Monday, February 24, 2014

The Ajo Miden

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Saturday February 22, 2014

Odd name for the blog, but I got to thinking- the latest trip out into the desert with Mark, in our search for the wreck site of two downed AT-6C airplanes- we found tons of trash.  Today's search was near the Ajo airport (the former Ajo Gunnery Base) as the aircraft collided in mid-air while flying the pattern to land at the airport.

In fairness, things decompose very slowly in the warm, dry desert- but holy cow! -there are dumps everywhere!

About every 100 feet we would see another heap of old metal cans, glass bottles, appliances and bed springs- lots of bed springs.

We have our eyes tuned to the unusual, and that's how we found this item, partially buried in a small arroyo.

Anybody have an idea what this may have been?  The body is a tapered metal tank, with lifting or carrying handles on top edges and a pivoting "D" handle on one bottom edge.  It has an oval formed opening in the top that at one time had a flip over metal cover.  A long brass tube about 1" in diameter runs down through the top of the container to just above the bottom inside the tank and a brass barbed tee extends out from the riser on the outside top of the tank.  Mark and I guess that it was an oil dispenser that had a pump handle and a hose on it at one time.  Not sure if it is aircraft related or not.  We have heard stories that when the military gave the airport over for civilian use, many of the supplies that the military did not want to ship back to the quartermaster were buried in the desert nearby...

We also found lots of car body parts.  Here is a series of finds starting with a fender-

Continuing to a rear quarter panel...

and including some of the back window and roof.  There is an explanation for this that was made clear very shortly.

The seach area we had chosen was close to or even possibly- IN the 10 Mile Wash.  This is a drainage arroyo that is more than 100 feet across- so large that it is identified on all the local maps and even is named.  I cannot even imagine what this raging river looks like when flooded!

There are dikes on either side of the wash to keep the flow from damaging the nearby properties, and in that dike, are lots of old car bodies to keep the erosion under control.  The cars are usually chopped into large chunks and partially buried in the dikes.  During a flood event, pieces do get carried off- and that's what Mark and I had been finding.

Do you suppose that these are the pot shards that a future archeologist will uncover to form opinions about what 20th century man was up to?

Like it or not, this is our legacy.

We did not find any definitive signs of the two aircraft that we were seeking.  No-one knows (or is telling) if anything exists to be found, but we remain convinced that the clues are out here somewhere.
Meanwhile it is a good excuse to get out and hike in the countryside, and enjoy each other's company.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

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