The trip was organized by Death Valley Jim. Yep, first name Death, middle name Valley and last name Jim. Geez, and people used to tell me that I gave my son an odd name! No, that isn't his real name. You are so gullible! This trip didn't cost us anything, it was more like a "I'm going to go four-wheeling in the mountains this weekend and look at some cool stuff, come along if you want to."
The name was earned, not given. Jim knows as much, or more about our SoCal deserts than anyone I know. Yes, that includes Death Valley. Get it? Not only is he an expert, he's an author and he's willing to be your guide in these places. If you are interested in that, or just interested in the subject matter. Please take a look at his webpage. I like him (for one reason) because we are interested in a lot of the same things.
Let me start off by saying, I don't know jack about cleanser (I don't even like soap). However, in a effort to appear somewhat intelligent and well informed, I did a little research. At first, I was just going act like I already knew the stuff I'm about to say, but my wife said nobody would believe it.
You might be more familiar with Comet, or Bon Ami, but Old Dutch Cleanser has also been around for along time. All of these products have one thing in common. They are made of "pumicite" (it is also put into cement as an additive). Old Dutch Cleanser started this pumicite mine in 1923. The operation here closed in 1947 because people discovered pumicite at ground level in other locations. So even though there is miles of this stuff still here, when compared to surface deposits elsewhere, it is too expensive to mine. By now you are probably like me and don't ever want to hear the word "pumicite" again. I agree, the subject of cleanser pretty much sucks, but the MINE is awesome! Dusty, a little scary (to me) and awesome...
I promise you, this was probably the best surface we drove on the whole day (and we went to 6 places).
I believe there were fifteen vehicles. Some were pretty hard core off road vehicles and some stock, but all had to be FWD. I have a jeep and it worked just fine on this trip, but it is stock and I now openly admit that I have jeep envy...
That looks a mine entrance.
Very well lit around the openings, but as you can see, it gets pitch black in hurry. Is that a freaking ghost?
The mountain appeared to be honeycombed with shafts and has several entrances. I'll shut up for a bit while you look at the photos. Then I'll tell you about the mine. No wait! Do any of you remember my earlier post (like FOUR years ago) about my phobias? Deep water, clowns and hallways. This place falls under the hallway heading. Jim asked me if I wanted to go down one of the long shafts with him. I said no and made up some excuse, but it was really because of my phobia. What if I did that and there was clown a down there? If you don't remember that post. Here's a link to it. So get to steppin' so you can check it out when you are done with this. Or go now and come back. (is that too pushy?)
Pretty cool, right? It really was an amazing place and I'm glad I got to see it.