March 21, 2011 A trip through the desert

I am often known for sitting in the navigator’s seat in the car and saying, “I see that there’s this road here.” Usually it is a very thin gray line on the map. Sometimes it is broken dashes. But it always means, ADVENTURE! We’ve gotten ourselves into a few difficult situations taking the less obvious route but it is always more interesting than the interstate. We had planned the route through the desert last year for our trip from Indian Wells to St. George but since I had gotten sick, we had to return home. This year neither of us is too sick to keep us from our adventure.

We leave Indian Wells and take interstate 10 for about 13 miles west before heading north to 29 Palms. After a quick breakfast we head north out of 29 Palms on the Amboy Road.

A rainbow on I-10 heading west out of Indian Wells.
Amboy Road
Perhaps the 55 mph speed limit is only a suggestion.

The first “place” we come to is Amboy at the intersection of Amboy Road and historic Route 66. Amboy has a couple of chloride collection areas, a crater, Roy’s gas station and a post office. Since no one appears to live here except maybe Roy, I don’t understand the need for a post office. No wonder USPS is running out of money.

The Amboy Crater
Roy's Service Station and Cafe
Amboy Post Office

Now it’s the open road again. The sky is so blue and the clouds alternate between being puffy and threatening. There’s been a lot of rain in the desert this year and there are purple lupine and yellow desert sunflowers blooming. Our next destination is Kelso. Kelso is now a ghost town. There is a Union Pacific railroad station there which was built in 1923 and was used to ship borax, iron, gold and silver out. It is now headquarters of the Mojave National Preserve. A natural feature near Kelso is large sand dunes. They are called “singing sand dunes.” Dunes of a certain humidity, grain size and containing silica will give off a booming sound when triggered by movement. Hah, and you thought the desert was just an empty place.

On to Kelso!
Desert sunflowers
Approaching the overpass for I-40
Welcome to the Mojave National Preserve
Kelso "singing sand dunes"
Kelso train station

There’s not too much further to go before we get on I-15 north to Las Vegas and then on to St. George. Jonathan has arrived at our house and we are eager to start a week of fun with him. The trip across the desert took about 2 hours and was infinitely more interesting than taking the interstates the whole way.

As the elevation rises we zoom past a forest of Joshua trees.
Sadly we get on the I-15 at Nipton Road

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