My latest adventure led me to Randsburg, California, off the historic U.S. Route 395 between the Sequoia National Forest and Death Valley. It was 9 a.m., and the only place open in the sleepy ghost town was an antique shop owned by an old, bearded man who worked in a gold mine in his younger years. The man, Charlie, said the mine closed down seven years ago, and now there are only about 45 people who make Randsburg their permanent home. They mostly live off tourism, when people pass through to step back in time for a moment and look at several dusty antique shops, a general store, an old saloon, and a museum that are more befitting of 1895–the year gold was discovered there–than 2012. The road to Randsburg is similar–I passed through the historic Kramer Junction, where the 395 meets State Route 58 and which is littered with ancient cars, gas pumps, and war memorabilia. The following is a gallery of what I found on my trip out to Randsburg.
Randsburg, left, and “Charlie,” right, who worked as a gold miner for 18 years before the mine near Randsburg closed down seven years ago. He now owns one of the antique shops in the ghost town.
Some old prospecting tools, right, an ancient building along Randsburg’s Main Street, left. The ghost town is off the historic U.S. Route 395, which has been used in some form since the California gold rush in the mid-1800s. My bearded friend Charlie said the mine he worked produced over 1 million ounces (about 62,500 pounds) of gold.
A dilapidated building in the ghost town. I actually slept in the back of my truck near here the night before I took these shots, and it was more than a little creepy, to say the least.
Randsburg is about 30 minutes north of Kramer Junction, an unincorporated section of the Mojave Desert where U.S. Route 395 meets State Route 58. The photo above is a typical building in Kramer Junction.
This is a truck I found at Kramer Junction, which is home to one antique shop where you can find memorabilia from the two world wars.
I took a look inside one of many tired and abandoned trucks that litter Kramer Junction.