| July/August 1971

723 West Ave. 'I' 62B Lancaster, California 93534

Reprint from Sportsman's Corner -- by Charlie Meaning. The Oildale News, Oildale, California. March 18, 1970. -- Thanks Charlie - Anna Mae.

It was the darndest thing you ever saw. Pretty girls, dressed in not much of anything were all around. There was a gold panning contest taking place; some young men, mounted on burros, were racing, and a lot of other things were going on. But off to one side, many men and boys were not paying any attention to these things. They stood or squatted and stared at 40 or 50 various sized gasoline engines.

The engines were running 'Chug-uh-chug-uh . . . Chug!' they said, over and over. The men just stood or squatted and looked at the engines and the spinning flywheels and belts, and they raised their eyes to watch the smoke come out of the stacks and turned their heads once in awhile, without taking their eyes off the engines, to spit on the ground.

This was at the Tropico Gold Mine near Rosamond. Hundreds of people were watching the other events, but as far as the little group around the engines were concerned, there might as well been nothing else to look at. Now and then the groups changed. That is, a man or two would go from one engine to another, squat or stand, depending on the size of the engine, and study it. Usually the men didn't talk to one another or to the man wearing the train engineer's cap and carrying an oil can. This man stepped forward now and then to squirt a little oil or make some adjustment.

I went up to one of the 'engineers.' He was tending a big, long engine that had two great wheels on each side. A long belt ran from the hub of the axle that held the wheels back to a smaller wheel, and just behind that was a tall plastic tube that was spouting water. The water ran down a trough and into a tub, and from there it was channeled into a sump from which it was sucked up again.