Day 2 through 6 Wandering the desert

Saturday March 21
Route: south on I-5 to 138, hwy 14 to hwy 18
Photos are here at Picasa, Mo and the MoHo in the Desert

Digital Desert Mojave is a really great website for the Mojave Desert. If you plan on traveling there, it’s worth perusing at length. It is filled with detailed information about the landscape, rock formations, and documents the flow of bloom in the desert. After reading about the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve and the promise of gorgeous displays, Mo decided to go there. It was a bit early in the season, but the photos show it can be lovely in spite of fewer flowers in full bloom. Another site along the way is Mormon Rocks, worth a stop and a look if you have the time.

Mo continued on to the southern entrance of Joshua Tree National Park. Arriving late on a Saturday afternoon meant that she was really lucky to get the very last campsite available in the Cottonwood Campground, and it took a bit of jockeying to fit the MoHo into that space, even at only 26 feet. When we got this rig, we were thinking that we wanted to be long enough to be comfortable, yet short enough for tight NP spaces.
On Sunday morning the weather was perfect for a day exploring Joshua Tree, enjoying the cholla and ocotillo gardens, and all the amazing granite formations. The park has several routes in and out, and Mo had to exit and then go back in on Hwy 62 to get to the Blackrock CG which is large with many available spaces on this spring Sunday evening. These camps have water only, so it isn’t exactly dry camping, but almost. The JOTR website is filled with information about routes, ecology, camping, and hiking information.

Monday morning Mo left the park, following historic route 66 a few miles before going north on Amboy road to Amboy, then north again to Kelso in the Mojave National Preserve. At Kelso there is a nice visitor center in the historic Depot, but Mo thought that perhaps the preserve wasn’t very old since there wasn’t a great deal of interpretive information in the area other than the depot. After a day of wandering, taking lots of flower photos, and enjoying the desert, Mo camped at the Sunrise Rock Roadside CG in the Preserve. It was again dry camping, with no water, but the hiking area was wonderful and Abby enjoyed the views as well.

Leaving the Preserve on Tuesday morning, Mo traveled north into Death Valley. The flower show was still minimal this far north, so she went on to Tecopa, checking out the hot springs and campground for future reference, and visiting the Dumont Dunes ATV site. After some more wandering,she headed for the Flying J at Barstow, hoping to repeat her boondocking experince from the previous Sunday. Once there, however, she was overwhelmed with the noise and huge number of trucks at this major desert crossroads, and decided instead to head for Kramer Junction at the intersection of 395 and 58. There is a huge solar generating station here that you can see for miles. After settling in for a pleasant evening at a great little wayside with other rv’rs, she discovered to her dismay that a sewage plant was nearby and little whiffs from the fragrant ponds made it less than pleasant.

On Wednesday, the 25th, with just one more day until our scheduled meeting, Mo headed back north on 395 to Inyokern to check out the active ghost town of Randsburg. There were many old buildings in use by small businesses making an attempt at survival in the tourist trade. Back south to Red Rock Canyon State Park and CG where the cliffs are lovely for hiking and climbing through the rocks and canyons.

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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