Monday, June 24, 2013

Chambless California - Route 66 Ghost Towns

Chambless, California is yet another small desert oasis along Route 66. It died after the new interstate highway (I-40) bypassed it and the flow of customers dried up.  Chambless, like most of the other Rt. 66 ghost towns I've posted here, mainly consisted of the obligatory (or so it seems) cafe, gas station, cabins and auto repair shop.  Chambless also had something that most of the others didn't. It had trees, porches and lots of shade. Through the years the original buildings went through many changes, but they still stand. 

 Chambless, circa 1928 (source Google, owner unknown)

Chambless, 2013
Please note the pattern of two windows on each side of the door and the original adobe blocks surrounding them.

 Chambless post card (owner unknown)

 In this photo and the next, you can see the same cabins shown in the post card.

Those gray posts with metal boxes on top of them are electrical hookups for RVs. I have no idea when they were used, but they don't look that old to me.

Chambless, circa 1933 (source Google, owner unknown) 

A better view of the original adobe building surrounded by later expansions. 

This is the view on the other side of Route 66. I love the colors in the mountain.
I sincerely appreciate all of you who follow and comment on our travels, my stories, poems, photos, rants and the other general nonsense I post here.  Thanks!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Goldroad Arizona - Route 66 Ghost Towns

Although Goldroad is a Route 66 ghost town, its demise had little to do with the establishment of the new Interstate Highway that bypassed it. Gold was discovered here in the late 1890's and the town of Goldroad was officially established in 1902. After the gold strike the population of Goldroad grew to between 400-500 people. The area thrived until more substantial silver and gold strikes occurred in other areas. These days, there is nothing in the area but building foundations and many abandoned mines.

The town sprouted up on Route 66 between Oatman and Kingman Arizona. The next photo picks up where the road disappears in this one.

I believe this photo was taken in the 1920's. You can clearly see how Route 66 hair pinned up the mountains with no guard rails and barely enough room for one lane in each direction.  Through the years, many cars have gone off the edge. In the near future I'll do a post on the high-point pass through these mountains. 

I took this photo a couple of months ago from almost the exact vantage point as the photo above.  The curve in the road is the curve on the right side of the previous photo. Of course, it is about 100 years later. There is one mining operation still at work here and until recently, they gave tours. I "heard" that the tours stopped because they didn't want anyone to know how much gold they were finding. You can see the huge pile of mine tailings that completely cross the photo.  Mine tailings are materials left over after the extraction of valuable minerals from the ore. 

There are many vertical and horizontal mine entrances in the area. 

Some foundations from the former town.

Here is a huge vertical entrance. All of the related structure is long gone and only a deep mine shaft remains..

Others mines are both horizontal and vertical.  This one was only off the road by about 10 feet. I couldn't hear the rocks I threw into it, hit bottom.

I took this photo without even getting out of the jeep. Mines are everywhere!

Back roads like this one are covered with mines, pits and tailings.

Here (and in the next few photos) are more old building foundations made from local stone.

Places like this had to endure a double whammy. The gold dried up and Route 66 was bypassed by the interstate. They didn't stand a chance.


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.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Desert Oddity - Shaffer Fish Bowl - Route 66

I've run across a lot of odd things in the desert, right? Today's installment isn't just one of the oddest, it is one of my all time favorites as well.  It's called "The Shaffer Fish Bowl." I've spoken to many people who know a great deal about Route 66 and not a single one had actually seen it. I found the directions to it on the internet.  We went there in late March. I knew that photos wouldn't reflect just how isolated this place is. So, If you don't mind, please watch this very short video. I apologize in advance for my nasal sounding and spontaneous narration. 

I hope the feeling of pure solitude comes through in this video.

Route 66
Nothing as far as the eye can see. It's that way in the other direction as well.  Kingman Arizona is on the other side of the far mountain range. 

Shaffer Fish Bowl
The Shaffer Fish Bowl
Moss grows in the tank, the fish eat the moss and the spring keeps the tank full.  Add to that the fact that goldfish can live for up to and beyond 20 years under the right conditions. The can even survive under ice. I'm still thinking that somebody replaces the fish if they die.

The hike up to the spring is short, but kind of steep.  After checking out the fish bowl, I noticed that there was another trail leading around the rocks.

I'm no geologist, but I'm pretty sure that there aren't any square caves in nature.  I'm thinking that maybe this was going to be a mine shaft and was carved out by the same person who created the tank to catch water from the natural spring. It might have been Shaffer, or maybe he came along later. It's a mystery to me (for the time being anyway).

I always have to do this to show you how steep a drop off is.

The trail abruptly ends at that large rock. Another mystery.