Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Return to the Korean Friendship Bell, post restoration.

As you may know, I have made several visits to this memorial, a gift from the people of the Republic of Korea to our nation, made in 1976. My previous visits with the exception of the last two were not celebrations by no means, due to the horrible shape that the memorial had been allowed to fall into by our governments that were involved in its’ care and upkeep. I blogged about the
outrage complete with photographs and videos and a cleanup was made. I am sure that I was not the only one who protested over the memorial’s condition either.

This blogger is not here to settle scores or try to rock the boat, but will shout from the rooftops over what seems to be an outrage being done by design or neglect. After seeing the cleanup effort performed and receiving assurances that there would be more in the future, I moved on.

Can you imagine my surprise when my brother emailed me news that the memorial had been restored and that the mayor was in a video showing the work done. What? I didn’t have the foggiest notion that this had happened. Today, I finally got the chance to go down and check it out.

I am going to put up a bunch of photos and let you be the judge of how successful the restoration effort was. I intend to put the link to the video where the mayor and the master craftsman who led the restoration speak. One further thing is that it was mentioned that efforts had been made to keep the dive bombing birds out and I made sure to take close ups of those measures that were taken. I will close by telling you after the photos about a conversation that I had with an older Korean gentleman who started talking to me as I was taking these photographs.

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Note the ingenious wires and spikes that were added all under the cupola, anyplace where pigeons might want to roost.

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During the brief conversation mentioned earlier, I told the gentleman that
we appreciated this gift and were well aware of the sacrifice that it eloquently

I also said that I hoped that we Americans made sure that it stayed in this condition from now on.

To the people of South Korea, words can not describe just how grateful we are for this masterful restoration that you undertook with your gift made to us years ago, and for the thoughts and good wishes that it expresses, as well as the sacrifices made by both peoples almost six decades ago.

This memorial ensures that those who gave all before us will not be forgotten.




Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mojave National Preserve visit 1/13-1/15/2014, Pt 2/2.

I started this hike thinking that I was going up to the Globe Mine by following the middle fork of Globe Mine Road, but thanks to the drycyclist, I now know that I hiked up to the Good Hope Mine, the Globe Mine is reached by following the left fork. By following the right fork you can also experience this hike that I read on another blog and hope to do one day, once I am in a little better hiking shape. Note that in the videos I refer to the mine as the Globe Mine by mistake.
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Above is the view from Kelso Cima Road where I parked my car along the shoulder. Note it is not a good idea to park on the other side of the tracks for a couple of reasons. A) you might get stuck and this did happen to me once a few years ago. B) sometimes the trains will sit and idle for hours blocking this crossing. If that happens you will just have to sit and wait.C) the possibility of vandalism. Hardly anybody stops and goes over this crossing. Your car can not be seen from the road side of the tracks if you park on the other side as the rails are up on a levee.
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View down hill looking back toward the tracks. Note the sandy road surface. The photograph below I call “Holding on for dear life.”
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Below note that the road has become a lot worse. Do not bring a passenger car up the middle fork of Globe Mine Road, that’s my safest advice.
While a high clearance cargo van would make this part, it gets worse further up and I recommend high clearance suv or truck, preferably 4wd on this road. The left fork I personally drove a cargo van all the way up to the wilderness boundary a few years ago but recent rain events might have washed it out. The right fork I have not traveled on and make no recommendation.
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There are worse spots ahead and don’t bring a typical city slicker truck or suv up here; you know the type, spinner rims with 20” bandaid tires wrapped around them, no “trailer queens” on this road. Your vehicle will pick up a few scratches going up this road, you are hereby warned. It is 3 long, sandy miles up to the Good Hope Mine and they are tough miles in places.

Another strong bit of advice is to not attempt this hike in the summer. Warning! You could die on this hike in the summer! If you do still insist on hiking it then, stock up with at least 2 gallons of water. This is 600 feet of elevation gain going up, sandy both ways, and you will probably be hiking in over 100 degree weather. I am 59, work at a sedentary job and not in the best shape. It was a moderate hike for me but in the summer I would have ended up sprawling on the ground hiding from the blazing sun under the meager shade of a creosote, probably with heat exhaustion or stroke.
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Can you imagine laying out under that meager shade looking off at Kelso Dunes, waiting hours for the sun to go down?
Below is another section of bad road.
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After about an hour and a half, I came upon the mine vicinity but first I started seeing old rusty food cans and other metal debris scattered along the road. That told me I was close. Then I came upon this cement building foundation which had a fire ring alongside it. I am not sure if it was from the mining days or brought later by site visitors.
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Below is the fire ring which is hidden by the creosote bush that my new Trekking Poles were leaning against.
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I sat on the edge of the foundation for a few minutes enjoying the cool breeze, it was about 62 degrees F and eating a Clif Bar(white chocolate macadamia) and washing it down with my still cold water which I had in my waist pack. Then it was time to do a little more exploring.
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In the above shot, you are looking up the hill from the pad by the fire pit. The road follows to the left to other parts of the site and veers off to the right prior to that and across a rugged, deep wash to the main mine shafts/stamping area dead ahead. When I saw that wash, I wondered how anybody, even in a jeep could drive up there, but believe it or not, there is a website online where I saw a photo of a Toyota truck coming down from up there. Unbelievable!
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Above is a close up taken from the same location as before, the steep and rugged part of the road crossing the wash lies below the bottom of this photo.

