June 2009 SPECIAL ISSUE Explore Historic California - Magazine for Enthusiasts










Room 8-The Most Famous Cat in Los Angeles





Sky high gas prices along with sluggish economic conditions have severely impacted our tour business for over a year.

We have reluctantly decided to suspend our tour operations for the time being.

Our sincere thanks and appreciation to all who continue to support us.


LOGO T Shirts Available


Explore Historic California with our  logo depicting the California backcountry and its rich history both true and farce.

We now offer shirts, sweats, jerseys and cups with our logo.

Click the shirt for details!


Friends of Last Chance Canyon is a new organization interested in sustaining and protecting areas within the El Paso Mountains, near Ridgecrest, California. The main focus is preserving and protecting historic sites like Burro Schmidt's tunnel and the Walt Bickel Camp.

Please click on either logo to visit the FLCC site.

We support


Support Room 8's charitable legacy by donating to the Room 8 Memorial Cat Foundation or adopting one of their cats.

Click on Room 8's photo or phone

951-361-2205 for more information.


Mules can taste the difference--so can you




It's always FIRE SEASON! Click the NIFC logo above to see what's burning.



Click on the bag to find out how.


Visit Michael Piatt's site, www.bodiehistory.com, for the truth behind some of Bodie's myths.

Terri Geissinger is a Bodie area Historian, Guide and Chautauquan. A long time resident who lives in Bodie and Smith Valley, she is dedicated to preserving stories of the pioneer families, miners, ranchers and teamsters. Click the photo for information on her tours with the Mono Lake Committee.


Back to the past in California City--Wimpy's!

8209 California City Blvd.,
California City, 93505

Hey Brother,

Can 'Ya

Spare a Job?

The nation's economic downturn has severely affected the newspaper industry. My job of nearly 30 years was eliminated several months ago.

I'm actively looking for full or part time job opportunities within my diverse skill set.

If you have, or know of any openings, please contact me through this CONTACT  link.




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 the website and enjoy our armchair adventures and the histories behind them.



SOS-Save our State Parks Weekend

June 20-21, 2009

by Roger Vargo

California's Budget Conference Committee voted to eliminate General Fund support for state parks, but also to implement a State Park Access Pass. The pass would institute a $15 surcharge on vehicle license fees of non-commercial vehicles in order to provide Californians with free day-use access to state parks and generate much-needed revenue for the system. 

Many parks' funding will be cut in half starting July 1. Actual park closures are not expected to take effect until after the Labor Day holiday in September.

The California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) is encouraging everyone to visit a California State Park the weekend of June 20-21, 2009 and show their support for continued park operations by wearing a green ribbon or green clothing.

Visitors can also take a photo of themselves and send it to CSPF for inclusion in a slide show.

Click here for details from the CSPF website and locations of organized events. Facebook users can see and post photos here.

While in Bodie last weekend, Cecile and I posed with a vintage ore cart that provided a suitable canvas for our "SOS" message.

Cecile and Roger Vargo of Explore Historic California support keeping California State Parks open to all. They are posing with an ore cart in Bodie State Historic Park. No ore cart was damaged in the creation of this image.                                                                  (Photo by Jenna Nustad / photo illustration by Roger Vargo)

Arnold Says "Hasta la vista!" to State Parks

by Roger Vargo


California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is saying "Hasta la vista!" to 220 of California's 279 state parks on July 1 as part of his efforts to trim the state's budget deficit of $24.3 billion. The plan is to cut $70 million from the $150 million the park system receives from California's general fund. An additional $143.4 million would be saved in the following fiscal year by keeping the parks closed.

The parks to be closed include the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, Anza-Borrego, Bodie, Mono Lake State Tufa Reserve and Red Rock Canyon. Click here to view a list of affected parks.

According to the California State Parks Foundation, the general fund allocation to state parks represents 1/10 of one-percent (0.10%) of the entire state budget. California spends about $400 million to run its parks and beaches. About one third comes from the general fund with the remainder from user fees, bonds, gasoline taxes and federal funds.

State park attendance last year was more than 80 million visitors with indications the 2009 visitor count would be even higher.  "State parks draw tourism to California," State Parks Foundation president Elizabeth Goldstein said. "This proposal makes the budget situation worse."

The State Park Foundation estimates that parks generate $2.35 in return for every state dollar spent. This, according to Foundation estimates, could cost the state $350 million in revenue.

Hearst Castle and a dozen other so-called "moneymakers" would remain open, as would most Southern California beaches. The state would be left with  59 (of the state's 279) parks in operation. But Bodie State Historic Park, one of the best-preserved western ghost towns, would not be one of them.

The closures of Bodie and Mono Lake, which attract 450 thousand visitors annually and are international tourist destinations, would be devastating to the economy of already hard-hit Mono County, according to park sources.

Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines said the state cannot afford to subsidize state parks when lawmakers are being asked to make severe cuts in even more vital areas.

"Parks are just not going to be a priority over public safety and education, as much as we hate to see them close," Villines said.

The proposed cuts aren't just bad news for tourists and vacationers. At least 2,000 park rangers, biologists, lifeguards, interpreters, architects and maintenance workers would be laid off if the proposal is adopted, said parks spokesman Roy Stearns, "When you add up the money in our general fund, it almost exclusively goes to pay people.  If you eliminate that money, you lay everybody off, so there is nobody left to run parks. If you have nobody to run parks, you have to close them."

The layoffs would be in addition to 5,000 state positions the governor has already recommended cutting.

Last year, California's legislature rejected the governor's proposal to close 48 state parks partly due to intense public pressure. Tuesday, June 2, the Budget Conference Committee will consider this proposal in Sacramento. The State Parks Foundation is initiating an email campaign to urge the governor and legislators to reconsider. A user-modifiable letter is available at:  http://ga3.org/campaign/budget_may09.

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