Winds had picked up Saturday afternoon & intensified iduring the night but not enough to keep us awake. Things had settled down by morning & we both noticed those winds had brought in some even warmer air. Temperatures higher than normal for this time of year in this area. It has been a bonus for us having sunny days repeatedly in the mid 70’s.
Our body clocks are still on Arizona time so we were both up before 5 a.m. working on some travel plans. Decided to head off for the Kelso Sand Dunes on the early side. It’s Sunday & we wanted to be in & out of there before any tourists show up. Yes we are tourists too but we just like to be on the early side when the air is quiet & free of noisy chatter.
Good thing I thought to bring extra gas with us. Jeep was down to a quarter tank & the nearest affordable gas was in Baker California over a hundred miles away. There was one other place east of the Preserve but they were taking advantage of the areas remoteness & selling gas for $5 a gallon. Dumped in our can of gas which put our gauge up to three quarters & we were off. It was 8 a.m. & via the 62 mile I-40 route we were at the Kelso Sand Dunes one hour later. The morning desert air was still without hint of a breeze. No blowing sand to mess up my cameras. Even better….nobody at the trailhead so we had the place to ourselves for awhile. Bonus:))
SEEMS DOUG WASN’T THE ONLY ONE WITH A LOST CELL PHONE…THAT PIECE OF PAPER UNDER THE ROCK HAS A TELEPHONE # ON IT & IS OFFERING A $300 REWARD TO ANYONE FINDING THIS PERSON’S LOST CELL PHONE SOMEWHERE HERE IN THE 45 SQUARE MILE KELSO SAND DUNES
IT’S A LONG SANDY WALK TO THOSE BIG 600’ DUNES
WE’RE OFF BUT WITH NO INTENTIONS OF HIKING ALL THE WAY TO & CLIMBING THOSE BIG SANDY HILLS
STOPPED FOR A WATER BREAK
AN OLD RUSTED TIN CAN & KELLY EVEN FOUND A QUARTER
Our intentions were not to try & do the whole 3 mile trail & reach the top of the 600’ high sand dunes. Trail was hard packed gravely sand for less than a quarter mile then turned into soft beach type sand. Not the easiest walking. We decided rather than push ourselves along the trail in the direction of the big dunes we would branch off & just spend an hour exploring around & enjoying the smaller sand dunes. And that is what we did. It has taken us a long time to understand & respect our limits so we knew enough not to push ourselves to the top of the dunes. We could already feel the day heating up plus my short quarter horse legs are not what they used to be & we have to be ever vigilante with Kelly’s health. She has been doing great & we don’t want to jeopardize that greatness.
CRITTER TRACKS IN THE SAND
THIS LITTLE FELLOW IS LOOKING AT THAT LOLLIPOP ‘HAVE A NICE DAY’ HAPPY FACE IN THE SAND
I THINK THESE ARE THE TRACKS OF LILLY THE PEG LEGGED LIZARD
NOW I KNOW FOR SURE THOSE ARE PHEEBER TRACKS ON THE RIGHT
HEADING BACK TO THE JEEP
KELSO 8 MILES AWAY AS SEEN THROUGH MY 300mm LENS & THE KELSO DEPOT IS THE BUILDING ON THE EXTREME LEFT
It was after 9 when we headed ourselves back the 4 mile dusty dirt road to Kelbaker Road & turned left. It was an 8 mile slow descent to the Kelso Depot. Just gotta love the southwestern colors & architecture of this building. And to think it had been abandoned & slipped into disrepair after the railroad lost interest in it. Thanks to the Mojave National Preserve & a group of dedicated people for their efforts in saving this fine building from destruction.
TRAIN DEPOT’S TELEGRAPH OFFICE
TICKET BUYING WINDOW AT FAR END & THE BAGGAGE ROOM
PARK RANGER TOLD US THEY HAVE 15 FREIGHT TRAINS A DAY THROUGH HERE
Happy to see the ‘Open’ sign on the door as we entered. I just love these old style buildings with their large foyers. Beautiful tile & hardwood floors. Inside the door to the right was the great horseshoe lunch counter I had seen so many pictures of. To bad & definitely sad this fine piece of American history & culture no longer is an active restaurant. Just not enough customers to make it profitable with the last operator of the facility retiring & closing it up in 2013. A fellow there says they are hopeful one day it will re-open.
