Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The China Ranch Date Farm - The Hidden Oasis

About 60 miles south west of Parhump is the China Date Ranch Date Farm. We heard about this from some folks at the RV park and decided to take a run down to see it.  We had seen dates for sale in local stores from the China Date Ranch and wanted to see where they were grown.

About 15 miles from the ranch, we saw this sign and received new hope that there was, in fact, a real ranch. As you can see, there is not much evidence of date growing here. Driving toward it was not inspiring as there was literally nothing in sight along the road.

The final couple miles were down a small,very windy gravel road. At this point, Rick was not sure this was the best idea he came up with recently!

As we eased down this drive, we cam across several abandoned mines like this one. It turns out these were gypsum mines that were used in the early 1900s. We could not imagine how hard it would be to crawl down into one of these holes each day to work!

There were all kinds of interesting rock formations in this area which added to the desolate feeling of the place and hoped that we would soon get to the ranch.

Finally, we rounded a bend in the road and were amazed at the oasis that we suddenly saw. There were several acres of well watered grounds in the middle of stark desert. 

The China Ranch turned out to be a very interesting place that featured excellent dates and related items. Orinda thought it would take a long time to get to town in this old Model T delivery truck.

It is amazing what water will do in the desert. This flowing tree was beautiful and one of several similar shrubs in the area. The oasis provided a huge contrast to the desert. 

 The China Ranch also had quite a few items for sale from the area. This operation is the classic small business with a family running the ranch, growing dates and offering a unique store for visitors willing to go beyond the beaten track. This turned out to be a very interesting day trip.

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