November 2011 Issue Explore Historic California - Magazine for Enthusiasts










Room 8-The Most Famous Cat in Los Angeles



Cerro Gordo is again open to day visitors, road and weather conditions permitting.

Please phone (760-876-5030) for current conditions before venturing out!

A caretaker is living on on the site and visitors must check in before venturing around the ghost town.

No supplies or accommodations are available at Cerro Gordo and visitors should bring plenty of drinking water and haul out their own trash. The dirt road from Keeler to Cerro Gordo is a steep, eight mile ascent. Four wheel drive is not usually required, but vehicles should have adequate ground clearance.

Phone 760-876-5030 for current information or contact us through email at:


Robert C. Likes, co-author of From This Mountain--Cerro Gordo, has  completed a second book about Cerro Gordo.

Click on the cover image (above) to learn more.

This is a story of a generation that sought its own self-identity in a world that suddenly became more complicated with an uncertain future and values.

This epic journey was staged on desert mountains, on steamboats carrying silver bullion across a desert lake, and on a freighting trail that traversed 200 miles of inhospitable desert.

Mules can taste the difference--so can you

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

Bodie Foundation
"Protecting Bodie's Future by Preserving Its Past


Click on Room 8's photo or phone

951-361-2205 for more information.


The Panamint Breeze is a newsletter for people who love the rough and rugged deserts and mountains of California and beyond.

Published by Ruth and Emmett Harder, it is for people who are interested in the history of mining in the western states; and the people who had the fortitude to withstand the harsh elements.

It contains stories of the past and the present; stories of mining towns and the colorful residents who lived in them; and of present day adventurers.

Subscriptions are $20 per year (published quarterly March, June, September & December) Subscriptions outside the USA are $25 per year. All previous issues are available. Gift certificates are available also.

To subscribe mail check (made payable to Real Adventure Publishing) along with name, address, phone number & e-mail address to:  Real Adventure Publishing, 18201 Muriel Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92407.

For more information about the Panamint Breeze e-mail Ruth at:

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

Visit Michael Piatt's site,, 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 Bodie Foundation.

Credo Quia Absurdum




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.



New Cerro Gordo Book a Reality

Cerro Gordo A Ghost Town Caught Between Centuries

Cecile Page Vargo's collection of Cerro Gordo stories, true, farce and somewhere in between, is being published in a new book, Cerro Gordo A Ghost Town Caught Between Centuries.

Pablo Flores' and Jose Ochoa's discoveries of rich deposits of lead and silver ores attracted large scale development by Beaudry and Belshaw. The prodigious output of Cerro Gordo's smelters during the 1870's was shipped through the small pueblo of Los Angeles to San Francisco for refinement. The freight wagons of Remi Nadeau returned to Owens Valley filled with supplies for the remote mining camp and fertilized the seeds of commerce that helped Los Angeles grow.

The book gives glimpses of Cerro Gordo from the silver and lead mining days through the early twentieth century zinc era to its modern place as, according to author Phil Varney, "Southern California's best, true, ghost town." There's even a possible solution to the location of the fabled "Lost Gunsight Mine" that former Cerro Gordo owner Mike Patterson once suggested.

We are proud to team with the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert in Ridgecrest, Calif., to bring Cerro Gordo A Ghost Town Caught Between Centuries to print. This is their first major publishing venture. The book will be available for sale directly through them or through selected book sellers.

Limited, special edition copies from the Ninth Death Valley Conference on History and Prehistory are available while supplies last for $20 (including USA shipping) from Explore Historic California. Email for additional information or ordering.


A Visit to Gold Point, Nevada

by Roger Vargo


We participated in the Ninth Death Valley Conference on History and Prehistory held in Beatty, Nevada, November 4-6, 2011. In addition to our presentations on E Clampus Vitus in the Greater Death Valley Area and The True Legend of the Lost Gunsight Mine, we visited Sheriff Stone (Herb Robbins) in his (near) ghost town of Gold Point, Nevada.

The town, first called Lime Point in the 1880's, then Hornsilver about 1908. The name was changed to Gold Point in the late 1920's to attract more investors. Two thousand people once lived in the town. The last major mining operations were in the 1960's.

Herb Robbins operates a fine Clamper-style bar and offers several rooms for rent in Gold Point. Visit for additional information.

For additional information on the History Conference, visit the Death Valley Natural History Association website.


Morning temperatures in Gold Point, were on the cool side. The town is located at an elevation of about 5300 feet about 25 miles southwest of Goldfield, Nevada.

Sheriff Stone (Gold Point owner Herb Robbins) greets History Conference visitors (above) and talks about the town's history inside the bar (below).


E Clampus Vitus Qheho Posse #1919 recognized Gold Point with a monument in 2004.

Visitors take in the stark, snow-dusted scenery.

A composite panorama image from an abandoned mining site near Gold Point shows lots of open country in Nevada's Esmeralda County.


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