Monday, November 20, 2006


Thanksgiving Is Almost Here

Thursday of this week is Thanksgiving. I have a lot to be thankful for, and I try my best to remind myself and my kids to thank God for all he’s given us. Many people I know – both family and friends - celebrate Thanksgiving in the traditional way: a Turkey dinner with all the fixin’s, the company of loved ones, and maybe some TV.

Not me. That’s how I used to celebrate Thanksgiving before the D.O.M. club. Now I flee to the desert with the other DOMers. I’ve never missed a Thanksgiving weekend since being in the club, which is now 10 years. However, I haven’t always gone out on Thanksgiving Day. That tradition started about 4 years ago when Laura and I were club King and Queen.

The club goes to a location called Charlie’s Place for the Thanksgiving ride. Charlie’s Place was a roadside bar many, many years ago. The only thing that’s left is a cement foundation. The building has been gone a long time. No club member – even the ones who’ve been members 20 + years – has ever seen the bar/building. I can’t imagine why it’s no longer in business; there’s nothing around for miles. It sits about mid-way between the town of Red Mountain and the city of Trona.

This riding area, which is known as Spangler Off Highway Vehicle Area, is southeast of the city of Ridgecrest, which is roughly where U.S. 395 and State Hwy. 14 intersect. China Lake Naval Weapons Center is also in the area, so maybe Charlie’s Place was a bar where off duty sailors hung out, or just a roadside bar and grill for the truckers that drive to and from Trona. There are still a lot of truckers that use Trona Road for whatever they haul out of Trona, which is a mining town.

Enough of the history and geography lessons. Charlie’s Place is my favorite club location. The riding area and surrounding terrain is beautiful. There are cool rock formations, hills made of lava, old abandon mines, trails going all over the place, and its close enough to reach Randsburg. I’ve written before about this general riding area in an earlier post.

Anyway, other than it being my personal favorite riding location, Charlie’s Place has some sentimental value for me. This was the location that my wife Laura joined me when she came out for her very first ride. That occasion is pictured below, taken on Saturday of Thanksgiving Weekend in 1998 by our friends Mike and Mary Ellen:

Earlier that day, I had ridden to Randsburg with a group of DOMers on my quad via trails. Laura met me there after hitching a ride with someone who drove their truck via roads. On the way back it rained, and once back in camp we had to take shelter in our camper. Later on in the afternoon, the sun came out and we all went riding again. Laura hopped on the back of my quad and we went putt-putting around. That’s when the picture was taken. The colors of the desert brush as the sun shined in our faces with the dark clouds in the background – sigh. I love this picture!

So Thursday morning me, Laura, and the kids leave for Charlie’s Place. There will be a potluck turkey dinner on Thursday for all the DOMers who come out for Thanksgiving Day. There will also be a 2nd potluck turkey dinner on Saturday for all the people who come out on Friday and Saturday. There will be plenty of riding – to Randsburg, to the pinnacles, to the mines, to where ever. There will be campfires, raffles, happy hour, and visiting with friends whom we haven’t seen since last May at the Annual.

Thank you, God for blessing us and giving us the opportunity to enjoy such a wonderful outing. And may God bless you and your loved ones this Thanksgiving however you choose to celebrate it.

Great post! Sounds like you and your whole family really enjoy the weekend you spend in the desert! I love to hear about nontraditional holidays that are unique to families. Hope to see some pics from your trip soon!
Thanks Wrider. I'm anxious to post all the pics we took from this Thanksgiving weekend. I just need to make the time.
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