Bagdad Cafe

“Bagdad Cafe” refers to both a 1987 film and a subsequent television series. The film, originally titled “Out of Rosenheim,” was directed by Percy Adlon. The story revolves around a German tourist named Jasmin Münchgstettner, played by Marianne Sägebrecht, who finds herself stranded in the Mojave Desert. She ends up at a run-down motel and café called the Bagdad Cafe, where she forms an unlikely friendship with the cafe’s owner, played by CCH Pounder.

The film explores themes of isolation, friendship, and cultural differences, and it gained acclaim for its unique characters and quirky charm. The original German title, “Out of Rosenheim,” refers to the character’s departure from her mundane life in Rosenheim, Germany.

The film’s success led to the creating of a television series titled “Bagdad Cafe,” which aired from 1990 to 1991. The TV series continued the film’s story, featuring some of the original characters and expanding on the adventures at the Bagdad Cafe.

Both the film and the TV series have garnered a cult following for their offbeat and heartwarming storytelling. The Bagdad Cafe itself, located in Newberry Springs, California, along Historic Route 66, has become a popular tourist attraction.

The Captivity of Olive Oatman

A Harrowing Tale of Survival and Resilience


The story of Olive Oatman, a young girl who endured unimaginable hardships during her captivity among Native American tribes in the mid-19th century, has become an emblem of resilience and survival. This blog post delves into the gripping account of Olive Oatman’s captivity, shedding light on the challenges she faced and the strength she exhibited throughout her ordeal.

The Oatman Family’s Journey

In 1850, the Oatman family embarked on a treacherous journey from Illinois to California, seeking a better life in the West. Unfortunately, their dreams were shattered when they encountered a Native American tribe, the Yavapai, along the Gila River in present-day Arizona. The tribe, driven by desperation and a history of violence against settlers, attacked the Oatman family. All but Olive and Mary Ann were brutally killed. Brother Lorenzo also survived but was left for dead listening to his mothers cries as she held her infant in the rocks where they were thrown.

Oatman family massacre site – Mick Wedley photo

Captivity Among the Yavapai

The Yavapai tribe took Olive, and her younger sister, Mary Ann, captive, subjecting them to constant fear and uncertainty. A year after their capture, they were traded to the Mohave tribe.

Life Among the Mohave

Mohave Indians

Under the care of the Mohave tribe, Olive and Mary Ann were gradually integrated into their new community. The Mohave people treated them with relative kindness, adopting them as members of their tribe and providing them with food and shelter. Olive even received facial tattoos, which were traditional among the Mohave, symbolizing her assimilation into their culture.

Rescue and Reintegration

After five years of captivity, Olive’s story took a dramatic turn when her younger sister, Mary Ann, tragically passed away due to starvation. Determined to return to her white heritage, Olive caught the attention of American authorities, urged by Lorenzo, and eventually negotiated her release. Upon her return to white society, Olive faced challenges in readjusting to her former life. Her facial tattoos, a constant reminder of her captivity, presented a unique hurdle in her reintegration.

Legacy and Impact

The story of Olive Oatman’s captivity quickly captivated the public’s imagination, symbolizing resilience and endurance in the face of adversity. Her tale was widely publicized, and she became somewhat of a celebrity during her lifetime. Olive’s memoir, “Captivity of the Oatman Girls,” published in 1857, further immortalized her experiences and shed light on the often misunderstood dynamics between Native American tribes and settlers during that era.


The captivity of Olive Oatman stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of human will. Her story serves as a reminder of the strength and resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable hardship. Olive Oatman’s legacy endures, inspiring generations to overcome adversity and find courage even in the darkest of times.

(c)Walter Feller

The Captivity of the Oatman Girls

Olive Oatman

Mojave River: A Lifeline in the Desert


The Mojave River, a hidden gem in the arid landscapes of California, serves as a vital lifeline in the Mojave Desert. This remarkable river spans approximately 110 miles and offers a diverse ecosystem, historical significance, and recreational opportunities for nature enthusiasts and history buffs.

Geography and Formation:

The Mojave River originates in the San Bernardino Mountains and meanders through the Mojave Desert, eventually dissipating into Soda Lake. Its path encompasses various landscapes, including rugged canyons, barren deserts, and lush riparian habitats. The river’s formation can be traced back thousands of years ago when geological processes and the ever-changing climate of the region shaped its course.

Ecological Importance:

Despite the harsh Mojave Desert conditions, the Mojave River sustains a surprising array of flora and fauna. The river’s riparian zones provide an ideal habitat for a variety of plant species, such as willows, cottonwoods, and mesquite trees. These lush areas attract diverse wildlife, including birds, reptiles, and mammals, seeking refuge in this desert oasis.

