Randsburg is a living ghost town in the high desert near Ridgecrest, CA. It is part of the Rand Mining District that also includes Johannesburg and Red Mountain. It is also a place that we passed many a time driving to Grandma's or Aunt Shirley's House when we were young but we never stopped to see it. So Kristine and I went and now have stories to tell...
After leaving the Owen's Valley we ate dinner in Lone Pine then Kristine called to make reservations at the Cottage Hotel in Randsburg. Kristine soon found out that the Cottage Hotel was all booked with members of the band that had arrived for the "Floozy Festival." Then the Hotel proprieter, who had an Australian accent, asked Kristine, "Why are you coming here?" Kristine explained how we wanted to come and stay tonight and wake up in the morning and explore the ghost town. The proprieter then gave Kristine the phone number for another place in town that had rooms, the Randsburg Inn.
So Kristine calls the Randsburg Inn. Again she gets asked, "Why are you coming here?" Apparently not many people stay the night in Randsburg. Anyway, the lady said she had a room available but didn't take Kristine's name or number or credit card info or anything. And when, about an hour and a half later, we arrived in Randsburg, the town was absolutely silent. Not a soul moved and it was rather dark and ominous. We knocked on the door of the Inn but no one was there. So Kristine called the lady. She said she'd be right there and a minute later there she was walking down the deserted street to the Inn. She let us in. The front consists of an antique/junk store that was very musty and dusty. She led us through two doors to the rooms in the back. She opened the first one on the right and said, "Ooops, it's not made up. My housekeeper is in Illinois this week." So she set about making the beds. Meanwhile Kristine and I explored the shop out front. Here there was an incredible assortment of old bottles, knick-nacks, cowboy boots, and other miscellaneous artifacts. In a few the innkeeper was done and then she said, "You are the only guests but I do have a permanent resident. His name is Randy. He is the cook at the General Store and he should be home soon." Then she left.
Both Kristine and I were a little worried about this Randy character but figured there wasn't anything we could do. So we moved our stuff into our little room which consisted of two twin beds and little else. The bathroom was down the hall. To get to it we would have to pass Randy's room...
Once Randy came home he said hi and disappeared into his room. Both Kristine and I were wary about going to the bathroom by ourselves at first but later that night I ended up getting sick so I made the trip alone. And needless to say, neither of us slept well that night what with the lone man in an adjoining room and the noises and creaks of the old building and all.
The next day we got up, took showers, then went to eat at the General Store. Turns out Randy cooks up some great pancakes and French toast! The General Store sports a soda fountain that was brought all the way from Boston at the turn of the century. It sailed on a ship all the way around Cape Horn!
Then we explored the ghost town - there was much to see. The old saloon, opera house, jail, etc. Apparently this is a popular day trip for people interested in mining history and for OHV'ers that like to ride on the surrounding trails.
At noon or so we headed south towards Aunt Shirley's. We haven't seen her or our cousins for almost 4 years! We had fun cooking dinner that night (carne asada and homemade chile rellenos!) and telling her about our adventures with Randsburg Randy. We also had fun looking through old family photos.
The next day we all drove south to Lake Arrowhead where we met my mom and dad. There we stayed at the Bracken Fern Manor Bed and Breakfast and they all threw me a bachelorette party! Stay tuned for that story and pics...
See more pics here http://www.tarol.com/randsburg.html
The mountains are calling and I must go. ~ John Muir ~ www.tarol.com