The trip up from Blythe to Needles used US95 which is a two lane highway. It isn’t too bad but a bunch of dips as it follows the terrain of the desert. Once in Needles, we took I-40 to the Mojave National Preserve. We then climbed 2,000 feet over 20 miles to the campground in the middle of the Preserve. The campsites are nice, just no hookups and no cell service whatsoever. This posting will have to wait until our next campground where I have cell service. The campground got its name from the holes in the walls of the formations surrounding the campground. If you look close in the pictures, you can make the holes out. It is hot, but we are at 4,000 feet elevation and the dryness alleviates some of the feeling of heat. It’s still ninety something, but just doesn’t feel like it. I have also added a couple of shots of the baby owls to the Blythe posting. Doris discovered there were actually three of the babies and took some more pictures.
On the way into the Preserve, a coyote ran across the road but we were unable to get a camera fast enough. It was the first wild one we had seen. The camp site itself has its own version of wildlife, a million and one teeny, tiny flies or gnats. I haven’t been able to determine for sure, but they are still quite a bother when you are outside.
We didn’t do much on Tuesday but get set up and get the generator ready for operation. Wednesday we went touring the different features of the Preserve. Did I say this thing is huge? We put 147 miles on Libby taking it all in. She even got to do some off-roading as we went about a half mile off the main road to get a better look at the Cinder Cones and Lava Flows. She handled it very well, even though Doris was a little apprehensive in a couple of spots. We were also able to see a Cottontail, a Desert Tortoise and several lizards as we traveled during the day. I got pictures of the lizards but the rest happened too fast. Doris also saw a roadrunner next to our campsite but again too fast and no pics.
We also visited the Kelso Dunes. Over a 25,000 year period, the sand blowing from the nearby Soda Lake and Mojave River Sink was trapped by the Providence and Granite Mountains. The highest dune is nearly 700 feet high and the dunes occupy a total of 45 square miles. We walked out to the base of them but didn’t feel it necessary to climb them, though it is OK to do so.
Thursday we head to Tehachapi, CA and hopefully a campsite beside a glider air strip – no reservations but hopefully they will not be necessary.