Monday, April 19, 2010

Pisgaw to Sands to Kelbaker

Saturday I drove a fun powerline road across part of the Mojave Desert. I've been wanting to drive this road and decided to do it before the summer heat set in. Here's a map with my route crudely penciled in.

This was a very scenic drive. Even though it was much easier than I imagined, it's absolutely not for street cars. I had to literally go off road and use low range to get around a big washout. At another spot, the sand was so deep, my 3 ton Land Rover was swimming side-to-side as I slogged through it. Cool!

[click the above image for more detail]

I started at the Pisgaw region of I-40 and drove north east returning to pavement at Kelbaker Road. Here's a shot crossing the RR tracks near Pisgaw.

This shot shows the very northern end of Broadwell Dry Lake from a couple miles west of the washout.

The road northwest of Broadwell Dry Lake is still washed out, but there's an alternate route being used. Unfortunately that alternate has a lot of side camber to it. I put it in low gear and drove just to the right of the alternate with much greater traction and ease.

A shiny object drew my attention. It was an old aluminized mylar balloon. I picked it up and trashed it at a gas station.

After stopping to take some photos (in the middle of nowhere), I almost stepped on a small rattlesnake. The little guy expressed his unhappiness by rattling quite loudly. It was about a foot long. In the first shot, he's looking at me.

In this shot, he's squared off against my Land Rover. LOL

The sandy sections would have been easier if I'd gone the opposite direction. As it was, I hit each one going up hill. There were 3 sandy sections. The one just southwest of Old Dad Mountain is short and I'd describe it as deep sand (maybe 8 inches). This is the same spot I played in a week ago (see my post below). A few miles further toward (and north of) the old town of Sands, is a longer stretch of very deep sand (10+ inches deep). Here's a pic of the very deep sand, uphill with Old Dad Mountain on the horizon.

Then there's a section of very very deep sand that's west of Sands. I really did not want to drive through that and was happy to find an alternate route. I've marked that on the map.

Here's a shot of the road condition, about 10 miles SW of Sands, looking toward Sands.

I didn't spend much time at Sands. I'm not that strong of a history buff. It looked like a desolate place, although the wildflowers are in bloom. I don't think I'd enjoy living there.

Just north of Sands, the NPS has signed the roads as they enter the Mojave National Preserve.

If you have any interest in driving to Sands, now is a fine time to do it. The weather isn't too hot. The sand isn't too deep. And Jackass Canyon is in great condition.

Here's a few videos. I deleted the audiotracks because my GoPro camera's audio is hosed and really noisy. This first one is when I crossed the very deep sand north of Sands. You can see Old Dad Mountain off in the distance to the north.

The second video is going through the deep sand west of Old Dad heading toward Jackass Canyon. I didn't use a running start for this so I got bogged down a bit, but made it through without a problem.

1 comment:

TreeStrike Brewing said...

Cool pics and videos. The video certainly makes you realize that stopping in sand isn't a great idea.

Got a snake-bite kit in the first aid box?

Glad to see you made it back in one piece.