Around the bend there was a pad with a fallen wooden structure which I video’d, here is a screen capture showing it. The rest of the photos that follow are all video screen captures as well.
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The shaft above, or possibly an adit, has been partially filled in with rubble, possibly by the park service but I would not want to fall in, it might not be possible to crawl out. Note the dirt covered rock edge. Be careful when you approach shafts like this as the ground could cave in right under your feet. Not far from here was the possible foundations for a stamp mill plus the main shaft, cement lined with fallen head, as well as another very dangerous shaft and the ore hopper, along with remains of some sort of tank system. Again all following photos are video screen captures.
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Take great care approaching the shaft photographed next, you could very easily slide in and down a long way. In my opinion, this is the most dangerous shaft on this mine site.
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Looking down the shaft. Note I hold the camera way out and am not close to the potentially loose ground next to the opening.
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That was pretty much it. Gathering up my trekking poles, I started hoofing it the 3 miles downhill back to my car. I wish I could say it was easy walking back in the sand, but overall it was still tough, but not quite as bad as going uphill.

Once I got back to my car, I celebrated by popping the top on that still cold bottle of Sioux City Sarsaparilla, shut down my smartphone app, US Topo Maps Pro which tracked me and provided the following information:

Start 10:28:00
Duration 3h 36m 29s
Distance 6.11 mi
Average speed 1.69mph
The next I had to scrutinize the GPX file for, max elevation in feet was 3,041, minimum was at my car, 2,379.

Overall I was pleased with the US Topo Maps Pro android app which seemed more intuitive to me than Viewranger, and only cost me $5 from the Amazon app store vs about $11 at the Google Play store. I plan on putting it up on an ad here soon. I was also pleased with my Hikker HP-5 Anti-shock Hiking Poles, $25.50 at Amazon and with the book by Michel Digonnete,”Hiking the Mojave Desert: the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Mojave National Preserve.”

Hope you enjoyed the report. Here are a couple of final thoughts. I am surprised that the park service has not closed off these shafts or filled them in. A couple are extremely dangerous, my guess is that due to the difficulty in reaching this site, it is not a priority. If you come here with children, do not leave them unattended, it is a long way to the bottom. If you come alone as I did, take extreme caution and let others know of your destination. While it is only 5 miles as the crow flies to Kelso Depot, do you really want to place a bet with your life?

I seriously doubt that people come up here on a weekly basis.

Later on, I will put some of the videos up at Youtube but it won’t be for a few days.


Three new suns over the Ivanpah Valley.

No rant here, nothing but pictures and video. I am all written out about this tragedy which
has befallen the Ivanpah Valley, at the hands of a supposedly Green president and administration.
Just site search this blog, it seems the worst predictions have pretty much come to pass with this
solar “farm’s” building.

Note that I am using fullsized photos here for better viewing.

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The above is the view from the Carl’s Junior at the Primm Factory Outlet Mall, about 2 or 3 miles from Solar Two.
All the following photographs are of the BrightSource/Bechtel Ivanpah SEGS near stateline, Primm, Nevada.
Below is Solar One.
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The photograph below taken near the Nipton Road northbound onramp clearly shows how the solar plant totally
dominates the landscape.
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From here I moved to a position about half a mile from Solar One off Yates Well Road but first a zoomed in
photograph from Nipton Road.
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Another shot from Nipton looking at one of the new “suns” over the Ivanpah Valley. The human eye is drawn to this
as avian eyes probably are, in my opinion.
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The rest are from the location near Yates Well Road mentioned earlier.
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Contact me if you need full resolution images and I will email or burn a cd for you and send it
out straight away.

Yes, the Ivanpah Valley now has three new suns and I can’t say that it is the better for them.