Borax Visitors Center-Boron, CA

For the past 10 years driving along desolate Hwy 58 running between California and Las Vegas out in the Mojave Desert; I have seen the sign for the Boron Museum and promised myself that I would stop “next time.” Well, that “next time” always came and went waiting for the “next time” to appear. This weekend I stopped. I’m glad I did.

It’s a little creepy taking a road to “nowhere.”  While you see the Boran Operations ahead, the road to the museum goes straight past and up a high gravel road to the top where the Borax Visitor Center sits. It’s a strange and lonely drive.

Once there we explored the outside first where a life sized replica of a Twenty Mule Team is hitched up to carts of Borax ready to make the dangerous ride down the mountain and through the high desert. You will also find a 100 ton truck tire, picnic shelter, and the headframe from the original underground mine. Climb the small hill at the back of the center for stunning view of the open pit mine which descends an amazing 850 ft down. Hard to believe this was an underground mine until the 1950’s!

The Borax Visitor’s Center is small but educational. Retired miners act as guides through the mining process and do they ever know their stuff. Ask them any question and they have the answer. From huge rocks of Borate, to displays of all the products that contain borate, and models of the different parts of the plant below; this is the place you want to go to learn all about borate mining.

The only thing I didn’t care for was the short film that was shown in the theatre. While very educational it felt more like a company promotional piece than a sincere desire to teach visitors more about the mining process. But the highlight of it all was the opening of the back curtain to see the vast 2 mile long mine which mines over three million tons of ore every year. It truly is an amazing site.

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This is one of those short off-road breaks. Give yourself about an hours time to look around, visit the gift shop, view the films and the displays.

Just a few of the products that use borates:

Space Shuttle tiles

Cleaners

Cosmetics

Teflon Cooking Utensils

Sparklers

Fertilizers

Cosmetics

Shower Curtains

Fiberglass

Motor Oils

 

The Visitors Center is located in Boron, CA and is open seven days a week from 9 a.m.- 4:45 p.m. excluding major holidays. This is a FREE museum and they even give you your own sample of Borax to take home with you!

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World’s Biggest Truck At Sparwood, British Columbia-Canada

Two years ago, Dave and Kullen were traveling through British Columbia, Canada, on their way to Waterton. Along the way, they came across the world’s largest truck…the Terex Titan 33-19 … which was once used in mining operations on the west coast of California and at the Kaiser Steel Mine located in Sparwood, B.C., Canada. Today it sits as a roadside tourist stop after being decommissioned in 1991. Sadly, it no longer holds the title of the World’s Biggest Truck which was been passed on to some other behemoth steel creature but who cares! This is one big fella in its own right and the engineer in you will love to go inspect it and kick a tire or two.

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The Titan 33-19 was built by a division of General Motors who expected the Titan to become “THE” mining truck used by the top operators in the world. Yet, the Titan never did enter into regular production because shortly after it was introduced at the 1974 World Mining Congress in Las Vegas; prices for coal decreased dramatically resulting in mine closures or significantly decreased outputs. Thus the truck with a $1.5 million dollar price tag in 1976 was just too expensive for companies to invest in and plans for it to become “The Top Model” serving the industry were scrapped.

Some of the more impressive facts concerning the Titan33-19 are:

It has a wheelbase of 29 ft 11 in with an overall length of 66ft. 9 inches. It stands 22ft. 7 inches tall, her width is 25ft. 7 in  and she weighs in at  over 548 tons.

The truck has served as a tourist attraction since 1993 after being decommissioned in 1991.

According to Kullen, “The truck was bigger than I expected it to be and one tire is bigger than the length of your entire body. I would love to visit it again sometime.”

The Titan is located off HWY 3 in Sparwood, British Columbia, Canada.

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