My Plan to Get Out of the Rat Race

Red Mountain, CA. Red Mountain is a time capsule. Daily life in a high desert mining town. Pop. 130, but the saloon is shut down. The grocery store is only of value as a piece of decay, for exploring old wrecks. It’s a deep freeze of memory, little motions among the frozen foods that make up life.

Frozen Foods

Frozen Foods

Meat

Meat

The gold boom came in 1896 and then again in 1984. One of the richest silver strikes in the area happened in between. The Owl Hotel was “Where the action was!” thanks to “the girls of the line.”

Here’s my plan: I leave L.A. I buy the Silver Dollar, the old saloon. I book some bands, and people come out. The dance floor feels useful again. It could happen. Look at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown. The historical markers in Red Mountain have references we can no longer follow. Maybe someone can, some old-timer who can tell us what the elephant was and why the dedicated bartenders of the Silver Dollar were keepers of it.

Keepers of the Elephant

Keepers of the Elephant

Silver Dollar

Silver Dollar

We can hold onto this little thread of history while it frays and the details snap and break in the high desert winter. They turn into pieces of scattered metal and rock. We can edge our own history into this. The Silver Dollar can be patched up and re-stocked. It can be a destination for a certain kind of tourist. There can once again be a keeper of the elephant.

Where: Hwy 395 Mojave Desert East of Ridgecrest, California
From Los Angeles: About 2.5 hours

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