Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
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Rice, California



Various Notes from Various Sources:

Probably the least know of the several camps that made up the California Arizona Maneuver Area (CAMA). What is known is that the 5th Armored Division was housed there while training at CAMA and that there was a large quartermaster depot there. In 1944 Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, Director of the "Manhattan (Atomic Bomb) Project" visited the town Rice and examined the nearby Tularosa Basin as a possible site for the testing of the first atomic devices. Oppenheimer subsequently chose the White Sands area of New Mexico.

Source: World War II Sites in the United States: A Tour Guide and Directory by Richard E. Osbourne

Rice, California, formerly named Blythe Junction, is a ghost town in the Rice Valley and the southern tip of the Mojave Desert, and within unincorporated San Bernardino County, southern California.

Route in 1930

The town, located on present-day California State Route 62 between Twentynine Palms and the Colorado River, grew around a Santa Fe Railroad subdivision[2] and siding. The subdivision and siding are still in use, but have since changed hands and currently belong to the Arizona and California Railroad, a short line serving southeastern California from Rice to Cadiz, California and southwestern Arizona at Parker. It was the starting point of the abandoned Ripley Branch that goes through Blythe to Ripley, California.

Main article: Rice Army Airfield

To the east of Rice is the Rice Municipal Airport, which was acquired by the United States Army's 4th Air Support Command in 1942 as a sub-base of Thermal Army Airfield,[3] and was operational by the end of the year. While the airfield's date of construction is unknown, it was not depicted on a 1932 Los Angeles Airways Chart, indicating construction sometime in the ten years between 1932 and 1942. Rice Army Airfield consisted of two intersecting paved 5,000 foot runways and numerous dispersal pads south of the runways. In 1944 the airfield was transferred from Thermal Army Airfield to March Field. Operations at Rice Field were ended by August 1944, and the field was declared surplus on October 31, 1944.[4]

The desert training area near Rice Army Airfield was at one time considered as the site for the world's first atomic-bomb test ("Trinity"), and in fact was the second-choice site. Instead, a site near Alamogordo, New Mexico, was chosen

To the east of Rice is the Rice Airport, which was acquired by the United States Army's 4th Air Support Command in 1942

The desert training area near Rice Army Airfield was at one time considered as the site for the world's first atomic-bomb test ("Trinity"), and in fact was the second-choice site. Instead, a site near Alamogordo, New Mexico, was chosen.

Originally a just a single tamarisk tree south of Highway 62, travelers passing to and from the Colorado River would toss a pair of underwear to hang in the tree's branches. When most of tree and its underpants burned down people started throwing tied shoes over the remaining branches thereby becoming a shoe tree. The shoe tree lasted until 2003 when it burned to the ground, afterward becoming a 'shoe garden.'

Travelers still stop to spell their names on the nearby Arizona and California Railroad right-of-way with the multi-colored volcanic rock used as ballast. Hand-assembled rock-graffiti lines the railroad for the entire distance that it parallels Highway 62.

Subsection 322Ba
Cadiz - Vidal Valleys

This subsection includes mostly alluvial fans and basin floors in Cadiz, Palen, Rice, and Vidal Valleys and the lower part of Ward Valley. It includes Iron Mountain and hills that stick up through the alluvial plains in the valleys. The climate is very hot and arid.



ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - glossary
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - comments
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