Upon waking from a poor night of sleep, I grabbed my camera and headed into town to photograph the ghost town. I stopped at what I assumed used to be a small bar. The building was maybe 25 feet wide and 50 feet deep. Light creeped in from all the fallen boards that once made up the ceiling, and from the windows that no longer existed. I let myself in the front door, which swung freely on the broken hinges in the wind. There was a decomposed spring mattress against the wall, and broken wood and dirt on the ground in many places. Out the front windows beside the entry door, you could clearly see the railroad tracks and the Mojave for miles.
(okay, this pic is in the wrong post, but cool, it finally loaded)
The next building was a very good sized 3- level hotel. It was a magnificent sight from the outside. The wood was faded from years of sun, as was the paint. Most windows and doors had been boarded up a long time ago, but one window was wide open. I let myself in. I was in a hotel room, and exited into what used to be a lobby. The front desk was there, and a long hallway beside me. The hallway was nothing I would go down, since many large boards had fallen from the ceiling. I took another short hallway toward a few rooms. One was a utility room with remnants of a sink and table in it. The stairs to the basement were directly to my right. I had no light with me, and did not go down. That, and the stairs were in pretty bad shape. I passed back through the lobby, and noticed an entire caved in section of the hotel. The sky shone through, down on the ceiling, which lay on the floor. Like the previous buildings, little beams of light came through the hanging pieces of wood that time once called a ceiling.
I exited the building from the same window at the same time a truck was passing. The man just waved, smiled, and was on his way.
The field kiddie corner had very old rusted trucks and many black, charred trees. I snapped a few pictures before heading back to the RV for a big bowl of cereal.
I began running around 10am. I anticipated the day to be many dirt roads and two tracks. I was both right and wrong at the same time.
I followed a two track that was very drivable for the first few miles. I called the crew to tell them my coordinates, and they began their drive out to me. I marked arrows in the dirt at each intersection by etching into the sand with a large rock. After 8 miles, I hadn’t seen them. I called up, and asked where they were. They said they had been following my text directions I had sent them, and seen the arrows, and would be there soon, but to conserve water. I didn’t think much of it, and continued on. I began to get into my first grass fields of the segment. It was a good change of scenery. I checked my map to see if I was on the right path, and I was. Good.
Another half mile up, and the path disappeared. The map/ GPS said it was there, but it clearly wasn’t. I went off in the direction I thought it might be, and picked up on another trail that maps said would still get me to the same place. Again, it disappeared.
At this time, TK, the film guy, called and said he thinks he might be lost. He said all my texts added up to put him in that spot. I believed him, understanding that the roads were junk out there. I was very low on water. We tried multiple methods of signaling for each other. I had him stand on the top of the car and shine a CD in my direction. No luck. I had him honk. No luck. I blew my ridiculously loud whistle attached to my Ultimate Direction SJ vest. No luck.
I told him to try to spin the tires in the dirt by holding the brake and hitting the gas. Boom. Way off in the distance, I saw the plume of dust go into the air. I told him to hold tight, and I would run through the grassy brush to him and Charlie, our other crew.
I estimated the distance to be about half a mile. It was 2.5 miles away. We wound up driving the road he was on up ahead, since again, Maps said it would connect. I decided I would bank the 2.5 I had just run off course and add it to the actual course. After 15 minutes of bumpy driving, we encountered a fence that went across the middle of the road, and off into the horizon in both directions.
It was a disappointing sight. We turned around, and drove out back toward the coordinates of the RV. It took us almost half an hour to go down the dirt roads. As we drove, I reviewed the direction I had sent to TK via my texts. Everything added up. There were identical landmarks at most intersections, and he did actually drive by a set of the arrows I drew. I concluded that this was a Bermuda Triangle type of thing in the desert, and we laughed about being a bit lost.
Back at the RV, we packed it up and drove out to Beryl, the town I was supposed to get to. We tracked the miles so that I could run the appropriate distance on the correct path later that night. Beryl didn’t exist either. We were right on top of it on all of our GPS and map systems. We parked the RV on the roadside, I ran my miles into Imaginary Beryl, and then we headed to the grocery store.
A lady informed us that Modena used to be big in the coal mining industry. When the coal boom in the area took off in the early/mid 1900’s, many roads were built in anticipation of a spike in population and neighborhoods, in addition to nearby Beryl. The town failed as part of the coal industry some years later. The majority of the people relocated, and the roads were left unfinished or rotting, yet, many were still mapped at one point in time. Today’s maps still have the roads there. That’s how the story goes, which explains why we had been hopelessly lost the majority of the day.
Back at the RV, we climbed on top of the roof to enjoy the sunset. I played some guitar, and we shot an interview up there as the sun went down behind me.
(so wordpress is uplaoding the previous posts pics… ill keep em here… sorry…)