Laguna Hanson to El Alamo
The wind started howling sometime during the night and didn't let up even after we'd gotten out of the mountains. In the morning, bitter cold wind cast ripples across Laguna Hanson and the overcast sky caused the water, shore, and rock formations to all blend together in a washed out grayscale. We briefly considered boiling lake water to make it drinkable, but abandoned that idea after considering it's murkiness and the thousands of cow pies scattered around the shore. Wind ruled out any on-camera interviews we had planned. Bushwacking cross-country through sage brush on the 650s brought us full circle around the lake and we forded multiple creeks, sloshed through mud puddles, and fought stretches of sandy road to make it back down into the valley.
Back on pavement, the ride to El Alamo was quick. Nine miles on dirt road finished the side trip and brought us to a nearly empty village that sat just down the hill from the hulking ruins of a hugely productive gold mine, now abandoned. Looking for a way around fenced off dirt roads, we motored up a hill to find some viewpoints and poke around abandoned mine shafts before heading back to town, jumping a fence, and hiking up to the main structure of El Alamo. This thing was massive, and held the rusted, broken machinery of a stamp mill, used to crush gold ore for extraction. The most well-preserved aspect were the piston housings, blocks of iron marked with giant capital letters "UNION METAL WORKS - SAN FRANCISCO, CAL." As the sun was setting, we rode another 20 miles south and pulled off Mex 3 to make camp. Maybe the wind will leave us alone tonight.