SPANGLER HILLS OUTING REPORT: by
This report includes parts of the last two scheduled TBSA outings for January
and February, which were both at Spangler Hills. Note that the TBSA members in
attendance for each outing were Larry and Chas. Larry’s neighbor Patrick and his
wife joined them for the January outing, with Patrick riding Larry’s Honda
CRF230. Patrick is one of Larry’s mountain-bike riding friends.
Spangler Hills OHV recreation area is a very large area in the Mojave desert which provides the opportunity to ride a multitude of very diverse types of terrain. The group also visited the quaint historical town of Randsburg, where superb sundaes and malts were enjoyed along with the town’s ambiance.
Over the course of the two outings, Larry and Chas rode seven great rides. Larry led for most of each ride since he is so familiar with the area. Larry did a good job at avoiding a lot of the infamous “whoops.’’ When Chas was leading, some of the main goals were to find more sand washes, gnarly trails, and hill climbs.
During the first night of the second outing. Chas noted his trailer interior lights were gradually getting dimmer and dimmer. By morning the battery voltage was down to zero! Larry and Chas soon diagnosed the problem. Unbeknownst to Chas, the trailer emergency brakes had been activated when the trailer was unhitched the prior day, which left the trailer brakes and lights turned on all the time! The two batteries were quickly replaced with a new pair from a local Ridgecrest store. The trailer brakes apparently survived the trauma.
The weather during both outings was reasonably mild with daytime temperatures approaching 68, nighttime into the low 40’s. The winds during the February outing were much stronger with very strong gusts, especially in the afternoon, plus it rained most of the night on Friday. Chas’ doormat disappeared, never to be found again. The sixth ride ventured over near the southwest corner of Ridgecrest where some neat bicycle/hiking trails were discovered bordered with rocks. During the seventh ride, a trip to the “Sand Hills” was on the docket. Chas led for a large portion of this ride. Chas was dutifully selective in which hills to climb, avoiding those that were ‘nasty’ or rocky up near the top. All of the steeper hills that were attempted were successfully conquered with two notable exceptions.
On the first hill Larry and Chas decided to take photos of each other climbing the hill with Larry going first. It appeared that Larry would make the hill but his bike stopped near the top. Larry reported that the sand was very deep, loose and soft up near the top. Chas figured that he could make the hill by putting his 2-stroke 300 into third gear and buzzing his bike to the top just like in the old days. He got his bike buzzing pretty good but not quite as fast as he had intended; thus his bike also bogged down just like it was in quicksand close to the top of the hill. The second failure potentially could have been disastrous. Chas watched Larry climbing the last hill when all of a sudden his bike came to a stop. Chas took an alternate route to the top and rode over to check on Larry. Lo and behold, there was Larry’s bike within a few inches of a small unmarked mine shaft at the top of the hill. WOW! The shaft was too small to swallow a bike but nevertheless was in a very bad location.
Wagon Wheel OHV Area:
If, like Keith, you rode in the Mojave Desert 30+ years ago, this used to be called “Charlie’s Place.”
And here’s the story of that: From the CORVA website, October, 2014
“Whether you know the area as ‘Charlie’s Place,’ ‘Wagon Wheel,’ or ‘Spangler Hills OHV area,’ you know this year’s CORVA Southern Jamboree is one not to be missed. So, why exactly do they call it Charlie’s Place? Charlie’s Place was originally started by a woman named Alice who at the time in 1944 was married to a fellow named Bill Lewis. Alice and Bill were avid rock hounds and in 1943 started a business cutting and polishing gem stones and book ends. The business was called “NOTS Rock Hound Club” and this was later renamed “Indian Wells Valley Gem and Mineral Society.” It is not clear when Alice actually opened the beer parlor which she named “Alice’s Wagon Wheel Beer Parlor.” Alice lived at this location for her last 23 years. In 1951 Bill died and eight years later (1959), Alice married Charlie Moore a machinist on the NOTS China Lake Base. They continued to operate Alice’s Wagon Wheel Beer Parlor. In 1967 Alice died and the Wagon Wheel was shut down but Charlie reopened it a short time later. It was around this time that the State of California mandated that you could not sell alcohol with out food so Charlie began serving sandwiches, soda, pizza and such. Charlie remarried and continued to run the “Wagon Wheel Beer Parlor” but the locales just refereed to it as Charlie’s. In the late 80s Charlie’s second wife became quite ill and he move to Ridgecrest to be close to his wife who was now in the hospital. It was shortly after this that “Charlie’s Place” burnt down. Charlie’s was a great place to stop and have something to eat and drink and as always some great conversation with Charlie. In this age of fast food stands, a place like Charlie’s will never be seen again. It is truly missed by all who made this a stop on a day’s riding. For those of us who were wondering why the area was renamed Wagon Wheel Off Road Staging Area by the BLM, now you know the whole story and kudos to the BLM for remembering Alice and her beer parlor. Today all that’s left of Charlie’s place is the foundation. No matter what you call it, Spangler Hills OHV area provides for a family-friendly riding area. Competition events have been held in the Red Mountain area since at least 1973. The area provides for all skill levels whether you’re on two or four wheels. The Spangler OHV Area provides a wide variety of riding opportunities including cross country play, trail riding, advanced technical routes, 4-wheel drive trails, and Enduro, Technique Trials, European Scramble and Hare & Hound competitive events. The area provides an uncrowded riding opportunity in the Western Mojave Desert three hours north of Los Angeles.”
JANUARY - -
Larry and his Neighbor:
The remaining foundation of the historic "Charlie's Place":
FEBRUARY - -