Southern California and around Las Vegas, Nevada  2014

 

Rosemary Santana Cooney, Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.s

 

Day 1. Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Heading out to Las Vegas, Nevada on United Airlines from the airport at Newark, New Jersey. From Las Vegas (McCarran International Airport) we rent a Toyota Prius and head to Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley National Park where we will spend three nights. Furnace Creek is the heart of death valley, conveniently located for the best sights.

26,518. Odometer setting of the Toyota Prius when we rented the car from Hertz.

We get on US 15 heading north. Then we get on Route 95 heading northwest. Rt. 95 goes parallel with Death Valley National Park along the California border.

26,561 (mile marker 105). Route 156 for Lee Canyon.

26,568. Cold Creek Recreational Center.

There are mountains on both sides of the road and they seem to go on forever. There is not much plant life on the mountains. The mountains are a brownish gray color.

26,574 (mile marker 117). Sign says itís a free range area out here, but we donít see any cattle.

26,576. The small settlement of Indian Springs.

(Mile marker 122). Cactus Springs. Sell fireworks here.

26, 579. (Mile marker 123). There is very little traffic on the road.

(Mile marker 129). See a cactus with red flowers on it.

26, 589. Nye County line.

26,594. Mercury. No services.

Daylight headlights on for the next 51 miles.

26,597. Narrow pass.

26,602. Route 160.

26,614. Stopped for photos, three miles from the left turn onto Route 373 that head into California.

26,618. Stop for a photo of the sign: "BROTHEL."

26,619. Left turn onto Route 373. This was 96 miles of driving from the Car Rental Place.

We did not realize it, but part of Death Valley National Park is in Nevada. And the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is in Nevada and is part of the DVNP.

26,633. Make a left turn onto Spring Mead Road to go to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

26,636. See a kiosk with information on Ash Meadows. Brief stop.

26,639. Turn right for the Visitorís Center. We are imminently drawn to the vegetation around the Visitorís Center.

Some of the plants we noticed were:

Tornillo/Screw Bean Mesquite (Prosopis pubescens).

Thin Cattails.

Thistles.

Reeds.

Yerba mansa. *

Honey Mesquite.

Princeís Plume. *

Mistletoe.

Ash tree.

A tall shrub with alternate, linear leaves and rose colored flowers. *

A tree with a really strange bark.

We drive to a place where thereís a small pond known as Kings Spring. Here are the Amargosa Pupfish that are endemic to the National Wildlife Refuge. The small male puff fish are blue now. They are less than 1 inch long.

Going back on the road to the California part of DVNP.

26,653. Return to Route 373 and turn left going southwest.

26,656. Welcome to California. Route 373 now becomes Route 127 in California. We see some really flat mountains in the distance.

26,662. Took a photo of a striped mountain on the left side of the road. This is just before the intersection with Route 190 going to Death Valley National Park. The town here is Death Valley Junction. We turn right onto Route 190.

26,668.6. (Mile marker 135.)

26,686. Elevation here is only 1,00 feet above sea level. Previously we saw a sign of elevation of 3,000 feet.

26,688. Zabriske Point. We are running late and decide not to go to Zabriske Point. Rosemary has wanted to visit this place ever since she saw it in the 1970 film Zabriske Point, starring Mark Frechette (as Mark) and Daria Halprin (as Daria) as two young hippies.

We pass Furnace Creek Inn on our right.

26,693. We reach Furnace Creek Ranch. We have driven some 175 miles.

The views across the road from the Ranch are very beautiful. We also notice that there are many palm trees at the Ranch.

We ate at the 49er Cafť at the resort complex. The steaks were good.

Rt 95 Heading West

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge I

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge II

 

Day 2. Friday. April 25, 2014.

In the morning Rosemary took photos of the Armagosa Range across from Furnace Creek Ranch. Very pretty views.

We head back down Route 190 to Zabriskie Point. Along the way we make some stops.

26,693. Take photos of Furnace Creek Inn. We pass by the turn for Bad Water Basin Road, which is across Route 190 from Furnace Creek Inn.

26,694. Take more photos of Furnace Creek Inn. Panamint Mount Range is on the right.

We also stop just past Furnace Creek Inn.

26,695. Just south of the Furnace Creek Inn and on the left side of Route 190 Rosemary took photos of mountains with greenish bands among the rocks. On the right side of Route 190 there is a big needle type, huge rock.

26,695. A hundred yards south on Route 190, there are more greenish bands in the rocks. Rosemary takes photos of the mountains straight ahead of us.

26,698. Zabriskie Point. It is only fives miles south of Furnace Creek Ranch. It is extremely windy today. The winds are fierce. We later hear about the Santa Ana winds as the responsible culprit. We literally had to turn our backs to the wind and assume a wide stance with our feet and legs spread far out in order to not be pushed around by the winds. It is difficult for Rosemary to take photos because of the strong winds. Itís hard  not to be knocked off balance by the winds.

In the background is the Bad Water Basin.

26,699 (Mile marker 114).

26,700. Stopped for more pictures. There are brown and golden mountains.

We go back to Badwater Basin Road and turn left onto it. A sign says that Golden Canyon is 2 miles away, Artistís Pallette is 8 miles away and Badwater Basin is 17 miles away.

26,703. We stop at the parking lot for the walk through Golden Canyon. There are red rocks here at the parking lot. We walk part of the way through the narrow canyon. It looks like the place suffers from flash floods periodically because there are lots of signs of erosion of the canyon floor. There are interesting rock formations here, some of which look like tortoises.

26,704. We stop for photos of the Badwater Basin. Thereís a long view down Badwater Basin.

26,705. We go past the exit for the one-way drive of the ride into the semi-circular loop trail of Artistís Drive. The Drive exit is just after mile marker 8. We continue down the road to the entrance to the Artistís Drive.

26,710. Turn left to take the ride on Artistís Drive.

26,712. We see some very pretty mixture of colors and I mistakenly assume that this is the area of whatís called the Artistís Palette. Rosemary takes photos. She says the winds pushing her around made her feel as though it was a force behind her trying to push her off the ridge.

A little down the road Rosemary takes pictures of the mountains straight ahead of us.

26, 713. Photos taken of the Panamint Mountain Range.

26,714. After two big dips in the road, we reach a small artistís palette type of area on the right.

26, 717. We take a side road on the right to get to the real Artistsís Palette. Itís a good thing we chose to go down this road, as we otherwise would have missed the highlight view of the drive. Itís a very pleasant view of different colored rocks.

Now the road becomes very winding, going back and forth with short curves right next to rocks on both sides of the road.

Take pictures of greenish rocks along the drive.

26,718. Stop for more photos of greenish rocks.

26, 719. Took photos of Badwater Basin. We see big areas of dried up salt.

26,725. We turn right to travel down to the Devilís Golf Course.

26,727. We park at the dead end circle of the road. There are good views of the mountains from here. Itís a huge field of what looks like dirty, ice blocks, but the numerous blocks are made of salt. There are signs warning the visitor not to walk out on the salt field because the points on the blocks can damage the visitorís shoes or injure them by cutting them or tearing their clothes. But a couple were out amidst the blocks and they didnít seem to be concerned at all. Many of the points on the blocks have been rounded off by the blowing winds.

