Planet Mojave – About The Book

Planet Mojave

Welcome To Planet Mojave

by Fredrick Gary Hareland
President, Ridge Writers

Ever since my dad took my brother Barry and me to Edwards AFB for its annual open house back during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Eastern Kern County, combined with the high Mojave Desert, has been one of my favorite places. It seems that I grew up liking airplanes, and Edwards always seemed to have the pick of the litter when it came to new high-performance research aircraft. I remember one in particular that really fascinated me because it was a real spaceship — the X-15.

One of my prize possessions for many years until I managed to misplace it was the technical manual for the Thiokol XLR99 rocket engine used in the X-15. Edwards AFB and the Navy at China Lake were always on the cutting edge of aerospace technology, and lots of aerospace history was made in the clear blue skies over the upper Mojave Desert.

As you will soon read in the many and diverse writings from various members of our Ridge Writers group, Planet Mojave is also a land of extremes and eccentrics, a land of beauty, blue skies, sunshine, strange lenticular clouds, grotesque Joshua trees, ghost towns, movie, TV, and commercial filming locations, and lots of history, whether it be pioneer, mining, aviation, or rockets and space travel.

We are proud to be Desert Rats and proud to be members of the East Sierra Branch of the greater California Writers Club, which just celebrated its centennial in 2009 and is one of the oldest writers’ organizations in continuous operation in the nation.

Early honorary members of CWC include such literary luminaries as Jack London, poet George Sterling, John Muir, Joaquin Miller, and the first California poet laureate, Ina Coolbrith. Today, California Writers Club has a membership of approximately 1,300 professional writers in 18 branches throughout our great state of California.

So we invite you to sit back, get comfortable, and enjoy our many stories and poems about this most interesting abode of ours, the Mojave Desert. You may even become a vicarious “Desert Rat” yourself! Welcome aboard Planet Mojave!

Planet Mojave copyright © 2011 by the East Sierra Branch, California Writers Club; all rights to works contained herein are retained by the individual authors. Previously published works are as noted with the articles and are reprinted with permission.

First edition. This paperback edition published in the United States by the Ridge Writers, East Sierra Branch, California Writers Club.

All photos and other visuals by Elizabeth Babcock except for the following: Stephen J. Wersan, 9, 49; Michelle Kilikauskas, 10, 23; courtesy of Scenic 395, published by New World Press, 12; courtesy of Maturango Museum, 134, 233, 264, 270, 278; Maturango Museum, Betty Speckels, 41; Maturango Museum, Roberta Starry collection, 50, 198, 256, 261, 262, 265, 268; Maturango Museum, Jenny Miller, 52; Maturango Museum, David Garbani, 94; Maturango Museum, Bill Erwin, 101; Clay Babcock, 54; U.S. Navy, China Lake, 57, 180; Don Peterson, 60; Laura Austin, 64; courtesy of Ridgecrest Regional Film Commission, 74; Maryann Butterfield, 76; Daniel Stallings, 93; Margaret Luebs, 113; David A. Rosenthal, 116, 179, 188, 192, 204, 214, 227, 237, 249; Justin Shatto, 120; “Hi-Desert Spectator,” Antelope Valley Spectator, May-June 1963, 122; Wikipedia, 123; courtesy of Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, 135; John Di Pol, 137; courtesy of The News Review, 142; Donna McCrohan Rosenthal, 148, 200, 220, 230; Dan and Lidia Feldman, 158, 161; Richard Butterfield, 165, 171, 172; courtesy of Merrie Giles, 176; Memories of Us DVD, China Lake Museum Foundation, 182; The Rocketeer, July 9, 1952, 184; courtesy of the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert, 255; Sandy Aubin, 273, 276.

Except for brief passages quoted in newspapers, magazines, radio, television, or online reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, scanning, recording, reprinting, or on any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the individual authors or from Ridge Writers, East Sierra Branch, California Writers Club.

Ridge Writers acknowledge with gratitude the dedicated hard work of Maryann Butterfield, Anthony Haberman, Donna McCrohan Rosenthal, and Daniel Stallings on the editorial committee; of Elizabeth Babcock for layout, design, and back cover image; and of Daniel Stallings for front cover image. Skip Gorman graciously gave permission for the use of his sculpture on the back cover and in the book.

Ridge Writers
P.O. Box 484
Ridgecrest, CA 93556

ISBN 978-0-6154664-4-6


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