Thursday, May 1, 2014

Solar Lodge & Vidal, CA - Geocaching day

We went back to 80 geocaches in a row and started to collect some of them.  We managed to find 32 of them and 5 other caches in the area before it became too hot to continue.  The temp climbed over 100 degrees and we went through our 4 bottle water supply really fast.  It was very easy to find the caches and we could almost have found them without the GPS.  Of course, these kind become very boring in a hurry, so it wasn't hard to stop looking.

Gerry picked up this cache 3 ft from the car door.

There must have been some big waves here in the past.

Me with the Big Buddha Cache.  He was just sitting there by himself in the desert.

Torpedo cache along US 95 south of Vidal Junction.
No, it's not there, but close by.

The day turned out to be very interesting in that we drove by the Solar Lodge compound near Vidal, CA.  

Solar Lodge was a secret society that was established in 1965 and withdrew into initiatory inactivity in 1972. It was loosely based on ideas from Ordo Templi Orientis and used the curriculum of the Astron Argiron established by Aleister Crowley.

The precursor to Solar Lodge was set in motion by Ray Burlingame ("Frater Aquarius"), when he initiated Georgina "Jean" Brayton ("Soror Capricornus") in 1962. Although Burlingame was a Ninth Degree member of Ordo Templi Orientis, he did not hold a charter to initiate new members or found new bodies, consequently O.T.O. has never accepted Solar Lodge as a valid body of O.T.O.

In 1965, shortly before his death, Burlingame instructed Brayton to initiate other people, which she did, expanding Solar Lodge in the 1960s to include over 50 members. By 1967, the Lodge owned several small mansions, a gas station, a bookstore, and a desert property known as Solar Ranch. In 1969, the Lodge ran a bookstore in Blythe, CA; it operated Solar Ranch near Vidal CA; and it owned a gas station in Vidal with a cafe, motel, bar, house, and grocery store.

In 1969, the members of the lodge were charged with mistreatment of the six-year-old son of one the members in a case that came to be known as "The Boy in the Box". Brayton, her husband, and other officers performed "interstate flight to avoid prosecution," traveled to Mexico and Canada, and eventually engaged in a publicity campaign that alleged a conspiracy against them by law enforcement officers and the courts. Initially, a few members went to jail for 6 months on a felony conviction, a few went to jail for 3 months on a misdemeanor conviction, and a few had their charges dismissed. When Brayton and her husband were arrested, she pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three years of probation along with a $500 fine.

The town of Vidal, CA was the winter home of Wyatt Earp and he had mines in the area where he and Josie searched for gold.  His home has been restored and it is about the only nice looking building left in Vidal.  There were a couple of buildings burned down, others with walls falling in and a couple that were interesting to check out.

Old Solar Lodge gas station. ( I think )

J M Heacock bldg
 We continued south on US 95 and crossed a bridge about 15 miles south of Parker, AZ.  The difference between the California side of the river and the Arizona side was startling.  California was desert, scrub trees, rock and not much else, while Arizona had miles of hay fields that were green and being cut.  We saw a number of double trailer trucks hauling hay west into California.  All this was possible because of irrigation, flat and fertile soil.  What a difference the water makes.

 By this time we were both worn out and ready to head back to the campground and chill out.  However, we still stopped and picked up 3-4 caches in Parker before calling it a day.  It wound up being a 75 mile round trip and we had a great time.
We had an early dinner and sat outside enjoying a glass of wine when neighboring campers stopped by to chat for a while.  They were a nice couple from Bellingham, WA and heading back there after spending the winter in the Southwest.

That was our exciting day, how was yours?

Cousin Al goes in for a shoulder operation on Friday and we wish him a speedy recovery so he can get back on the road again.  Listen to the nurses, Al and behave.

1 comment:

  1. Okay - now I'm trying to figure out how to visit Vidal on our way north. I'm assuming there would be plenty of room to take the rig with us. Or maybe I'll file it away for next January when we're in Blythe for the bluegrass festival.