February 18, 2018. Claude, his dog Rocky, and myself drive off from Los Angeles in Claude’s house on wheels. We are heading for the western access to the famous Mojave Road.
The Mojave Road, also known as Old Government Road formerly the Mohave Trail is a historic route and present day dirt road across what is now the Mojave National Preserve in the Mojave Desert. We get lost almost immediately outside of Barstow, meandering aimlessly on a high plateau. We bump into some really shady military types in white SUVs yelling at us to go away. Not sure what they were up to… First night is spent high up the adjacent hills. Gorgeous sunset over Barstow. Next day we finally find our way back to the Mojave River bed. We reach Afton Basin in the afternoon, a surreal soda flat south of Zzyzx (!) Road. We then aim for Cowhole Mountain, a nothing of a mountain range in the middle of nowhere. We climb up and find the most peaceful spot to set up camp. Not a soul in sight for miles. I get up at five in the morning and go on a two hour hike to explore the surroundings, hoping to get a glimpse of sunrise over the distant salt flat we crossed the day before. After breakfast we set our sights on Kelso and its famous sand dunes. On our way back, we make a quick detour to check out the Granite Mountains. We soon discover the small range has some of the most amazing rock formations, plants, and perfect sandy camping spots. We take note and decide it would make a great place to stay for more than one night. We were back within a fortnight.