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Mining town stuck on the shoulder of the information superhighway

By Mike Anton

Here on the shoulder of the information superhighway, smartphones turn stupid, streaming videos shrink to a trickle and a simple download drags like a flat tire.

Darwin is a former mining town cloistered in the high desert mountains between Death Valley National Park and the China Lake naval weapons testing center. Finding it isn’t easy — a sign that marked the turnoff from California Highway 190 was stolen recently.

In Darwin, there is no food, gas or lodging — or any businesses, for that matter. There is one stop sign. People emerge from their mobile homes and reclaimed miner’s shacks shortly after 11:30 each morning and walk to the post office to greet the mail’s arrival.

A sign at the edge of town announces Darwin’s population as “50 or so.” It’s actually about three dozen, and they are outnumbered 3 to 1 by abandoned cars. There are retirees, artists, loners, eccentrics — independent souls who’ve accepted that the price of living in California’s tranquil outback is a 90-mile drive to the nearest shopping center.

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  1. March 12, 2012, 7:35 pm

    Been there, done that. Satellite (Wild Blue, Hughes, et al) covers most of the U.S., so there is a solution if they're willing to pay for it.

    By: A. Yelvington
  2. June 5, 2012, 10:12 pm

    yeah, well if you havent guessed this is a town full of hippies that dont want to pay for it.

    By: ivars

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