I thoroughly enjoyed all that this place had to offer. Founded in 1897 as a supply point for the mines, but then quickly faded when the mine closed in 1917, it was a true form of a ghost town; ragged bedraggled, with signs of an interesting history from its former glory. I especially appreciated that it has not been re-created or painted over in a Disney fashion for tourists. It's decrepit state tells the true history of the faded town in the middle of Death Valley. You will find a broke down truck said to have been abandoned there by the Manson family after getting stuck, frames of bedraggled homesteads, the local jail and hotel, abandoned rusted out jalopies, items riddled with bullet holes, and an old cemetery where people were often burried by their pets. There is also a currently running motor-home park for camping and a general store. The caretaker of the property is an interesting fellow, but you should be warned, it is NOT a family friendly environment inside the store. It is decorated with highly visible nude centerfold pictures of women in various sexual poses throughout the store. The caretaker lives in the store and though he may have some interesting stories, as a woman I felt pretty uncomfortable being in the store with him, given his clear lack of socially appropriate boundaries with the pornography, and he is kinda rough looking to boot, though friendly and talkative. It actually seemed like something you would see in a horror movie when the unwitting teens bump into the eccentric caretaker of the town they are about to enter just before someone comes out to torture them for the next hour and half onscreen.
The most difficult thing about the visit was getting there, the signs are pretty unclear and not marked well. You may have to double back a couple times before you find it, but don't give up! It is worth it. It is down a long dirt road and to the far back by the mountains. You will think you are driving to nowhere when you will turn and see the tiny town and signs of life. It is fascinating to see the dessert mirage of water from the intense heat...it is just like in the cartoons. Don't forget to bring your camera, and if you are worried about becoming a victim like in a horror movie, be sure to pack your safety gear too!
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