Since I have been at the mill last November, to help winterize the living quarters, I know what to expect.
But I understand that the family wants to spend as much time as possible together.
We went to a wonderful restaurant and had outside seating. The food was very good.
When we got back to the hotel we had a few minutes to check out and Lana, Jay and Lucca went to the airport and Doris and I drove to Wendover to fill up the gasoline tank and to buy groceries to last five days.
The road turns then into a dirt road. It is still in good shape up to Gold Hill, the former mining town, which is nestled in the hills. I would like to know what the people there do for a living now.
After driving thirty five miles on the dirt road we saw Doris’s property which is now an industrial area. When her father was running his mill it was not visible from a distance, but the large metal building, which is now on the property, can be seen for miles.
There are also four large trucks for hauling ore, earth moving equipment and an ambulance.
As soon as we entered the gate, John, the owner of the company which is building the new mill, came and wanted to show Doris the new equipment he has installed.
Doris told him that we first have to turn on the electricity so we can turn on the refrigerator and we have to turn on the water.
I expected trouble with the water. The day we left the property in November we had 18 degrees F. All the water pipes were frozen and we had no chance to drain them.
We had opened all faucets and hoped for a warm spell to melt the ice in the pipes.
Besides John there were two of his employees waiting for us to turn on the water. They were done with working for the day and wanted to go to the place where the all live. One of the other employees has rented a property about six miles down the road and she leaves early from work and cooks the evening meal. All the employees live there.
When we turned on the water a big geyser appeared near the water heater. Also in the log cabin the floor and rug got wet. Doris has a schedule and she could not follow it because of all the uninvited help she got.
The leaks were not frost related though. A galvanized tee had corroded from the inside and an about 3/16 inch diameter hole appeared. We were lucky that the workmen were still here.
While John, Doris and I went on a tour of the mill the leak was fixed.
Since November John has spent another million dollars for new equipment. He explained to Doris the new process he has developed. He will also use some of her father’s methods.
In the control room he can see how every piece of equipment is performing. There are 36 cameras in the plant and 36 pictures on the screen.
When he touches the picture on the screen the picture fills the whole monitor.
They also changed the outside conveyor system.
The big pit got bigger and still is not big enough per regulations. John is trying to recirculate the water he will use for separating the tungsten from the rest of the material and not use the pit.
He hopes he will start running the mill in two weeks. They brought plenty of ore from the mine. I hope they have no break downs. There are some big boulders which have to be ground down to about one and a half inch and then to smaller sizes.
Doris is kind of sad. I think she did not realize how big of an operation this will be.
She used to enjoy looking out of her kitchen window and see desert and mountains in the back. They are still there but there also big drums for diesel fuel and a building where the group does repairs.
When we were done with the tour we had to start cleaning.
The fine desert sand goes through the smallest holes. We took the covers of the furniture and Doris started dusting and I did the vacuuming. I also emptied the car and put the meat and vegetables in the refrigerator. We had brought an extra bag of ice and I tried to save most of the ice from the ice chest. We need it on our way back.
After eating a sandwich we made the bed and cleaned up and fell into bed. It was 10:30 PM.
I woke up at 6:30 AM and ate my cereal and watched the sun come over the mountains. It is so quiet here.
This will all change when the mill is running. The electric company will not provide additional power, which is needed, to run all that big equipment. So John has giant generators installed. Crushing the ore is also very noisy. They will be running the mill twenty four hours.
This will be a different place now. Doris and her family had family reunions here and had a lot of fun. There a bunk beds in the building and there is the small trailer and the log cabin. They were all filled.
Doris tried to get her sister Helen, who lives in Salt Lake City, to come out here for a few days. She was not interested.
From Eureka it is about 900 miles and from Oregon even farther. It is not an easy place to get to.
Doris has still relatives her. Her sister Barbara lives in town and a 103 year old uncle lives on a ranch about ten miles from here. There are also some cousins living in the valley.
John came to the house at 8:00 AM. He was all excited and wanted to talk to Doris. He got more money from the investors.
I rather let Doris sleep longer. A well rested woman is a happy woman.
On my morning walk I could see the Ibapan Peak and the Haystack Peak. Both are over 12,000 feet high. There is still some snow on top.
Doris has sixty acres at this site and John uses about twenty of them. He has machines, trucks, earth movers and all kind of equipment parked all over the area.
The fuel tanks and the work shop ruined Doris’s view from the kitchen. I sit on the end of the table and I do not see the fuel tanks; I see the desert and the snow capped mountains.
John has a lot of parts strewn around the place. He promised Doreen that after the mill is running it will be cleaned up.
Right now they are concentrating on producing tungsten. Some good things happened though. He installed a new, rubber lined, water tank up on the hill for Doris. He got rid of the old rusty one. She gets clean water right from the start now. John has several big water tanks. He uses Doris’s well now but will get his own soon.
Because Doris comes here only twice a year one of the large trees died. The trees are not getting enough water in the summer. With John and his crew here that could be changed.
It is warm here and we took it easy today. We did some more cleaning and I put a weather strip on one door to keep the sand from entering the house. I also vacuumed all the window tracks. Sand made it difficult to open the windows.
Doris did laundry. We did one dry run to remove the antifreeze from the washing machine. We had put it in last November.
In the evening we went for a walk. All the workers had left but John was still here trying to get Speedy, the hummingbird, leave the big building. It has settled there and the crew has installed a feeder. Why should it leave?
