Category: Off The Beaten Path

Desert Megaphone

February 16, 2015

GPS: N35° 01′ 18″ W116° 11′ 51″ (WGS 84)

Desert megaphone

Desert Megaphone

Desert Megaphone. This odd looking hunk of metal was found during a trip to Afton Canyon, California. on December 23, 2000. No one really knows who built this contraption or how they built it. This thing is huge. It must be about 10 ft. long and about 2 ft. round. It is made of heavy steel and has been welded into place and set into the rocks by drilling holes. This desert art work has been named the ‘Desert Megaphone’ and is a great thing to talk about.

Its located by Crucero Rd in the Mojave desert. Nobody knows who built the Desert Megaphone or who put it there, but I feel it was made by someone working for the railroad long ago. Some have speculated that the ends may have been covered with skins and used as a drum.

The Megaphone is a big tube of welded steel fashioned from several train parts. From the looks of it some attention to detail was done to create it. If you bang on it with a rock it makes a loud clanging noise. Someone also attached a small brass bell to it, for what reason who knows. The direction it points also has no reason either.

Leave a comment if you have any information regarding the “Desert Megaphone” or have seen it prior to December of 2000.

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On This Date: January 27, 1951 First Nuclear Bomb Detonated at Nevada Test Site

January 27, 2015
Able- First Nuclear Test At the Nevada Test Site January 27, 1951

Able- First Nuclear Test At the Nevada Test Site January 27, 1951

The first nuclear bomb was tested at the Nevada Test Site on January 27, 1951. The Nevada Test Site is located 65 mi northwest of Las Vegas. The series of test was called Operation Ranger it was the fourth American nuclear test. The nuke shot was called  ‘Able’ and it was the first air-dropped nuclear device to be exploded on American soil. The test took place on Frenchman Flat, a dry lakebed in the Nevada Test Site (site 5). The .5-kiloton explosion was the first series to be carried out at the Nevada Test Site. The bomb was dropped by B-50 bombers and exploded in the open air over Frenchman Flat (Area 5).

Photo:  Department of Defense

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On This Date: January 16, 1942, Carole Lombard Dies in Plane Crash Near Las Vegas

January 16, 2015

On this date, January 16, 1942, a Douglas DC-3 Propliner left Las Vegas and crashed in to nearby Potosi Mountain.

TWA Flight 3

TWA Flight 3 Crashed in to Mount Potosi on January 16, 1942 near Las Vegas

After taking off from now named Nellis Air Force base, TWA Flight 3 flew for 15 minutes and slammed into a sheer cliff on Potosi Mountain, 32 miles southwest of the airport, at an elevation of 7,770 ft. and was destroyed.

All nineteen passengers on board, including movie star Carole Lombard, who was married to husband Clark Gable, her mother, and all three crew members, died in the crash.

Potosi Mountain can be seen from the Las Vegas valley and has a elevation of 8,517 ft.

GPS: 35° 57′ 3.71″ N, 115° 29′ 25″ W
Photo by: Wikipedia

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Lonnie Hammargren’s Nevada Day House Tour

November 2, 2014
Lonnie Hammargren

Lonnie Hammargren

Lonnie Hammargren long time Las Vegas resident, neurosurgeon, politician and eclectic collector of Las Vegas and Nevada history opens his house, Castillo del Sol to Las Vegas residents to celebrate Nevada Day. Lonnie severed as Lt. Governor of Nevada (1995-1999), and spent years as a NASA flight surgeon. His house or should I say his 3 houses combined to form one large museum with has at least 3 stories and a basement sprawl over then neighborhood near Flamingo and Sandhill.

Some of the items noted are a life-size Apollo capsule, atomic bombs, observatory, planetarium, casino signs, time machines, Liberace memorabilia (including a full set of stairs), a sarcophagus in a Egyptian tomb, stage, trains, political history, replica of Hoover Dam, large scaled size model of the Space Shuttle, memorials to fallen astronauts, Bat-mobile, Statue of Liberty, and of the latests items was the roller-coster from the the top of the Stratosphere. Lonnie’s house has been featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and the Travel Channel’s Vegas VIP Homes.

This was the final year (2014) for the public to tour of Mr. Hammargren’s house on Nevada Day weekend.

Photos by:
Date Taken: November 2, 2014

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On This Date September 30, 1935 Hoover Dam Was Dedicated by President FDR

September 30, 2014
Hoover Dam Dedicated by President Roosevelt

Boulder Dam/Hoover Dam Dedicated by President Roosevelt Sept. 30, 1935

Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between Arizona and Nevada. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers, and cost over one hundred lives. The cost of the construction was $49 million dollars and was completed two years ahead of schedule. The dam was controversially named after President Herbert Hoover.

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Bristlecone Trail Hike – Lee Canyon, Nevada

September 29, 2014

Bristlecone TrailGPS: N36° 18′ 23.8386″  – W115° 40′ 41.4588″ (WGS 84)

The Bristlecone Trail starting point is know as the Upper Bristlecone Trail. It is located a the very end of the Lee Canyon Road (Highway 156). Take US 95 toward Reno, pass the Mountain Charleston turn-off continuing straight for 10 miles, make a left on Lee Canyon Road (Highway 156), follow it until it ends. It trailhead starts in the parking lot of the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort, where the turnaround or helicopter landing pad is located. This hike will take you 2-3 hours to complete, depending on stops and breaks. The trail is clearly marked and you will notice a fence on either side of the trail for the first quarter of a mile. This was installed to protect some sensitive plants for butterflies.  The first part of the trail is lined with Ponderosa Pine, Aspens, and further near the summit are the Bristlecone Pines. The hike offers great views of Lee Canyon and the surrounding area. Even with 105°+ temperatures in Las Vegas the mountain offer a cool escape from the dreaded heat.

Warnings: This hike starts out at 8,600 feet and reaches an altitude of 9,381 feet.  So if you just came up from the valley desert floor, be prepared for some heaving breathing. Also, beware that there are mountain bikers on the trails, so watch out.  The dirt road portion of the hike (last 4 miles) is quite wide and has room for everyone and has a gentle slope.

The full loop back to the parking lot is just under 6 miles.  The hardest part is the first 2 miles. Once pass the summit, it is a gentle slope to the Lower Bristlecone Trailhead. A final small hike along the roadside for 1/2 mile will bring you back your starting place. This hike is not a difficult hike – just a little long and a lot of breathing for the first 2 miles. Have fun, bring water and be safe.

Update: This trail is great to hike anytime in the summer to get away from the scorching heat of the lower desert floor. But as a reminder, and if you time it right, try to hike it around September 21 and you may catch the Aspens in their golden and reddish Autumn colors before they are discarded to the forest floor.

Lee Canyon – Bristlecone Trail – Click for hi-res photo

View 360° Panoramic of the Bristlecone TrailHead

Base of Las Vegas Ski & Snow Resort – Summer

View 360° Panoramic of the Las Vegas Ski and Snow Resort

Photos by:

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