The Dinesphere, Space Station Restaurant. 

Apparently, The Dinesphere was yet another rip-off scheme enticing people to buy worthless land in the middle of the desert. Remember my post about Santa Claus, Arizona?

After the unsuccessful real estate ripoff, the the Dinesphere sat unused for several years.. In the early 1980's somebody bought the structure as a present for his wife and remodeled it into "The Golf Ball House," containing over 3000 square feet of living space. He also built a few other "space age" structures to the property. Although some people called it the Golf Ball House, many others referred to it as The Arizona Death Star.

Currently, there is a new owner who calls it Area 66 and sells UFO related items. Judging by the banners, we could have stopped there for a cold beer. However, we had many miles of desert driving to do before dark. Maybe we'll stop next time, but only if the owner doesn't try to gouge us.

Dinesphere Space Station Restaurant, Golf Ball House, Arizona Death Star, or Area 66? I think I prefer the Arizona Death Star, but no matter which name you prefer, it is a desert oddity of the first order. 


 Maybe if it wasn't surrounded by all the other stuff, it would look like a golf ball.
Even if was an awesome house on the inside, I'd still be wondering, "why did they build it here?" There isn't anything else here...
One of several spacey looking things around the property.  As the crow flies, this place is really close the Semi-on-a-Stick from the Yucca Arizona post.


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76 comments:

  1. It does look pretty futuristic and very out of place.
    I wonder if that silver was good at reflecting the hot desert sun?

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  2. The inside of the golf ball is a house? That is just really odd.

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  3. I hope my husband doesn't read this. I wouldn't like him to think it a good idea for a present. And is that curly thing a staircase? Do you have to go all that way every time you want to go in or out? Not that I'd want to go in. It seems singularly short of windows.

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  4. You have to stop next time, have a beer, and take more pictures! Very cool!

    P.S. The jacarandas are in bloom here!!! Wish you were here to do a little grousing about them!

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  5. It is quite a spectacular thing in the desert, and very interesting to see!

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  6. Very interesting, the whole scenery reminds me some old fiction movie!Very artistic ball, and your pictures are wonderful!I also love the stones at the fence , your last shot!
    Hugs
    Léia

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  7. Wow- I'd love to see the inside of it! I wonder what the acoustics are like, too. There's so much unexplained imagination out there~

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  8. Amazing place. You can see in my blog a Spanish ghost town. Greetings.

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  9. You never fail to find the unique oddities in your travels!

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  10. I vote death star. That is really weird. Like the weaker sister to the Epcot center.

    I like odd houses, but I wouldn't want to live there. Be afraid an earthquake would shake it loose, and I'd go (to quote Jim Croce) rolling me down the highway.

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  11. Hi Pat, You all really do find some 'odd' things out there in the desert.... Whatever it's name is, I'll agree that it is an oddity...

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  12. Mynx - If it was a restaurant and house at one time, I'm thinking it reflected the heat fairly well. I still wouldn't live there!

    Alex - Yep! Very odd indeed.

    Esther - HA! I'm with on that one! Yes, Apparently, that long ramp is the entrance. Imagine walking up that thing when it's over 100 degrees day after day.

    Bossy Betty - Next time, I will stop for sure. I'd say the odds of it being out of business by then are about 50/50. Jacarandas, you either love 'em or hate 'em. If you just see them, they are so beautiful! If you have two big ones (belonging to the city) on the parking strip in front of your house, you hate them! During this time of year the sap actually mists out the blooms, the blooms stick to your shoes and stick to your car. How is that for grousing!

    Icy BC - Spectacular and odd!

    Sharon - That's what I'm thinking!

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  13. Leia - Yes, I think some of the little things scattered about, were pretty cool.

    Shelly - Next time, we will take the time to get in there. I'm sure they will try to sell us some UFO trinkets or beef jerky.

    Japy - Hi Japy! I will be over soon.

    Ms. A - Maybe that is because I'm a bit odd myself.

    Tim - That's a good one Tim. Make that two good ones! It reminded me of something, but I couldn't put a name to it. Epcot!
    Now I have that Jim Croce song stuck in my head.

