Monday, December 10, 2012

Death Valley-Scotty's Castle and the Racetrak

One day several of us headed north towards Scotty's Castle and the Racetrack.

The race track has the sciene world mystified.  These rocks leave these tracks across an old lake bed.  But no one has ever seen them move and no one knows what moves them.  Theory is the lake bed, after any slight moisture, becomes a slick, clay bed and then if there are heavy winds, which are known to get up to 60mph, they will slide the rocks along.  The sliding motion leaves the track as you see.  The lake bed is quite large and I was looking in the wrong area.  Mark got to the right area and took this shot.

I spotted this unique sand dollar (placed there, I'm sure).

This was about the best track I saw in my wanderings around the lake bed.
The trip to see this phenomena was 27 miles along a very bumpy, washboardy, rough road.

Just six miles from the racetrack we came upon Teakettle Junction.  Many of the teakettle's were dated and many were placed there recently, but some had dates as far back as 2009.

Ubehebe Crater, unlike many craters, is dated as only 2000 years old, not millions of years old.

Scotty's Castle was built in the 1920 by Albert Johnson.  It cost between 1.5 and 2.5 million dollars.  Mr. Johnson, from Chicago, was convinced by 'Death Valley Scotty', a scam artist, to invest his money in a non-existent gold mine.  Eventually Mr. Johnson came out to Death Valley to inspect his gold mine and discovered the hoax.  But he fell in love with the area (it improved his poor health) and although he lost his money in the scam, he still befriended Scotty and they were lifelong friends.  
After the stock market crash, Mr. Johnson started giving tours of the the Mission Style and Spanish Colonial Style Villa.  Since Scotty was there and gave many of the tours, most believed it was Scotty who owned the castle.  Even when Mr. Johnson was in the room and listening to Scotty's spiel, Mr. Johnson did nothing to dissuade people from this belief.  In realty, Scotty's home was about a mile away, and was not much more than an adobe hut, with no electricity or running water.

The gates to the inner courtyard.

The inner courtyard.

One of Mr. Johnson's autos.

The living room.  Almost all the furnishings are those of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, who lived here until their deaths.  The castle was then given to a religious organization which Mrs. Johnson was affiliated.  They owned and provided tours until the National Park Service bought the property in 1970 for $850,000.

The property was quite modern for the 1920s.  Electricity was provided by their own power plant, even including an electric refrigerator.  I just loved this beautiful, fully tiled kitchen.

The only way to see the inside of the castle is by a guided tour.  The tour guides dress up in period dress and take on the persona of one of the characters who once lived here.

The music room with both a player piano and player pipe organ.  Both are still in operating shape, and a concert is given once a year.

Never finished, this pit was to be a pool.

There were several other dwellings nearby for the ranch manager and other employees, and later, used to house paying guests.

Some of the equipment from the original power plant.  The park service is in the process of revitalizing and restoring the power plant and making it operative again.
I missed seeing Scotty's Castle when I was here several years ago.  I won't miss it again.  It was a wonderful experience.

No comments: