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Desert Explorer1

Desert Explorer1

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Published by Wes Chambers
Place in the California Desert to visit with a little history to make the trip more interesting
Place in the California Desert to visit with a little history to make the trip more interesting

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Published by: Wes Chambers on Mar 08, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/26/2012

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DESERTEXPLORER 
California Desert trips, interesting places tovisit: ghost towns, old mines, lost treasure, personalities and bits of the old west 
 Dusty RoadThe places described below are special andworth visiting provided you know the story.That's what this is all about. Now I havetried as best I can to be factual butsometimes you hate to let facts get in theway of a good yarn.TABLE OF CONTENTSGeneral Patton and the King’s Throne………………………………………………. 2Fig Tree John …………………………………………………………………………………….. 4Wyatt Earp’s Happy Days…………………………………………………………………… 7The Greenwater Heist ……………………………………………………………………….. 9Initial Point San Bernardino Baseline and Meridian………………………….13Death Valley Mines, The Story of Warm Springs………………………………16Saline Valley Salt Tramway……………………………………………………………….20The Mc haney Gang……………………………………………………………………………24The Ghost of Llano Del Rio………………………………………………………………..28Robber’s Roost…………………………………………………………………………………..32Tom Schofield’s Lost mine………………………………………………………………..34Lake Mojave’s Hidden Channel………………………………………………………….38Pegleg Smith’s Lost Gold…………………………………………………………………..40
 
 
General Patton and the Kings Throne
 A while back I was surfing Google Earth and happened to remember somethingabout a spot in the desert that was called “The Kings Throne”. It was relatedsomehow to General Patton’s desert training camp during World War II. Ichecked my copy of the official history of The Desert Training Center and foundthis reference:“His hill called by some of his men ‘The Kings Throne’, deserves mention. It was alone elevation between the Orocopia and the Chuckwalla Mountains andseparated from both. The General [Patton] used to sit or stand up there,scrutinizing critically the line of march of tanks and motorized units below him.He would watch tanks line up in the manner of two football teams, with theirsupport slightly different on either side, behind them like backfields, chargetogether while the backfield of one swerved and made an end-run. Detecting amistake or a way to improve, he would shout instructions into his radio.”So, with this bit of information, I moved the cursor down an enlarged section of Google Earth between the Orocopia and Chuckwalla mountain ranges mentionedin the report. As I did this, I noted a number of small isolated rock pedimentsrising above their surroundings. About ten miles south of Interstate 10, I spottedone that had a road circling from top to bottom. I also noted the faint suggestionof a road leading directly to it from the north. I figured this had to be the KingsThrone. A few weeks later a friend and I drove to the base of the hill and walked to the top
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along a narrow road. It was plain to us that from this point, Patton and thosecommanders who followed him were able to observe the action of tanks and otherarmored vehicles across the wide desert plain below. For those interested in visiting the Throne, the following short history might prove helpful. At the start of World War II, The War Department decided that a large open area with varied terrain would be needed, “for the purpose of training mechanizedunits to live and fight in the desert, to test and develop suitable equipment, and todevelop tactical doctrines, and training methods.”Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. was given the job of finding an area that wouldmeet the army’s training needs. After extensive study and personal inspection of large open areas throughout the country, he recommended an area that includeda large portion of both the Mohave and Colorado deserts of California withextensions into Arizona and the Las Vegas Valley. His recommendation wasapproved and in April, 1942, he was given full command of the Desert TrainingCenter. His headquarters (Camp Young) was located at Chiriaco Summit, on thenorth side of Interstate Highway 10 where the Patton Museum now stands.Patton’s 1st Armored Corps conducted exercises south of the highway generally inthe area between the two mountain ranges mentioned above. His stay was short-lived. By the fall of ‘42 he and his unit were on their way to North Africa to takepart in operation code named “Torch”.In the four months from April to the first part of August, General Patton spottedsignificant problems facing desert warfare and issued directives for improvingtactical deployment of armored divisions emphasizing rapid advancement againstan enemy across desert terrain.Operations at the Center lasted from April,’42 to April, ’44. During that two yearperiod, tens of thousands of officers and enlisted men passed through on their way to action in both Europe and the Pacific. They lived in camps spread across
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