Thursday, September 29, 2016

Kleinbub camping trip

We left home in our camper on Saturday, September 24 about noon. Traffic was great (remember this for future reference) and we made it to Chris and Murrah’s in about 2 hours. We enjoyed the rest of the day visiting with them.

After spending the night camped in Chris’s driveway, we left to spend a couple days in the Mohave Desert National Preserve. We took I-10 east past the fields of wind machines, stopping at Hadley’s new store near the Morongo Indian Casino, buying dates at a local farm on Dillon Road, and staying overnight in Yucca Valley.

On Monday we wanted to have breakfast at a favorite restaurant, the Carousel, in 29 Palms. Sadly, they seem to be out of business so we ended up at Dennys. 29 Palms seems to be a city of barbers and tattoo shops (due to the nearby Marine base) with few other services for the normal tourist (not even a grocery store we were told). In contrast Yucca Valley seems to be booming.

So, the past two days traveling through the Mohave have been very quiet. One can almost imagine we are back in the pioneer days of horse drawn wagons, miners, and wild West cowboys. The road we were on was almost deserted (it is part of the old Route 66). The vegetation was sparse and brushy. The land was fairly flat with rocks and hills in the distance. We passed through an area where there was a chloride mining operation and even that looked deserted. There are lots of run down one and two room shacks littering the landscape. Don learned that they have been there since the 1930’s and later when the government had a policy of giving 5 acres of land to anyone who would build on it (a homestead act). Apparently lots of people took them up on the offer, but not many stayed! Now some of these properties are being purchased by entrepreneurs and updated to be rented as vacation homes.

We ended up in a campground called Hole-in-Wall in the northeastern part of the park. There were only a few other campers there, but it was a lovely, well maintained campground. The campground host told us that within a week it would be full because hunting season was starting, so we timed it well. This part of the desert is formed from ash from volcanic eruptions, so the rocks are very porous (consequently its name.)

On Tuesday we headed for a land mark called Cima Dome where we could dry camp on BLM land. The campground is behind the WWI Memorial which is a huge rock with a cross on top.

We didn’t do much, just relaxed and walked around and enjoyed the peace and quiet. The weather is perfect, hot and dry with a cooling breeze. We have seen some beautiful cloud formations, sunsets, stars, birds (maybe a condor), rabbits, listened to an owl. The vegetation is actually quite lush – sagebrush, Joshua trees, cactus of all kinds, lots of little yellow flowers, and other chaparral plants.