The Pop Culture Road Trip

Road trip to Las Vegas this past week for a book signing. On the way home to Southern California, we passed, and chuckled (as most do) at the sign for “Zzyzx Road.” Only this time, we got off and drove several miles until we found the town with the same odd name.

Some background: “The name Zzyzx was given to the area in 1944 by Curtis Howe Springer, claiming it to be the last word in the English language. Springer made up the word’s pronunciation “zi-zix”. He established the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa in 1944 at the spot, which was federal land, after filing mining claims for 12,000 acres  surrounding the springs. He used the springs to bottle his water and provide drinks for travelers through the hot desert. Springer also imported animals from around the country to attract more families to visit his ranch. He used Zzyzx until 1974, when he was arrested by the United States Marshals for misuse of the land as well as alleged violations of food and drug laws, and the land was reclaimed by the government. Since 1976, the Bureau of Land Management has allowed California State University to manage the land in and around Zzyzx. A consortium of CSU campuses use it as theirDesert Studies Center.”

What an idyllic little spot Mr. Springer chose. In the ruins of his Utopia little dream, hope still springs eternal, marsh birds still visit the oasis, and a sense of peace, calm and respite hangs gentle in the warm desert wind.

Off on a dinosaur expedition this week – will return in several days.


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