Gold in them, thar hills

By | Category: Travel destinations

Randsburg; still being mined

It was something like that that they used to say in the old westerns. But gold still exists in some mining towns in the Mojave desert in California. And not necessarily the yellow variety.
Take Randsburg, a small town of eighty odd people (and that might be the right adjective!) that is an old gold mining town. Once a boom draw, all the mines there today are privately owned so you can’t enter them unless you can persuade the owner to let you.
Today they may make more money from tourism for this is on the trail of those who set out from Los Angeles to go to Death Valley and all the colour and drama that that conjures up. It isn’t a pretty town. It hasn’t been gentrified. Rusting cars from fifty years ago are perched where they died. What you see is what you get. There are shacks that look as though the rust is all that is left. Some aren’t big enough to swing a cat in but this is what it was like. Some are still inhabited. There are more modern houses. (that seems to grand a word for much of what you see.)
The main street has a slew of antique shops in it, more than you would see in many British towns, containing all sorts of old equipment, machinery and modern tourist items. The General Store, which is a popular stop for lunch, brunch or just a cooling drink, (I had sasparilla here for the first time in my life. And probably the last! It’s an acquired taste.) sells everything even Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce. And it makes a good hamburger as well.
As you enter the town, there’s a gaol. (sorry jail) It has two cells and little else. Given that I was there in April and the temperature was in the nineties what did those locked up have to face? A commentary gives you a little of the flavour as do the wanted notices pinned to the wall.
A whole day you won’t spend there. But as a stopping off place as you explore the Mojave or Death Valley it’s a place that hasn’t been prettied up for visitors and that makes it worth a detour. This is the genuine article.

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