Going back to Badwater Basin Road, Rosemary takes photos of flat salt areas (without any salt blocks). These areas look like white bands on the valley floor.

26,728. Back on Badwater Basin Road.

26, 734. Badwater Basin. There are a lot of people walking on the Badwater salt. I donít see the attraction of the walk, but walk out onto the salty surface for a little way. We turn around and see that up on the nearby mountain by the parking lot is a sign 2/3s of the way up the mountain saying that this is sea level. So we are quite a ways below sea level at Badwater Basin.

26,750. We are back on Route 190 west at the Furnace Creek Inn.

26,752. Here we are at the Furnace Creek Visitorís Center. We just pick up some souvenirs here.

26,753. Harmony Borax Works. A sign says that the area was found in 1881 by Aaron Winters.

On Route 190 west here there is nothing much growing here. There are some occasional road side plants.

26,769. (17 miles from Furnace Creek Visitorís Center.) We reach the turn-off that leads to Scottyís Castle. We decide to skip Scottyís Castle. Scotty was a local and a bit of a con-man. The mansion was build by another man, a wealthy man. Scotty conned him into buying the land here saying there is gold on the land owned by Scotty. Of course, Scotty never showed a real gold mine to his rich victim. Nevertheless, the wealthy man build his castle on Scottyís former land. He held no grudges toward the man, saying that Scotty always made him laugh.

There is a lot of dust blowing through the area.

26,771. Devilís Cornfield.

Thereís dust on Route 190 west. Itís like driving through fog.

26,775. Mesquite Sand Dunes. Take pictures of the dunes during the dust storm. Powerful winds blow the sand around on the dunes. These are fierce winds making the sand storm. The winds shake the Prius.

This was before mile marker 87.5.

26,777. We reach the settlement of Stovepipe Wells. We stop at the Stovepipe Wells General Store. We buy some t-shirts for our son Carl and some souvenirs.

Turn around to go back to Furnace Creek Ranch. The mileage marker we see is 86 miles.

We try to takes pictures of the sand storm on the highway with great difficulty. Actually, we later found that the photos turned out well.

Near Furnace Creek Ranch we fill up at the Chevron station for $5.80 per gallon. Thank goodness we rented a Prius and get good gas mileage.

26,802. We drove 209 miles. Total mileage is 384.

Furnace Creek Ranch, Inn & Nearby

Zabriske Point

Golden Canyon

Views Along Artist Drive

Devil's Golf Course

Badwater Basin

Drive from Visitor Center to Stove Pipe Wells

 

Day 3. Saturday. April 26, 2014.

Heading over today to Danteís View and then back over 190 east to the small settlement of Death Valley Junction.

26,802. Starting mileage from Furnace Creek Ranch.

26,814. Turn right for the road to Danteís View. Took pictures of the mountains in the area.

26,815. Second stop for photos. We see lots of the Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata). This bushís leaves have a smell of creosote.

26,817. (Just beyond mile marker 3.) A mileage sign says itís 11 miles to Danteís View.

26,819. (Just before mile marker 5.) Rosemary takes lots of flower photos. See a plant that maybe the Crucifixion Thorn.

26,820. Fremontís Pincushion with white flowers. ? There is also a yellow composite flower.

26,832. A craneís bill type of plant with purple flowers.

A tiny tuft of flower that are themselves tiny and white.

A type of brome grass.

Yellow Tick-seed.

26,824. (Mile marker 9.) Desert mallow in bloom.

Some type of Borage family flower in bloom.

Green Ephedra.

Larkspur in bloom.

26,826. Indian Paint Brush on the winding ascent road.

26, 827. Reach Danteís Viewpoint. It is on the Black Mountains, which are moving left and rising, and the valley floor is sinking. Beautiful views from here. See white salt circles on the valley floor. Thereís a brisk wind and itís cold.

Plants:

Hoary aster. *

Euphorbia type plant with velvety leaves.

Desert mallow. *

26,828. Going downhill now, back to 190 east. Take photos of mountains that are far away. The Panamint mountains?

26,837. Stop for mountain photos. Golden colored mountains.

26,841. We get back on Route 190 east.

26,842. A sign says itís 17 miles to Death Valley Junction.

26,859. The Armagosa Opera House is in Death Valley Junction. The theater was part of a company town designed by architect Alexander Hamilton McCulloch and constructed in 1923Ė25 by the Pacific Coast Borax Company. Itís now on the National Register of Historic Places.

26,860. Going back to see the 20 Mule Team Canyon.

26,884. (Mileage marker 116.50.) Turn left into a loop trail into 20 Mule Team Canyon. The area shows the visitor the type of hills used by the miners to make the Borax soap. Some of the hills here are yellowish brown, while other hills have brown, greenish and yellow colors. Some of the hills are really big.

26,886. Here itís like a view down an alley way. Thereís a white and black clay hill. Later we come to a really big dip in the trail. The road becomes very winding and turns into a rather fun drive. Rosemary says she saw at leastone hoodoo in the area. (A hoodoo is an interesting looking deformed rocks due to differential erosion of hard and soft rocks.)

28,887. We are back onto Route 190 west.

Took some more photos of the greenish hills around the area.

On the way back to Furnace Creek Ranch we stop to take a closeup view of the Furnace Creek Inn. We drove around the Inn. The area behind the Inn is very small. Then we go round a corner and go through a tunnel and return to the large parking lot near Route 190. That was pretty much a big disappointment.

At the Chevron station we notice that now the gas went up 6 cents to $5.86 per gallon.

Rosemary takes more photos of the mountains across from the Furnace Creek Ranch.

26, 895. Done for the day. The total mileage was 93 miles. The total mileage for three days is 477.

Drive To Dante's View

Dantes View

Drive to Death Valley Junction & Opera House

20 Mule Team Canyon Drive

 

Day 4. Sunday. April 27, 2014.

Today we head out to go through the Mojave Nature Preserve, south of Death Valley National Park. From there we go south to 29 Palms.

26,895. Odometer mileage start.

26,909. On our way out of Death Valley, we stopped to take a photo of the Death Valley National Park welcome sign.

26,925. Death Valley Junction.

26,926. Route 127 south. A sign says Shoshone is 27 miles away and Baker is 83 miles away. We are headed to both places.

Go through a big open valley with mountains far away from the highway. The vegetation of the area is very low lying, except with bigger bushes on the roadsides. Rosemary writes in the journal: "brown, gray, green sameness".

26,952. We reach the small town of Shoshone. Here is the Shoshone Museum, part of an old gas station, along with the Crowbar Cafť Saloon. Across the road is the Shoshone Post Office and the Shoshone Village Office. Near the Post office and Village Office is the Charles Brown General Store. The Chevron station is selling gas for $5.23 a gallon.

26,959. Stopped for photos of a brown mountain on the far left and white clay hills on the right.

26,961. Stop near the Old Spanish Trail on the left. We will soon be going through Ibex Pass at an elevation of 2,091 feet.

(Mileage marker 150.) Here there are more green, taller shrubs by the highway.

26,968. San Bernardino County Line and Ibex Pass.

26, 969. Silurian Valley photos. Nice views.

26,973. More photos of Silurian Valley and the surrounding mountains.