Historical Significance:

The Mojave River holds a significant place in the history of California. Native American tribes, such as the Mojave, Serrano, and Chemehuevi, once relied on the river’s resources for sustenance and survival. European explorers, including Spanish missionaries and fur trappers, ventured along its banks, leaving behind a legacy of cultural exchange and exploration.

Moreover, during the mid-1800s, the Mojave River played a crucial role in the development of the Old Spanish Trail and the Mojave Road. These historic trade routes linked the Spanish colonies of California with the eastern United States, facilitating trade and migration.

Recreational Opportunities:

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Mojave River offers a plethora of recreational activities. Hiking trails, such as the Mojave Riverwalk Trail, provide opportunities for exploration, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in desert scenery. Camping facilities and picnic areas along the river’s banks provide the most idyllic setting for a peaceful getaway amidst nature’s tranquility.

Conservation Efforts:

Recognizing the importance of preserving this vibrant ecosystem, numerous conservation organizations and government agencies have worked to protect and restore the Mojave River. These initiatives focus on sustaining river water quality and preserving riparian habitats.


The Mojave River stands as a testament to the resilience of nature in the face of adversity. Its meandering path through the Mojave Desert provides a lifeline for both wildlife and humans, offering a sanctuary amidst the arid landscapes. Whether you are a nature lover, history enthusiast, or adventure seeker, the Mojave River is a destination that promises a unique and memorable experience. So, embark on a journey to this desert oasis, and let the Mojave River captivate you with its beauty and allure.

Indifference of the Desert: Gateway to Eternity

The desert, a vast expanse of arid land, holds an enigmatic allure that has captivated explorers, writers, and artists for centuries. In its barrenness lies a certain indifference, an apathy that transcends the human realm. It is a world of endless silence, where life struggles to survive, and time appears to stand still. This place, looking into the indifferent nature of the desert, exploring its striking beauty, unforgiving climate, and ability to evoke a sense of insignificance in the face of its vastness.

The desert’s indifference is paradoxically intertwined with its mesmerizing beauty. Stretching as far as the eye can see, the landscape is dominated by sand dunes, rocky outcrops, and expansive plains. The desert’s neutral color palette, comprising earthy tones of beige, ochre, and rust, creates a harmonious symphony of hues. Its vastness and emptiness instill a sense of awe as if gazing upon an infinite canvas that has been left untouched by human hands.

The desert’s indifference is most apparent in its extreme climate. The desert’s temperatures fluctuate dramatically from scorching heat during the day to bone-chilling cold at night. The barrenness of the landscape exacerbates these conditions, as there are no obstacles to provide shade or shelter. Survival in such an environment requires adaptation and resilience, as even the hardiest of creatures struggle to endure the harshness of the desert’s indifference.

In the desert, time seems to lose its relevance. The shifting sands, sculpted by the wind, erase any trace of human presence, leaving behind a blank canvas for nature to paint anew. The desert’s indifference to the passage of time can be both humbling and disorienting. It serves as a reminder of the transience of human existence, as the footprints we leave behind are quickly swallowed by the relentless sands, making us feel insignificant in the face of eternity.

While the desert’s indifference may seem daunting, it offers valuable lessons for those who are willing to listen. It teaches us to embrace solitude and find solace in our own company. It encourages us to adapt and persevere in the face of adversity. It reminds us of the impermanence of life and the importance of cherishing the present moment. The desert’s indifference serves as a gentle yet profound reminder of our place in the grand tapestry of the universe.

The indifference of the desert is a captivating paradox. Its silent beauty, harsh climate, and timeless sands evoke a sense of insignificance in the face of its vastness. Yet, within its indifference lies wisdom and resilience. The desert beckons us to embrace solitude, adapt to change, and appreciate the fleeting nature of existence. Let us heed its call and find solace in the indifference of the desert, for within its silence lies a profound understanding of the human condition.

