Monday, June 18, 2012

Desert Road Trip ~ Part 2

I have mentioned my blogger friend, Graham, who lives in Namibia, before. When he drives through the African desert, he always comes upon the weirdest, most beautiful, most creative stuff, be it junk-art, signs, pottery, branches, rock-art, or an old truck with flowers sprouting out of it, put up along the roadside by the people of Namibia for all to enjoy. You can check out Graham's blog here. On this trip, I decided to see if I could find anything interesting to share. I was surprised at what I discovered, for example, about Mojave, CA, a small desert town 20 miles from here.

There are the signs along the freeway. This one indicates the turnoff to Edwards Air Force Base, where the shuttle would land when weather conditions were bad in Florida. I never saw it land, but I heard it, and the magnificence of those sonic booms is hard to describe and will never be forgotten.

Casinos are allowed on tribal lands in California. Here is a sign for one north of us in the town of Bishop. 

And here is one on our way. My husband drove in here and parked on our way back. He just wanted to see what it looked like inside. Well, it didn't look like much, a group of people playing cards, no slot machines or anything easy like that. It looked kind of depressing, actually, like out of some movie about lost souls. But I like the picture I got, all the blue and white with a dash of red.

This fun sign welcomes you to Mojave, Gateway to Space. Mojave is a small desert town that now has become the place for private flights into space. SpaceShipOne was launched from here in 2004, and Virgin Galactic is working on SpaceShipTwo, a larger craft that will take private passengers into space. I found a pretty good and recent article about the  Mojave space program here.

I have always wanted to take a closer look at this place, the airplane graveyard, also in Mojave. We went off the freeway to take a closer look. I think these are old retired Pan Am planes. 

This is a huge place that I wrote about a long time ago now. I'm sure you never wondered where airplanes go to retire and maybe you are not interested, but believe me, it is worth your while to take a look at the photos here.
Just to give you an idea, here are two of them:

On the way back, I noticed this blue truck and thought it would be a nice photo with the wind mills in the background.

OK, I've always wanted to take a picture of this "find," which rivals the stuff Graham finds along the deserts in Africa. This time, I had my camera and my hubby slowed down along the freeway, long enough for me to take a few pictures. What is it? 

It's a boat! Poor thing, she's been abandoned here. Her name is the SS Minnow, and I wonder where she went in her younger days. Which lakes did she travel on? Did she have sails? Did they catch fish from her stern? I guess this is her graveyard, a bit lonely, perhaps, but I'm sure she's providing shelter and a home for all kinds of critters. After all, nothing goes to waste in the desert. 


  1. love the boat! the S.S. Minnow was the boat that gilligan and his group got lost in and landed on 'Gilligan's Island' the old tv comedy. :)

    a casino without slot machines? where's the fun (and noise) in that?!

    that airplane graveyard is remarkable!

  2. Thanks so much for mentioning my blog in this post Inger ... :0

    ... I just love the Minnow ... you're right, there's so much to speculate about her ...

    ... and the Airplane graveyard is so weird ... why are they just abandoned there and not recycled?

    thanks again for showing us your world.

  3. We lived in Victorville many years ago, and drove around that area with our kids. But we never saw the jet graveyard! The aerial photo was astounding.

    Thanks for sharing your own drive-about with us.

  4. Namibia is a fascinating country. My son lived there once for 9 months and sent lots of pictures home. Now to go follow this blog you mention!

  5. cool boat in the desert, i like that and my hubby would love to see those airplanes, he has seen it on the history channel.

  6. I've heard of the airplane graveyard. It would be interesting to see that.

  7. I didn't know the SS Minnow was the boat that took them to Gilligan's Island. I learned several new things writing this post and that's just another piece of information. Thank you, Theresa. And I have no idea what happens to those planes after years of sitting there. I have to take the time to read one of those article in its entirety some day.

  8. We have an airplane graveyard here in Arizona too. Odd to see that boat in the middle of nowhere.

  9. Holy moosepoops...there's a ton of planes!! Talk about a recycling heaven!!!...:)JP

  10. The airplane graveyard is incredible. Kinda sad to see Pan Am tossed aside. Couldn't help but wonder which planes I'd ridden. That boat tickles the imagination.

    Great photos, Inger!!

  11. WOW! I can't believe there are so many planes there! You would think they would be scrapped for the metal. I wonder why they are kept?
    Really good photos here Inger....the love the lone truck and the casino. Such different country landscape from here.

  12. Yeah the desert seems to be a junk yard for a lot of stuff. Back when we lived in CA we flew into Mojave to meet the crew of the Voyager, remember Burt Rutan and Jenna Jagger they flew non stop around the world in a Rutan built plane made here at Mojave.

  13. Jösses vad flygplan! Att man inte skär ner plåten o återvinner det i stället.
    Båten var ju lite skoj...

  14. Hi Inger .. it's almost sad isn't it - gambling places, plane graveyards, abandoned boats, a truck ...? abandoned .. and those turbines - it's the destruction the cause putting them up that worries me .. and the general onslaught to our lands ..

    Love seeing your part of the world though .. and am so glad the teeth seem to be healing ... cheers Hilary

  15. In 2008 my husband and I took a long trip around the country which included driving along this road! It was fascinating to me as I had never see much desert before -- I remember very well those windmills as I'd never seen so many in my life!

  16. Dear Inger, I so enjoyed this posting--the photograph of the casino with the red curbing and the aerial views of the "retired" airplanes. I ask, as others have done, why aren't they recycled?

    I can just see someone writing a story in which one of those retired airplanes takes to the sky and tells us about his/her struggles! Oh what a story that would be.



Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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