Visit to Walter Ray's Memorial - Lincoln County, Nevada - April 2, 2023
by Gp3po

Gp3po at the Memorial
Ever since reading Walter Ray's story and about the search for 928 (a CIA Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft that crashed), I've wanted to visit the site of a memorial to Walter placed by a patriotic group calling themselves the Strategic Beer Command. Although Walter ejected and was killed at this site in January 1967, this memorial wasn't placed until 2014. The memorial includes a plaque and a replica of the A-12 mounted on a steel pipe and bolted to a rock outcrop near where Walter fell to earth. (For full details, see Joerg's 2014 trip report).

We head out from Mesquite, Nevada on a cool (for April) day driving RZR off-road vehicles. After an hour of following a recently completed gas pipeline and older power line roads, we took a break at a familiar landmark- two stone cabin remains near an old abandoned mine. We continued north following a fairly good dirt road heading to Carp, Nevada. After another hour and just a few miles past Carp we turned east up a wash to the Cherokee Mine. The road was in pretty good shape, considering all the heavy rains this winter and after seven miles of climbing up this wash/road, we passed the Cherokee Mine. Discovered in the 1880s, this mine last produced silver and copper in 1951. (Beware of open shafts here.)

We continued past the mine and then turned east up a narrow wash. The wash was tight but initially easy going for a RZR. After half a mile it became very rocky and eroded, then impassible. We made the mistake of not continuing up the wash and, instead, explored the valley to our south. (Joerg's trip report directions are excellent but I tend to second guess and bugger things up.) After a fruitless search, we came back to the vehicles and continued by foot up the wash that shortly turned into an old road for a few hundred yards.

The old road leveled out in a long valley with rock outcrops near the head. After hiking up this valley half a mile, we spotted the memorial on a rock outcrop about 200 feet up a steep hillside. The memorial site is actually visible when you first enter the valley, if you know where to look. Bring binoculars, if you plan to visit.

Recent visitors had left two small American flags; we added our larger flag to the display. There is an ammo box bolted to the rock with a visitor log to sign and some information about this site. The replica is in great shape after nine years in this harsh environment but the plaque has rusted and takes a few seconds of study to read. The view is awesome. What a great tribute to Walter. We paid our respects and headed for home.

Cherokee Mine Wash

RZR Ride

Stone Cabins

Narrowing Wash

Memorial in Sight

Walter Ray Memorial, facing south

A-12 Replica

Plaque with Flags

Walter Ray Memorial, facing north

© Copyright 1999-, Dreamland Resort. All rights reserved.   Copyright Policy   Privacy Policy   Page last modified 04/08/2023