Mojave National Preserve - Exploring Days Three and Four
Broke camp at our VFW/Teutonia Peak b-dock campsite and headed south. 6 miles to Cima, then another 19 to Kelso. This is all paved road, but most of it is very pot-holed and broken up. It requires a keen eye and quick reflexes to keep the vehicle from falling into one. It also seems that a lot of higher-end cars, Mercedes, BMWs, Cadillacs, etc., are using this road as a cut-through of some sort. They catch your eye if only because they're so out-of-place in this land of jeeps and four wheel drive. Las Vegas is just 40 or so miles north of the preserve, so I guess it’s possible these “high-rollers” are itchin’ to get there and try to win enough for the next car payment.
The National Park Service refurbished the old depot a few years ago and brought much of it back to the way it looked in the 20’s. It’s a good stop and it’s in good shape. A fine piece of history. (see more pics in our online album)
From Kelso we headed south on Kelbaker Road, about 7 miles, to a road that goes to the Kelso Sand Dunes. Visible from most spots in the southwest corner of the preserve, the Kelso Dunes cover about 45 square miles and rise to about 650 feet above the surrounding terrain. This is one huge pile of sand… and one landform that’s hard to miss.
During the afternoon we hiked a ways into the dunes, explored the area, and found a b-dock campsite just a short distance from the dunes trailhead where we watched the reddish light from sunset add some bright color to the dunes.
For the day: 40m; odo 20,341; Kelso Dunes b-dock 34.890, 115.705, elev 2600
Tuesday, Feb 10 - Kelso Dunes b-dock, Mojave NP; 51 sunny, quiet
We have a light day today - not much to see or do. There’s a large historic mine site on the opposite side of Kelbaker Road from where we’re camped near the dunes. Dar thought we might attempt to get out there and see what’s around.
The last thing on the agenda for our visit was the Granite Mountains area at the south end of the preserve. These are a small collection of sharply peaked mountains made of (go ahead- guess now…) granite. We heard there were some decent boondocking sites near the summit and we thought we’d perhaps be close enough to pick up a good Verizon 4G signal from the Interstate just a few more miles to the south.
For the day: 25m; odo 20366; Granite Pass b-dock 34.7935, 115.603, elev 3780; v. breezy
The last four days and nights were spent removed from civilization, radio, TV, and internet. It was wonderful - even after we returned to homebase, the TV hasn’t been on since. The Mojave National Preserve is high on our list… our kind of place. I think we’ll be back.