    Betsy - Hi Betsy, I guess that is because odd is normal out there. I've got tons of odd things still on my list.

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  14. I'm guessing the chances are real good that he would try to gouge you if you ever stopped. Doubt he gets too many customers (not a lot of walk-by window shoppers for sure!)....

    Only in the desert! As always enjoyed the virtual travel. (And yes, isn't it just downright amazing to have a research library with you wherever you go!)

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  15. You really do find some amazing places, Pat, and it's always fun and informative to visit your blog! Love it! Hope you have a great week!

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  16. Definitely a wonderful place! Great photos! I like that golf ball supergiant!

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  17. I sure hope it is a Death Star cause I would hate to see the size of that golf club!

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  18. I'd be curious to go inside, but I'm betting it'd just be disappointing. Funny that a man bought that for his wife as a gift. I wonder if that marriage lasted!

    Be well, Pat.
    xoRobyn

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  19. That is really strange! I've never seen anything like it.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  20. It might be the good death star. One that Luke built. Always love your pics.

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  21. Oh man!

    Semi-on-a-stick AND the golf ball-on-a-stick houses!

    Holy cow.

    You really know how to live!

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  22. I think I would live there - no lawn to mow, no neighbors or not many, and the stars must look pretty at night - but, Oh, the stairs!

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  23. Crazy, crazy, crazy. I prefer the Arizona Death Star name as well.

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  24. It looks like a mini Epcot. The owner needs to build a huge statue of a guy with a golf club :-)

    You find the coolest 'stuff'!

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  25. Oh that is a bit odd! Reminds me of the Atomium in Brussels somehow...

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  26. I can definitely see the connection to a golf ball. Just waiting for the Jolly Green Giant to bring his golf club and take a swing! lol!

    Don't think I'd care to live in it. That would be a chore bringing groceries home, but one would definitely get their excercise.

    Thanks for your visit and comment on my sign today. ;-)

    ~Lindy

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  27. ¸.•°❤❤⊱彡
    Passei para uma visitinha.
    Seus post são sempre interessantes.
    Bom restinho de semana!
    Beijinhos do Brasil.

    °❤❤⊱彡

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  28. Sallie - I agree with you, but I'm going to have to stop anyway. You are right about only in the desert!

    Sylvia - Thanks so much Sylvia! I truly do appreciate your kind words.

    Leovi - Yes it is, Leovi! Thank you.

    Brenda - I'm assuming that it does, because this place is brutally hot.

    Robyn - I agree and that is one of the reasons I wasn't in a hurry to get in there. I'm betting that guy just wanted her to be totally isolated for some reason.

    California Girl - Me too! Golf Ball house is pretty vanilla!

    Gina Gao - Yes, most people would agree with you.

    PTM - Thanks my friend! Anything named "The Death Star" just has to be sinister.

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  29. Jenny - I wonder if it was a zoning requirement on that side of the highway? Thanks Jenny!

    Jhon - Hey Jhon! I'm betting that even when it was a private home, people like me were always poking about. I agree about those stairs. I can make it up okay, walking downhill hurts!

    Brian - Oh yeah! Imagine a whole bag full of them!

    Amanda - Oh yeah! Death Star just has nice ring to it!

    Wayne - I thought of that when we first saw it. The statue holding the club could be made from a muffler man. Thanks!

    Nat - More than a bit, me thinks! The Atomium is a pretty cool name also.

    Lindy - I guess the biggest problem with it being a golf ball, is that everything around it, is a sand trap! Yep, I'd want some kind of vehicle to make up that ramp full of stairs. The comment was my pleasure. I loved that sign. It didn't surprise me that it was in Arizona.

    Magia - Thanks Magia! It was very interesting...



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  30. Wowzer! Death Star for sure. I wonder if the current owner lights it up at night. That would be something!

    And Is that a silver zebra or unicorn with a gold mane and tail between the Death Star and the planet revolving around it next to the ramp?!!

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  31. WOW!! That's quite an interesting sight. I'd be asking the same question!
    I have missed visiting your blog, Pat!! I'm looking forward to catching up on missed posts!