Now going between Saddle Peak Hills and Salt Spring Hills.

26,975. Dumont Dunes.

26,980. Salt Creek Hills area.

Avawatz Mountains on the right.

Silurian Dry Lake on the left.

27.000. Silver Dry Lake. Stop for photos.

27,009. Reach Baker, California on US 15. Baker is well known in the area as a good place to fill up on gas as itís about half way between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. We stop to look around the area.

On the northwest corner is the Mad Greek Cafť, which is a very colorful place to say the least. Across the same side of the street (Route 127) on the southwest corner is the Baker Market/Los Dos Toritos.

Across Route 127 on the northeast corner is the Country Store and 76 gas station. Next to the Country Store is the Big Bun restaurant and the largest thermometer in the world. The next place is Del Taco.

On the southeast corner is Arco Gas, followed by Chevron Gas and then Taco Bell.

Across the bridge is the now abandoned Royal Hawaiian Motel.

27,011. Stopped at the Arco Gas Station for gas at $4.37 per gallon.

We get on US 15 east heading toward the Cima entrance to the Mojave Nature Preserve. There is heavy traffic to and from Las Vegas. There is a truck only lane on the far right.

27,027. See our first Joshua trees. There are lots of them and many of them are quite large.

27,037. We reach Exit 272 for Cima Road. We head south on the road.

27,038. Take a photo of the sign for the Mojave Nature Preserve.

See lots of Creosote bush along the roadsides. We see Jimson Weed (Datura wrightii) with white flowers.

27,039. A Milkweed flower is in bloom with white flowers shaped like extracted teeth.

Saw a bush with purple flowers on spike inflorescences.

Pink Penstemon (?) in bloom.

Chollo cactus? The cacti are getting more numerous.

A Yucca plant of the Agave family is in bloom with white flowers.

27,048. Valley View Ranch. Take photos of the view across the desert with mountains in the background. The Joshua trees are very dense all the way from the road to the mountains. Itís quite a sight.

The Mojave Memorial Cross is on the left side of the road. Wikipedia says: "The original cross was erected in 1934 to honor those killed in war."

First part of the road is Shadow Valley.

27,056. Crossing railway tracks in Cima. Cima is now a ghost town. The only thing here is an abandoned store still advertising groceries and ice cold beer along with soft drinks.

The road to Kelso now becomes very tacky in parts.

27,061. The Joshua trees are now thinning out in this part of the desert.

27,063. There are no real trees here now in the desert.

Come to Ivanpah Valley.

The railway tracks on the left are very active with trains going back and forth. And the trains pull many cars along the tracks.

27,066. Another section of tacky road again.

27,070. The road is smooth again.

27,074. We reach the Kelso Depot Visitorís Center. The Depot here was once part of a bustling chain of Harvey House Hotels. During World War II, the Kelso train depot was a very busy place indeed moving troops back and forth across California. The old Harvey House restaurant just recently closed with the retirement of the man who used to run the place. There are still three large coffee makers here along with a three sided lunch counter that is very large. Itís quite the sight.

27,082. We see what looks like Goldenbush. We now get on Kelso Road.

We take a little three mile jaunt down to take photos of the Kelso Dunes.

There are lots of Goldenbushes here.

Granite Mountains.

27,097. See mountains that look like they are a pile of jumbled up rocks of a whitish color. Very different looking mountains than we are used to seeing.

A pincushion type of flower is in bloom. Lots of mistletoe on the trees.

27,103. Go under US 40. There are big open spaces here. Bristal Mountains on the right. Marble Mountains on the left.

Cadiz Valley ahead.

27,110. See a road runner trying to cross the highway. The bird runs back to where it started from.

27,114. Turn right onto Route 66, the famous roadway that once took traffic from Illinois to Santa Monica, California. We have been on many different sections of the remaining parts of the old highway through New Mexico and Arizona and now California.

A sign says itís 56 miles to the Joshua Tree National Park. We still see lots of wide open spaces.

27,120. We reach Amboy on Route 66. Here is Royís Motel and Cafť. Across the road is a Post Office. The motel still looks like the one in the movie that was filmed here. It was Beneath the Dark (2010), a surreal thriller. It starred Josh Stewart as Paul and Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Adrienne. Also here is Royís gasoline station. Lots of motorcycle bikers are here.

27,121. Take photos of the Amboy Crater in the distance.

We drive through the area of Bristol Dry Lake. We are still in Cadiz Valley.

Sheephole Valley Wilderness.

There are mountains far away on both sides of the valley. There are no trees in the area.

27,173. We finally reach 29 Palms and the Best Western Hotel there. We arrive around 4:26 in the afternoon.

We ate at the Edchaba restaurant in 29 Palms. They serve Mexican food. The food was pretty good.

We went 278 miles for day 4.

Shosone

After Shosone and Before Baker

Baker

Mojave National Preserve

Kelso Depot & Amboy

 

Day 5. Monday, April 28, 2014.

27,180. Odometer at the start of the day.

Today we are headed to the Joshua Tree National Park.

At the Best Western Hotel Rosemary took some photos of Jimson Weed in a nearby lot. The tubular, white flowers are really big ones.

27, 193. We drove west to a left turn on Park Boulevard for the National Park.

27, 198. The west entrance station is five miles down from the Visitorís Center.

The first place we went was to the place where some of the plants were labeled. We saw:

the California Juniper (Juniperus californica)

Mistletoe (Phoradendron densum)

a Rhus sp. (Sumac)

four different grasses

an unknown bush

cholla cactus

silver cholla (Opuntia ochinocarpa)

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)

Desert Mallow *

Mojave Thistle? * (has huge fat composite flowers with long spines on the calyx)

Cranesbill with purple flowers *

Pepper grass

Datura

Purple Aster *

Desert Sage (Salvia dorrii) * of the Mint Family

composite yellow flower with red, small center dot

a plant with little purple flowers *

Chia (Salvia columbariae) of the Mint Family ? *

Big Galleta Grass (Pleuraphis rigida)

Crucifixion Thorn ?

At one time they had a Desert Almond (Prunus fasiculata). Itís gone now.

Peachtorn (Lycium cooperi).

27,205. The next stop was Keyís View. Out on the valley is a ridge which is part of the San Andreas Fault Zone. On the far side of the desert valley (Seven Palms Valley?) is the Santa Rosa Mountains. Out there with snow on its top is Mt. San Jacinto.

There is a lot of haze in the distance, but we can just make out part of the Salton Sea. We walk out on the trail to get a closer look at the western side of valley. Itís very windy and cold here, but not as bad as at Death Valley.

27,234. We saw a small coyote walking in the desert. After passing it, we drove back to the White Tank Campground. Saw some hedge-hot cactus. We walked the trail to find the rock arch. (The arch is reached by following the trail opposite campground # 9. The trail soon goes into a short loop. Go right and with a short walk you reach the arch.)

We saw a raven. They are big black birds that resemble the smaller crows.

We descend to a very broad, open valley.

27,240. Stop for photos of the valley.  It may be Pinto Basic with Pinto Mountains to the north and Hexie Mountains to the south

27,242. Cholla Gardens. Itís a sad sight. So many of the cacti have died. And most of the living cacti are very brown with only the very top parts green. This we later learn is the normal reproductive cycle of these cholla.

