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Back To The Salt Tram

Posted in Events on May 1, 2011
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Some places are built for the "been there, done that" bucket list. Visit once and that’s enough. Then there are places like the Inyo Mountains. Once isn’t enough.

Just over a year ago, we had the chance to check out what the Inyos had in store. Between Cerro Gordo ghost town, the Saline Valley Salt Tram, and the Swansea-Cerro Gordo road that snakes along the Inyos’ backbone, we were drawn back in.

Things were a little different this time around. Our previous foray was a solo trip, as well as our first venture into then-unfamiliar territory. This time we were in tandem with Shane Casad and his well-built ’90 Ford Bronco. Since we’d already been to Cerro Gordo and the Salt Tram, we knew what to expect and were able to plan our itinerary more accurately.

The first night was spent at the Fossil Falls BLM campground just off of California Highway 395. We needed firewood, so we backtracked to nearby Pearsonville Mobil to fill the need. You don’t see too many neon Pegasus signs like this anymore, and it turns out that this cool, old gas station from the 1920s was made famous in National Geographic magazine several years ago. Author Barry Lopez wrote “California Desert: A Worldly Wilderness” for National Geographic’s January 1987 issue. I owned that issue and I saved it for many years. The article documented fascinating spots in and around the Mojave desert, piquing my interest and making me want to visit what I’d read about. At the same time, Lopez’s anti-human tone got old, and I finally pitched the mag in the recycling bin.

Just because a place deserves a second look doesn’t mean every trip has to be a re-hash of last time. It turns out that there’s no shortage of dirt routes and artifacts in the Inyo neighborhood. We covered plenty of extra ground and found adventure around every turn. Instead of shrinking the bucket list, we ended up adding to it. Now we have to go back yet again! Does this ever happen to you?

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