July 2004 Issue Explore Historic California - Magazine for Enthusiasts








Fathill Fandango tour, July 17-19, 2004 (motel or camp). Click on image for details.

Click here for information on all our 2004 tours.


Land of Volcanoes

trip (Part 1), June 2004. Click the photo

Land of Volcanoes

trip (Part 2), June 2004. Click the photo

No Death for Death Valley Rail Car



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The Mystery of the Red Apple Railway
by Cecile Page Vargo

         Following a visit to Laws in Bishop and a special preview of the Death Valley Brill Car, Marty, Roger  and I had the privilege to be taken along the route of the old Red Apple Railway, by David A. Wright. I pick up my tape-recorder and review my audio notes of our little jaunt. All and all considering our unusual visit nearly a century after the routes creation, it’s amazing any sounds come out of my cassette player at all. 

            Me – “We’re riding along the Red Apple Grade with David Wright. We also appear to be in the Red Apple Triangle. Strange things are beginning to happen. We’re driving around in circles on the same road. Marty’s antennae is falling off. David’s tool box and ice chest are falling around in the back of his truck. ….We’re in the heart of the Red Apple Triangle……”  “do do do do do do do do…” (Twilight Zone theme)”

            Me –“It’s cloudy to the south of us, and we’re now seeing lightening strikes. Hmmm…. More signs of the Red Apple Triangle……”   faint sounds of thunder in the distance………

            David – “Pioneer cemetery east - they also have a pioneer cemetery behind the hospital in Bishop.”

            Roger – “Lots of pioneers waiting to get in I guess.”

            Long silence, then:

            Me “Safely out of the Red Apple Triangle, now.” Sigh of relief…..

            If only the pioneers in the cemetery could talk! What is this Red Apple Railway?  Who built the grade, and why? Where are the tracks, and what ever happened to the cars that traveled over the tracks?

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UPDATE: State Budget Crisis Threatens Bodie  

by Jill Lachman

           Since the passage of the California Desert Protection Act (1984) an effort was made to create a coalition of agencies that would pool their financial resources with the intent to purchase the property which Galactic Resources, Ltd. had claim to (Bodie Bluff and surrounding areas).

          In the meantime, the California Department of Parks and Recreation began an extensive, ongoing stabilization project in Bodie. Prior to the start of each season the state architect, district departmental supervisors and Bodie personnel (rangers and maintenance) made an inspection of the structures in Bodie prioritizing the stabilization effort according to the severity of the structures integrity.

          The goal was to bring the buildings in Bodie back to their appearance at the time of the original purchase of the townsite. Guided by photographs of the town made in the early 1960’s, each season from May to September workers came to Bodie to begin and hopefully complete several “restorations”.


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Our Tours with Ecological 4-Wheeling Adventures

We're climbing into 2004!

Please check here  for our 2004 tour schedule.

Explore Historic California!

     Not too many years ago, the family station wagon was the magic carpet to adventure. Today, that family station wagon is likely to be a four wheel drive sport utility vehicle or pick up truck. SUV's and other 4x4's are one of the best selling classes of vehicles. Ironically, industry statistics show that once purchased, few owners will dare to drive their vehicles off the paved highway. Click your mouse through our website and enjoy our armchair adventures and the histories behind them. If you are interested in taking one of our guided tours with your vehicle, please visit our ECOLOGICAL 4-WHEELING ADVENTURES.

     Several years ago, we bought our first SUV. We went to a one-night class at a local community college entitled "How to 4-Wheel Drive" by Harry Lewellyn. The following weekend we attended the hands-on day tour. We liked what we were doing so much that we began going out nearly every weekend and learned how to negotiate a variety of dirt roads. Our spare time was spent doing research on the history and ecology of our favorite areas. A one-day outing turned into 15 years of leading others on mini-vacations throughout Southern California and the Owens Valley.

     Our 4WD outings involve driving on easy to moderate dirt roads and are ideally suited to novice and intermediate level drivers. All tours are suitable for stock vehicles in good condition, although some tours do have vehicle size restrictions.

     Our tours are operated under permits issued by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and other authorities.

     We share our knowledge of the backcountry over the CB radio with our guests. We frequently stop to explore mining areas, old and new, and ponder the rocks, plants and animals we may encounter. We'll occasionally visit an old cabin or deserted mountain lookout.

     California has a fascinating history, from geologic unrest and prehistoric petroglyph scribes to the "Radium Queen of the Mojave" and the "Human Mole of Black Mountain." Load up your 4X, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to explore historic California.

Roger, Cecile and Marty


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