Mojave Snowbird Trip – Dome Rock Road

Biff had an easy morning.

I decided to head over to Quartzsite to check out the scene but Biff needed walking first so I stopped at another potential camping area, Dome Rock Road. There was nothing special about the camping there and the phone signal was weak so I crossed that one off my list. We found a canyon on the north side of the interstate and after driving up it a way took to our feets.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Saguaro cactus skeleton before.

We walked up the canyon for about a mile and half, passing many mine claims, there were a couple of people working claims at the bottom of the canyon, I assume they are looking for gold.

Saguaro – over 70 years old since it has arms.
This Ocotillo had all red leaves, presumably they are about to fall.
The top of the canyon was a pass into the next valley west, it looked quite green, in a desert sort of way.

As I was walking back down the canyon I looked around at the slopes, they were covered in cholla cacti, not a Joshua Tree in site. At that point I began to realize that I was actually in the Sonoran Desert rather than the Mojave, oops. Saguaro and Ocotillo are more common in the Sonoran and the absence of Joshua Trees is a giveaway.

Looking east down the canyon, not a Joshua Tree to be seen.
A Chain Cholla just about to flower, don’t think I’ve seen that before either.

After the hike I drove into Quartzsite, the traffic was backed up on the freeway ramp and then it started to rain, so I just drove through town and back to camp. There are going to be too many people in Quartzsite for me!

Less crowded back at camp.
Biff found a dead Ocotillo which proved resistant to shredding but he carried it for about a mile.

Mojave Snowbird Trip – Ehrenberg Day One

I didn’t get moved along by the CHP and the truck traffic on US95 wasn’t loud enough to disturb my sleep, or Biff’s, though it would have to be a parade of 747s to do that! A quick 80 miles south got me to Blythe, California and another mile across the Colorado River into Arizona. There are a number of boondocking sites and a nice state park on the river but the free places have a reputation for occupation by homeless people and criminal activity and the state park is $40/night. I had watched a video of somebody finding a camp spot on the Ehrenberg-Cibola Road and it looked good. It’s a wide open barren place for sure with a lot of campers, but there is so much space that I would estimate the distance between each rig averages 400-500 feet, certainly that is how close the nearest rig to The Caravan is. It was 65F when we arrived, it felt much hotter.

Biff explored the sunny side, on the shady side there is an area of sand (dust) which will be more comfortable for him.
The view from the Caravan door, looking north pretty much, long way to the nearest rigs over there.
View to the east from The Caravan
To the south of the camp spot is a shallow wash that is home to many ocatillo, this one has leaves and flowers.
Ocatillo flowers
There are quite a few plants flowering, they have to get it over early in the year as it can reach 120F here in the summer.
Biff and I walked a couple of miles south of camp which is up on top of the lighter bank in the middle, we are about a half mile back from the edge.
We were treated to a beautiful sunset. The shaded area in the middle is the shadow of The Caravan, the sun was right on the horizon behind us.

I’m not sure how long we will stay here, certainly over the weekend, perhaps for 10 days. Sadly the Verizon phone signal is not that great, AT&T is good but I don’t have as much data on that plan, I need to be able to stream Luton Town’s games!

Mojave Snowbird Trip – Chemehuevi Mountains

The what mountains? Amazing how many unknown places there are down here in the Mojave, I stopped on a gravel patch next to US95 and discovered these!

It was so nice at Sand Mine Road this morning I had a hard time leaving and almost stayed another day, but I have a couple of weeks and can get further south with that much time so off I went. The drive through Lake Mead National Recreation Area is fantastic, if you like barren rocky desert with rocky mountains, which I do. I definitely need to get back there and explore a lot more. My intended destination was the Dead Mountains, the BLM web site showed a single camp site north of the wilderness area along a dirt road. What they didn’t say is that the road is really a narrow sandy two track unsuitable for The Caravan. I pushed on trying to find another boondocking spot but there was nothing close, I ended up continuing on south of Needles on US95 and pulled over in the gravel spot.

Biff and I went for a short walk around camp to see what could be found, I found cactus and succulents, he had other interests…

This barrel cactus was about 3 feet tall, no cactus in Wayne County gets that tall (because of the cold)
Biff’s interests were more edible than mine , though he buried this one for later. He also picked up a cactus skeleton and somewhat bemused by it.
A very healthy Ocotillo, about 15 feet tall with the central canes being about 2″ wide.
Ocotillos only get their leaves after a rainfall though they can keep them quite a long time. Most of the time they look like dead sticks standing up in the desert.
The ‘deadly’ Cholla, the pieces jump off and attach themselves firmly to whatever they touch, it is very painful to remove them.
I believe that the little ‘crown’ in the middle of the picture is where the last fruit was, but it could also be the beginning of a flower (experts?)
Some cactus just love rock gardens, these two were about 9″ tall.
Even the normally bedraggled creosote bushes were putting on a show.

Mojave Snowbird Trip – Sand Mine Road

Although I don’t mind the cold much I decided to head toward the Mojave desert for a couple of weeks in The Caravan with Biff, Frikka stayed in Cedar City where she will be getting some behavioral training (she’s nuts!).

Brown’s Road leading down to Koosharem – snowbirding seems like a good idea.

My destination for the night was just south of Overton, Nevada at Sand Mine Road, a free BLM camping area near Lake Mead. I got my usual late start, although only about 75 minutes late this time which is pretty good for me. That meant I arrived after dark and took the first spot off the highway. It turns out there really is a mine and they work all night, I woke at 5am (Mountain) to the sound of the globada globada machine and a truck backing up. It wasn’t loud enough to keep me awake last night but seemed more obvious this morning.

Morning One of the Mojave Snowbirding Trip 2019

The temperature at dawn was 43F and it was surprisingly humid for the desert, there was a lot of water along the road on the way down and the soil is quite moist, though the ‘soil’ is mostly rocks. The Caravan is very dirty having been in the snow for the last couple of months.

Looking east from camp down Sand Mine Road.

I can see about half a dozen other RVs further down the road, they probably can’t hear the mine and I will explore further down next time I’m here. It’s 300 miles from Torrey so a bit far to come just for a day or two, great stopping place for heading south though.

Biff enjoying the sunshine and view.

Headed further south today into the Mojave Desert. The mine noise has stopped, perhaps they only work at night to avoid the heat of the summer?

The Rim Rock Trail

Having hiked on Sand Creek for a couple of days it was time to try an alternative, the Rim Rock Trail is pretty much opposite the Rim Rock hotel and restaurant and below Cook’s Mesa, it leads to the northern entrance to Spring Canyon.

Tank Bridge

Biff was ready to go.

Tank Bridge Tank Bridge Tank Bridge

Old Juniper trees always provided odd twisted shapes that look good in the snow.

Tank Bridge

Frikka went off to explore some side canyons.

Tank Bridge Tank Bridge Tank Bridge

The Henry Mountains always look good from this angle.