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!
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.
Sunset in the desert.