Rant n' Rave – Piss n' Moan

June 26, 2009

Charlie Manson and Me – part 6

Filed under: Charlie Manson and Me - part 6 — Tags: — Bob @ 4:23 pm

=======================     

Charlie Manson and Me – part 6     

~Carl Mengel Pass~     

=======================     

Well, we drove on with great hope of what we might see around the next bend.  This was the BEST thing about what we were doing and where we were!  …A D V E N T U R E !     

We drove along, still on Coyote Canyon Rd., for about 3.5 mi. before coming to our next great hurdle.  The trail was fairly smooth and sandy with only a few tracks visible; dirt-bike and horse tracks, no other 4-wheeled vehicles, as I mentioned earlier.     

It was a beautiful morning and we were soaking in this unbelievable scenery as we made our way towards the cairn that our ‘mysterious guide’ told us about.  Honestly, I wasn’t even sure what a ‘cairn’ was!  I knew it was some sort of marker, but I didn’t know it was a burial marker.     

[David A. Wright:  A cairn was often used for marking mining claims.  When a claim covered a large plot of ground, generally a cairn was built in each corner of the plot.  On smaller claims, one often sufficed.  In the case of Mengel’s grave, the term is applicable, as the shape of rocks piled up into a cylindrical or conical shape is that typical of stone cairns.]     

So, (singing) ‘Merrily, we roll along, roll along, roll a-loooong…’    

Approaching Mengel Pass - 1976

Approaching Mengel Pass - 10/1976

Approaching Mengel Pass-2 - 10/1976

Approaching Mengel Pass-2 - 10/1976

…and then, out of nowhere, a sign of civilization?? 

Approaching Mengel Pass-3 - 10/1976

Approaching Mengel Pass-3 - 10/1976

  …get it?  …a ‘SIGN‘? 

(c’mon, Folks, these are the JOKES!  SHEESH!  What a rough crowd!) 

Here it is in b/w - nearing Mengel Pass - 10/1976.

Here it is in b/w - nearing Mengel Pass - 10/1976.

  WOW!  Were WE surprised to see this sign out here!  Not that the words “D E A T H  V A L L E Y” didn’t give us a scare!  We knew we were close to it from looking at our roadmap, but who’da thunk WE would ever be entering Death Valley from a remote side-entrance like THIS!!  …WOW!

Mengel Pass - West side approach - 04/04/2008

Mengel Pass - West side approach - 04/04/2008

So once we drove up the long and kinda steep approach to Carl Mengel’s cairn, we stopped to pay respects, and take a couple of pictures from this beautiful elevation.     

Carl Mengel cairn, looking Eastward into Striped Butte Valley - 10/1976

Carl Mengel cairn, looking Eastward into Striped Butte Valley - 10/1976

At Mengel Pass looking into Striped Butte Valley - 10/1976.

At Mengel Pass looking into Striped Butte Valley - 10/1976.

Of course, we didn’t have a clue who Carl Mengel was, or why he was buried here. 

"Carl Mengel - 1868 - 1944"

"Carl Mengel - 1868 - 1944"

Years later, I read that his ashes are here, and also his wooden leg.  I don’t know if there is a meaning to the steel ring, possibly a wheel rim.  Based on more recent pictures, people have taken to placing coins on the stone plaque.     

Also, there is now a ‘parking area’ to leave your vehicle and walk over to the cairn.  There is also a trail that goes to the top of a high rise nearby, but I don’t think that was there when we were there, although it may have been just too steep and high for us to even consider attempting.      

Carl Mengel Pass - parking.
Carl Mengel Pass – parking.

Valet parking is available from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm on weekends, only!  *wink*

So, now our attention turns Eastward again, looking toward Striped Butte Valley, mentioned earlier by our tour guide at the Barker Ranch. 

Looking East into Striped Butte Valley - 10/1976

Looking East into Striped Butte Valley - 10/1976

…nice ‘bells’ there, Barb!  Remember bell-bottom pants?  Oh, wait!  They made a come-back already!  LOL  

 
 

Looking East into Striped Butte Valley - 10/1976

Looking East into Striped Butte Valley - 10/1976

 

See, all you ‘Doubting Thomases’?  We WERE there, and our ol’ van DID make it!!  Notice my 35mm-slr slung across my chest, with the lens cap ON!!  I  actually did take a few pics up there!  I obviously left my ‘fro-pik’ at home!  LOL  C’mon!  It was the SEVENTIES!     

We bid a fond farewell to Mr. Mengel and continued our Eastward trek.  Just beyond the cairn the trail dropped away into Striped Butte Valley.  I slowly edged the van down over the top of the very steep and rocky decline.  Mostly, gravity urged us along, with the occasional help of the engine to climb over a boulder.      

The trail down into Striped Butte Valley - 10/1976.

The trail down into Striped Butte Valley - 10/1976

(Please excuse the scratches on the print.  The negative was a bit damaged.) 

In this old picture the trail down looks fairly smooth at this point, but I have seen later pictures of how it has changed since then.  It is VERY rough a bit farther down. 

About three slow and very bumpy minutes down the grade I stopped to cool and rest the brakes (4-wheel drums, no discs here!), and my nerves, and upon looking back up to where we had just started, I concluded that there was absolutely and positively (or was thatNEGATIVELY?) no way in or out of HELL that this old van could EVER get back up to the top, short of establishing a camp down below, and with the aid of my trusty shovel and prybar, construct an earthen ramp starting at the base of this incline and finishing at the top, that would end up being about 1/4-mile long, and would take about 10 years to complete! 

(How’s THAT for a run-on sentence?  LOL) 

I refrained from mentioning this new-found information to Barbara, as it would certainly add to her concerns for our safety, and also add to her questions about what we would be doing Monday morning; getting ready to go to work and school, or hunting for desert rats and snakes for breakfast stew! 

Again, *smack-my-head* no pics of my own (…’cause I was busy hanging on to the steering wheel and fighting to keep us from getting hung up on those big rocks and doing irreparable damage to the van!), but TONS of off-roading folks remark that this is a VERY rough stretch of bad road, mostly with excitement, as they can test their rock crawlers, dune buggys, tricked-out off-roaders and shiny new Hummers! 

 

Mengel Pass - East side

Mengel Pass - East side

 That pic shows MUCH more sand filling in the gaps than there was in 1976!      

Mengel Pass - East side - 01/08/2008

Mengel Pass - East side - 01/08/2008

Yeah, I’m guessing he’s having that same feeling I got when I looked back up that hill!  *GULP!* 

 

Mengel Pass - East side - looking West

Mengel Pass - East side - looking West

Yup!  MUCH more sand than when we were there!  Looks easier now!  LOL  (Ya, SUUURE!)     

…did we drive down stuff like that??  Yep! 

============================     

Here is an AMAZING video of a VW Vanagon astonishing the other dune-buggy drivers with its abilities!!  It may have had a bigger engine than the stock size, but I am not sure.  Regardless, it IS impressive!     

    

.     

=========================     

Charlie Manson and Me – part 7     

~Striped Butte Valley~     

=========================     

 

 

1 Comment »

  1. I drop a comment each time I appreciate a post on a site or I have something
    to add to the discussion. Usually it’s triggered by the passion communicated in the post I looked at.
    And after this article Charlie Manson and Me –
    part 6

    Comment by ft lauderdale glasses — April 3, 2014 @ 12:03 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

WordPress Anti-Spam by WP-SpamShield

Powered by WordPress