Friday, June 1, 2012

Acoss the Mojave Desert

From Utah it was necessary to cross the Mojave Desert to get to southern California. The lands past Las Vegas, Nevada are barren and devoid of hospitality for several hours drive, so we pulled into a campground in Vegas for two nights. One would have been better.

It was hotter than a whore house on nickel night, so we hid out in air-conditioned comfort until evening, venturing out only to watch the Air Force fighter jets screaming by directly overhead...

...and to take a dip in the campground's salt-water swimming pool. In the evening we enjoyed a Thai meal at a local hole-in-the-wall, Siam Garden, then we went into the city and walked around downtown, including the Fremont Street Experience. This crazy street is five blocks, pedestrian only, covered by a continuous LED display canopy suspended 90' over the street surface. A 55000 watt sound system cranks out the sounds from the three performance stages. Dozens of restaurants, bars, shops and casinos, including the Golden Nugget, line the street, and visitors fly overhead on zip lines.

It's loud, crowded and over-the-top. We walked down, walked back, and then got in the truck and left. Las Vegas. Not for me, thanks.

Our next stop was more like it. It it hadn't been so stinking hot we'd have wanted to stay longer at Mojave River Forks Campground in Hesperia, California. We were all by ourselves in there, which is awesome:

Toby could be out without a leash or fence. When it was cool, in the mornings and after sunset, we could walk all around the park grounds, Toby off leash, dashing after ground squirrels.

I went for a nice mountain bike ride on the Pacific Crest Trail which passed by in the foothills behind the park. I found out later than bikes aren't supposed to be on this trail. Oops. It was a great trail, though, and much of it was cut into the steep hillsides, narrow and sandy, requiring concentration to keep from veering off and tumbling through the junipers and sagebrush to the valley floor.

One afternoon we looked out the window and saw a goat. I went outside and found a herd of them seeking shade under the overhang of The Whale:

I then leashed up Toby and took him outside to meet them. At first they backed away, but then they huddled up and approached. At one point they got so close that one goat lowered its head, threatening to deliver a head-butt!

Nice, quiet park. It'd be worth a longer stay in cooler weather.

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