Date:.........November 14th, 1998
Destination:..Delamar Ghost Town
Weather:......clear & mild
There is a ghost town called Delamar, north of Nevada. This ghost town is largely intact. There are buildings, mines, and paraphernalia still present there. Naturally, a group was organized to go visit this ghost town. Although a few of our group had visited Delamar before, we planned our trip to pass through a valley and along roads that none of us had traveled before. It would be an exploration adventure for all of us.
Prepare to Depart
We met at 11:00am and loaded up our Jeeps. It turned out that we were only taking Jeeps (two Wranglers and two Cherokees). Jeep Jamboree! The adventurers on this trip were Mike, Maria, Steve, Ann, Ted, Angie, Bruce, Jonathan, Chris, and myself.
We Get Lost
After travelling north for an hour or so, the trailblazers of the group got lost. It seems that the way we were traveling was not familiar and very shortly, all dirt roads look alike. So we stop at a 'major intersection' of two dirt roads. We break out the maps and GPS in order to try and figure out exactly where we were. The general consensus was that we aren't too far away from a major dirt road that would lead to Delamar.
We saddle up and then head in what we think is the right direction. After a short distance, the dirt road is blocked by a fence. This fence has a makeshift gate, so Ted jumps out to disconnect the gate for us to drive through. We should have realized something was amiss since there shouldn't be a fence across what was supposed to be a major dirt road.
As you can see from this picture, it was impossible to see any dirt roads unless we were actually driving it. As we were soon to discover, there were many dirt roads in this area.
After driving around for awhile, we end up back at the 'major intersection' of dirt roads. We have to admit we were lost at this point. Again we break out the maps and GPS to see where we are. There are far more dirt roads in this valley than are indicated on the map.
Since the only roads in this valley are dirt roads, we conclude that the 'major road' that goes to Delamar from here is actually just a dirt road. Again we head out into the desert looking for the dirt road that will lead us to Delamar.
And again we run into a gate blocking the road. This time Mike opens the gate to let us through.
After what seems like 10 miles, we discover signs of life, or rather death.
No doubt, the bleached bones of a former traveler in these parts. This does not bode well. I quickly take stock of how much food and water we have. There is enough to last maybe one day <gulp>.
We continue driving around only to discover something disturbing but somehow very familiar.
What!? Back Again!
Yes, we are back at the 'major intersection' where we were at twice before. Do all these roads lead back to the same spot? Wasn't there a twilight episode about this?
We decide try and find the road the Delamar one more time. After all, the saying goes "third time's the charm." Again we drive into the desert. I can't say for sure if we are even driving on a different road. All these roads are starting to look alike. After a few miles, we discover signs of life.
This time, however, the signs of life are actually alive. Bovine life, to be precise.
The cows were mooing at us as we drove by. Were they saying friendly "hello" or a sinister "goodbye". None of our group was knowledgeable of cow language, so we may never know.
We keep driving...
The sun is sinking low and it looks like we are no closer to finding our way out of this desert valley. We are beginning to get desperate.
The caravan stops and we hold a conference. It was decided to abort searching for the direct path the Delamar. Instead, we would head north out of the valley and make a large westward loop to reach the Delamar valley by the long way around. It would be a longer trip and there was only an hour of sunlight left -- time was of the essence.
We turn around and head back the way we came. This time, however, it was a race against time. We drove fast, almost too fast. Suddenly, just as we rounded a corner, right in the middle of the road, was a cow!
Actually, not just one cow, there were several all around us. After slamming on the brakes, I was able to snap a picture just as it was trotting off of the road.
We slowly passed through the cows.
They were walking around and we wanted to ensure that they wouldn't dart out in front of the vehicles. Unlike the last time we saw cows, these cows were strangely silent. It was creepy.
Yes, Back Again: Flat Tire
We eventually make it back to the 'major intersection'. It was then that I noticed one of the tires hissing air. Uh oh. Time to put the spare tire on. This was one of those times were there was an excess of chiefs and not enough Indians.
Eventually the tire was changed while the rest of us watched. All that watching works up a hunger, so we had lunch too.
