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Random thoughts and pictures from our travels in a LazyDaze motorhome.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mojave Preserve Road Tour

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This is Cima. A junction on two highways through the preserve and a Union Pacific railhead. The building used to be the post office, grocery store and eatery. It is now closed.

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Down the road is a much nicer place on the Union Pacific line. This is the Kelso Depot Visitor Center. The structure was built in 1923 and operated until 1986. The railroad was going to demolish the building, but public outcry saved it. The NPS re-opened it for business in 2005. Those palms are the originals planted in 1923. The railroad had a five steam engine roundhouse located here since water was available, and it was the beginning of the long and relatively steep Cima grade. Helper steam engines were required to push the loaded trains up the grade. A LOT of men and material passed through here during WWII. The arrival of diesel locomotives in the 50s and 60s ended the roundhouse days.

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Turning north from Kelso on the Kelbaker Road will take you back to Baker in 34 miles, but not before passing through the Cinder Cone Lava Beds. There are 52 well preserved cinder cones in this area of the preserve, with eruptions as recent as 10,000 years ago. I read a brief account of two people resupplying at Kelso and walking to Baker in twelve hours, in 1936 before the road was built. The sun is just relentless out here.

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You can turn off the Kelbaker Road onto the sandy Aiken Mine Road for a closer look.

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Yep, a big pile of cinders with a wall of lava.

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This is looking northwest towards Baker.

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Off the Aiken road is a lava tube, this is a poor shot of a portion of the collasped top.

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An intrepid lava tube hunter getting ready to descend.

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The tube. Not nearly as impressive as the tubes on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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If we had a flashlight, we might have tried it.

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A view of the parking area with a couple of A-frame campers. This side of the preserve is much warmer than where we were located.

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Another shot towards Baker from high terrain. You can see a hint of Soda Lake.

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We shifted into 4-wheel drive to climb this steep and rough grade. It is a heck of alot less bumpy in 4 Low.

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Here it is, the Aiken Cinder Mine. Just an operation digging out cinders so that you can have pretty rock along your walkway. Check out the link.

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Another sunset, hey, I think this is the same picture from the other day ;)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mojave National Preserve

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Our overnight campsite was next to an asphalt highway that lead into the center of the preserve. It is usually a better idea to be away from the main highway then next to it. So we checked out a couple of spots for possible campsites as we jogged up the sandy road away from the highway. The next morning we moved to this spot. A small waterway wide enough for the rig and just off the roadway.

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We are in a Joshua Tree forest, one of the largest in the world actually. These trees are a bit smaller than the trees in Joshua Tree NP, and are a sub-species.

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Those needles are very sharp!

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Just up the road is the Teutonia Peak Trail, so we had to hike it!

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This is the view after a 700 foot climb. That straight line in the valley is the north-south road to Cima.

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This the view looking north, towards I-15.

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Turning more to the west, you see the apex of the large Cima Dome, comprised of 70 square miles of granite.

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Looking to the southeast as we descend to the road. More mesquite here instead of Joshua trees. Power from Hoover Dam and the Union Pacific railroad travel through that yonder valley.

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Strolling to the Jeep…

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Another super sunset.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To Mojave National Preserve…

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We finally exited the green of the eastern communities of Los Angeles and climbed north out of the valley towards Barstow. We crossed the San Andreas Fault with no problem after a long climb to the desert floor. It continues to astound me the dramatic change in climate from grass to sand just by going on the other side of a mountain range. California has a LOT of desert, something I had never really considered before.

We passed through Barstow and the entrance to Fort Irwin. A location that a friend of mine spent time lobbing artillery shells before heading to Vietnam. Makes sense to me, desert to jungle!

This picture is of Soda Lake near Baker. Soda Lake along with Silver Lake are what remains of the large, perennial, Holocene Lake Mojave.

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There is not much at Baker, CA except for the world’s largest thermometer. At Baker, you begin a very long 16 mile climb on I-15 that elevates you about 4000 feet. There are signs telling you to turn off your A/C to prevent overheating. It was around 70F outside, so we sucked gas around 4 mpg climbing instead of worrying about the heat. I did watch the engine and transmission oil temperature gauges though. To the south of I-15 is the Mojave National Preserve, our destination. This is where we camped the first night, along the road heading south to Cima.

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Sunset in the desert.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mt. Rubidoux

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When we travel via our Lazy Daze, it seems like we are sliding through the country, enjoying the scenery while everyone else is working. So, in that vein here is the view out of our 7th floor motel window. These are the San Gabriel Mountains, looking north across Rancho Cucamonga.

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This is our rig being worked on at the factory. The damage is at the rear corner of the rig. Yes, the rig has a wooden frame, very sturdy.

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Near Rancho Jurupa is a small mountain, Mt. Rubidoux.  It is the site of the oldest outdoor non-denominational Easter Sunrise Service in the United States. It also has a two mile asphalt hiking trail to the top, which is heavily used.

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Riverside, looking northeast to Mt. San Jacinto.

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Flabob Airport, and the small community of Rubidoux (an outskirt of Riverside), looking northwest.

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A portion of the asphalt trail and the mountain top. This is one of two ways to the summit.

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The World Peace Bridge, dedicated in 1925.

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A most important person to us, and country as well, engraved on the Peace Tower.

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I am not a religious person, but Carla got an outstanding picture here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beaches!

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We spent the weekend in Rancho Jurupa since it was the closest and cheapest campground close to the Lazy Daze factory on Mission Blvd. Our rig need some repair work to the underlying structure in the driver’s side rear corner. A poorly installed rear shade had allowed water to get to the wood structure. It needed to be rebuilt. Since the rig is covered in aluminum, the factory is it. So, we dropped our second home off and headed for the La Quinta near the Ontario Airport. The next day we hit the beach, specifically Newport Beach.

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Santa Catalina Island in the background.

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Catching a wave…

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Looking south from the Newport pier.

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Waiting for a damn wave…

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Did you see it, its that pliosaur again!

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Bird flowers… :)

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Bird of Paradise.

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Laguna Beach.

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Small city park on the beach.

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Nice stone walkway to the shore.

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We can understand why people like living here.