Monday, February 20, 2017
Borax Visitor Center - Boron, California
Yahsar, iz troo, dee winterz iz ruff. Day juss ain't much tuh entratane onez se'f. So we unz is scrapin' duh bottom ub de barrel fo' sumpin' tuh reeport. Mebbe you'unz kin find sum humor in h're sumwherz.
It was the promise of a Visitors' Center (WiFi!!!) that drew me off the four-lane. There was nothing at the end of the off ramp but in the distance I could see some buildings; I went that way.
An empty guardhouse delineated the entrance to the grounds. As I drove in I puzzled at the why and wherefore of a Visitors' Center in an industrial locale. But countless doses of LSD have left me with an Insat'able Curtiosity.
The speed limit signs were funny: 37 1/2, 14 mph -- *someone* had a sense of humor. There was an electronic sign displaying the "accident free" days.
I toured the parking area, noticing the Health & Safety building and, stopping at the stop sign at the exit, noticed the large sign hanging over the road to the left....VISITOR CENTER.
The broad avenue, wide enough for a Euclid, led up and up to the tippy top of a man-maded promontory. There, overlooking The Pit, were two quonset huts gussied up to evoke memories of Death Valley Days -- including Ronald Reagan as a strapping Pioneer.
They start you off right with an example of necessary measures. I recalled a contractor who built super highways telling me about some of the stupid things the dump truck drivers had done. Obviously, as the picture below attests, they're experienced. With double bumpers you can ignore the emergency brake and no one'll get hurt.
Inside are great rock samples; exquisite models of the plant equipment; an entire wall of things you'd never imagined (footballs!!) that include borax in their making. The wall text says there's a full-time staff tasked with finding new uses.
The gift shop includes an unusually fine selection suggesting there's someone with an eye for quality - the gems and settings are FAR superior to anything you'll see along the highway. It's worth the trip....but no Wifi