Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts in category Lucerne Valley

Scenic 247 Route Moving into Approval ?

News around the High Desert can arrive in little gentle gusts of wind or full-blown twisters. In this case, the news about Scenic 247  is subtle and growing in a ground swell of political emotion.

Scenic routes and corridors can be a very good thing for remote locations like Barstow, Lucerne Valley, Johnson Valley, Flamingo Heights, Landers, Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and Twentynine Palms. They bring attention to natural attributes that desert communities can extol. Getting the politicians to jump on board is exciting.

vistas are what visitors crave

Scenic 247 offers visitors a vast stretch of pristine vistas


Iconic Wagon Wheels of the Old West

Collecting the West — Wagon Wheels Still Tie Us to the Spirit of the West

By Rusty LaGrange, president of Lucerne Valley Museum Assoc.

A wagon wheel is notably an icon of the Old West. You can still find them in antique shops and salvage yards across America. It ties us to the heritage of our early years as the United States opened its doors to go westward. Wagon wheels took us on our journey. The best ones are strong with thick spokes and an iron tire. Even these are getting harder to find today.

Wagon wheels

Hansen Wagon Wheels





Nearly every museum with a theme of natural history is bound to have several of these on display — on a vehicle or leaning up against a fence. Out in Lucerne Valley many ranches have several Old West wagons in their yards as honorable piece of history worthy of a glance as friends drive in through the gate.

Museums and Ranches Preserve the Past

Museum logo

Lucerne Valley Museum logo

Our Lucerne Valley Museum logo utilizes two icons – the wagon wheel signifying mine ore hauling and the plow to signify the agricultural roots of our valley – and defines our basic heritage. Without wagons to haul ore, alfalfa, and logs down from Big Bear, most industrial ranches would have had to rely on railroad for commerce.


Wagon wheels were designed for every conceivable rolling convenience. Each had specific need and sizes. Hundreds of companies built wagon wheels for hauling heavy loads and spindly ones for fast moving surreys.

The stagecoach set the standard for many travelers because they were built for long distances, larger cargo, and places for the public to sit. It wasn’t the easiest ride but for its time, it was good enough. Some bench seats were padded, some not. Some stages had open sides to allow more air flow during hot rides through even hotter territories. Often times, riders would opt to ride on top to get a breeze and take advantage of the vistas.

Catching a Breeze

The open air for passengers

Riding atop of a stagecoach provided a longer swinging action to the rough ride. Like getting in the back of a bus, the farther you sat from the axles the more energy was disbursed. The ride was cushioned by the leather straps or sling system that held the body to the framework.

Looking at the Details

Next time you look at a stagecoach up close, at a museum or special event, notice the difference in size of the front wheels at 39” tall and 43” for the rear. The differences allowed the tracking of the wheels to run smoother around corners.

Old work wagon

Very old utility wagon in Daggett CA

Farm wagons and drays were the working equipment for a busy ranch. They had to be durable. Most were painted a typical dark blue-green, similar to the hunter green we are familiar with today. The paint on the box, using an oil-base consisting of pigments ground in linseed oil, provided protection and style. Most all farm wagons were painted with bright-colored gears, red, orange, or yellow. The bright colors of the gear and wheels hid dirt better than a dark color, and the style of the day was for work vehicles to be brightly colored. The brilliantly striped gears and bodies of the farm wagon seemed to be on the verge of gaudy or a competition among the many makers to produce the most marketable look. This fact helps collectors today identify the companies that made them. Very few makers marked their names on axles and boxes.

Stagecoaches in films

Our love with the Old West and wagon wheels began long ago

Hollywood film industry continues to be as authentic as possible with historic Westerns, even down to the type and construction of stagecoaches as in the Lonesome Dove series and others like the movie Hidalgo, and the Wells, Fargo Company who regularly takes replicas out to the public for historical events nationally.

Whether the wheels are found on wagons, stagecoaches, buckboard, spring buggy, or Black Moriah funeral coach, they all hold a long and deserving place in our Old West history.


Thanx goes to Hansen Wheel and Wagon for keeping these horse-drawn transports still on the ground

High Desert’s Cadillac Antiques’ July 4th Anniversary

Antiques, Lucerne Valley

Cadillac Antiques, Lucerne Valley


Have you been out to High Desert’s Cadillac Antiques yet? The address is 32090 State Hwy. 18 in Lucerne Valley. Owners Ralph and Patty Muldoon and David and Charlene Guertin will be celebrating the shop’s first anniversary on July 4th.

High Desert Bloggers, a group, met at the antique shop on May 2, 2015. Beginning the morning meetup over a grandeur breakfast provided by co-owner Patty, the bloggers were eager to find out about the vintage store’s beginning. Patty was a gracious hostess and was happy to answer all of our questions.

High Desert Bloggers at Cadillac Antiques Meetup

Rusty, Joey, Patti

Lucerne Valley Vintage Shop

Co-Owner Patty Muldoon

“What made you want to open an antique shop?” I asked.

“We were all collectors,” she said. “Really it’s about the building. The past owner passed away. We just loved the building and talked to the owner’s daughter and decided to buy it and turn it into an antique store.”

Ralph and Patty are from LA and are new to Lucerne Valley (and love it), and David and Charlene are from Victorville. Patty said, “We wanted to come out to Lucerne Valley to live.”

Cadillac Antiques in Lucerne Valley Giveaway

Cadillac Antiques Front Rooms

The Cadillac Antiques building is beautiful. Spotting an antique car in the spacious parking lot, you’ll know you have arrived. Greeted by the friendly owners as you enter the shop, there is a feeling of cozy ambiance.

Cadillac Antiques Building

Cadillac Antiques

This is an antique store the ladies can bring their husbands to. It’s definitely a vintage shop for both ladies and gents. There is a man cave!

Cadillac Antiques for the Gents

Cadillac Antiques Man Cave

More exciting things are on the horizon for this vintage shop in the desert. The owners have plans for vintage car cruises, “Cars and Cruises” with coffee and cinnamon rolls.

Exciting things are on the horizon for this vintage shop in the desert. The owners have plans for vintage car cruises, “Cars and Cruises” with coffee and cinnamon rolls. Even sooner is the big first-anniversary July 4th celebration. Go by for a visit, and sign up to win the July 4th holiday basket is co-hosting with the owners.


High Desert Bloggers Meetup



Are you a High Desert entrepreneur? Ask us how you can advertise your business or service on Contact Rusty or Angie at

Photos by Angie Horn



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