We talked to John for a while and after he left we continued our walk. It was so quiet and peaceful. There is nobody around for at least six miles.
The clouds and the mountains were just beautiful.
All that beauty and quietness comes with a price. To buy groceries one has a choice of Wendover, which is seventy miles away, mostly on dirt roads, or Delta which is ninety miles away, also mostly dirt roads.
Cell phones do not work here, and there is no television. We have no Internet access.
John has a satellite dish to get on the Internet. Doris has a telephone land line. She has it connected when we are here.
There was very little sun this morning and the temperature was just fine.
I did some weeding and Doris did dusting and cleaning in the log cabin. In the afternoon it got hot again. I took off the cover of the swamp cooler and we started it up. It brought down the inside temperature to a comfortable condition.
While I was weeding I saw a large bull snake and when we started watering a rattle snake slithered under the wood shed. Doris was surprised that it did not rattle. Now I have to be even more careful when I am walking outside.
An hour later Doris asked me whether I would like to see Buster. I asked her who Buster was. She took me to the front of the house and there was a rattle snake all curled up. It raised its head but did not rattle.
Now we do not know whether it is the same snake which went under the wood shed.
Later when Doris was cleaning in the little trailer she saw a rattle snake go under the trailer. We still do not know whether they all are Buster or whether they are his brothers and sisters.
In the evening we had thunder and lightning and wind. It rained only a little bit.
I finally got two radio stations on my tiny radio. One gives news periodically. At least we know now what is going on in the world, probably not a good thing.
In the morning we did some more weeding. When I was pulling weeds yesterday I had left a plant which looked like ground cover people have in San Diego. Doris told me that it was a poisonous weed and it makes cows sick. She got a hoe and cut it down and I was raking it up and filled up a wheel barrow and deposited on the weed pile. Next time we come here it will be dry and ready to be burned.
I also covered the louvered windows on the travel trailer with plastic and held in place with duct tape. I could do only the side where the door is. Later when it got warmer and Buster’s smaller relative decided to move I could do the other side. A rattle snake was all curled up and did not move his head or rattle when I came near it.
I think we will adopt the snakes as pets. Doris’s pet is at home. We are wondering how Mr. Big is doing and how he is getting along with the house sitter.
At 1:00 PM we went to Callao and picked up Doris’s sister Barbara.
We had prepared the meal and only had to cook it when we came back from Callao. Doris had been beating the heck out of the pork chops and breaded them while I was peeling the potatoes. Doris told me to use ten potatoes. Barbara had asked for mashed potatoes and gravy. I thought ten potatoes were too many.
When I saw Barbara loading up on potatoes I was glad I had ten potatoes. Barbara had brought a
After dessert we left for Ibapah, a ranching community on the other side of the Deep Creek Mountain Range.
We drove on the old Pony Express Dirt Road and came by Six Mile Ranch where John and his crew spend the night.
Driving through Overland Canyon was a very scenic experience. We were late though for the wild flowers. When we arrived in Ibapah the women decided to visit Udene, one of their second cousins. Udene has twelve siblings. This is common in this part of the country.
Udene moved out of the five bedroom ranch house into a smaller, modern home. One of her children operates the ranch now. They raise Black Angus cattle, and they have beautiful horses. The valley has very productive grazing areas.
On the way home we took a detour and drove through Gold Hill. Doris and Barbara had lived there when they were small children. The two had a good time reminiscing about the old time. I was sitting in the back enjoying the view.
When we came back to Callao Barbara wanted Doris to drive though town. About fifteen families live there now. The two were talking about who’s house that was and who lives there now. In small communities people know each other.
This was a slow day. Doris cleaned the inside if the travel trailer and I got the shed ready. Later we drove to the town dump and got rid of our garbage. To get to the garbage disposal site we drove part of the Pony Express Trail. Callao was on the Pony Express Route and the Lincoln Highway. One of Doris’s ancestors had a stage stop on the route. He would supply fresh horses and feed for the animals and food and shelter for the riders.
Then we got the log cabin ready. While draining the hot water tank we noticed that a lot of small black particles came out of the drain pipe. It appears that this comes from changing the holding tank on top of the hill.
When we come back we have to attach a long water hose to the tank and water the trees for a while, until the water clears.
We got up and ate breakfast. Doris washed the bedding, while I covered the furniture and transferred the food from the refrigerator to the ice box. When we were done we turned off the electricity and took off. It was 10:00 AM.
We drove all the way to Reno, Nevada. There we stayed at the Circus-Circus Casino.
We had a large room with bed, couch, desk and other pieces of furniture. It was a regular party room.
We had dinner at one of the restaurants at the casino. We chose Mexican food.
After dinner we went for a walk on Virginia Street, the main street in town. I did not have my camera with me and it is a shame. I had some good opportunities for pictures. I have to wait until next time.
When we came back to the casino we watched two Chinese ladies perform in the arena. They were juggling large drums. It was a very good show.
By 9:00 AM we were on the road. We filled up the tank of the car with cheaper than in California gasoline, and ate breakfast at a casino west of Reno. Since we paid only $ 3.95 for breakfast we decided to put each five dollars in slot machines.
It took only ten minutes and the price of our breakfast had risen to $ 8.95.
We left Interstate 80 and took Highway 20 all the way to highway 101 near Ukiah, California.
In Willits we had a late lunch. We sat at bar stools and watched the cooks prepare the meals. Those poor guys worked very hard.
We arrived at home at 5:00 PM.