sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

It's 116 Degrees in Trona


There is no bass fishing lake in Trona. The water boils there in the summer and the fish would be par-boiled.


The famous fish head rocks (rocks painted like fish heads)
are a tourist attraction in Trona, bringing tens of people to
town every single year.
For those of you who have not explored the Southern end of Death Valley in the summer, I can only suggest that you have more brains than balls. There isn't much in the area besides some rail switching yards and a chemical plant in Trona (mining borax and potash), and Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake. Yes, the Navy is there and the range takes up the bulk of the Cosco (not Costco) Valley.

I'm not making fun of Trona. I've been through there a number of times and have visited the movie sets at the Trona Pinnacles, where various Sci-Fi films were shot including Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Battlestar Galactica, and many others. I think that Trona Pinnacles is second only to Vasquez Rocks in terms of its appeal to Sci-Fi film makers.

Vasquez Rocks (Near Agua Dulce, CA)
Trona Pinnacles (Near Trona, CA)
Old Betsy
There's not much else to bring you to Trona unless you work at the Searles Valley Borax plant or you work on the Trona Railway (a 30 mile spur that connects with the Union Pacific).

A steam locomotive, affectionately called, "Old Betsy" ran the Trona Railway line in the 1930's and 1940's. The area peaked during World War 2 when Trona (America's only source of potash, an essential ingredient in gunpowder) became an important part of the war effort.

Navy guys working at China Lake don't go into Trona for a good time. The Esparza Family Restaurant and the Trails Drive in are the only two restaurants I know of in Trona. The burgers are OK. If you're stopping to eat in Trona, you're likely hungry and they taste even better - and who doesn't want a frosty shake when it's 116 in the shade?

A Trona vacation.

The antidote for civilization

29 comments:

  1. Death Valley. Furnace Creek. The Funeral Mountains. All nice names for the location. Call me nuts, but St. Thomas VI has just a smidge more appeal for a vacation destination.

    Not that 116 degrees in the shade with no water within 100 miles doesn't sound nice....

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    Replies
    1. I prefer the Cayman Islands to St. Thomas. But they don't have much in common with Trona except that there is sand in both locations.

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    2. Lies! Everyone knows that there is also Corona beer available for purchase in St. Thomas, The Caymans AND Trona, CA. Sand is not the only common denominator. Do the research, OK LL?

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  2. I've never been to the Cayman Islands or to St. Thomas, so I'll have to take your word for it. I have been to Death Valley. Lovely in the summer. Not.

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    Replies
    1. You may have been to Death Valley but did you ever visit Trona?

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    2. Been to both, stayed in St. Thomas a week on my old company's dime (awards trip), and spent an hour or so in Grand Cayman on a shore excursion from a Royal Caribbean cruise.

      Trona? No thanks. Well, in the dead of winter, with an RV, a couple of gnarly dirt bikes and a souped up Toyota Landcruiser, then maybe.

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    3. It's better in the spring and fall seasons, nice in the winter too with the right toys.

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  3. NAWS seems like the alternative to posting fuck-ups to the Alaskan wilderness. One of the few places that air conditioning is more important than a gold course.

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    Replies
    1. NAWS China Lake is like being in hell. And if you had a homes in hell and China Lake, you'd live in hell and rent out China Lake. The same goes for Ft. Bliss, TX.

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  4. Thanks for the review. The wife and I are planning our next vacation to Trona.

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    Replies
    1. You may need to camp out on the edge of town. There are no lodgings. Bring a shovel for your own pit toilet.

      On the other hand, you can light off fireworks to your heart's content.

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  5. Not many people realize that Trona is actually just a mirage. True story. It used to exist, but the Searles Valley Minerals Company gave enough advertising cash to Google that they only list the place as "Searles Valley" now. Look it up on Google Maps or Google Earth. Trona does not exist as a place, although "Trona Road" and the "Trona Pinnacles" are still listed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or doesn't Google make reality now? ;)

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    2. When you drive into town there are signs that indicate you're in Trona. I won't be back in Trona in the near future so I won't be able to take photos. Maybe Euripides can do that when he and the missus go to Trona on vacation?

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    3. The missus nixed the idea. She said it wasn't hot enough in Trona. We're now leaning toward Stovepipe Wells.

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    4. You can buy fuel at Stovepipe wells and there's a little campground right across from the convenience market/gas station. The name is misleading. I don't think that there is a well there.

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    5. I believe you. I just think it's funny how Google has the same people in charge of Hillary scandal hiding doing map place names, as well.

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    6. There is a lot of ball-hiding going on among the progs. Google is guilty of a lot of that. It reinforces what Adrienne said on her blog. The information consumer needs to be circumspect and to CHECK.

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    7. Google has undergone significant changes since their early days when the founders motto was "Do No Evil".

      I wouldn't trust them any further than I could throw them, and that 'aint far....

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    8. They're in the same pot as Facebook.

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  6. A best buddy's older brother worked at the NAWS.

    He said the phrase "Hotter Than Hell" was invented there.

    Went out there once in February to see the petroglyphs. A nice place to visit, but.....

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    Replies
    1. It's nicer in February than it is in the summer months. But you can go out there and shoot in any direction with the sure comfort that nobody will be injured by the falling bullet. Which may be why the Navy picked that spot. The Navy is usually more judicious in their choice of base locations, which was one of the reasons that I chose the Navy. Navy usually means oceans, beaches, pleasant climates, etc. Not so with NAWS China Lake -- though the title does indicate a lake, nobody mentioned that it boiled off centuries ago.

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    2. Two of the Photo-Optics (photographers) from Boeing that I worked with at Sea Launch used to go there to record various weapons tests.

      They always brought some amazing footage of Really Neat Stuff going BOOM....

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    3. I was there to watch US ships weapons vs Soviet missiles and found that interesting as well.

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  7. The only thing I remember about China Lake was if you got to the traffic circle with grass, you'd missed the turn to the base... But they 'do' have some interesting toys out there... :-)

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    Replies
    1. If you're tired of Texas heat, you can always drive there just to experience a different kind of heat.

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  8. Extreme. There's something appealing about that.

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    Replies
    1. It's unlike Texas floods and yet it's the same because it's extreme.

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It's virtual - it's a mirage - it's life