Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Panamint Springs to Morro Bay

Leaving Panamint Springs Resort after another wonderful breakfast (for me, it was Pancakes, crispy fried bacon and an egg, smothered in maple syrup) we rolled our way to the car and headed for Surprise Canyon and then onto the ghost town of Ballarat.

Before we left, a couple of the quotes we saw on the walls of the resort really struck me:

We need the tonic of wilderness. We can never have enough of nature! - Henry David Thoreau

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page... - Saint Augustine

I was left feeling that the wilderness of Death Valley had revitalised us both and had shaken some of the yucky feelings induced by Vegas and Anaheim. I also was hit with how much I was enjoying reading more of the book of the world and looked forward to further chapters.

Panamint Springs Resort (well, part of it)

Yes, that is snow on those mountains. Even deserts get snow.

In fact, Antarctica is technically the world's biggest desert

Surprise Canyon (we never found out what the surprise was)

Hang on, I think the surprise was Borax (or was it gold?)

Wild burros (click to zoom in)

After Surprise Canyon, we went to Ballarat (a former goldmining town) which is now a ghost town.

Birth of Ballarat

Ballarat sign

Very true that you learn nothing by sitting in the car!

Ballarat was fascinating, and we examined the rather odd collection of buildings, both inside and out. The Ballarat store and museum was well worth the visit - a true feeling of history pervades and we even found an abandoned truck once owned by Charlie Manson.

Outside the store/museum

Inside the store/museum - what a big gun

A film set in Panamint

Webclam has advised checking out this link for more info.
The film tagline is "For a woman like her...BOLD MEN BECAME BOLDER!"

An eclectic mix of history and scantily glad girlies

Seldom Seen Slim

Seldom Seen Slim was a Ballarat gold prospector who, surprisingly, was seldom seen

Whatever you do, don't annoy Seldom Seen Slim

An interesting fridge

Wanted poster - $1000 reward!

Have a read of this - it is fascinating, especially the bit about "...send there bloody ears". You will need to zoom in and scroll to read it clearly.

The Ballarat Jail-Morgue (very handy!)

Charlie Manson's old pickup truck

Needs some TLC and a lick of paint

Look at all the pretty stars...

Me and the truck

It appears that Charlie Manson was arrested at Barker Ranch which is about 10-15 km from Ballarat. Manson was found hiding in a cabinet beneath a bathroom sink.

Ballarat graveyard

Seldom Seen Slim's Grave (or maybe just his memorial stone?)

I love the quote "Me lonely? Hell, no! I'm half coyote and half wild burro"

Spotted as we left...brilliant that you can pick up a gun if you need one

Some more history for you folks playing along at home

From Ballarat we headed west, via dying borax processing towns,

Who knows, a ghost town in progress?

Very industrial and desolate feeling

then onto fishing townships around Lake Isabella,

down through Bakersfield where we stopped for lunch at a diner and finally we drove past huge, far reaching agricultural lands before reaching an enormous criss-cross of powerlines.

Giants striding across the landscape

After a very bumpy final leg of the journey (the roads rapidly alternated between low dips and high rises, which made it feel like a roller coaster) we arrived in Morro Bay, a delightful small seaside town. The motel owner was Indian and when we told him where we were from, he immediately started talking about cricket. I managed to bluff my way through.

The next day we planned to check the shopping area along the beach and then head north to the coastal town Monterey. This would be our final stop before we arrive in San Francisco.


Chuck The Photographer said...

I hope you enjoyed your stay in our beautiful town of Morro Bay. I trust you enjoyed the Embarcadero and 'the rock'. I enjoyed your travelogue of Death Valley area, one of my favorite places.

Chuck The Photographer said...

I meant to leave a link to my blog if you are interested

Foo said...

Thanks for the comments Chuck, I will take a look at your blog very soon.

Webclam said...

Happy 2009! I have just enjoyed reading the synopsis of The Parson from Panamint in which Charles Ruggles is Chuckawalla Bill Redfield and Clem Bevans is Crabapple Jones. The tagline is For a woman like her...BOLD MEN BECAME BOLDER! and it scores a 6.9 out of 10 on IMBD - not bad! Looking forward to the San Fran chronicles :)

Foo said...

Thanks Webclam - I have just added a link on the main blog to the imdb page.

I have also added a further photo of a 'wanted' notice for some desert rats who stayed at Ballarat and took a load of cash. The museum/shop where I got the notice said to pass the info around and put it on the internet and I'm only too happy to oblige!