OH HOW I WISHED THIS EATERY HAD BEEN OPEN, IT JUST HAD A NICE FEEL TO IT
2 PARK RANGERS AT FRONT DESK & A FINELY FINISHED STAIRCASE LEADS UPSTAIRS
NO THESE STOOLS ARE NOT PLASTIC, I’M GUESSING THEY MAY HAVE BEEN A FINE CHERRY WOOD >>>
A few days ago in the Visitor Center at ‘Hole In The Wall’ campground I had spied a hat I liked & this morning I saw the same type of hat at the Kelso Depot. And they had one in my size…..'huge’ or as the tag says, x-tra large. I never think of myself as having a big head until I go to buy a hat. Just imagine, a big head with short quarter horse legs. Well I’m quite a sight sometimes I tell ya. My old summer Walmart straw hat is nearly 2 years old now I had been thinking of replacing it anyway. This well constructed made in the U.S.A. Henschel hat is called a Breezer & is made of a new nylon mesh. I’ve noticed my big 22-10 ton Tombstone Cowboy hat gets awfully warm on hot sunny days while out hiking so I was needing a lighter cooler Chapeau. This one also has ‘Mojave National Preserve’ written on the head band. Buying another hat may seem a little strange considering I just posted a blog last week entitled, ‘Hats….Who Needs Em’!!!!
KELLY PAYS FOR MY ‘MOJAVE HAT’ & THIS FELLOW THROWS IN 4 KELSO DEPOT POSTERS FOR A DOLLAR
MY NEW MOJAVE BREEZER HAT…I SAID BREEZER NOT GEEZER!!
Back to the Kelso Depot. They have some nice displays & exhibits set up at the Depot depicting Mojave’s history of the Preserve & they also have a small theater with an excellent 18 minute documentary film about the Mojave Preserve as well. It would be my wish to return some day when the restaurant is re-opened & sit on one of those fine wooden stools at that counter & have myself a bite to eat & a Mojave coffee. Don’t ask me what a Mojave Coffee is…..the words just went together well:))
Probably half a dozen cars in the parking lot as we finished up our peanut butter sandwiches & headed north up Kelbaker road. Bye Bye Kelso see you again. The southern route from ‘Hole In The Wall’ to Kelso is 62 miles & paved all the way. The road north back to ‘Hole In The Wall’ from Kelso is partially paved but mostly hard packed gravely sand & it’s only 29 miles & that’s the route we Jeeped back on. Nice drive all the way & we took our time just soaking up California’s great southwestern scenery surrounding us. What a beautiful place this Mojave Desert is.
WE SKIRTED ALONG THE SOUTHEASTERN EDGE OF JOSHUA TREE FOREST
Stopped at Hole In The Wall’s Visitor’s Center where we took a short hike to have a look at some petroglyphs. Could have done the whole loop trail but it was just after noon & the sun was too hot for us. Pheebs was tiring as well. Next time back we will do this trail all the way round from start to finish. And oh yes there will be a next time back. With the Preserve’s vast remoteness & lack of traffic & people it is a natural draw for us to return.
WILD HORSE CANYON ROAD ON THE LEFT & DEAD CENTER IS THAT PRIME BOONDOCKING SPOT
Rest of the afternoon was spent in quiet relaxation mode. Hauling out our maps & plotting a new travel plan we will dump our tanks & head out in the morning. And no we are not heading home to Congress just yet…………:))
At great risk of jinxing ourselves I’ll mention how much better our internet connection is now that we simply turned our rig around. Antennae of course is in a slightly different place but maybe that is all it took. Internet signals are a strange thing & we’ve experienced this before where moving an antennae just a few feet can make all the difference. We were on-line all day Saturday & all day today with a solid steady connection. Super:))
GROANER’S CORNER:(( The first-time father, beside himself with excitement over the birth of his son, was determined to do everything right. "So, tell me, Nurse," he asked as his new family headed out the hospital door, "what time should we wake the little guy in the morning?"
"Just relax," the hospital staff kept telling the young father-to-be, but it was to no avail. His wife was in labor and he was a nervous wreck. After what seemed like a week, a nurse came out with the happy news, "It's a girl!" she announced. "A girl! Thank God!" said the new dad. "She'll never have to go through what I just went through!"
A group of expectant fathers sat nervously in the hall. A nurse beckoned to one of them and said, "Congratulations, you have a son!" Another man dropped his magazine, jumped up and said, "Hey, what's the idea? I got here two hours before he did!"