jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Photographer)
The sun was still riding high in the afternoon sky when we departed the former George Air Force Base again. Even though we were asked to leave (politely) I felt very satisfied with the photos I’d retrieved. My kids were anything but happy though. With few exceptions, I’d kept them in the car at most sites due to the security (patrol) situation and they were aching to photograph some sites too. Given the time and the routes homeward that were available, we swung south out of Adelanto and drove towards Palmdale. There were (very) old houses in that area I’d been told about by Amanda ( [livejournal.com profile] lady_angharad). We weren’t disappointed.

In the 1880 to 1910 timeframe, there was a major homesteading push in the Antelope Valley and communities like Lake Los Angeles were surrounded by hundreds of homesteader shacks and small farms. It’s hard to conceive that this desert area could have been a large farming community, but the evidence is there.



Home sweet home (14 behind the cut) )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Photographer)
After departing the Hawes Communication Relay bunker, we back tracked and headed south along US Hwy 395 hoping to find ruins or sites along the way. Unfortunately other than sage brush and Joshua trees, there’s very little to be seen close to this busy highway. Given our lack of success, we swung by the abandoned sections of the former George AFB, now the Southern California Logistics Airport. As mentioned previously, George AFB was closed in 1988 and much of the facilities were left to decay while the community struggled to decide what to do with the vast air base. Much of George is a ghost town existing in various states of adaptive reuse, decay or preparation for the bulldozer.

When first entering the old base area (versus the maintained flight operations area), the first thing you pass through are the remains of the “Wherry” and “Capeheart” styled housing areas. These houses could not be reutilized because some were considered sub-standard for utilities, some had asbestos, and some were considered outside of local building codes. Now they look like a war zone.


Welcome to the battlefield
Going for a stroll down Memory Lane (14 behind the cut) )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Several months ago (February in fact), the munchins and I made a trip out to the Hawes Bunker (this was visit 2 of 3). This was mainly a side trip as we searched locations along the US 395 corridor. As it happens the search along US 395 wasn’t terribly successful so we stopped at familiar places like Hawes, and the former George AFB. On the way home, we found a bunch of 1880 thru 1920 era shacks in the desert near Lake Los Angeles.

Why so long with these photos?.. Read on at the bottom..


The pit of despair - This time we visited the Hawes site with heavy duty lights. Even with these lights, it was still and very, very dark.


Into the depths of darkness (5 behind the cut) )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
We safely got past the fire without incident, though my daughter was very upset by it. We descended back into the Antelope Valley and before angling north towards Rosamond, we found a double-wide mobile home that was abandoned to the elements and vandals.


On one side was a decaying couch

Dust in the wind..[+20] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Photographer)
After viewing the old squatter’s shack with amazement it was still standing, we headed further west to revisit another old friend – The Roadhouse. Sometimes also referred to as the Umbrella House, this building is mostly faring well despite its age. It’s estimated construction circa 1910 and most recent activity (last noted use) was 1992 as a staging point for helicopter rides over the artist Christo’s “Umbrella Project.”

Here’s some links to the Project in case you’re interested (these are not my sites):
http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/umFiles/umUSA.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christo_and_Jeanne-Claude#Umbrellas
http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/9173/umbrellas.html



The future’s uncertain and the end is always near..[+18] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Photographer)
Last week, [livejournal.com profile] badgerphone, my kids and I embarked on a road-trip adventure into the back country west and north of Lancaster. We stopped at a few old sites and a few new ones. Three sites are covered in this post: The Mott House, The Ranch Ruins and The West Valley Shack

Cruising north out of Palmdale, we spied the Mott house. I call it that, because there was a large volume of bills, letters, correspondence and even 1980’s era slides addressed to “L. Mott” (first name omitted for privacy.



Openings and closings )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Photographer)
Sorry about the delay in posting these, but the last week or so has been something of whirlwind of excitement and activity for me. In fact, its very hard to post photos, when you’re very busily out on the road taking more of them. More on that to follow...

