Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Day in the Sun

Our plans to play golf this week at Emerald Canyon Golf Course were foiled by the hundreds of snowbird golfers who have descended en masse to this oasis along the Colorado River. The only tee times available would have had us playing in the dark to finish our round, so Denny grudgingly agreed to a morning of geocaching instead.

Part of the fun of geocaching is exploring new areas and never knowing what you might find in your exploration of the back roads and government land where so many caches are hidden. I plotted a few caches off Highway 95 north of town, three of which were located off a primitive road running east of the highway. The road was rough and we were the only vehicle around when we located the first cache, but when we stopped to search for our second planned cache a couple in a truck stopped to ask us if we were lost. Smiling, we told them we were fine, so then they asked us if we were trying to find the desert bar. We told them we were geocaching and were headed that way as they admitted they didn't know if they were headed in the right direction. Since the desert bar was near our third cache, I pointed out its location on our GPSr to them to show them they were indeed going the right way and off they went. We found the second cache which was near what appeared to be an aborted attempt to dig a mine. This entire area has many closed mines and there are several signs warning to be careful of unexpected openings in the ground and to avoid entering old mines as there may still be toxic gases inside. Hmm, like I'm going to go wandering into a hole in the ground or an old crumbling mine in the side of a mountain anyway?

As we approached the area of the third and final cache on the road, the couple in the truck were coming back out and told us the bar was closed (figures) but was open on the weekend. We continued on our way as we had a cache to find, but I did snap a picture from the distance as the bar entrance was barred (heh) and marked no trespassing. Intrigued, when we returned home I got online to see the history of the desert bar, also known as the Nellie E Saloon.

It seems the bar is the idea of a man named Ken, who purchased the old mining camp land and decided to build a bar on it. At first he hauled water in using a 50 gallon tank but later drilled a well. The bar is cooled by a version of swamp coolers and relies on solar energy for power. Open only on weekends during the winter season through Memorial Day, Ken apparently has live music on Saturday and Sunday and according to the website has plans to expand the property into a "town".

It really pays to follow the road less taken.

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