27,243. Ocotillo Patch. The plants are just starting to bloom.

27,262. Reach the Cottonwood Visitorís Center. Purchased a puzzle and a magnet for the refrigerator.

27,273. Itís 21 miles to Indio and our Best Western Motel.

On the way, there are continuous desert views. Thereís not a lot of traffic on the road and we are going fast. Descending into a Valley.

27,290. Coachella and Coachella Valley.

27,291. Indio exits.

27,296. Reach the Best Western Hotel. We ate at Dennyís.

27,308. Odometer reading at the end of the day.

We drove 135 miles toady.

Joshua Tree National Park I-Hidden Valley

Joshua Tree National Park II-Mountain View

Joshua Tree National Park III-White Tank Campground

Joshua Tree National Park IV-Cholla Cactus Garden & Ocotillo

 

Day 6. Tuesday. April 29, 2014.

Todayís trip is to the Salton Sea and Yuma, Arizona.

27,308 is the reading of the odometer at the start of the dayís trip.

There is another dust storm ahead. A sign says: "Wind/Dust Storm when flashing". Our carís being bounced around.

27,336. We get off at Exit 168 for Box Canyon Road.

There are lots of Palo Verde trees here.

27,343. Now the area is like a canyon. There are lots of grayish rocks.

27,344. We make a stop. The mountains look like they are made of some type of hard clay. There are signs of lots of erosion here.

We go over to check out a large tree with flowers of three colors: white, purplish and pinkish. The tree has pinnate leaflets. There are very aggressive bees all around the tree.

27,346. We make another stop in Box Canyon. There is a greenish tint in the hills here and there are more obvious horizontal striations.

27,347. Another stop. Lots of greenish tinge in Box Canyon.

27,349. Another stop. Gray green fuzzy bushes. Less green tint in the mountains here. The canyon opens up to a hazy view of a valley.

There are less creosote bushes here. Palo Verde is dominant along with the white, purplish, pinkish flowering tree.

27,350. See a tubular white flower on a very green bush. The leaves are long and linear. Brown legume pods hang down from the branches. The bark is brown and speckled.

27,351. Painted Canyon Road. Too hazy to see the view. Cross over Coachella Canal. The water is a beautiful green color in the canal. Agricultural lands are ahead with lots of green plants. See grape vines.

27,353. Lots of people are picking bell peppers. This is followed by a cornfield.

27,355. Welcome to the town of Mecca. They have a Boys and Girls Club, a library, a little shopping center, a school and a community center.

Orchards of date palms?

27,361. Welcome to North Shore.

Orchards of citrus trees.

27,365. We reach the Salton Sea. We travel on the eastern side of the lake. This avoids having to look at the unpleasant sights along the western, built-up side.

We stop at Vander Veer Road and Access Road. The building here at mile marker 9 is abandoned.

27,367. We stop at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. We are allowed in without paying any fee because the Visitorís Center is closed. There is no one on the beach here. There are in another section a crowd of people fishing in the Salton Sea. We finally discover why there are no people at the beach. Itís because there are lots of dead fish on the beach.

We pass by the Varner Harbor Launching Facility.

27,369. We are leaving the state park. The state park extends for 14 more miles along the road.

We pass by Mecca Beach and Corvina Beach.

27,377. Imperial County Line.

The road parallels the railway tracks on the left.

27,384. Pass by Bombay Beach.

27,385. A sign says Calexico is 58 miles away. We are heading for Calexico where our Best Western Hotel is, but we decide to take a detour to Yuma, Arizona first.

We are surrounded by desert terrain.

27,400. Farm land.

27,401. Town of Niland.

27,409. Town of Calipatria.

27,412. Go over the Alamo River, one of the three rivers that feed the Salton Sea.

27,418. The town of Brawley. Route 78 takes the driver to the Imperial Sand Dunes (part of Algodones Dunes). We decided not to go there.

27,438. US 8, exit 118.

27,441. Ití 51 miles to Yuma, Arizona.

The flat lands here are a mix of farms and dirt.

27,447. Cross over the Alamo River again. There are very few trees in the area.

27, 454. We are back in the desert again.

27,463. Junction with Route 98.

27, 473. The sand dunes we would have seen if we had gone to the Imperial Sand Dunes are here. They are part of the Algodones Dunes.

27,474. Stop for photos at the sand dunes.

18 miles from Yuma.

27,476. Stop for more photos of the Dunes. Itís near exit 156 for Gray Wells Road.

27,477. Another canal.

27,479. Ogliby Road.

27,486. Thereís a Casino here.

27,492. We reach the Yuma Visitorís Center. Yuma was once a very important transportation center. Supplies were brought up the Colorado River to the Yuma Depot. From there the supplies would go out to the forts manning the southwest states of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and the pan-handle of Texas.

Many of the old Depot buildings are still here. We go visit the Corral House first. We look at the new exhibits on the Yuma Siphon and Yuma East Wetlands restoration. From there we go to the Pie Shop. Rosemary gets a bumbleberry pie and I got a pecan pie. They were delicious.

Our next stop was at the Quartermasterís House and Kitchen. It was interesting seeing the furniture and belongings of the families living in the house.

At the Quartermasterís Office there was a new exhibit on the dams of the Colorado River. Wagons used as supply carriers were in the building.

Our next stop was Main Street and First Street in the Old Town District. The area was not very busy. There is a nice fountain with flowing water in the middle of Main Street.

We then head to Pivot Point Plaza. Here is a railway locomotive from the Southern Pacific Railroad found in 1865 running from San Francisco through Los Angeles to New Orleans. From Pivot Point Plaza the overlook has great views of the Colorado River. There are also informational plaques that deal with the historical area of the Depot.

Our last stop was at the Yuma Territorial Prison (established in 1875) that is up on a hill not far from the old Depot. A total of 3,069 prisoners, including 29 women, and ranging in age from 14 to 88, lived within the walls during the prisonís 33 years of operation.

There is an Admissions and Gift Shop; a Guard Tower; a Sally port; a Museum; the Cell Blocks; the Dark Cell; the New Yard; and the Prison Cemetery.

The guide at the Depot Visitorís Center says Yuma may not have had a lot of famous lawmen, but they did have a lot of famous prisoners. Buckskin Frank Leslie had a problem with shooting at his girlfriends. But in Yuma Prison he became a model prisoner. The most famous criminal was Pearl Hart. She and her partner Joe Boot committed the last stage coach robbery in Arizona. Joe Boot was given a 30 year prison term. After two trials, Pearl was given a fine. She was made famous by embellished tall tales about her.

27,557. Arrive at out Best Western Motel in Calexico.

We drove around Calexico. Going down the main street we finally figured out that we were in one of two lanes heading toward Mexico. We changed lanes, then did a U-turn to get out of there. Didnít want to go to Mexico.

27,564. Total mileage covered was 256 miles.

Box Canyon

Salton Sea & Nearby

Yuma I - Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park & Visitors Center

Yuma II - Historic District, Pivot Plaza & Territorial Prison

 

Day 7. Wednesday. April 30, 2014.

Heading today to the Anza-Borrego State Park and Desert Tower. Odometer starts at 27,564.

Get onto highway US 8.

