To avoid the holiday shopping traffic, I spent this past Saturday driving many dirt roads in the eastern Mojave Desert, in and around the Mojave National Preserve.
Cow Cove Petroglyphs
I wanted to return to the petroglyphs at Cow Cove, but the strong winds were unpleasantly cold to any exposed skin. The sandy road was in good condition, although I did come across 2 splash guards that had been ripped from previous cars. I moved them from the middle of the road so they didn't snag on others' cars and do unnecessary damage. The first photo shows Clark Mountain off in the distance. [click on images for larger version]
I decided to drive the powerline road from Excelsior Mine Road southwest to highway 127, just north of Baker. This is the same power corridor that I've blogged about here, and here. Once again, I was struck by the wide scar remaining from the trenching for the 2 natural gas pipelines that go this way.
I came across this interesting rectifier station for that pipeline, outfitted with a satellite dish, a GPS antenna?, and four warning placards!
The road was hilly in places offering great scenic views of the desert to the north. Here's a memorial cross that I came across. I googled and found no further info about this.
I reached Silver Dry Lake at the end.
Next I took the Rasor Road exit off I-15 to visit Cronese Dry Lake. I took a few spurs to the north but still haven't made it to the playa. The sand was very fine and silty - probably normal for an ancient lakebed. That sand dune on the side of the Cronese Mountains was featured in a 1962 research paper.
The road is a BLM "open route" and is part of the old Arrowhead Trail, which was a paved road between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City circa 1915-26. This stretch parallels I-15. I came across another scar and signs indicating yet another buried communications cable, this one was posted by AT&T and reads: Warning - Transcontinental Cable Crossing ...
The road came to a hill and I chickened out. It looked super steep and covered in loose sand.
As you can see, I was right next to I-15, north of Cave Mountain (which I've hiked on many times). I later took some photos out the windshield when I was on that part of I-15 and the hill looks not quite so steep afterall. Maybe I'll try it another day.
I made it as far as the base of that pylon on the left of the image.