Hawes Radio Relay Facility


Note: The bulk of this journal was written prior to the demolition of Hawes. Rather than rewrite the entire journal, I present it as it was when Hawes was still intact. The portions written after the demolition are duly noted. To all who have contributed, my sincerest thanks.

In the 70s and 80s, if you were driving Highway 58 between Barstow and Kramer Junction, it would be to your south and you weren't always aware of it right away. In the daytime you might even miss it if you were looking at your road map, tuning the radio, or (heaven forbid) watching the road. Watching the road was much more vital then, for Highway 58 was two-lane, full of whoop-dee-do's and idiots with get-home-itis making suicide passes in front of you. But even with the distraction of the tomfoolery on the road in front of you, it slowly entered your consciousness that there was something ahead and just to the south of you that was very out of the ordinary, something you wouldn't see in a city, but something that was equally out of place in the barren, uninhabited Mojave. Westbound, you could see it from Barstow. Eastbound, you could see it from Kramer Junction. Once it finally caught your eye you kept a watch and noticed one other curiosity: no matter how much you drove, how much persevered in your automotive march toward this glittering anomaly, it never really seemed to grow in size. No matter how much you drove, you didn't seem to be getting any closer. And just what were you seeing? During the day, a thin, pink and white latticework perpendicular to the desert with a top that seemed to be above the cruising altitude of airliners. And at night...at night you saw, to your pleasant disbelief, a twinkling, sparkling crimson pyramid, a coruscating red Christmas tree that seemed to get larger and larger but only degree by degree. Finally, it dawned on you that it wasn't getting larger because it was was huge but still a long way off, and always a long way off no matter how long you kept driving. You knew you'd get there eventually; no matter which direction you were heading, it was directly in front of you, so you knew that it was only a matter of time before you were at its foot, whatever it was. And finally, as you were craning your neck at a forty-five degree angle to keep this twinkling giant in sight, the road took its inevitable maddening turn and you were directed away from this blinking, flashing oddity, and you watched it dwindle and disappear at the same rate it had appeared and grown during your approach: very slowly. And what was it? Your only clue, immediately after the diverting bend in the road, was a sign which read, "Hawes Radio Relay Facility." As if that was an explanation.

In a region defined in modern times by the military, you took that sign in stride. It was yet another military facility, beyond your reach, but assuringly placed there by Your Government for Your Protection, so you passed it by, though wondering at its immensity but at the same time granting its mystery your acceptance as one of those government curiosities necesary to preserve the freedom you enjoyed on your pleasant night drive through the Mojave. And you were quite right.

Known in the decades following its abandonment as "The Barstow Bunker," there this mystery waited for explanation, and provided endless befuddlement for those who wished to know.