27,578. Exit 111 for Route S30 north to Westmoreland.

27,595. Reach Westmoreland.

27,596. Left turn onto Routes 86/78.

There sure are a lot of bundles of hay in the haystacks. Farms, farms and more farms.

We pass another reservoir. The farmers can order the amount to water they need and can pay for.

We can see the Salton Sea in the distance.

27,612. We reach a check point complete with a sniffing dog. They just let us go through. We make a left turn onto Route 78. And we are back in the desert. Sand is blowing across the road.

27,623. Reach Ocotillo Wells. There are only motor homes here.

27,625. San Diego County Line.

On the left are the Vallecito Mountains.

27,628. Ocotillo Wells Airport. Lots more motor homes.

Borrego Mountains on the right.

27,631. Sign for the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Anza refers to the Spanish explorer that traveled through the desert here on his way to the future San Francisco. Borrego is Spanish for the Big Horned Sheep found here.

Rosemary took photos of the mountains on the left.

27,635. A sign says Borrego Springs is 11 miles away. And itís 15 miles to the headquarters of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

27,641. A sign says Welcome to Borrego Springs. The town is at the base of the San Ysidro Mountains.

We see statues spread out on the desert around us. We later learn that Ricardo Breceda created 130 different statues and put them out on the desert.

27,642. Rosemary took some photos of some of the statues. Some of the statues are elephants, horses, eagles, etc., etc. We figure the area is the Borrego Valley and here are the Galleta Meadows.

27,646. We reach Christmas traffic circle.

27,647. We stop at the gift shop of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association. Itís a good store. We buy several books and a DVD dealing with the Colorado River.

We next go to the ABD Visitorís Center. The Visitorís Center is a little hard to find because it is set into the landscape. You see the restrooms right there, but not the visitor center. One has to read the signs and follow the directions to find the center. The front entrance is around the back of a sand mound.

They have some of the plants around the Center labeled. There were:

Blue Palo Verde (Cercidium floridum ssp. floridum). It has long, drooping, green legumes.

Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus).

Catclaw (Acacia gregii). Has small leaflets.

Chuparosa (Justicia californica).

Indigo Bush.

Narrow Cattails.

Teddy Bear Cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii var. bigelovii).

Smoketree (Psorothamnus spinosus).

Cheesebush (Hymenoclea salsola var. salsola).

Desert Lavender (Hyptis emoryi).

Ocotillo has striped red and white bark and green, black and white bark. Quite colorful.

Diamond Cholla (Cylindraopuntia ramosissima). Big yellow flower spikes and baby gherkin pickle like fruits.

Honey Mesquites (Prosopis glandulosa var. torryana).

Fishhook Cactus.

Beavertank Cactus.

A mature Yucca (Yucca schidigera).

Jojoba (Simmondsia chuinensi).

Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia phaeacantha).

Desert agave (Agave deserti ssp. deserti).

Orcuttís Aster (Xylorhiza).

Spiny Senna (Senna armata).

Galleta Grass (Pleuraphis rigida).

Hedgehog Cactus.

Ganderís Cactus.

27,649. Take Montezuma Valley Road.

27,651. Stopped for overlook photos.

27,652. We pass by mile marker 16 on Route S22 in the park. Stop for photos of the San Ysidro Mountains from Route S22. On the way back we take some photos of the town of Borrego Springs from mile marker 17.

27,654. Take photos on Route S3, mile marker 12.

27,657. Lots of Ocotilla in bloom.

27,660. Make a right turn for Yaqui Pass on S3, off of Borrego State Park Road?.

The cars just tear through this park and we frequently have to pull off on the side of the road.

27,666. We reach the end of S3. We go Route 78 west.

27,669. Photo stop. Desert agave plants are blooming. What a treat for us!

Itís windy today too.

27,669. Grape Vine Canyon.

We go up the side of a mountain. Descending on a winding road. Lots of rocks and a little sand.

Cross over San Felipe Creek. Go into and out of a canyon.

27,674. S2 turns left. We go left.

27,675. Shelter Valley. Jets fly low over our heads.

27,678. Stagecoach Trails RV Resort.

27,679. Mile Marker 22.

27,680. Butterfield Stage Route at mile marker 23.

Itís a winding, dipping road here.

27,683. Box Canyon Monument at mile marker 26, descending.

A big truck goes flying by us on Route S2.

27,686 (Mile marker 29). Butterfield Ranch Resort.

27,688. There are lots of Ocotillos along the valley floor.

27,690. Green vegetation here, probably associated with the water from Vallecito Creek.

27,692. Vellecito State Station County Park.

27,700. Canebrake. Private property.

27,706. Mile marker 49.

Mile Marker 50. Sweeney Pass.

27,708. (Mile marker 51.). Overlook for the Carrizo Badlands.

27,709. (Mile Marker 52.) We see many turning windmills ahead. The true amount is hard to figure because we canít tell how many windmills there are is so much haze.

27,713. Imperial County Line.

27,715. Windmill site with 100 plus windmills.

27,719. Ocotillo Community Park.

27,721. More windmills south of US 8.

27,721. Sign says US 8 to San Diego. More windmills to the west.

27,728. No more watermills because we are in the mountains now.

27,730. Exit 80 for Jacumba Mountains.

27,732. Imperial County Line.

27,733. Take the exit to see the Desert Tower. There are great views of US 8 and its traffic among the mountains. The actual tower is closed on Wednesdays, but we got good photos from the bottom of the tower. Boy, oh, boy was that wind blowing.

The caretaker of the tower came out and said we could go up to the tower to take photos. That was very nice of him, but we said we had gotten the photos we wanted. He has two dogs and we sure enjoy petting them as our dog Sonar is still back at home in the east.

A sign says it 43 miles to Alpine. We are going west on US 8 to Alpine, but not to a Best Western (none close by for us) but to Ayreís Lodge, a more expensive motel.

27,735. San Diego County Line. Itís real, really hazy here. We see some granite boulder mountains similar to the boulder mountains at White Tank in the Joshua Tree National Park.

27, 742. Boulders are close on both sides.

27,744. Some mountain driving now. Itís really crowded here and really busy with cars and trucks.

27,746. There are trees here.

27,749. There are windmills again, on the right side, but they are not turning.

27,752. Exit 61.

27, 753. Crestwood Summit. 4,181 feet.

27,756. Cleveland National Forest, a mix of rocks and trees.

27,762. Exit for Lake Morena.

27,764. On the right, there are lots of Yuccas in bloom.

27,765. Exit 47 for Laguna Mountain Recreation Area.

27,767. Exit 45 for Julia.

27,669. Pine Valley Creek.

27,780. Leaving Cleveland National Forest. Elevation 2,000 feet.

27,783. Arrive at Ayreís Lodge. It is located in a shopping center which has quite a few restaurants. We went to Carlís Jr. because it is new to us. I enjoyed their char-broiled burger.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park I - Vistor Center Area

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park II - More Views of Vistor Center Area

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park III - Mountain Valley Road & Route S3

Desert View Tower in Jacumba-Boulder Park

 

Day 8. Thursday. May 1, 2014.

Today we are heading to the Cuyamaca Ranch State Park, the Mission of Santa Ysabel and then up into the San Jacinto Mountains, and then we finally arrive at Beaumont.

