Category: Way Off the Beaten Path

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

January 16, 2018

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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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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Armagosa Sand Dunes, Nevada

July 22, 2011

GPS Position: N36o 39.00 W116o 33.83 (WGS 84)

Armagosa Sand Dunes, Nevada

Armagosa Sand Dunes, Nevada

Just a short hour and a half drive North of Las Vegas is the Armagosa Sand Dunes. Amargosa or Big Dune is a playground that covers about five square miles of dunes and dips, and its centerpiece is a peak that tops out at 500 feet. These hills, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, are a well-kept secret and mostly used by locals, but expect to find plenty of other off-roaders on the weekends. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the entire dune system is open to all types of motorized vehicles, except for a small five acre enclosure delineated by “Carsonite” posts. In addition, there are several trails leading into the mountains southwest of the Dunes which are fun to explore.

How to get there:

At the starting point of Hwy 95 and Ann Road in Las Vegas, travel on Hwy 95 North 76 miles until the Death Vally/Armagosa Valley junction. Continue through the junction and travel 8.2 miles to Valley View Rd./Armagosa Farms Rd. Turn Left and go 1.1 miles then turn right onto a dirt road and proceed 1.3 miles until you reach the dunes.

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Lovell Canyon, Nevada

July 12, 2011

GPS Position: N36o 01.136, W115o 33.696 (WGS 84)

Lovell Canyon is located about 25 miles West of Las Vegas at the southern tip of the Spring Mountain Range. Lovell Canyon is situated near the historic Spanish Trail. Stretching from New Mexico and California, the trail was a principal means of reaching the Pacific Coast by Spanish traders. Later the Trail became Nevada’s first route of commerce in 1829 when trade was initiated between Santa Fe and Los Angeles. The trail was later used by the wagons of the “49ers” and Mormon pioneers. Old cabins and mining camps are dispersed around the entire area.

Lovell Canyon

To visit Lovell Canyon from Las Vegas travel north on I-15 to the Blue Diamond/Pahrump exit. Turn right (W) onto State Route 160. Follow this route over Mountain Springs Pass for 24 miles (passing the Potosi Mtn turnoff en route) to the signed, paved, Lovell Canyon road. Turn right (N) and follow this narrow road into Lovell Canyon.

Rocky Gap

At the 7.5 mile point along the Lovell Canyon road, there is a large camping area immediately across from the Rocky Gap road turn-off marked by a small sign “549” just off the pavement. This is a good place to off-load ATVs etc. or to camp. Off-road vehicles may continue on Rocky Gap road to the Red Rock Summit.

Lovell Canyon

Further North in Lovell Canyon there are many other off-road trails to find and explore. It is recommended to obtain a map of the area to locate the trails.

Lovell Canyon Valley

A view to the East across the Lovell Canyon Valley. The Spring Mountains are in the distance.

Road map for this trip

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Rhyolite Ghost Town – Nye County, Nevada

July 11, 2011

GPS: N36° 53.884′ W116° 49.781′ (WGS 84)

Rhyolite was born in 1905 and was once the third largest city in Nevada. The town reached a population of over 10,000 by 1908. Gold was discovered in the hills surrounding the town which was part of one mining stampede after another in Nevada. There are numerous ruins and relics scattered throught the area including a bank, school house, jail and railroad depot. There are also a few intact structures used by a small number of present day residents. There is also present day gold mine located near Rhyolite which ceased operations in 1998. The tailings from the mine just about overshadow the town. For more information about Rhyolite, please refer to

To get to Rhyolite from Las Vegas, travel Northwest on US 95 for 116 miles (2 hours, 45 minutes) to Beatty, Nevada and turn West on SR 374. Rhyolite is located about 4 miles west of the town of Beatty, Nevada on HWY 374. Signs will guide your way. The trip time is about 3 hours.

Rhyolite Cook Bank

This is the Cook Bank, which was eventually absorbed by the First Rhyolite National Bank. A United States Post Office was also located in the basement and operated there until 1919. It was the last business to close in Rhyolite. And that was quite a task for the Post Office, because they were selling parts of the Cook Bank Building in 1910!


A full view of the bank. It’s one of the largest buildings still standing in Rhyolite.

Bottle House

One of the first buildings you will see is the Bottle House. There is register, free information and a tour guide booklet of the town. Be prepared to spend about 15 or 30 minutes with the caretaker, he is a BLM Volunteer who loves to give tours around the Bottle House.


One of few buildings in the area with an intact roof.

Jail was built in 1907

The jail was built in 1907 out of concrete with four steel cells.

Directions to Rhyolite


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