Saturday – September 30th
Didn’t sleep very much. Ate very little breakfast. McDonald and I went to drug store and he got a bunch of stuff to doctor my hand with. Dressed it up real nice. Hit “Black Fire Desert” just out of St. George. Passed thru an Indian settlement which was very typical of their race. Roads are very very bad. Passing thru a series of hills. Had a leak in the valve in one of the tires. Got to St. Thomas about 6:30 p.m. The desert is very beautiful at sunset. The lower purple hill playing softly against the higher outstanding blue mountains. Camped at Nutter’s Campground. Everything is high priced – 50 cents per gallon for gas. 40 cents for qt. for oil.
Approximate mileage 96.3 miles.
St. George is at the northernmost extension of the Mojave Desert. Since I can’t find anything about the “Black Fire Desert” I assume it was a name for the Mojave Desert. Just outside of St George, they would have crossed over into Arizona for a short bit before arriving into Nevada.
St Thomas is a ghost town in Nevada. The city was established in 1865 by the Mormons and had a great deal of misfortune. In 1870 when the state of Nevada was established, the survey put St. Thomas in Nevada rather than Utah, and so five years of back taxes were demanded. The Arrowhead Trail originally went through the city, but in the early 1920’s the bridge over the Virgin River burned and the Highway was moved north. I believe this must have occurred after Lloyd went through here. The final blow occurred in the 1930s when it was flooded because the Hoover Dam (Lake Mead) was filled. On June 11, 1938, Hugh Lord rowed away from his house, the last citizen to leave. You can now see parts of St. Thomas because of the low water levels. I can’t find anything about Nutter’s campground.
(I am beginning to see a pattern of things burning down within a few years of Lloyd’s visits.)
On this day they traveled the Arrowhead Trail, the National Park to Park Highway, the Evergreen Highway and the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway. In Mesquite Nevada, the Arrowhead Trail left the other highways. Lloyd followed the Arrowhead Trail to St. Thomas.
Sunday – October 1st
Slept late as usual. Left out at 9:00 a.m. Go thru the “Valley of Fire.” Red hills and small mountains. Resembling fire. Arrived Las Vegas Nev. at noon and ate dinner at the camp ground. Continued thru desert the whole day. Got to Search Light Nev . A mining town. Gold, copper and silver and ate supper. The camp ground was so poor we traveled on to Goffs Cal. The campground was crowded but we got a good location. We are now in the country that we left in search of. Didn’t know what it looks like since it was dark. Saw a train pass, the first one for almost two weeks.
Approximate mileage 170 miles.
Las Vegas in 1922 was much different than it is today. Gambling was illegal. In 1922 Prohibition existed, so there was no “legal” drinking.
Searchlight declined after 1917 but hung on as a stop on the Arrowhead Highway. In 1927, Hwy 91 bypassed the town, and its population dropped to 50. The town went through a resurgence in the 1930s and 1940s with the construction of nearby Hoover Dam.
At Bannock California, just before Goffs, the Arrowhead Trail joined the National Old Trails Road. The National Old Trails Road split in California in 1926 and there were differences between the two maps I’ve found. The part they drove on is now called Route 66 and seems to be the same between the two maps; it is other portions of the routing that is different. (the National Old Trails Map and Marker can be found on Sept 10th – Indiana as granddad was first on the trail on that date )
In 1922 there was a service stations in Goffs but all that was offered was a rustic campground. There was a Clay’s Auto camp that started after 1925 which I could get pictures of but I could not get any pictures of granddad’s campground. Goffs California was a water hole on the train line during this time and a stop on the National Old Trails Road. It declined in the 30s when Route 66 bypassed the town. With railroad engines no longer needing as much water for steam, Goffs was no longer needed as a water stop. It is now a ghost town.