Wednesday, December 24, 2008



The weatherman tells us we've got a lot of rain heading our way & should roll in sometime Christmas day & stay for awhile. Figured we'd better get ourselves outside to-day & soak up as much sun as we could. Spent most of the morning doing just that.

The area we are in is well known for it's California gold mining. We think we are actually camped on one of those mines old properties from years ago. Not far away are some cement slabs that would have supported buildings. There is even a tall flag pole near one of the slabs. Some large fuel tanks, a heavy duty diesel generator & piles of slag & crushed stone. A debris field of old tin cans as well & some sheds housing large water pumps. The bumpy gravel road that runs by our campsite just a few hundred feet away is called the American Girl Mine Road, which of course leads to the American Girl Mine up in the mountains. To-day we decided to go have us a look for that mine. WE THINK THIS MIGHT BE THE AMERICAN GIRL MINE.......(but, it wasn't!!)

Less than a mile to our north is a large rocky hill (or small mountain) which is greatly scarred from many mining operations, both big & small. We drove up there & headed off onto one of the many rocky mining roads for a closer look at some of the mining operations we could see. Old timbers, bent railway tracks, metal grates & rusting ore chutes. Also noticed a cave like entrance so climbed up to have a look see. The opening had once been sealed but all that remained was some pieces of tin, some iron posts & barbed wire. We crouched down & entered the entrance which was obviously an old mine shaft. We went in about 30 feet & the shaft became noticeably smaller......and darker. Didn't have a flashlight with us anyway & besides, we didn't want to be running into any rattling snakes just in case there might have been some hibernating in there. Noticed the rough walls felt like a soft chalk like substance. Figured it must have taken a lot work with pick axes & shovels to dig this shaft years ago. A MINESHAFT OPENING

Headed further on down American Girl Mine road noticing other mine shaft holes here & there high up on the sides of the rocky hills. Also saw wooden posts held in place by piles of stone which suggested miner's claim stakes. Another mile or so finally brought us to a huge open pit quarry that we guessed was the American Girl Mine. Long way to the bottom & we could see water down there. This was obviously a huge operation at one time & it's hard to estimate the size of the quarry but I did take some pictures. The road at this point became too rough for our Santa Fe so we couldn't continue any further. I could see another road leading down into the quarry & would liked to have driven down there. Our next vehicle will be a 4 wheel drive jeep for sure. This road actually continues around the other side of the Cargo Muchacho mountains, winds it's way around & links up with Sidewinder Road which is west of Yuma near Winterhaven.

Anyway, it was a nice couple of hours rock scrambling & exploring to-day but we're still not sure if we actually found the American Girl Mine because after getting back to the rig we looked up some information on the mine with the computer & the directions to the location didn't sound quite the same as where we had been to-day. We are going to go back in the next few days with the new directions & have us a second look. Who knows, we might even find some of those big old gold nuggets we've heard about. CHRISTMAS EVE CAMPFIRE IN THE CALIFORNIA DESERT NEAR YUMA, ARIZONA 2008
Fired ourselves up a campfire late this afternoon & looked back over the last 4 years to where we have spent our Christmas Eve's. Last year we were boondocking near Borrego Springs, California. The year before that we were at the Pancho Via State Park in Columbus, New Mexico. (the next day we actually got to sit on Santa's knee too) Three years ago on Christmas Eve we were at home in Bayfield & the year before that we were in the Rio Grande Village at Big Bend State Park in Texas. At this point, next year is anybody's guess.......................................