(c)Walter Feller

Battle at Chimney Rock

History of San Bernardino and Riverside counties
Brown, John & Boyd, James – 1922

 Typical of the troubles of the times is the following article from a local newspaper of February 1867: “For several years past, our citizens have been greatly annoyed by roving bands of Indians who come into the valley and steal all the horses and cattle they find unguarded. Nor do they hesitate to attack stockmen and travelers if an opportunity offers. Already Messrs. Parish, Bemus and Whiteside, and a dozen others have fallen victim to their bloodthirstiness within the past four years. Growing bolder by impunity, on the 29th of January, they attacked the sawmill of Mr. James upon the mountain, a few miles east of this place, having previously robbed the house of Mr. Cain, carrying off five horses and burned down the house. The party at the mill, consisting of Messrs. Armstrong, Richardson, Cain, and Talmadge, sallied out to meet them. A brisk fight followed when the party, finding that most of the Indians had guns and fearful of being overpowered, retreated to the mill. The next morning the party, having been reinforced, went out and was attacked again, the fight lasting for more than an hour. Two of the white men were wounded, two Indians were killed, and three wounded. A party was made up to pursue these Indians, and after following them, found the Indians encamped in the desert at Rabbit Springs. The company made an attack, the men having to climb up the steep mountains and over the rocks on all fours, and the skirmishing lasted until dark. The skirmishing lasted for two days longer when the whites were compelled to withdraw because supplies were exhausted. Four Indians were killed and two of the white party wounded.” The Mojave region came under the protection of Camp Cady, which was established as a regular military post in 1868 on the road between Wilmington and Northern Arizona territory, and about 100 troops under Colonel Ayers remained here until about 1870.


This article was written circa 1904

The cultivation of alfalfa has become an important industry in this
state and throughout the West. As San Bernardino County can claim the
first successful culture of this plant in the United States, a brief outline of
its history may not be out of place.

Lucerne Valley, Ca.

Alfalfa is the oldest grass known, having been introduced into Greece
from Media, 500 years before Christ. The Romans, finding its qualities good, cultivated it extensively and carried it into France when Caesar reduced Gaul. It has always been extensively cultivated in Europe under the name of lucerne, supposed to be derived from the province of Lucerne in Switzerland. The name alfalfa was given to the plant in Chili, where it grows spontaneously in the Andes as well as on the pampas of that country and of the Argentine Republic.

Oro Grande, Ca.

It was introduced into the United States as early as 1835—and probably
earlier—and attempts at cultivation in New York and other Eastern states
were unsuccessful.

In the United States Agricultural Report for 1872, Mr. N. Wyckoff, of
Yolo, Napa County, Cal, reports: “In the winter of 1854. I sowed four acres
with alfalfa, or lucerne, as it was then called, seed brought from Chili. As
far as I know, it was a part of the first parcel of seed brought into this
country. My sowing proved so foul with weeds that I plowed it up and
did not re-sow until 1864.” The United States Agricultural Report of
1878, a considerable production of alfalfa is reported from some of the
northern counties of the state.

In the winter of 1852-3, a party of Mormons arrived in San Bernardino from Australia. At least one of the party, Mr. John Metcalf, brought with him some alfalfa seed. This was sown on his place, now the Metcalf place on Mount Vernon Avenue, near First street. It was irrigated from Lytle Creek and did well, and the plant was soon cultivated by others. The seed was at first sold for $1.00 per pound and was distributed from San Bernardino to other points in Southern California. The early supply of seeds for Los Angeles was obtained from San Bernardino and the seed was taken from here to Salt Lake thus the alfalfa industry, one of the most important in Utah, was started. The alfalfa crop is now one of the most important of the county and San Bernardino County had, in 1900, more than six thousand acres seeded to this plant.

San Bernardino County
1769 to 1904 (201)

Wrong-Way River

by walter feller

Mojave River

In 1852 a survey was made of the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert. The Old Spanish Trail # had become a wagon road bringing thousands of pioneers to the west and developed as a supply route between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. The survey was as accurate as any at that time and followed the trail from near the top of the Cajon Pass to a point where the trail leaves the Mojave River near Fishponds. The trail to Salt Lake continues north as we know it, but the river flowing east on this map bears southeast and empties into the Colorado River. At the time it was thought the Mojave (spelled Mohahve on the map) River followed this course. It did not. There was no Mojave Road in 1852 and not many Americans had traversed that portion of the desert. As we now know the Mojave River cuts through Afton Canyon and then disappears into the sink of the Mojave before it reaches Soda Lake.

The Williamson survey the next year in 1853 begins to correct the true ancient course of the river as it would have found its way to converge with the Amargosa River and empty into Death Valley’s Lake Manly via Soda Lake, Silver Lake, Silurian Lake, and Salt Springs.

-End –

Protecting the Mojave in 1974

Los Angeles Herald Examiner Photo Collection
Howell, E. Bruce – 1974

Photograph caption dated April 3, 1974 reads, “Shy desert tortoise curls up inside his shell on top of a groove left in desert sand by motorcycle on the Stoddard Valley off-road vehicle racing area of Barstow. Already legally protected as an endangered species, environmentalists and scientists say the threat is heightened along with other desert life by off-road vehicle activities.”