When the road becomes history, where do the vehicles of those past travels vanish to? Nowadays, vehicles go to die in vast impersonal scrap yards where rarely one finds a wreck older than a few years from the current models on the streets. Time moves a little slower on Route 66 and the past refuses to goes gently into that long dark night. With a huge ‘For Sale’ sign in front, found an old graveyard alone and forlorn in the desert. The sign noted 200+ acres of prime land on Historic Route 66 (cars, not included)..



Sitting in neutral )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Photographer)
After making a photographic side trip to note the Felicia search, we return you to the expedition already in progress...

As we headed out of Oro Grande and east along National Trails Highway (old Route 66), it becomes evident that this is not a well traveled area. In fact, when we saw the Bottle Tree Ranch, we didn’t know what to make of it. The ranch was one individual’s attempt to collect many of the bottle and jars left over, on and around the “Mother Road” into an eclectic piece of roadside Americana. Hundreds of places like these used to line the highway from Chicago to LA. According to our info, the ranch owner had died recently and the huge display was being minded by a neighbor. When we walked up, there were definite signs of activity.



in the words of Sponge Bob, ooohh shiney...! )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Yesterday as mentioned, we went out looking to make contact with Felicia. The very first place we went to was Floyd’s house, a primary Felicia site. As we drove up late Friday morning something didn’t look right. Parts of the roof were gone and the house was crisped on the edges.



”The )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
A month ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with one of my LJ friends in San Diego. [livejournal.com profile] zoonew is a fellow photographer and she wanted show me some of the sights and photo spots around her community. We didn’t have any particular places in mind for this trip, and we happened to find this wonderful old building. Other photos of my wander around the city are in my personal LJ.



The California Theatre [+13] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
For your abandoned site and desolation photo fix..


Read more... )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Abandoned Places – North Lancaster Dairy

It seems to surprise people in other parts of the world (and even southern California) that the Antelope Valley used to be a major agricultural region for the state. When the farm economy went into free-fall due to failing ground water reserves, many farm owners saw the writing on the wall and turned to other work or sold out. In this case, the majority of this former dairy farm (main house and storage barns) lies within a construction company’s walled and gated property. Just outside the site were the remains of the farm’s former dairy barn. My son and I investigated this site in November of last year.



Photos [10 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Photographer)
The Hawes Radio Relay Annex site

My daughter and I went back into the bunker with the other group. My son wanted nothing to do with it and I was comfortable leaving him in the car for a bit (weather was nice). As we reentered the greater number of folks seemed to change the air in the place. The foreboding feeling faded to a dull sense of confusion and annoyance. Distractions are a good thing.


PA system, no orders today

Klaxxon , Klaxxon, Klaxx.. )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
The Hawes Radio Relay Annex site

Warning!
I’m going caveat the beginning of this post with a simple warning to (local) explorers. Most military bunkers, silos and facilities which are abandoned are not only the most exciting in terms of uniqueness, but they also tend to be highest on the danger scale. The Hawes bunker complex qualifies for this description. Like other military sites, there’s exposed and jagged metal, damaged support structures, insufficient light, open pits and chemical hazards. Compound the risk assessment by the fact that this site is in the middle of nowhere and cell phones will not work inside, so help isn’t going to come running quickly. As noted in reply to a comment, “Twenty years empty has made it a right of passage site for some kids to drink, smoke and try not to run screaming from it. Paintball player have used it as a game zone. Drug users have played and died inside the two (foot) thick walls of the main bunker”


Behind Door #1

It’s only forever, not long at all [16 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
The Hawes Radio Relay Annex site

Hwy 58 (former US 466) is steeped in military history. As the road proceeds east from the vicinity of Edwards AFB, it lays under huge aerial training and testing ranges. In fact from the 1940’s to the 1990’s, most of the airspace in the southern California, Nevada, northern AZ and western Utah, was highly restricted and used for training, testing and classified programs. During the early days of WW2, the area became home to hundreds of flight training bases and their auxiliary associated airfields. Thousands of aircrew members completed their flight certifications for P-38’s, P-40’s, B-24’s, P-51’s, F4U’s and C-47 aircraft before shipping out to Europe or the Pacific. Although many of the main bases have closed following WW2, George AFB and its annexes remained open supporting Cold War defense. One of these annex fields had been Hawes AAF (AUX) #1. Flying operations ceased there in the early 1960’s when it’s remote location by land and secure airspace above made it ideal for another mission.



