Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Mojave National Preserve

Our trip to LA was completed and it was time to move on.

But not before a visit with Kates BFF from College.

It might be years since they have seen each other, but when these two get together
its time to tighten down the seat belt!

We had a great time with Alta & Dean.   Dinner in the bus, and then
Kate and Alta had a girls day out.

Its so nice to get the opportunity to visit with friends all over the country!

Kate, Alta, and the velcro dog Gracie
On Friday morning (of superbowl weekend) we were wheels up headed back over
the mountains into the desert.

It was probably all for the best because the beach was taking on the appearance of a
serious party venue that was about to cut loose for the weekend.

We headed south on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) thru Huntington, and Newport Beaches,

Last glimpse of the beach in Huntington Beach
We turned east on Newport Blvd (Highway 55) and started the long long drive out
of the LA basin.

Hwy 55 in Orange County

Soon, crossing the mountains at Cajon Pass, we dropped down into the desert and just like
that - we changed from the lush green of the coast to the stark beauty of the desert.

I-40 in the Mojave Desert

Our destination was the Hole in the Wall Campground in
the Mojave National Preserve (MNP).

20 miles north of I-40 on Essex, and Black Canyon Roads

Black Canyon Rd in Mojave Natl Preserve

The campground is a hidden gem deep in the MNP.
It is rough dirt roads and dry camping at 4,400' altitude.

In the morning, the sun paints the rocks a bright orange.

Rob & Pat are on the left - we are on the right.
Our first 2 days were warm and sunny.

The brilliant red sunset however was warning of a change to come.

Late Saturday a strong cold front came rumbling thru.
Strong SW and then North winds brought below freezing temps with sustained winds
over 35mph.

Brilliant sunset in Mojave National Preserve
It was really too cold to do anything outside, so we jumped into the truck
and explored some of the dirt roads in the preserve.

Below - you can see the Kelso dunes behind the Joshua Tree

Looking down towards Kelso from High on Cima Dome

Down the mountain - in Kelso - we visited the Kelso Depot.
Built by Union Pacific Railroad, the depot served travelers and workers
for over 50 years.

The end of Steam Locomotives and closing of nearby mines negated the need for the depot
and it closed down in 1960 and Kelso became a ghost town.

Kelso Depot

The depot had lodging for railroad workers, a cafeteria and maintenance facilities.

Kelso Depot Lunch Room

We drove to the nearby Kelso Dunes.
The dunes cover over 45 square miles and rise almost 700' above the desert floor.

The high winds and cold temperatures prevented us from taking a stroll among the dunes.

Kelso Dunes

From the dunes we headed south on Kelbaker Road.
Along the way we stopped to check out the beautiful scenery.
I just love the different textures.

A wider view of the scenery

Crossing south of I-40 we dropped down to old route 66 and the deserted town of Amboy.
Home to Roys Cafe and hotel...   a throwback to the old days when Route 66 was the main
artery across the Mojave Desert to and from LA.

All that remains open these days are the fuel pumps and a small gift shop,
but you can walk around and see the old motel and roadhouse.
Roys Route 66 Road Stop
Today (Tuesday) after another cold windy night - and looking forward to several more days
of the same - we decided it was time to head for lower altitudes and a warmer climate.

We were chased out due to the weather but not before getting a good taste of this
hidden jewel of a campground.   We'll be back for sure!

Just 2 short hours later - we find ourselves in Las Vegas.
We were planning on being here Friday so a few extra days in Vegas...
Whats wrong with that?

Olivia drives the bus

Rob & Pats Daughter will be in an archery competition on Friday, and in
the meanwhile there is no shortage of activities to keep us busy.

Including my favorite self service doodlewash in the country...

Rub a dub...  doodles in the tub are coming up!


  1. Kate I'm so glad you got to spend time with an old college buddy? How much fun is that!! Love and miss my buddy!

  2. We had guests since Feb 5, so just now catching up on your activities. The Mohave photos were striking! Kate looked very happy to she her old friend! Enjoy Vegas and the dogwash!!


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