27,783. The Odometer at the start of Day 8.

27,789. Took photos of mountains in the Cleveland National Forest at about mile 36 or so.

27,791. Stopped at a rest area for more photos.

27,792. Bridge over Sweetwater River.

27,793. Take Exit 40 off US 8 for Cuyamaca Ranch State Park. Itís in the Cleveland National Forest.

27,794. Take a photo of the Descano Junction Restaurant on Route 79.

27,795. Pretty views of the area.

27,796. Turn left to stay on Route 79.

27,797. (Mile marker 1.) See goats, cows and horses, along with boulder type mountains. We are skirting the mountain side on the right side.

27,799. Oakzanita Springs store closed. There is a C.R.S.P. sign on the right. Thereís a sign for Wildlife Viewing.

There are lots of trees near the road which provides shading for the roadway.

Itís windy again today.

27,801. Stop for a photo of a grassy hill and a wet, low area. Japacha Trailhead. NO HUNTING.

We see a bunny rabbit at the Visitorís Center. There is also a sign warning of presence of mountain lions.

27,802. Took plant photos.

Utah firecrackers. ?

Lots of oaks.

Lots of pine trees.

27,803. (Mile marker 6.5.) Manzanita.

27,804. Cold Stream. Lots of bushes with white spires blooming all over the place.

27,805. (Mile marker 8.5.)

Took a phone of white boulders on top of the mountains covered with green vegetation.

27,806. Take photo of a mountain covered by houses.

27,807. (Mile marker 10.) Cuyamaca Lake is at the base of the mountain in the distance.

27,808. (Mile marker 11.) Take pictures of the lake in the town of Cuyamaca. There are waves on the lake today because of the strong winds. At the lake there is a Restaurant and Store.

27,809. We head up the hill. The lake is created by a dam.

We see a sign for the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park that is nearby on the east.

27,811. Junction with Route S1. We donít take the turn.

There are lots of ranches in the area. Another section of shady road. Red earth dominates here.

27,814. Pass mile marker 17, Rosemary took a picture of a blooming Nolina plant.

27,814. Took photos from Desert View Park. One can see mountains and a big valley. Also to be seen is the coming town of Julian.

27,817. Enter Julian. Mile marker 20, Jess Martin Community Park. Route 79 goes with Route 78 . Go left for Routes 79 and l78. Santa Ysabel is seven miles away.

27,818. (Mile marker 54.5.) Elevation l4,000. William Heise Community Park.

27,820. Heading down; more ranches.

27,821. Wynola Junction.

27,822. Heading down again.

27,823. Inaja Memorial Park. Part of Cleveland National Forest. We stop for photos of the valley.

27,824. Santa Ysabel. Here is the Julian Pie Factory. We turn right for Route 79 north.

27,826. Mission Santa Ysabel, office and museum.

27,828. Santa Ysabel Indian Reservation.

Lots of ranches in the area.

27,830. (Mile marker 26.)

27,831. (Mile marker 27). Pick up Route 76 north to Lake Henshaw.

27,832. Lake Henshaw is in a pretty setting with a mountain in the background and a flat plain in the front.

27,834. Lake Henshaw itself is not all that pretty. The lake looks shallow.

27,838. Before the picnic area is a shady road.

27,840. La Jolla Indian reservation.

27,842. (Mile marker 41.) Luket Creek.

27,843. Valley. La Jolla Indian Reservation.

27,847. Stop for photos of the valley below and the town. Leaving the La Jolla Indian Reservation.

27,848. See a lot of the parasitic dodder vine on the plants in the area.

Pass by an orange tree grove.

27,849. The elevation is 2,000 feet. Then comes a date palm(?) orchard.

27,850. Lime and orange groves.

Rincon Springs.

27,851. Pauma Valley.

27,853. Huge nursery with really big potted plants.

27,854. More and more orange groves, now on both sides of the road.

27,855. Pauma Reservation Road. Jilbertoís Taco Shop. First traffic light we have seen for awhile. More dodder. More oranges.

27,856. Frey Creek. See more dodder.

27,857. Big problem with dodder here.

27,858. Enter Pala Indian Reservation. More oranges.

27,861. Pala Casino and Spa Resort. Leaving the reservation. Saw a buffalo near Gomez Creek. Cacti fence.

27,865. Fallbrook.

27,866. US 15 north. Lots of shopping malls.

27,892. Lake Elsinore is on the left and in the distance.

27,896. Going to exit 77 to get onto 74 north to town of Perris. Trailer parks. Strip development.

27,905. In Perris we get on US 215 and then Route 74 south.

27,909. Going on Route 74 east.

27,913. Homeland. Senior Estates Trailer Park. More trailer parks.

27,917. More trailer parks. Concrete flat buildings.

27,917. Welcome to the town of Hemet. More trailer parks. Lots of malls; busy traffic; it takes awhile to get through here; hotels; really big town.

27,923. Still in Hemet. More trailer parks.

27,926. End of Hemet. Now we reach Valle Vista. More oranges, more trailer parks.

27,930. More orange groves.

27, 930. San Bernardino National Forest.

San Jacinto Mountains.

27,932. (Mile marker 50.)

North Fork of San Jacinto River.

27,934. Valley below us.

27,935. Elevation of 3,000 feet.

27,937. (Mile marker 54.70.) Big view.

27,939. Elevation is 4,000 feet.

27,940. Took photos of the valley.

27,941. Left turn onto Route 243, a scenic route to Banning. Took photos of purple flowers on a bush.

27,942. (Mile marker 0.50.)

Keenwild Station.

27,943. Valley photos. Elevation is 5,000 feet.

27,945. Idyllwild. The town here is quite built up for a mountain town.

San Jacinto Mountain Park.

27,946. Idyllwild Nature Center.

27,948. Elevation is 6,000 feet.

27,951. Alandale Station.

27,952. Stopped at another turn-out. Similar view.

27,955. Vista Point. And Indian Vista Point.

There is a small tree or shrub that has chocolate bark and flowers shaped like pink Japanese lanterns. Also here is a huge pine tree with really huge pine cones.

27,956. Lake Fulmor Picnic Area (Just before mile marker 15.)

27,957. Another stop. There are lots of wild flowers in bloom.

27,958. Black Mountain Trail.

27,959. Forest Service Station Vista Grande.

27,960. Mountain range and valley and reddish hills in the valley.

Big yellow flowers on an alternate-leaved bush. The leaves are spear-like.

27,961. Diamond Zen Road.

27,962. Silent Valley RV Park.

27,963. (Mile marker 21.5.)

We get an overview look at the town of Banning on US 10. The airport is there along with trains on the railway tracks. Itís a big valley down there.

27,967. (Mile marker 25.5.) Elevation is 3,000 feet.

See more big boulder mountains.

27,969. We emerge out of the mountains. We get on US 10 going west. We go through Banning and come to Beaumont. We get to the Best Western.

We went 193 miles for Day 8.

Driving to & in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Rt. 79 Lake Cuyamaca to Mission Santa Ysabel

Rt. 76 & Rt 74 Lake Henshaw to Rt 243

Rt. 243 Scenic Byway between Rt. 74 & Banning I

Rt. 243 Scenic Byway between Rt. 74 & Banning II

 

Day 9. Friday. May 2, 2014.

