Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kelso Depot (Continued)

One of my greatest pleasures is driving through the Mojave Desert. In the good old days, I had a VW Van--a Westfalia camper equipped with roll-down windows and a spray bottle as an air conditioner.

Every other weekend a small group of friends chose a remote desert location on a map and drove there. Back in '80s, Kelso was headed towards ruins. The 80s was all about New Wave music, building up cities and solving the Rubik's Cube. Old desert towns and buildings were used more for target practice and dirt bike destinations than being appreciated and left alone. Preservation was alive but struggling.

Today, Kelso is enjoying a revitalization. The East Mojave is now mostly a Preserve. Inside Kelso Depot, an old fashioned soda fountain greets visitors with turn-of-the-century charm and nostalgia. All the individual rooms in the train station are used as a museum and library. They even have original recordings of a 1950s radio show broadcasting from a nearby desert town.

Here, one finds a vibrant, living desert full of history and hidden treasures.

Today, I drive a car with air conditioning. But when I'm rolling through mirages on the sun-soaked highways of the East Mojave, you will often find me with my windows down and stereo playing Marty Robbins and the Sons of the Pioneers, singing,

"All day I've faced a barren waste
Without the taste of water,
cool water

Old Dan and I with throats burned dry
And souls that cry for water

Cool..., clear..., water...."


James said...

That looks like a really cool and nostalgic place. I wish I would have made some of those desert trips like you did in the 80's, I bet you guys had a blast.

arctic dreamer said...

man, I remember watching the TV series ROUTE 66!

Tash said...

I've enjoyed your seeing your treck through Mojave Dessert. Fascinating & wonderful that the Kelso Depot was renovated. I knew about Kelso dunes, but did not ever go. Sounds like a must (maybe later this fall).

AmyR said...

I've never heard of this place and can't wait to check it out. Thanks for the great descriptions and write up.