My parents had a bunch of US Geological Survey Maps of the Antelope Valley, San Gabriel Mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley. The official overlays marked the physicality of the region–so heavily affected by the San Andreas fault. The oldest maps (pre 1950s) identified mines and quarries that had vanished from the newer versions, piquing narratives about the potential for forgotten riches. My mom especially used the maps as springboards for relaying that ol’ local mythology Frank Zappa and I love so much: tales of haunted ponds, bottomless lakes, unclaimed gold mines and missing travelers. The valley was alive with prospectors and natives, Conquistadors and spirits: a world just out of focus, out of step from the historical record.

The Mojave is criss-crossed with dirt roads, some in frequent use, others mysteriously resembling dual-line wagon trails, with their share of “Donner Party” terror tales. It’s also host to abandoned buildings–from 19th century cast-offs to strange, post-WWII family homes oddly abandoned and reclaimed by wildlife.

You can follow roads and find that they meet up with other roads, cutting their way past forgotten barbed wire walls, piles of shotgun shells, mountains of pull-top Coors.

It’s the micro and macro.





AT S2 E18 84


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