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  32. I have to wonder how light it is inside - not a lot of windows are there.

    Thanks for multiple comments - esp on the wordy blog - I'm slowly visiting your recommended sites!

    Cheers - and feel free to link even dull coloured birds to WBW! - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  33. I mean....just, WHY Pat...I'm sticking with 'golf ball' come on all that's needed is a giant club and then as it flies through the air it maybe then become 'the death star :)'

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  34. I love driving along with you and another blogger (Sinbad and I on the Loose) in order to take in the uniqueness of our country. We have a silo that has been converted into living space. Perhaps I should stop next time I run past it and share it with everyone. Hope you're having a good summer.

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  35. I'm thinking less about golf balls and more about geodesic domes. Just crazy for the ramp leading up to the giant orb. Much prefer the notion of connecting it to UFO's. What a romantic gift. I'd have tried to keep it in the family. Be the queen of Yucca Arizona

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  36. i always enjoy your interesting photos, pat!
    this is definitely odd...i like that golf ball.

    happy weekend~



    i linked to you today!:)

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  37. At the base where I worked, we had a couple of these which housed antennas. We called them "King Kong Balls."

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  38. It does look like the Death Star. I would love to see inside, 3000 sq.feet is pretty big.

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  39. ooh, we have similar structures here in Central Europe too, they're used as water towers, filled with water. But ours are high above the ground.

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  40. Stickup Artist - I've never seen it at night and now I'm wondering that also. I also don't know what that animal is! Dang, I really don't know much about this place...

    Liz - Very interesting! Thanks Liz, it's nice to see you here also.

    Stewart - Not many windows that we can see anyway. It would be a shame to have all this awesome desert around and not be able to see it. I'll think about the WBW posting...

    PerthDailyPhoto - I wish I could answer the why question! I'm going to stick with "death star."

    Laura - Thanks for saying that! I'll check out that blog. I agree that you should stop and check out that silo. I am having a great summer. It's VERY mild though...

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  41. I don't know, I guess we've always got to fill up our personal landscape. Somehow I got on this email chain where they post estate sales in the area, and apparently people will collect just about anything.

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  42. Pasadena Adjacent - That's interesting because when I first spotted it, I thought of R. Buckminster Fuller right away.

    Betty - Thanks Betty! Thanks for link!

    Al - HA! That's funny!

    Belle - I agree! Okay, I'm going to go into that thing next time.

    DEZMOND - We also have water towers like that here. Usually in small towns.

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  43. altadenahiker - I think you are right, and I'm always trying to make my personal landscape as empty as possible. Too much stuff makes me feel trapped. I feel trapped...

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  44. Love that golf ball building - so cool!

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  45. Hi Pat- you find the most amazing desert oddities and this is a great one!
    Your pics are super-duper and I love those mountain views.

    my thinks, there is a book in your future entitled 'Desert Oddities!

    be well n be happy~:)

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  46. No doubt I'd love to get inside that big golf ball.

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  47. Great photos, Pat. There's some wonderful about the desert landscape. And I love ghost towns! Golf balls 'n' all. :-) XO

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  48. ladyfi - It was quite a sight!

    Pam - Thanks so much Pam! I am well and happy! You do the same...

    Leovi - I agree with you Leovi!

    Talei - Thanks Talei! I agree about desert landscape.

    California Girl - Thanks so much!

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  49. Are you sure that isn't Area 51 of the movies and tv soaps?
    Looks very interesting almost Star Wars like.

    Hope u have been keeping good health Pat.

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  50. People who live in the desert have to be special, as in "special needs", weird, crazy, lost. If my husband made a golf ball into a house for me, I'd have him checked out by a psychiatrist! Pat, are you sure you are okay? You are spending a lot of time in the desert. :)
    Keep them coming, friend, they are hilarious.
    Rosemary

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  51. Rekha - Hi Rek! It just might be Area 51. There are lot's of stories about UFOs and haunted places out there. I have been doing and I hope the same is true for you. Very nice to see your comment. I'll be over to see if you've posted.

