Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Death Valley

Death Valley, California - It is little wonder that the 20 mule team borax outfits of the late 1800's became world famous. They hauled 46,000 pounds of borax and their own water and hay over the arduous 165 mile, ten day trip to Mojave via Wingate Pass.

The unbelievably long string of mules were controlled by a 125 foot check line that was connected with the lead animals. (Postcard copyright Ferris H. Scott, Santa Ana, CA 1960's)

Twenty Mule Team - The first mules used on the wagons built by J.S.W. Perry were owned by Charless Bennett. Ash and Hickory used was aged in the desert or the wagons would soon have fallen apart.

Rear wheels were seven feet high, front wheels five feet, with steel tires eight inches wide and one inch thick. The complete wagon weighed three tons and carried ten tons. They cost around $900 each to build. (Postcard copyright by Merle Porter and published by Royal Pictures, Colton CA 1950's)

4 comments:

Cory Gross said...

That's a lot of mule.

My dream trip to California actually involves passing by Death Valley. The ideal would be to land in San Fran, poke around there a little, go over to Yosemite for a few nights, then down past Death Valley and to LA. Unfortuantely, the Death Valley route is 9 hours not including stopovers while direct from Yosemite to LA is only 5. Hmmm.

Major Pepperidge said...

Can you imagine spending ten days passing through Death Valley behind a long string of mules? The heat and the dust... yeesh.

Cory should definitely take the long route... you won't regret it! Nice avatar by the way, a close relative of the one I made!!

Viewliner Ltd. said...

You must take the trip Cory. It is one of unbelievable beauty.

MAjor: I can't even begin to wonder how anyone could survive a slow 10 day, 165 mile trip in that heat. Amazing!

Cory Gross said...

Well then, I can't beat two recommendations! I just have to see if I can talk my girlfriend into it ^_~

Major,

Thanks! My little logo is just a part of branding myself by my own blog... but yeah, lookin' good! ^_^