Heading to Palm Springs and Bear Lake.

27,976. The odometer reading for the start of the day.

We get onto US 10 going back to Banning. We get off Exit 112 for Route 111 south heading for Palm Springs. There are oodles and oodles of windmills here. It seems like a long way on Route 111 to the city of Palm Springs. There is a mountain on the right side of the road.

There are windmills and a mountain far away on the left side of the road.

We go to see the Desert Museum. But we find out that the real name of the Museum is the Palm Springs Desert Art Museum. We donít go.

On Route 111 there are lots of lovely little shops. The city is very clean looking.

28,008. We reach the Moorten Botanical Garden. Itís next to the Vagabond Inn. The Garden is at the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and El Caneno. We are too early to go in.

Rosemary says that Palm Springs is a pretty rich and swanky area.

We keep driving south.

28,011. Tahquitz Canyon. Itís part of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation.

We paid a fee of $14 to get into the Reservation and go to the Indian Trading Post.

We drive to near the back of the valley. We see part of the Palm Oasis and Rosemary takes photos.

28,013. We park at the Trading Post. The highlight of the area is the desert riparian palm trees. They fill the little canyon below where we parked.

There are a lot of trails hikers can walk on in the area.

We buy quite a few books and souvenirs at the Trading Post.

28,026. We are back on US 10 west heading for the town of Redlands.

28,066. We get off at exit 79 and head north until we find Route 38. We turn right headed for Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains.

28,073. Getting close to the San Bernardino Mountains.

28,074. Entering San Bernardino National Forest.

28,075. Vista Point. There was a small stream here, but it is now dried up. We take photos of Nolina plants here.

28,076. Turmat (?) Flat Picnic Area.

The trees are mostly deciduous trees.

28,079. (Mile marker 14.5) Vista point.

28,080. (Mile marker 15.5.) Take more vista photos.

28,082. (Mile marker 17.79.) More vista photos taken.

28,083. Angles Oaks.

28,084. (Mile marker 20.) The Oaks Restaurant and Country Store.

Mile marker 21. The road here is shaded a bit.

Mile marker 22.5. The elevation is 6,000 feet.

28,087. Stop for photos. There is a broader valley here.

28,088. Camp Cedar Falls of the 7th Day Adventists.

28,089. Shady area on the road. Have recently seen 6 big tourist buses.

28,090. Boy Scout camp.

28,092. Barton Flats.

28,095. Santa Ana River.

28,098. The elevation is 7,000 feet.

28,102. The elevation is 8,000 feet.

28,103. Blue sky meadow.

28,105. Still 8,000 feet elevation.

28, 110. Elevation is 7,000 feet.

28,111. Big Bear City at elevation 7,632 feet. There are lots of houses here. Coninue on Rt 38 which turns into Rt 18 known as Big Bear Boulevard.

28,114. Big Bear Lake is ahead.

28,115. Big Bear Lake City Limit. K-Mart; Walgreens; shopping centers; two 7-11 stores; KFC; Carlís Jrs; Taco Bell, etc., etc. This is a very built-up area with all the comforts of the strip developments down in the valleys.

28,119. Sonoran Cantina. Stop at Big Bear Marina for lake photos.

28,123. We head over to Boulevard Bearís Gift Shop. Buy two small bear statues carved out of wood. Also buy some souvenirs.

28,127. Pass by Boulder Marina and Boulder Bay.

28,128. Take lake photos at the southwest end of Bear Lake.

Follow Route 18 to Route 330.

28,133. Mountain photos.

28,135. The elevation is 7,000 feet. Airport photo.

28,145. Valley photos.

28,148. Elevation is 4,000 feet.

28,151. Elevation is 3,000 feet.

28,152. City Creek.

28,155. Big sunflower wildflowers are in bloom. Leaving San Bernardino.

28,166. Reach Linda Loma and our Best Western hotel.

For our 9th day we traveled 190 miles.

Tahquitz or Indian Canyon

Rt 38 San Bernardino National Forest

Big Bear Lake & Village and Rt 330

 

Day 10. Saturday. May 3, 2014.

28,166. We take US 215 north to US 15 north to Victorville and the museum dealing with the history of old Route 66 from Illinois to Santa Monica,. California.

28,175. The San Bernardino Mountains are on our right. We see those wild, big sunflowers in bloom on the roadside. The San Gabriel Mountains are on our left.

28,189. See more dodder again. Itís 20 miles to Victorville. There are shrubs rather than big trees on the rocky mountains here.

28,193. The elevations is 4,000 feet.

28,194. Pass by Cajon Summit at Exit 138.

28,198. Hesperia.

28,209. Exit 153 A for Victorville. We turn right for Business Route 15/Rt 18. (This is also D Street.) We arrive an hour earlier than the opening of the Museum. So we take photos of the outside area and the building.

We decide to travel on Route 66 itself. We learn that nearby 7th Street is the heart of Route 66. We turn right on 7th Street. There are remnants from the glory days of Route 66, especially in the first few blocks of 7th Street. But after that, most of the road is modern. We go out on 7th Street and come back on 7th Street.

28,219. We go into the next town, Apple Valley, on Route 18. Itís not as interesting as Victorville and Route 66.

28,226. The Mojave River is all dried up here.

With enough time elapsed, we go back to the Route 66 Museum. Outside we take a photo of the old guard rail post that was rescued from the Cajon Pass in 1983.

A dogís gravestone is here also. Brownie the mutt (mix of terrier and pit bull) was Victorvilleís railroad mascot during World War II. When he died, he was given a big funeral in Forrest Park (which is right across the street from the museum). The black granite marker is inscribed: "Brownie Ė A railroad dog, a friend and a pal. 1945.) Brownie died when hit by a railroad car. The railway workers chipped in to buy him the granite grave marker.

The Museum is next to the Barrel House and the ABC Smoke Shop. Across the street is the Greyhound Station at the Victorville Valley Transportation Center.

We go into the Museum filled with so much memorabilia. Adam was our pleasant guide for part of the time. We really enjoyed ourselves. There is also space that covers the history of Victorville. We bought books and souvenirs at the well-stacked gift shop. The people at the Museum were very helpful and very interested in Route 66. It is definitely worth a stop.

28,230. We find Air Express Road.

28,232. We go past the Southern California Air Expressway airport.

28,234. Get onto Route 395 north. We are surrounded by Mojave Desert land.

28,239. Patrick likes the dips in the road that are often on the desert roads.

28,245. Shadow Mountain Road.

28,254. (Mile marker 35.)

28,256. Kramer Junction, 9 miles away?

28,264. Go left on Route 58 west to Mojave, California.

28,265. Stop for a photo of the solar power collector near the junction of Routes 395 and 58. Mojave is 37 miles away.

28,270. Boron city.

28,279. Passed two trailer parks.

28,284. Exit 186, Edwards Air Force Base. 100 plus windmills ahead.

Edwards Air Force has a long and distinguished career. Wikipedia says: "After President Richard M. Nixon announced the Space Shuttle program on 5 January 1972, Edwards was chosen for Space Shuttle orbiter testing. . . . After Space Shuttle Columbia became the first Shuttle launched into orbit on 12 April 1981, it returned to Edwards for landing. . . . it continued to serve as the primary landing area for the space shuttle until 1991."

