Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Years Eve - California City

Brenda and drove to join her relatives in the middle of the Mojave desert where they had their RV’s parked about six miles North of California City. 

Brenda's sister's and brother-in-law's RV that we stayed in

We left LA at about 11:30am and arrived at 1:30pm where her sister and brother-in-law were waiting for us at the edge of where the blacktop meets the incredible maze of dirt roads that make up the “outback” of this dirt-biking capitol of California.

Brenda keeping her neck warm

Summer kicks back among the big machines

We followed Kevin and Sandra on their dirt bike and quad respectively to the area where their RV’s was parked.  There was another RV there already as well, a friend of theirs, and more expected by dark.

Fred and Brenda in front of the old city jail

We got settled in and immediately got into Sandra and Kevin’s Chevy 2500 truck and took some back dirt roads about 8 miles North to an old mining town called Randsburg.  Kevin and Sandra had wanted to show us an authentic saloon called, “The White House,” which also had the remnants of an old brothel in the back.

Fred in front of a historic building in Randsburg

As we drove into the town, which was infested with swarms of dirt bikers, we came to an old town jail built sometime in the 1800’s.  We then walked along Ransburg’s main street and saw old shops and city buildings from that era.  It was all very humble, and Brenda and I enjoyed ourselves.

The main street in Randsburg, CA


Swarms of dirt-bikers in Randsburg

We then returned using a circuitous route using asphalt roads South, then turning left onto a very bumpy dirt road, past a protected habitat, and found our way back to the RV’s.  It was an afternoon of off-roading for sure. 

Brenda and I brought our own food; sandwiches, cheese, crackers, and water.  We ate a bit and then, since the sun is setting so early these days, some of the gathering members of our RV circle started a campfire.  It reminded me of how the old covered wagons rested in the night in a circle to create a little community and, more importantly, to project themselves from the Native Americans who might attack at night.

The Cover Wagon Defensive Circle

The RV circle was now complete with about seven or eight RV’s parked in the camp.  People unloaded dirt motorcycles, quads and razors from their trailers, and the campground was very busy and populated with desert-riding apparatus. 

We all sat around the fire with our margaritas and beer in hand, and talked as the New Year approached.  There were lots of kids running around, and one of the adults pulled his truck near the campfire and played music cd’s for the group.

Campfire on New Years Eve

The New Year arrived, and Brenda got a big smooch or two from me, and everyone really had a lot of fun.

The next morning at about 9am, Brenda’s brothers and sisters ended up in our trailer, which I was a bit embarrassed about since my hair in the morning is known to defy gravity.  We all got dressed and hung around the campsite for a while.  One of the other campers, Manual, offered Brenda and I a burrito that he made right there with potatoes, some meat and a lot of spice.  Oh, was that a spicy burrito!

It was a warm day and I sat in a canvass camping chair and read one of the books I brought while others got themselves ready.  I also took a bunch of photos of some of the bikers and quad-riders hitting some of the nearby jumps and dirt berms.

Brenda's Nephew, Austin, get some air.

Brenda's Brother-In-Law, Kevin

Brenda and Sandra

Brenda's nephew, Austin, looking in command after jumping

A quad jumping boy

A dirt-biking kid

Kenny and Doug raising their Razor

A group of us got ourselves going finally and were going to head up a 19-mile dirt road North back to Ransburg.  Because Brenda and I were driving Brenda’s sister in law, Kelly, and two kids who had to return a shirt at a near by shop, we did that while the others got started on their dirt bikes.  This shop was actually an outdoor on-going street fair in a parking lot where bikers can bring their bikes to get little problems fixed.  There are numerous tents and clothes racks where they sell shirts, sweatshirts and biking clothes.

We then took a non-maintained asphalt road North and then West to Randsburg.  This second visit, which was on New Years Day, was extremely busy in this little town; even more than the day before.  We went back into the saloon and had a drink.  Our plan to eat some food there was thwarted when we found that they saloon was an hour behind on their orders because of the number of patrons there.  The place was absolutely packed.

Brenda's brother, Kenny, with Carson, his and Kelly's youngest child

Brenda's sister-in-law, Kelly, Brenda's sister, Sandra, and Brenda at the White House Saloon.

Brenda's brother-in-law, Kevin

I had to get a pic of one of the bartenders

Fred and Brenda at the White House Saloon Bar

It was now the middle of the afternoon, and since the ride back for the motorbikes would be about an hour, we all decided to head back.  This time, Brenda and I took the kids and Kelly back down a relatively straight 19-mile dirt road.  I had my Garmin on to make sure we didn’t end up completely lost.  Brenda’s brother rode next to my SUV for part of the way back, and we could seem him leave the dirt road to do some jumps, and then re-join us.

When we arrived back at the campsite, it was about 4:00pm, and people had started another campfire, the last of which from the night before had still been smoldering all day.  It has been a hot fire New Years Eve.  People were already preparing food.  What a lot of people do is set up a table in front of their trailer with an awning that pulls down from the trailer, and they cook their food right there, or in the trailer and set it on these tables.

Some food tables being set up

A woman named Marcela offered Brenda and I some fresh-cooked spaghetti, some hot dogs and really good broccoli salad, which I had never experienced before.  We helped ourselves and then stood next to the fire talking.  This woman and her husband, who knew someone in the group, had driven down from Sacramento to join everyone through the weekend.

It was now almost dark, and Brenda and I had to head out to feed our pets at home.  We both wished we could have stayed longer since everyone was staying through Sunday (two days after we were leaving), but it’s a little bit hard to stay in someone else’s trailer; the sleeping, the moving around and the going to the bathroom are all in pretty close quarters, even though it was a big trailer. And we felt bad intruding on Brenda's sister's and brother-in-law's time together.

The real way to do it of course would be for Brenda and I to get a big Ford or Chevy truck, a trailer, a Razor, which is basically a golf cart supe’d up into a dune-buggy type thing, and then bring all of our own food.  This would make us independent there and remove the feeling there being a mooch-factor during our stay.   But we’re currently a long way from that financially, so we just enjoyed our weekend the way it was and headed back home to our reality of trying to figure out how to make some money and pay our bills.  But our weekend was a really fun and very cheap escape and celebration of the New Year.

I shot this photo of the fiery western sky below just as we were about to leave