    Rosemary - It takes a different breed of person to isolate themselves out here. Most of them are pretty interesting, very creative and tough as nails. I grew up with grandparents who were that type. My grandmother especially was a real desert rat. We spent so much time exploring and camping in wilderness and desert areas. So maybe I am suited for it there. I do like some air conditioning now and then though! Thanks Rosemary!

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  52. Very strange - I'm going with Arizona Death Star too.

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  53. It's interesting to see the lengths some people go to create something different to make make BIG bucks. :)

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  54. Anthony - I agree! It has a much more sinister sound to it.

    EG CameraGirl - It sure is! Unfortunately, in the desert many of those people go broke trying.

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  55. i need one of those for my yard

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  56. Lovkyne - I'm not sure your neighbors would like it. I'm sure they sell small models of it there.

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  57. I suppose living in a silver sphere kind of makes up for living in the middle of nowhere... maybe?

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  58. Gingerspark - You might be right, but it had better be awesome inside to make up for it.

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  59. and i thought our nonagon house was odd. :)

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  61. OK, now that I submitted my other comment, I finally see that you DID mention the Golf Ball House. Sorry, I didn't notice it beforehand. Anyway, the house was indeed started as a restaurant and club for land sales in the 1970's when such things were prevalent in AZ (desert without water) and FL (way too much water in swampland). AZ and FL were the two worst states for ripoffs and false marketing of pretty much unusable land, but those faults have long since been corrected after numerous customer complaints about misrepresented advertising. There is still a lot of land for sale here in small, hard-to-use parcels as a legacy from that time period. More recent land sales farther into the desert from the highway have been much larger parcels, mostly 10 to 40 acres in size, not dinky 1-2 acre plots.

    To my knowledge the restaurant/bar/club never got off the ground as imagined. The Dinesphere sat vacant for a few years before it was converted into a 3-story private residence in the early 1980s as you note. It has since changed hands a couple of times. The last time it did was after I'd already moved here in 1999. By about 2001-2002 signs had appeared on the Frontage Road listing the sales price as $350,000, and I assume it went for somewhere in that ballpark. Given the totally unique nature of this structure and the landmark status it more or less has, that's not all that unreasonable, even if it's a bit weird. It stands less than a half mile south of the main town of Yucca, which as I noted in the other post is really not a ghost town at all in spite of a large number of dilapidated buildings interspersed between the well-kept, lived-in ones. Yucca does not present its best face to the outside world from I-40, but about 350 people do live here, many for decades.

    I have never been inside the Golf Ball House since it is a private residence after all, although the owners have indicated that they were possibly going to open it up for tours by 2014. It's 3 stories and 3000 or so square feet. It does have triangular east-facing windows, which at night are often lit an electric blue from within, lending the house an additional layer of unearthliness. West-facing windows were eliminated because they would have faced the interstate (no privacy) and also allowed excessively hot afternoon sun in, so they were limited to the east. The walls are of course curved, which must make it hard to hang pictures and place furniture. HGTV (the Home and Garden Channel) did a 3.5 minute spot on the house in their show called "Extreme Homes" - years ago a video was available online at HGTV's website. I watched it then but haven't seen it in a decade, although maybe it still exists somewhere. My impression at the time was that it looked like a fairly ordinary house from the inside save for the curved walls made of triangular panels. It probably looks more intriguing from the outside. I spoke with the construction guy a year or two ago who said that he was the one who put the stucco finish on the exterior of the Dinesphere. He claimed that he decided to put finely-ground mica into the stucco mix in order to give the Dinesphere a sparkly appearance in the sun. Which, in fact, it has. Good to know.

    I don't know why the current owners have such an alien fetish, but that's part of the humor and charm of the place these days. The alien Area 66 theme was started by the most recent owners in/after 2002 when they placed all of the aluminum UFOs, silver spheres, and the bright green vintage Volkswagen with inflatable Greys inside around the place. Where does one get aluminum UFOs anyway? The ACME UFO store where Wile E Coyote shops? I wonder how much they sell for - I need 3 or 4 too, I think.... ;-)

    This Golf Ball House is part of what makes Yucca a fun place to spend a half hour when driving past on I-40 in western Arizona. Get off of the freeway for a bit and enjoy this town a little on your next road trip!

