If you hike the Ladder Canyon Loop Trail, expect to travel between 5 and 6 miles round trip as you hike Painted Canyon, in the heart of the Mecca Hills. The canyon runs in a general north-south direction through some amazing colors and vegetation. The trail takes you up through some narrow cracks to the top of the canyons and then back down. It's definitely worth the trip.Read More
The Mojave Desert
The Mojave is a desert of wind, temperature extremes, Joshua Trees and solitude. When most people hear the word ‘desert,’ images of tumbleweeds, rattlesnakes and bleak desolation typically come to mind. In reality, the Mojave is anything but a wasteland. Amongst the sand and sagebrush lie many places of beauty and wonder, and of historic importance. Some are the result of time and the elements, some are the result of man and his efforts to live in the Mojave, both in recent and prehistoric times. Let’s go see what we can find.
Cadiz Summit dates back to 1883; it was named by Lewis Kingman, who was a locating engineer for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. It was one of a series of railroad stations built across the Mojave Desert (Amboy, Bristol, Cadiz, Danby, Esses, Fenner, Goffs, Homer, Ibis, Java, khartoum and so on). Back during those early years, Cadiz existed to supply water to the trains. And years later, when Route 66 was constructed, Cadiz served a similar purpose.Read More
Located just a short distance off Route 66, Amboy Crater had been on my radar for several years, and the opportunity to finally have the time to make the hike coincided with nice weather. I hit the trail. With my feet.Read More
Driving along U.S. 395, I’d often seen areas that looked like they had been blasted from the depths of the earth, the rocks melted and strewn across the barren landscape. And doesn’t that thing over there look like a cinder cone? What’s that rumbling?Read More
I’d just finished exploring Desert Center and was on my way to see what I could find in Rice. It would be a 50-mile drive, and would take about 30 minutes to get there, unless I saw something interesting along the way. I made it to Rice in 30 minutes. Not to say that there aren’t interesting things to see along U.S. Route 177 between Desert Center and Rice, besides huge expanses of Colorado Desert. There are several U.S. Army Desert Training Camps which were in full operation during WWII, but the sites are well off the highway and have been almost completely returned to native habitat. There are also a number of off-road tracks leading to who-knows-where. But those are things for another day. I was in the mood for Rice.Read More
Dublin Gulch is located on the southern edge of Shoshone, California. I wasn't able to track down a lot of history on the place, but here are some generalities which are most likely accurate. The caves are dug into solidified volcanic ash that reportedly came from a Lava Creek eruption in Yellow Stone National Park, over 600 thousand years ago. One account claims they were dug in the early 1900s, another puts their creation during the late 1870s when a silver boom at the nearby Noonday Mines was in full swing. Regardless of when they were created, they are pretty amazing.Read More
The Mojave Cross stands atop Sunrise Rock, a granite outcropping located adjacent to Cima Road, approximately six miles north of Cima, Cal. The present cross is not the original, however and therein lies the story.
The original Mojave Cross was erected in 1934, as a memorial to those who had died in WWI. One of the founders of the memorial, and a veteran of WWI, Riley Bembry took care of the cross until his death in 1984. Shortly before he died, Bembry asked his close friend, Henry Sandoz, to watch over the memorial after he was gone. Which Sandoz and his wife have done since that time.Read More
You don't need a visa to go to Siberia. At least, the one in California. You will need to use some mapping skills and your imagination though, to get there.
Siberia was originally founded as a water stop and rail siding for the Sante Fe Railroad, which later also became a motorist stop for travelers along Route 66. It was located between Bagdad and Ludlow and must have had some years of minor prosperity. Cafes and tourist camps operated here during the 1930s and 1940s, but things never quite took off.Read More
The name "Yermo" is derived from the Spanish word for "Wilderness." Which seems appropriate. Out in the Mojave Desert, with the Calico Mountains to the north, the area must have seemed quite desolate when it was first settled. The town was once known as "Otis," after Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, a wealthy land and mine owner in the area. The Postal Service changed the name to Yermo in 1905, possibly due to a rift between Otis and the local miners union, legend claims.Read More
This is the third California Inspection Station built in Daggett. Its predecessor operated from 1930 until 1953 and was the one featured in the 1940 film version of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. This station shut down for good in 1967. But they forgot to tell the pigeons.Read More
Heading east out of Amboy, I tried to remember that the “66” didn’t mean 66 mph. I passed Kelbaker Road and continued on towards the ghost town of Chambless, Cal., even though signs warned me that the road was closed ahead.Read More
The general Amboy locale was first settled in 1858 by a group of salt miners, but the town was not established until 1883. A locating engineer for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad created the town as one of a series of railroad stations that were to be built across the Mojave Desert.Read More
It was early afternoon on day 1 of my “Goodbye God, I’m going to Texas” roadtrip when I turned off I-40 to check out the town of Ludlow, California. It’s definitely worth a stop for anyone interested in old abandoned buildings and/or needing gas or something cold to drink. It was 2 out of 3 for me.Read More
I drove into Newberry Springs looking for Tony's Garage, the Bagdad Café and an old abandoned motel I remembered seeing back in 2013 when I was in the area for a Munzee Clan War activity. My luck was much better than Huell Howser's when he visited the town, as I found everything I was looking for and more. Watch the video at the end of this post for a great episode of Huell's California Road TripRead More
Daggett is a neat little desert town with a rich history. Founded in the 1860s as Calico Junction, the town was later renamed Daggett in honor of California Lt. Governor John Daggett. The town's main purpose was originally being a supply center for the nearby silver mines of Calico.Read More
I was driving along a short (36-mile-long) section of the National Old Trails Road, between Victorville and Barstow, Cal. Also known as the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway when it was established in 1912, the National Old Trails Road stretched some 3,096 miles from Maryland to California. When Route 66 was established years later, it incorporated much of the National Old Trails Road into its route.Read More
I'm guessing that Oro Grande was once a busy little place, with Route 66 travelers stopping here for a rest, a bite of food or some gas so they could continue along their way. There are a number of old buildings here that obviously date back to the 1940s and 1950s, built when Route 66 was in its prime. A few are still in use, some are abandoned, some closed down, some in ruins. The next time I'm in the area, I hope to have more time to stop and explore.Read More
The Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, aka "Goldstone Observatory," is the largest tracking station in the Deep Space Network, which is comprised of three installations around the world. As part of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Goldstone is used primarily to communicate with deep space probes and satellites, and to study asteroids. The network can communicate and track multiple spacecraft within the solar system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The Goldstone complex consists of nine separate sites, spread out over 33,000 acres in a remote region of California's Mojave Desert.Read More