On Black Friday I drove the scenic and historic Bradshaw Trail, which runs from the Salton Sea to Arizona. The trail traverses part of the Colorado Desert and crosses the Chuckwalla Bench ACEC.
Because of its historic value, the BLM maintains the road and its graded surface was easy to drive. There were a few stretches of sandy wash, but they were nothing compared to what I'm used to in the Mojave desert. It had rained the day before my adventure, so I was pleased to get to drive through several muddy puddles of water. It was a beautiful sunny day with temps around 70. This was much better than fighting crowds at any store.
There were several kiosks along the road, each one drawing the viewers attention to the sites to visit in that area.
The trail was an overland stage route heavily used between 1862 and 1877. Here's the BLM page. Much of the trail skirts the northern border of the Chocoate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range. I took a photo of one of the many warning signs.
Apparently, smugglers have been leading illegal immigrants from Mexico across this dangerous military operations area (read more here). I came across this collection of old ordinance. I think they're dummy bombs.
Much of the road looks like this photo. Even though I stopped several times, got out and looked around, I never saw a single chuckwalla.
Along the way I came upon an odd cross on the desert floor about 50 feet from the road. The stick had this text: "Aerial FIXover C.P. Do Not Disturb" Please tell me what this is, if you know. I checked Google Earth and didn't see this in their satellite imagery. But I did see another one off a side road. hmmmm
I didn't drive the entire route. I took the Red Cloud Mine Road exit off I-10 and drove south on Summit Road to join the trail heading east. Then I returned to the highway via Wiley's Well Road, which took me past the Chuckwalla State Prison. Two inmates recently escaped from there and they've already been recaptured (see story here). Here's a photo of the prison. It's almost surrounded by those towering palm trees.