Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 1: Arrival in CA and Visit of Calico Ghost Town

I can't believe this day is finally here! Ive been looking forward to this day for months, and in a way, it feels as if I've been waiting for it my whole life. In only three weeks I'll see and do more throughout the American West than some will in their entire lives. The word "grateful" almost seems inadequate to describe how I feel.

After leaving Rowan University at around 3:00am, my 15 classmates, professor, and I headed to the Philadelphia airport in a big yellow school bus. Our first flight left at 5:45am and landed in Houston, Texas at 8:20 (Texas time)-- slightly delayed due to storms in Texas. We then flew from Houston to Santa Ana, California, arriving at 10:45am (California time). Feeling somewhat refreshed from brief naps on the plane, I felt wide-eyed after we rode our two rented vans from John Wayne Airport to our motel in Barstow, where I'll be rooming with three other girls whom I've quickly befriended.

After dropping off our suitcases, we headed to our first destination--Calico Ghost Town. We noticed that the surroundings became more remote and desert-like as we headed West, and the notorious Southern California Smog less dense. Rocky, clay-colored landscapes provided entertainment as we drove on and all noted the dichotomy of severe flat lands with steep spires and rocky hills. Low shrubs and sparse hay-like grass accounts for the majority of the flora, with every so often a lonely acacia tree appearing here and there.

Once we arrived at the ghost town (where it was 106 degrees at about 3:00pm), we were a given a brief geology lecture and given free range of the somewhat less-than-authentic ghost town. Calico is certainly worth checking out if you're in town, but don't expect a spooky everybody-just-upped-and-went feel. Instead expect tasteful, yet no less touristy, gift shops and photo ops. Still, in the late 1800s this was a prosperous silver mining town, but when standards for useful ore increased, everyone headed elsewhere. There is still a feeling of stepping back in time.

A dust devil near Calico

We hung out at the motel pool for a while and then ate Mexican food at Rosita's in Barstow, and left stuffed and tired.

On that note, I should rest up for a long, hot day tomorrow in Death Valley...

1 comment:

  1. LOVE following your posts. Thanks for sharing your adventure! :)