Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mohave and Boron, California

Today we drove 80 miles to Boron to see the Rio Tinto Borax Museum and the open pit mine operation.  Those of you who are our age will remember that this is where the famous 20 Mule Team Borax commercials where filmed.  They sponsored a western, which I can't remember which one, on TV.  Before trucks, a team of twenty mules pulled the carts full of borax to be processed. Ronald Reagan was the spokesman, long before he was president.  They still process tons of borax everyday.  The list of products that use borax is endless, from cleansers, glassware,and plastics.
In the afternoon, we drove 30 miles back to Mohave to tour the Mojave Air and Space Port. (no cameras allowed) We got to see the original SpaceShipOne, built by Burt Rutan for Virgin Airline's owner Richard Branson, for private space flight.  That plane was not too successful, so the new space craft is being built.  It was hidden in a hangar. We also got to see the Rotory Rocket, the first attempt at private spacecraft.  It looks like a giant space capsule, but it would blast off with rockets, but land like a helicopter.  The investors gave up and it is now on display. Also at Mojave are over 100 commercial airliners that are in mothball or are being used for parts.  We saw planes from more than 20 companies.  They are here in Mojave because this area has little or no rain and no humidity, so parts won't rust. We got up close, but, no pictures allowed.



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