Bruce then decides that he has to get back to Las Vegas. There is just enough room to pack the remaining passengers into the remaining vehicles, so fortunately for him, we give him permission to depart.
It was clear that there wasn't enough time to reach Delamar before nightfall. We drove all this way already, so we didn't really care if would be night time by the time we reached it. After all, Delamar is a ghost town and what better time to visit a ghost town than at night?
On the way to Delamar the sun set and darkness descended. With all the luck we had finding our way when it was daylight, just think how well we should do when it is pitch black. I didn't have high hopes.
We drove around on more dirt roads. This time, we knew where we were going. Or so some of us said. It was not easy to spot the roads we needed to take and on several occasions we had to backtrack. Backtracking was quite familiar to all of us by now, so it was no big deal.
We reach Delamar. Well actually, the first place we arrive is the cemetery of Delamar. This is great -- we are a hundred miles away from Las Vegas, at a cemetery, at night, with a group of navigators that tend to get lost.
The cemetery was rather interesting. There were various headstones. Most in marginal condition. However, some were quite readable. The peculiar thing I noticed was the short life span indicated by the dates. One was 19, another 23 years and the oldest was 50 years.
Although most headstones were readable or had obviously been removed (leaving a hole), there were a few that were completely unrecognizable as to what they were.
Take a look at the following photo and see if you can make out what this was supposed to be. The only thing for sure is that it is made out of some kind of pink marble.
I should mention that it was pitch black while we were exploring the cemetery. Also, only some of us actually had flashlights. I was one of the unfortunate ones without any means of personal illumination. Navigation was accomplished by waiting for someone to take a flash photo. The terrain would be etched into my retina by the flash long enough for me to run 20 or 30 feet. Sometimes I had to wait quite some time while I watch the flashlights of the other explorers bobbing up and down and winking on and off in the distance. Well, at least I thought they were flashlights. Standing alone in a cemetery without a flashlight and unable to move while a hundred miles from civilization, required me to rationalize those lights as being flashlights, yes?
After a series of short sprints, I was back at the vehicles with the rest. It was now time to find Delamar, the ghost town as opposed to the ghost cemetery.
Delamar, The Town of
We drive past a shell of a building. We drive past another. We pass the remains of buildings in rather close proximity. This must be the town of Delamar. It's hard to tell since there is no illumination. Even our headlights don't help, since they only serve to light up the road, not the surrounding countryside.
In addition to being unable to see anything, the temperature outside is getting close to freezing and there is a slight wind. Yes, I predict this is going to be quite pleasant.
We have learned our lesson from the cemetery and we split up into groups. Each group is equipped with at least one flashlight. The building remains have a large portion of their walls intact, but little else. Strewn across the ground are bricks (from buildings) and cans. That is correct, cans. It wouldn't be complete without cans. Ted found an intact bottle. The bottle was small and looked like it might have been used for medicine.
At the time, everything seemed normal, however when we got back into town, one of the photographs showed some paranormal phenomenon. There appeared to be ghostly will-o-whips floating about.
It was probably just some optical illusion. Maybe a shooting star or a weather balloon. Yea, that's it.
Mike and Maria posed in one of the building's archways.
Soon it was time to leave. Visiting Delamar during daylight hours would be more enjoyable, so it is planned to come back here again sometime.
Endless Dirt Road
We decide to take a new way back home. Don't we ever learn? The new road will follow the power lines heading south and according to the map, should meet up with the main highway.
This dirt road never ended. It kept going and going. After about 100 miles of dirt road, it still kept going. It was like being in some kind of space-time warp. Further evidence of this was the dramatic temperature changes as we drove. The temperature was in the 40's and then quickly dropped to a low of 28 degrees. After only a mile or two, the temperature rose to above 40 again. Another strange thing about this dirt road was that at one point, it disappeared completely. At that point we were driving across a completely flat dry lakebed. Kind of spooky actually.
Eventually, we make it back to Las Vegas. Since we all made it back, I guess it was a good trip. At least we know what not to do next time.