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Harry and Judy's RV Trip
13th Apr 2018 - Summer 2018 RV trip
Day 24-April 13, 2018-Ryholite, NV Ghost Town, Ubehe Crater, Harmony Borax Works

Day 24- April 13, 2018-Rhyolite, NV Ghost Town, Ubehe Crater, Harmony Borax Works

Really cold last night, probably in the 40s, only 54 in Rhyolite, up to 83 by 5PM in Death Valley.

Death Valley is 140 miles long and between 10 and 61 miles wide.  91% of Death Valley’s 3.4 million acres is wilderness, but there’s plenty to see if you’re willing to drive a bit.  And Harry’s always willing to drive.  After breakfast we went toward Rhyolite, NV Ghost Town, about an hour away.  The road in California had been paved as recently as two days ago (we saw them doing it) but as we crossed into Nevada the road got worse.  Right down the road we first stopped at Goldwell’s Open Air Museum, a collection of artwork by Belgian artists.  One piece of sculpture is supposed to be the Last Supper with statues made of burlap covered in plaster of paris.  Quite impressive.  Also a painter and a bicyclist made the same way.  Also a huge woman made of pink bricks and chrome bike parts, a tiled sofa and puppets left to weather in the elements.  Up the hill to Rhyolite.  Here’s the history of Rhyolite:

1904-Gold discovered on Bullfrog Mountain. Montgomery Shoshine Mine established

1905-Population-2500, 50 saloons, 36 casinos

1907-Concrete sidewalks, electric street lights, telephone and water, police, fire dept., banks

                Stock exchange, opera house, red light district.

1909-No new ore from the mine.  Value of mine decreased

1911-Mine Closed

1914-Last train leaves from Rhyolite Station

1916-Electricity turned off


Didn’t last long.  There are still remnants of the bank, school, depot, general store and casino.  The rest is rubble.  There’s also a bottle house, a house made from beer bottles. We stopped at a roadside picnic area and a ranger stopped and talked for a while.  Said 80 degrees was unusual for this time of year-100+ is more like it.  Also said the wind was from a storm in western California but it’s gone now.

From Rhyolite we went another 60 miles north to Ubehe Crater. Drove through rocky Mesquite Flats with the Grapevine Mountains to the east and the Cottonwood Mountains to the west.  Mesquite Flats is in the middle of a flash flood zone and a few years ago a flash flood destoyed Scotty’s Castle, one of the areas big attractions.  It’s set to open next year.  Mesquite Flats has rocks upon rocks upon rocks, all sizes, shapes and colors.  Lots of erosion and pretty little yellow flowers on the side of the road that look too delicate to survive in this harsh rocky place.  We’re both starting to wonder is this drive was worth it when we enter an area of black cinders for miles and miles. Passed the entrance to the Racetrack, where the rocks seem to move by themselves.  But you need to hike down quite a ways to see that.  Finally to the Ubehe Crater and, oh yes, it was worth it.  The crater was created about 2000 years (really recently for craters) when hot magma mixed with cold spring water and caused an explosion.  It’s 600’ deep, ½ mile wide and spewed cinders over six square miles.  You can walk right up to the rim and the higher you go the more magnificent the view.  Back to the campground on the same road for 55 miles.  Not many roads here, remember all the wilderness.  About a mile from the campground is the remains of the Harmony Borax Works, and Borax making company that only last 5 years because of the competition.  It closed in 1888 but was quite an important part of Death Valley’s history.  Back to the campground to read and relax.  Much better weather tonight, just a slight breeze and in the low 80s. Stars are even brighter tonight than last nigh.  Campground is full for the week-end.  I didn't think there was much in Death Valley because it is desert, desolate, rugged and stark.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is also magnificent.  We’re off again tomorrow.

Next: Day 25-April 14, 2018-To Tonopah, NV
Previous: Day 23-April 12, 2018-Furnace Creek Ranch, Badwater Basin, Devil's Golf Course, Artist's Palette

Diary Photos

50 degrees colder than 2 days ago

New road in CA vs. old road in NV

Shoe tree in Rhyolite

Miner sculpture

Bicylist sculpture

Painter sculpture

Last Supper sculpture

Us and puppet friends

Tile sofa

Bottle house

Casino sign


Casino in Rhyolite

General Store




View 1

View 2

View 4

View 5

Harmony Borax Works

MIles of cinders


Ubehe Crater

Crater view

Us at Ubehe Crater

Dust devil

Harmony Borax works (2)

Diary Movies

Ubehe Crater video

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