23 October 2008

Boron

"Boron is in Kern County, California. The population was 2,025 at the 2000 census. In 1990 the population was 2,904.Boron is a community on the western edge of the Mojave Desert. A unique asset of the location is that within a half day drive you can view the highest and lowest points in the contiguous 48 states of the United States (Mount Whitney and Death Valley), the world's oldest tree (the Bristlecone Pine), and the cities of both Los Angeles and the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Boron is home to California's largest open-pit mine, which is also the largest Borax mine in the world."
We drove into Boron at Eastertime 2005 on our way from Las Vegas to Bakersfield. It was a godforsaken place of boarded up homes, a handful of stores and a fantastic diner where we ate a hearty all-American lunch by the empty Twenty Mule Road. On the edge of the Mojave desert and almost treeless you sensed just how hot this place would become in the summertime. It was miles from anywhere - beyond Barstow and far from the fertile central Californian plain which gave Bakersfield its wealth.

I often think of that place. Another America. Not the America of "Baywatch" and "Miami Vice" but the America of open spaces and hard work and anonymity. It only exists because of the mineral Borax which is used in fire retardants, soap, putty and metal processing. I would rather spend a day in Boron than a month in Disneyland or Hollywood... "All gone to look for America" - it was there in Boron.

Above - Boron High School and the excellent K&L Corral Diner. Eat your heart out Gordon Ramsey!

4 comments:

  1. It's so funny/peculiar to read "The America of 'Baywatch' and 'Miami Vice,'" because those mind-sets are so foreign to me. I'm glad you got a chance to do a little road traveling in between destinations.

    I'm starting to let myself dream about the big England trip I want to take someday. You'd think that a person who'd wanted to go to England ever since she was 6 years old would have made it there by now, but I'm not much of an enthusiastic traveler to begin with, and I've wanted to go for more than just a week or two. Some things have to be planned properly.

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  2. As ever, what we see in the media is only a small part of the picture...

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  3. Did you know that before Ronald Reagan went into politics, he used to make television commercials for 20-Mule-Team Borax?

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  4. Of course ALKELDA - when you come to England you must visit Giggleswick in North Yorkshire and just above it lovely Ribblesdale. As you know the old church in Giggleswick is St Aklelda's.
    DOTTEREL Yes a small part of the picture and even then not an authentic part.
    RHYMES with PLAGUE. Ronald Reagan in Boron? Or in other words The Moron in Boron? Really, I shouldn't mock him because even at the end of his life he was an absolute genius of a politician compared with Dubya! When Obama gets in America - please don't shoot him!

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