Photograph caption dated April 3, 1974 reads, “Environmentalist group that recently toured the Mojave Desert to show evidence of damage done by indiscriminate use of off-road vehicle say they believe holes on this live desert tortoise shell were caused by bullets.”

Photograph caption dated April 3, 1974 reads, “Tiny marker planted in Mojave Desert at Stoddard Valley, marks U.S. Bureau of Land Management boundary separating approved off-road vehicle race course from a restricted area. Heavy tire tracks on both sides of marker indicate that such markers are virtually ignored, except by desert visitors with guns, who have riddled them with bullets.”

Photograph caption dated April 3, 1974 reads, “Stoddard Valley on Mojave Desert near Barstow, despite its vast openness is a continuous maze of off-road vehicle tire tracks. Federal plan for managing off-road vehicle use on desert has left it open for off-road vehicle races and closed other areas. But environmentalists and scientists say regulations for restricted areas are too vague and open to this kind of damage.”

Photograph caption dated April 3, 1974 reads, “These people seek to defend the vast Mojave Desert from a federal program that regulates off-road vehicles. They claim regulations are vague, unenforceable, and could open the desert to extensive off-road vehicle damage. From left are UC Riverside professors Bill Mayhew, zoology; Sylvia Broadbent, anthropology; and Richard E. Gutting, Jr., attorney for Environmental Defense Fund.”

Photograph caption dated April 3, 1974 reads, “Judith Winder, staffer for Environmental Defense Fund, sketches petroglyph of longhorn sheep from rock in Inscription Canyon.”

Photograph caption dated April 3, 1974 reads, “Hand of UC Riverside anthropology professor, Sylvia Broadbent, points out recent chisel mark at bottom of a chipped out section of volcanic rock which had an ancient Indian carving on it. Such damage to antiquities, which is widespread in the Mojave Desert is illegal. This damage was in Inscription Canyon near Barstow.”

Photograph caption dated April 3, 1974 reads, “Richard E. Gutting, Jr., kneeling, attorney for Environmental Defense Fund, and UC Riverside anthropology professor Sylvia Broadbent, examine off-road vehicle dislocation of ‘desert pavement,’ a dark, rocky covering on desert floor which takes thousands of years to form but is important to the natural balance of desert life. Light swath was made by off-road vehicle race.”

Photograph caption dated April 3, 1974 reads, “Off-road vehicle race course touring party gathers at scene of ancient Indian sleeping circle (foreground), a circular formation of larger rocks in midst of small ones, which anthropologists say were foundations for shelters built by prehistoric Indians. All such sites, they assert, should be protected.”

Photograph caption dated April 3, 1974 reads, “Not just ordinary boulders, these, according to Dr. Sylvia Broadbent, UC Riverside anthropology professor, who said there is no question that the slightly concave rock in the upper half of photo was worn that way by ancient Indians grinding grain and marks on the surface of the rock in the lower photo were also made by the same Indians.”

Photograph caption dated April 3, 1974 reads, “Petroglyphs, ancient Indian rock art, abound on the walls of Inscription Canyon near Barstow. Archaeologists look upon them as valuable keys to unlocking the secrets of prehistoric peoples who inhabited the vast Mojave Desert, but complain they are being destroyed by desert visitors at an alarming rate.”

Photograph caption dated April 3, 1974 reads, “He calls the Mojave Desert ‘home.’ Desert lizard suns itself on dark, porous volcanic rock in Inscription Canyon. Same rocks are covered with ancient Indian petroglyphs, and rock art carvings, indicating the canyon may have been where Indians trapped and captured longhorn sheep and other desert game. The entire canyon is falling victim to vandals and souvenir hunters.”

High Desert Small Atlas

Cajon Pass/Victor Valley Roads

Working copy – not all roads included

1 – Old Spanish Trail/Indian trail (1827)
2 – Cajon Pass (Lower) – Indian trail
3 – Lone Pine Canyon – Indian trail
4 – Sheep Creek – Indian trail
5 – Sanford Pass (c.1854-57)
6 – Fort Tejon – Indian trail
7 – to Mojave River – Indian trail
8 – to Daggett (c.1855)
9 – Lucerne/Cushenbury Lumber road
10 – Van Dusen/Holcomb Valley Road – (1862)
11 – Mojave Indian trail (c.1776, 1826)