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  62. My name is John Grady and I own the "Golf Ball." I stumbled across this blog and thought I would write a little something about it. I'll try to stop by from time to time and answer questions that you may have.
    I have had a small store on the property for 6 years now and am in the process of building a larger store. I need the space and I am currently the only store for 15 miles in either direction. The "golf ball" will be open to the public eventually. I get many questions regarding an open date but things take longer than we anticipate and I have responsibilities that sometimes take precedence. But it will be open to the public, I promise. Regarding some of the misconceptions in the the blog comments: No, I do not gouge my customers. My prices are comparable to Kingman prices (I am not Wal-Mart however) and I work hard to keep them reasonable. I had the large windows covered because they leaked terribly AND the heat coming through them kept my AC running continually. The exterior is NOT stuuco. It is fiberglass over plywood sheathing. The "construction guy" referred to did not put finely ground mica into the exterior coating. My mother wanted small broken pieces of glass placed into the fiberglass when we had the fiberglass re-done in 2006. Thanks for taking an interest in it!

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  63. John - First off, thanks so much for taking the time to make a comment. I appreciate it. After reading what you said, the place sounds even more interesting. I'm going to be in the area for the first two weeks of March. If you don't mind, I'd like to come out and look around. A tour would be great. Maybe you can answer a few questions that I have about the area also. Does that sound okay to you?

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  64. @Pat Tillett. Sure. Fridays are best for me if you want to see it. Many people ask me if they can go in the ball but I tell them (which is partially true) that there isn't much to see, and I am very reluctant to let anyone in it until it's ready. However, because you've taken such an interest in it, I may arrange a special tour for you.

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  65. John - thanks for getting back to me so quickly. If I can make it, I'll be sure to do it on Friday.

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  66. John Grady - Hi John, we are in the area and I'm planning on stopping by tomorrow. Looking forward to meeting you.

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  67. Really its so beautiful. Like to be a part of it. Very beautiful and stunning place.

    Southeast Arizona Ranches for sale

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  68. If anybody wants a map link to where it is, it's here. I was just organizing my photos from a trip two weeks ago, and ended up googling "highway golf ball," which brought me straight to you! I had always imagined that it was a star observatory, maybe the hobby of an engineer from the Chrysler proving grounds / airport next door, or maybe, and from reading your blog this assumption seems to be the original intention--actually part of the whole Edwards AFB / Mojave / Area 51 thing.

    I've always seen the golf ball, never with enough forethought to stop, but @John I will next time now that I know the store is there.

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  69. mrcolj - Thanks for reading my post and commenting on it. Last year I made an appointment with the owner for an interview. Unfortunately, he didn't show up. I wasn't thrilled about that at all. However, the girl who was working in the store, told us about an awesome old abandoned mine up in the nearby mountains. We went there instead and had a great day. Thanks again for the comment!

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  70. Mr. Tillett,
    You state that you made an appointment with me and that I didn't show up. That is not true. I told you that Fridays were best for me and you appear to have left a message on this blog to let me know that you would be out the next day. That is far from an appointment. And I don't check your blog everyday. I recall my employee calling me to tell me that you were on the property, and I told her that I would return in a couple of hours, but you never returned. Rather than making me look like a flake, perhaps you can make a solid appointment if you wish to visit again. If you leave an email address on this blog, I will send you an email. I will attempt to check your blog weekly.
    John Grady

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  71. John Grady - Three years later? Seriously?
    --I said I was going to be in the area during the first two weeks of March.
    --You said "Sure, Fridays are best for me..."
    --I said "thanks for getting back to me so quickly, If I can make it, I'll be sure to do it on Friday."
    -------------------------------
    --I was in fact in the area, during the first two weeks of march. AS PROMISED.
    --There are only two Fridays during the first two weeks of March
    --I showed up ON Friday, AS PROMISED
    --You were not there
    --Your employee said you were going to be there, but something came up.
    --I had no way of contacting you. No phone number, no email address, nothing...

    I really don't think that I made you look like a flake. You did that all on your own.

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