Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mojave Megaphone - The Easy Way

I get a lot of visitors to this blog reading my posts about the Mojave Megaphone.  I've described two routes to the megaphone: the normal route from I-15 along the railroad, via the old town site of Crucero, and the very dangerous route from the west.  This Google map is centered on the megaphone.  

So I decided to visit the Megaphone taking a new route.  The easiest route.  It's a 20 mile drive up a dirt road leaving the pavement at Ludlow, CA.  It takes about an hour and 15 minutes.  Less if you don't stop to take photos along the way.

It can be a tough drive.  That road is sometimes in terrible condition.  On the best days, the worst part is the washboard stretch running for about 5 miles after leaving I-40 that seems to rattle your car apart.  On the worst days, the road is muddy, rutted and partly under water as you pass Broadwell [not so] Dry Lake.  Those conditions require high ground clearance and 4WD.  If the conditions are dry, then you can drive this route in almost any car with a ground clearance of 7+ inches.  Years ago I did it in an Acura MDX.

Today, the conditions were sandy.  There was a couple mile stretch starting about 1 mile north of Ludlow where the loose sand was 5 to 8 inches deep.  It bogged me down to 12 mph, but I never had to use low range.

My "blizzard pearl" paint job seems to glow in the morning sun.

I stopped to take some photos from the playa.

After about 12.5 miles, you reach the intersection with a powerline road.  I've driven that road toward the northeast.  That's a great drive.  Parts of it are quite challenging.  On my return today, I'll turn to the southwest on that road.  That section is easy and very scenic.

Further north, there are some kooks that seem to live out here.  I don't think they're meth labs.  But they're probably armed.

When you reach this dip in the road, you're almost there.

Soon you'll see the megaphone atop a short ridge on the left.  When you reach the 2 trees, then you can turn off the main road and follow the road to the right to reach Mesquite Spring.  This map is centered on the spring.

As always, I did not drink the water from Mesquite Spring.  Actually, I couldn't find any exposed spring water as I had in the past.  The old bathtub has seen better days.

The rocks behind the spring have petroglyphs.  On this visit, I spent some time inspecting the nearby rocks looking for any additional petroglyphs.  I didn't find any.

The old charcoal kilns are still there.  You can see the megaphone in the distance atop the ridge.

There's a nice parking area close to the ridge.

I didn't hike to the top this time.  Here's some photos from below.

Returning to I-40, I turned right onto the powerline road heading southwest.  That way I could avoid the sandy section just north of Ludlow.  I like this stretch of powerline road.  It's very scenic.  

On one trip along this road, I almost stepped on a rattlesnake when I got out of the car to take photos of the landscape.  You've been warned.

I hiked up a hill to get a good view.

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