Tour of Gold Base/Happy Valley 15 Sept. 2001 -- bwarr1
16 Sep 2001
A visiting San Francisco critic was interested in meeting Ida "more than meets the eye" Camburn and viewing Gold Base, so yesterday we drove up to Hemet. We were met by one of Ida's friends there, who wanted to come along, so after shooting the bull a while, we embarked on a tour of Scientology properties in the area.
First stop, Happy Valley, aka "Castile Canyon School." It's gotten a facelift since my last visit. Gone are the big, barred gates. They've been replaced with a simple swinging gate, but the Sea Org emblem still tops the sign over the entrance. There's a handy guide to the buildings out there, mapped out on a sign by the gate. Odd, the RPF pole is not mentioned on it...
With a friendlier facade, and lacking steel bars, the cult has placed live security on site by the entrance. As we approached, a white SUV pulled out from its parking place under an oak tree, and preceded us to the gate. While we parked out front taking pictures, he drove through the turnaround and headed back the way we came in. When we left, he was well down the road, but another white SUV had taken up point under the oak trees! We followed the first vehicle out; when he turned left onto a dirt road we followed to check the license plate. He did a U-turn and we confirmed that it was indeed the same vehicle that preceded us to the gate of Happy Valley. We followed him to the main road (we had no choice, there's only ONE way in and out!) and, when he pulled into the Tribal Center parking lot, we slowed down to get more pictures. At this point, he mouthed an ancient Indian curse, or perhaps a description of DM's latest paramour. I couldn't hear him but it seemed he was saying, "Fake ewe!"
On to Gold Base! Ida's friend dropped us off at the Ashlee Memorial site, intending to drive around and pick us up at the south end of Gold. Driving in from the south, we saw a crew of 8-10 laborers on the roadside. One of them waved a hand at us, and I waved back. Right after he pulled out, a dark sedan pulled in and sat there, lights on. When I started to approach them, the two characters in the vehicle pulled out, one mumbling into a cell phone. We walked the length of Gold, me pointing out the sights of interest on the way. We saw very few personnel and little activity behind the barred fences. Of the suppressive parrot, we heard not a peep. Perhaps he blew the org? There is some work being done on the apartments on the west side of the highway, and the big stone house to the east has had some more work done on it. Thanks to the angle of the sun, we were able to spot some kind of structure about halfway up the ridge between Davey's house and the "chapel." Eagles' Nest? Who knows? It's definately manmade, and way the hell up there. The work crew we'd spotted by the side of the road was gone when we arrived. There are three large, rectangular holes being dug into the berm in front of Davey's (or is it Hubbard's?) house at the south end of the base east of the highway. Drainage? Escape tunnels? Xenu?
We got picked up at the south end, and whisked away from Gold back to town and civilization.
"Every week, every month, every year, every decade and now every century, Scientology does weird and stupid things to damage its own reputation." -Steve Zadarnowski
"Comparing Scientology to a motorcycle gang is a gross, unpardonable insult to bikers everywhere. Even at our worst, we are never as bad as Scientology." -ex-member, Thunderclouds motorcycle "club"
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