28,297. Exit 172.

28,302. Exit 167 for Route 14.

28,303. Right on Route 14 for Bishop.

28,311. Phillips Road.

28,320. (Mile marker 37.32.)

28,323. Stop for photos of reddish mountains on the right and left.

28,324. Stop close to the state park.

But they are doing construction on Route 14 in the area and we miss the entrance road.

28,330. We turned the car around.

28,335. On the way back, we find Abbott Drive, unadvertised entrance to the Red Rock Canyon. There is a small sign saying "Hagen Canyon Natural Preserve".

28,336. We parked at the Visitorís Center. Rosemary took photos of the plant bush outside known as Bladder Pod. The guide was very helpful to us. He pointed out that the Prius we rented is not recommended for the back roads of the area. He has a Jack Russell Terrier mix and we have our second Jack Russell Terrier back at home. We shared stories about Jack Russells.

The one place we can drive within the state park is around the loop road through the Ricardo Campground. Originally, the formations in this area were known as the Ricardo Formation, but now they call it Dove Spring Formation,

28,337 and 28,338. Stop for photos along the way. One camper pushed his lawn chair up against the mountain in order to enjoy the shade provided by that same mountain.

28,341. We drive toward Barstow on US 15.

28,375. Itís 58 miles to Barstow from here.

28,428. We reach the Barstow City Limits.

28,437. Reach the Best Western Hotel.

Route 66 Museum Victorville I

Route 66 Museum Victorville II

Red Rock Canyon State Park

 

Day 11. Sunday. May 4, 2014.

On US 15 east, we are heading from Barstow, California to Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, Nevada.

28,439 is the reading on the odometer at the start of the dayís travel.

28,443. Las Vegas is 151 miles away. The desert here is really flat with small shrubs and the mountains far away from the road.

28,497. Soda Lake is really big and really dried out.

28,520. We are starting to see lots of Joshua Trees on both sides of the road.

28,522. The truck lane ends for awhile, but it soon returns.

28,534. Las Vegas is 60 miles away.

28,539. Go through a mountain pass. There are strong winds in the area. Later we come into another valley.

28,542. We see more solar panels and two more dry lakes.

28,552. Welcome to Nevada "The Silver State." Here is Primm, the "Fashion Outlet of Nevada". Also here is Whiskey Petesí and Primm Valley Casino Resorts.

Around here is typical flat, little-shrubs desert with mountains in the distance.

28,585. Take Blue Diamond Road, Route 160 west..

28,596. Then take Route 159 heading right.

28,597. Stop for photos, among them the Blue Diamond Gypsum Mine.

28,599. Another photo stop. There a layers of red color in the mountains ahead of us. See lots of Creosote Bush. A sign says itís a $500 collar fine for feeding burros or wild horses along the road.

28,599. A sign warning of the presence of burros along the road.

28,600. Take another mountain photo of the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area.

28,601. See lots of small Joshua Trees. Bonnie Springs on the left.

28,602. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park on left.

28,604. Two miles from Red Rock Canyon State Park. There is a beautiful red rock up ahead on the left. We stop at Red Rock Overlook.

28,606. We are here at the Red Rock Canyon State Park Visitorís Center. They have nice gardens, but with only a few plant labels around the place.

Took pictures of :

A reddish-orange cactus flower.

A blooming Penstemon.

28,609. First stop on the loop trail of 13 miles. There are red rocks with some layered with lighter red rocks. In some cases the rocks look all scratched up. The parking areas are overflowing with cars. Itís almost funny with the cars and people all over the place.

There are more reddish rocks at parking area Calico II.

The visit would have been better if there were not so many cars all over the place.

28,646. Arrive at the Best Western airport motel.

We traveled 207 miles to get here.

We went to the Premier Outlets Mall and got a new suitcase. We had collected too many books, souvenirs and gifts to fit within just two suitcases. (The suitcase cost only around $130 with tax and we paid around $90 dollars to take a third suitcase on the airplane.)

We ate at Chiliís restaurant. The food was good and we enjoyed ourselves.

Red Rock Canyon State Park I Before Visitor Center

Red Rock Canyon State Park II Visitor Center & Nearby

Red Rock Canyon State Park III Scenic Drive

 

12th Day. Monday. May 5, 2014.

Heading out to see the Valley of Fire State Park, located northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.

28,676. Approximated odometer reading at the start of the day. The drive is virtually all desert all the time.

28,694. (Mile marker 16.) We are heading on US 15 north.

There is some mining on the left hand side of the road.

28,698. Exit 64. A sign mentions the Great Basin National Park, but gives no information.

28,708. Entering Moapa Indian Reservation.

28,709. We take Exit 75 for the Valley of Fire.

28,713. Muddy Mountains Wilderness. There are no Joshua Trees here.

28,722. 13 miles along the road, we come to the park entrance.

28,723. The dayís first photos of red earth areas.

28,724. See another Valley of Fire State Park sign.

28,725. We pay the fee ($10 dollars) and drive on through. There is a big chain of red rocks in front of us.

28,725. We get closer views and photos. We go on the loop trail. We see what may be a white hyacinth plant. Also see some white flowers blooming on the rocks in the area. Many of the red rocks are pitted with holes. See another purple flower bush.

We see a rock that looks like the eye of the dinosaur. There are lots of Creosote Bushes in the area.

28,726. Stop for an arch rock photo and the shot of an interesting isolate rock. Thereís a sign saying donít climb on the rocks.

28,727. We stop at the place where there are petroglyphs. You have to climb up three flights of steps to see the drawings on the walls.

28,728. We are out of the loop now and on the main road. We pass by the place where there are petrified logs. Stop for a photo of the red mountain ahead.

28,730. They have a good Visitorís Center here with a good gift shop. We bought books and souvenirs. We also took pictures of their labeled plants in their gardens.

Desert Holly (Atriplex hymenelytra). Has silver, holly-like leaves.

Bladder Sage (Salazaria mexicana).

Rock Nettle or Stingbush (Eucnide urens).

Desert Willow (Chilopis linearis).

In 1400 AD, this area was a Paiute Indian Camp.

28,730. Climbing a hill. Stop for a photo of the long road ahead of us.

28,731. Rainbow Vista.

28,732. Photos form Parking Lot #1.

28,734. Going down and then up on the road. There are lots of different colors in the rocks. Fire Wave Trail.

28,735. White domes. There are five white domes and one red dome. Took photos and then Rosemary crossed the road to get additional photos of the other side of the road.

28,744. We go out the east entrance to go see Lake Mead, but the road to Lake Mead we wanted to investigate was closed.

28,747. We turn around and head back through the state park.

28,757. We are back now at the western entrance. A sign says itís 41 miles back to Las Vegas.

28,772. We get back onto US 15 but head south this time.

28,818. Back at the Best Western airport motel.

We ate at the Blueberry Hill restaurant on E. Flamingo Road.

Valley of Fire State Park I

Valley of Fire State Park II

 

I started with 55 photos.  For the first time I did not try to get representative pictures from the whole trip, but chose those that I really liked. It was not easy.

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