Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Flashback | Mojave Road, January 2009 - Part 2 of 3

Day 2:

After breaking camp we decided to check out the trail that meandered on up Caruthers Canyon a little ways. (See above photo.) The trail got rockier and narrow the further we went, so we eventually had to turn back and save it for another trip.

The next point of interest along the trail was Rock Spring. We were surprised to find it totally frozen!

I guess we should have brought along some ice skates.

This was the largest watering hole along the Mojave Road for weary desert travelers.

Here's a bit of history on this site.

The Government Holes, another water supply near Rock Spring, with an old concrete trough.

"The most famous incident in the history of Government Holes occurred on November 8, 1925, when two men, Matt Burts and J. W. "Bill" Robinson, shot it out in the cabin there. Both were killed. They were both gunfighters and hence vestiges of a chapter in western history that most thought had already passed."- Mojave Road Guide, Dennis Casebier

Soon we were on our way to the next point of interest along the old road. We had a pretty rapid descent back down to a lower elevation and then through some of the gnarliest whoop-te-doo's I've ever seen. 

 Coming upon another spring with a primitive concrete trough, named Marl Springs.

Shortly afterwards, we stopped at the Mail Box to sign our names.  This metal box, with its solitary flagpole was installed by the Friends of the Mojave Road in 1983, a conservation group and historical society who were looking to add a place for travelers to mark their passing on the old dirt road. In addition to the countless stickers and graffiti on the outside of the box, there is a book inside it where you can sign your name, leave any comments, and check out who else has braved this desert passage.

A field of cinder cones stands out dramatically from the surrounding Mojave Desert. Here we are parked near the lava tubes within the Cinder Cone Lava Beds Wilderness.

Within the lava field is a short trail leading to a tube formed long ago by molten lava. A ladder takes hikers down into the tube where skylights illuminate a subterranean world. 

After blasting down soft, sandy Willow Wash we crossed over Kelbaker Road and made camp near Seventeen Mile Point.

The conditions here were much nicer than at our previous camp. The moon was huge as it came over the horizon. We really did stumbled upon the "perfect" campsite. Just about the time everyone had strategically placed their vehicles to create the most effective windbreak, the wind died completely.

It was a beautiful night, perfect really. Steve whipped up a batch of his delicious tacos which we all wolfed down so fast that even the dogs didn't stand a chance. Those were followed with Ralphie's s'mores and of course, more beers. A perfect end to this day along the Mojave Road.

Part 3 of 3 coming soon!

Baby Jackson Is Finally Here!

Baby Jackson is finally here! Compared to his sister, his arrival was quicker and much easier on his mom. I am so proud of my beautiful wife, Autumn! I'm looking forward to taking my little man (and his big sister) on many family adventures in the years to come.

Its almost a surreal feeling, having a newborn... having two kids now!

Our niece, Maisie, came to see her new cousin.

Our friend Lonnie and her son, Logan also came by to say hello. 

She's so happy to finally be able to hold her baby brother!

Audrey's baby picture (2011) on top, Jackson on the bottom.

"Look! Sons are an inheritance from Jehovah;
The fruitage of the belly is a reward."- Psalms 127:3

Jackson Carter Graham
Born at 6:26AM June 23rd, 2014
Weight: 8lbs. 14oz.
Length: 20.5 inches

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Flashback | Mojave Road, January 2009 - Part 1 of 3

From Indian Trail to Wagon Road to 4WD Adventure

I started this journal back in 2008 but didn't really do anything with it until 2010. So here is a long lost report from my first Mojave Road trip from back in January 2009, with my 1989 YJ Jeep Wrangler. There is just so much to see and explore out there. Towering sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones, Joshua tree forests, and carpets of wildflowers are all found at this 1.6 million acre park. A visit to its canyons, mountains and mesas will reveal long-abandoned mines, homesteads, and settlements.

Three days is definitely the minimum amount of time you'd want to have to explore the Mojave Road or the preserve. One of these days I'll get my family out there to explore more of the preserve.

Well, around 3:30PM on a Thursday, I met up with my friend Steve in Santee and headed on out. Chatting on the CB made the long haul seem not so long. We gassed up again in Barstow and reached the Mojave Road trail head around 10:00PM. Our friend Ralphie, was probably already cozy in his hotel room at the Avi Resort & Casino just across the highway. I didn't feel like breaking out the tent so I just slept in the front of the Jeep. Well, not really slept, more like tossed and turned, trying to get comfortable- not the easiest thing to do in a Jeep Wrangler. I might have gotten a few hours of sleep, though. I regret not setting up the tent and air mattress that night…

Day 1:

Here we are camped out at the trail head, just off Needles Highway in Nevada.

While waiting for everyone to show up I decided to checkout the Colorado River here.

Lined up, aired down, and ready to go.

Our first stop was Fort Piute.

Exploring the remains of the old fort.

 After visiting the old fort we had to backtrack a ways to the main trail. On the way out I had a moment of inattention and drove up a little too high up on the side of the trail and punctured the sidewall of my front passenger tire on some rocks.

Back on the trail.

You'll often come across these old corrals that are scattered about the area.

New York Mountains in the distance, where our first night's camp is located.

This school bus in the middle of this Joshua tree forest is a well-known sight. Vandals recently overturned the bus. However, it was righted to its proper place by some local off-highway vehicle enthusiast.

Just passed the stone cabin we turned north up Caruthers Road towards our first night's camp in Caruthers Canyon.

All these folks following me have a lot of faith that I'm not getting them all lost!

Nestled high in the New York Mountains is Caruther's Canyon, a side trip offering a cooler setting when traveling the Mojave Road in the warmer months. Several primitive campsites are available here along with great scenery and rocks, canyons, and old mines to explore.

While I enjoyed camping at altitude the first night, the wind was a little much. I don't mind the cold but the wind was a different matter. Most of us ended up gathered around the fire as soon as our camps were set up to grill and enjoy some chicken, braut's and beer. We all ended up hitting' the sack pretty early.

Parts 2 & 3 of Flashback | Mojave Road, January 2009 coming soon!