Friendlies, the Mojave Phonebooth was a working telephone in the middle of the Mojave Desert in the middle of nowhere, and our pal Doc was its champion. I came across mentions of the booth in the late 90's ; this little booth attracted travellers (and callers) from all over the world. Doc is putting a book together about the entire experience called Adventures with the Mojave Phonebooth. NPR interviewed Doc about the booth, and that's a good listen. I also asked him a few questions about the Booth, and Doc kindly took the time to reply. Read on, after the photo.
Q: I know the booth itself is long-gone, but I heard you can still call the phone number? (psst: 760-733-9969)
A: After the NPS destroyed the Mojave Phone Booth, I tried to obtain its number but (probably under pressure from the NPS) Pacific Bell told me it was permanently "retired." I tried again, with the same result, when ownership passed from Pac Bell to SBC and again it passed from SBC to AT&T. Last year, though, someone screwed up and noted phreak Lucky225 acquired it. Right now it's a conference line but Lucky is amenable to using it for other purposes to be revealed in due course.
Q: Besides phone booths, what's the other most peculiar thing you've found in the desert?
A: Given what becoming known did to the poor Booth, maybe I should skip this question? (But maybe the Door in the Floor!) (I can say no more.)
Q: What was the best thing left at the booth by visitors?
A: What springs to mind is something left after the Booth was destroyed: someone made a colorful, tiled, full-size headstone for the Booth. (It was confiscated, almost certainly by the NPS, who also came out to break up and cart away even the concrete pad on which the Booth had stood, in an effort to discourage people who were coming out to visit it. You know what they say about tax dollars.)
Q: Can you tell us a little about the Mojave Phone Book?
A: Indeed, sir (and thank you!)--although it seems almost impossible at the moment, my book Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth is scheduled to be available this May.
Q: Is there a corollary weirdo community happening somewhere that you know of?
A: With the exception of maybe Burning Man (or the Internet at large), I might be tempted to say Slab City.
Doc, thanks for your time. I can't wait to read the book.