Saturday, October 24, 2015

Quirky Town, Arch Search and More Fun With Friends

We're big fans of quirky and when we heard about John/Pam/Dave/Sue's trip to the nearly-abandoned town of Darwin we had to go check it out. Sue's post full of funny pics had us ready to be entertained!

Hwy 136 skirts the Inyo Mountain range east of Owens Dry Lake, heading to Death Valley. Only a large white rock with a bronze plaque marks the turn-off to Darwin.

During their visit a few days ago, the gang saw someone sitting in a glass "turret", not sure if it was a mannequin, or a live person. So our mission is to seek, find, and identify the subject in said turret.

Sans mannequin, must have been a person - mission accomplished!
Once a bustling mining town (large barracks and single tent houses dot the area nearest the mine), the current residents seem to be redefining Darwin as an art community. In addition to the "junk as art", there are several larger pieces that required substantial equipment to place on their bases.

Not the most romantic setting for these two
Beautiful, and really big
Protection from southern marauders
One of many old tires. The only blue one we saw.

Has not left the building
None of the three public businesses remain open

Dropping out the back of town into a large dry wash, we follow it to a dirt road which takes us to.....the airport!
We know it's an airport from the wind sock
Another dirt road goes to the Darwin Cemetery. Here we find a diverse history of Europeans who never returned home, miners and veterans, married couples and beloved parents, all laid to rest here from the late 1800's to as recently as 2014. Like the town, it's a quirky and interesting stop.

Elaborate and long-lasting
Simple and soon to disappear
Here we rest in the land that we love
I think I would have liked Lizzie
Heading back toward town we discover the ..... not really sure, but we don't stick around very long.

While we are in Darwin, the gang is out in search of more arches in the Alabama Hills. They all have distinct names to help find them. We figure we'll keep our eyes open for arches too, and are rewarded with some unique finds!

Barrel Arch 
Darwin Arch   
Fender Arch (you really have to look for this one in the brush!)
Thin Blue Line Arch
Lava Bed Arch 
We hiked around to see the back of this one
 Yep, we now see the draw in looking for interesting, natural arches, and are hoping to see more in our future travels!

Like so many other trips in this area, the return drive opens up amazing vistas.

Keeping with the "quirky" theme, we pass sand dunes with hay bales on them. Lots of hay bales.

Later we learn they are an attempt to reduce blowing sand and minerals that contribute to air pollution in this area.

Returning to Hwy 395 the Sierras once again tower over the Alabama Hills
Late afternoon we follow the gang up the hill to Tuttle Creek Campground where Eric and Laurel are staying another night. Wonderful conversation, lots of laughter, yummy snacks, sunset photos - and a couple hours fly by. With hugs and thanks for a great time, we say our good-byes for now to our hosts.

Eric, John, Pam, Laurel, Bill, Dave, Sue
Sunset behind the sierras
The six of us enjoy a nice dinner at The Grill in town and another wonderful day comes to an end.


  1. I agree. Quirky and unusual is fun. You have to really seek those things out. It's nice when you learn about them from others who have actually seen them.

    1. Definitely don't have to worry about crowds! It was fun looking for the "highlights" they talked about :-)

  2. Great arches! ;-)

    Looks like you all are having a terrific time!

  3. We really do need to expand our arch search! We aren't finding anything as unique as you and Bill:) That hike around the back must have been a tough one:) Good searching through the brush for Fender Arch!!

    You found so many other neat things in Darwin. We totally missed the cemetery! Darn!!! Our man in the turret was real...even more scary!!

    We saw the hay bales on the dune. Glad to know why they were there. Makes a lot sense!

    1. We had a ridiculously good time finding those :-) Cemeteries have such interesting stories to tell, I was happy we found that one. Turret-man is now infamous!

  4. Great job of another perspective on Darwin. Love your arches!!! Good eyes and such intense hiking. Envying you the gathering with this group. What fun.

    1. So silly :-) Probably the most "ink" Darwin has had in a long time! Wish you were here, and so glad you're off to Florida, back on the road :-)

  5. Funky is right. Love all the forms of arches and hop you find some more natural ones.

    1. There's something about having something to "find" that adds even more fun to a fun and funky day.

  6. I thought for a minute you were serious, but I see you're being arch.

  7. OMG what a riot!! I'm bummed we missed Darwin -- but thanks for the great tour. So glad you had such a successful hunt for arches, too.Your photo captions crack me up. It was so much fun meeting you two and hanging our with the whole gang our last night there. I'm still laughing about your "adult coloring book." :-)

    1. We loved getting to know you both, had a great time at your lovely haven in the rocks! I suspect I may never live down the coloring book......I'm still laughing too :-)

  8. Gotta love quirky! Loved the arches and the hay bales. Will you be wintering back by home? I'll bet you're looking forward to sqeezing that grandbaby again! We head back to Placerville after visiting our son in Riverside. Will you be in that area at all first week in Nov?

    1. We'll be back in Santa Clarita this weekend, for the month of November. Arizona the first part of December, the Borrego for most of the rest of it. Q in January for sure now. Email me if you're going to be in Riverside next week - we have wedding stuff to get done for the 7th, but could get over that way for lunch I'm sure. Glad you liked the arches - very fun!