Down, in the Underground )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
In the 1930’s, a severe drought, complicated by poor land use techniques helped to cause what’s known as the Dust Bowl in the great plains of the United States. Thousands of families lost their farms and fled west to California. Many of them took the legendary “mother Road” US Route 66. What many don’t know is that the farmers (“Okies”) who made it to the Central Valley of California, had to take US Hwy 466 from Barstow, Ca to Bakersfield.


My kids photographing an old gas station near North Edwards

The old highway was a two lane road had open access to many little settlements, gas stations, motor inns and roadhouses along its route. As with Route 66, progress has changed the character and nature of this historic road. It lost its US highway designation in 1964 and became California Hwy 58. From the early 1990’s till 2004 a series of modernizations turned the two lane road into a limited access 4 lane freeway. CalTrans believes that eventually it will be designated as an extension of I-40 from Barstow to Bakersfield. In the mean time the past has died a slow death along the 58. The freeway has bypassed many of the old businesses and progress sails past at 80 mph.

Fill’er up, we’re taking a road trip )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Well... I'm torn as to whether to be bummed that no-one decided to show and come with us; or to be happy because of the great sites we went to (old and new).

Revisited the Revere Extrusion plant (no photos, just a recon for a future shoot);
Revisited the Hawes Radio Facility and got some additional photos;
Revisited several new locations at former George AFB before we were politely asked to leave;
Visited or reconned eight new sites between Adalanto and Palmdale.

Happy, sad?... Tired
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Change of plans

For those of you playing the home game, yesterday I posted that I was openning up an expedition to friends and adventurers this weekend. The 400 lb common sense gorilla came and beat on me today. That and several well placed and well founded comments by my daughter (who sometimes shows surprisingly clearer foresight than I), have convinced me to delay by one week the planned photo expedition.

Why?

1. The weather
The weather which I had anticipated to not be a major factor is worsening. According to the national weather service, we're up to a 60% chance of rain and localized flash flooding possible. That kinda gets my attention considering several of the sites require travel over back roads

2. The preparation
My daughter reminded me that the Hawes Bunker has debris including possible (probable) asbestos in some areas. She prudently suggested that we warn people to bring lights, water bottles and possibly utility masks. Tis a good idea and one that I'll encourage.

3. The requests
Several folks have told me they really want to go on this trip and couldn't break existing plans. A couple of out of the area folks mentioned they were available the following weekend, but not this one. I'm mellow and willing to delay to work with folks. Short notice trips don't always work for others, so...

The replan
On February 17 (Saturday), unless anyone has other ideas, let's meet up in Lancaster in the Toys R Us parking lot (right off the CA 14 Freeway at Ave K) closest to the Burger King. I propose leaving from there at 11am, but I plan to be there as early as 10am. Carpooling is suggested. From there we can drive north up the 14 to Mojave and then across the 58 towards the bunker. If anyone wants to meet en route (Mojave or Barstow for example), e-mail me.
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
As we pressed deeper and deeper into the site, I knew time there was growing short. One of the cardinal rules of exploring is stay only as long as you feel you’ve not been seen. When we were exploring the edges of the garage, I felt we’d been spotted by someone at a nearby farm. In fact, I’d seen movement at the edge of the trees that formed a windbreak around their farmhouse. Either way, we’d been on site for nearly 45 minutes at this point and were pushing it.



Out in the Great Wide Open.. [7 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
I hadn’t been planning to post two of these back to back, but I really don’t think I’m going to have time tonight or tomorrow.

Before Chris and I moved to check out the buildings behind the main repair garage, we walked over to look around the second house. Call it a safety precaution, but I didn’t want to leave an unchecked building behind us. The house was (very) secure and in good condition. Given that it was in plain view of the other nearby farms, I decided not to check of alternate entrances. Instead, the garage of this building seemed to be intact and littered with the detritus of a hasty departure or anticipated return.


I’ve always wondered where the intact toilets were

Take Trip and Never Leave the Farm.. [17 behind the cut] )

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