May 2004 Issue Explore Historic California - Magazine for Enthusiasts







Piute Passage tour, June 5-6, 2004 (camping). Click on image for details.


Land of Volcanoes tour, June 19-21, 2004 (motel or camp). Click on image for details.

Click here for information on all our 2004 tours.


Mojave Expedition and Day of Desert Exploration trips.

Moose Anderson Days Cleanup.

Click HERE or on the photos.

Enterprising Women of the Western Mojave Mining Camps

Part III: The Rose Behind the Yellow Aster

by Cecile Page Vargo

         July 1895 - A few months after the rich gold discoveries by prospectors, Charles  Burcham, John Singleton, and F. M. Mooers , Dr. Rose La Monte Burcham packed up her personal belongings and medicines and headed for Rand Mountain . She left her home and practice in San Bernardino , where she was known for delivering babies, and hopped on the train bound for the dusty town of Mojave . Her husband met her there with his wagon and team to take her on the fifty mile long  journey to Rand Camp. Just after dark, they arrived in Cow Wells, and decided to camp out for the night. The following morning, she was taken to a barren hillside with two lonely tents. Her husband and partners lived in the tents close to their diggings.

        Dr. Rose arrived in camp in true Gay Nineties fashion, with long skirts, and high-necked shirtwaist with long mutton-let sleeves and pinched in heavily corseted waist. Aware of rugged desert terrain, she brought good stout walking shoes, and was prepared to work. As time went on, of course, she found it more practical to wear khaki clothes when she went into the mines. At first, however, she spent her time cooking and tiding up the camp, while the men worked with pick, shovel, and wheelbarrow. She had grubstaked the partners from the very beginning, and was now half owner of her husband’s one/third share. Her business and financial savvy helped to keep the mine, and the money it earned, intact so it could grow to become the famous Yellow Aster Mine. 

 A Silver Lining For Every Retort Means a Drink For Every Man

         There was little money among the partners. What little they did have was controlled by Dr. Rose. When the first ore was ready to be sent down the steep mountainside to the Garlock mill for processing, John Singleton went to her for several silver half dollars. He proceeded to tell her that the coins were needed to put in the retort so the amalgam wouldn’t stick. As Rose reminded him their funds were running low, she reluctantly handed him the coins he requested. A bit later, Singleton was back saying that they needed more silver lining for the retort. It didn’t take Dr. Rose long to figure out that the men had not traveled the 10 miles to Cow Wells, but had gone to the recently opened saloon in Rand Camp to celebrate, instead. Needless to say, she verbally let the partners have it for drinking their funds away. Luckily for the thirsty partners, the first milling of the Yellow Aster Mine netted a nice little fortune of a little over eight hundred dollars.  

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Maggie Joins Friends of Jawbone Canyon

You Can, Too

Maggie joined Friends of Jawbone Canyon. The friends of Jawbone provides a forum for users of public lands in and around Jawbone Canyon to promote the preservation, multiple use, and restoration of all public lands, local, state, and federal. The Friends of Jawbone assist the BLM in operation of the Jawbone Station visitor center and bookstore,  present Moose Anderson Days each April, and offer outreach and educational programs.


Click on Maggie's certificate below for membership information or visit



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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