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Anza Borrego to Zzyzx


Old Mar 14, 12, 5:56 pm
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Join Date: May 1998
Location: Escondido CA USA
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Anza Borrego to Zzyzx


Come join us on our trip thru the deserts of Southern California. We go from skirting Anza Borrego to Zzyzx (yes A to Z). We visit the largest Federal National Park in the Continental United States. We walked on a salt lake at the lowest elevation in the Americas. You can read about the trip, and perhaps fashion one for yourself, or just go to the pictures at the end and take the trip from home.
Leslie and I planned this trip for our 37th anniversary. We both have lived our life in So. CA, and have never made this trip before! Oh, how many times we have passed Zzyzx (pronounced with ZI) and wonder what might be there. You many have wondered as well, and now you can read about it and see the pictures! We are both retired and take trips a bit slower than most people. The mileages and times are approximate, and you might find: you can do most of the driving faster; the hikes longer and quicker; drive after dark but you will like take more time to eat.
This driving trip was made in a 2003 Toyota Highlander, but most of it could have been accomplished in a car. We only took short hikes, mostly flat, as I have a couple of bad hips. Many of the pictures were taken thru the window of the Highlander. Leslie does the photos using a Nikon D60 with a couple of lenses. Access to the pictures is at the end of this write-up. If all you want to do is see the pictures scroll to the end. We drove 1,342 miles, of which, some were visiting my Mom at the end of the trip that you would not likely do! She is 93, so let her know if you are coming! The trip could be further reduced without our side trip to Vegas for a day.
Taking a trip was to celebrate our anniversary, but where we went was based on the time of year. Weather at this time can run mid low 60’s as a high generally. We had about 5 degrees warmer most of the time. March/April the weather is warmer, the flowers are often in bloom and the prices and availability of lodging gets worse. We are frequent flyers/travelers and as you will see, used points for many of our stays.
We used mapquest.com (MQ) for our routing. We used Tripadvisor. com (TA) for much of our motel selections, and on this trip we used a Garmin/GPS (Mrs G)-thanks to the Kaiser’s. None of the motels/lodging reviews are included. You can get those comments on TA.
TUESDAY, FEB 7 (est.120 miles). We don’t leave home until after 11am. We drive to Palm Desert, crossing over the hill (79) off the I-15. This route is shorter but more stressful. Our first stop is the Residence Inn Marriott Palm Desert 38-305 Cook St 92211 (760-776-0050). Later we meet with my brother and his wife for dinner at Outback Steakhouse (one of our favorite eateries). We brought our own bottle of wine, a Montepulciano (now sold out) from Orfila winery located in Escondido. The wine went well with our filet, and with our company. A good meal, with family, is a great way to start a vacation and to celebrate an anniversary.
WEDNESDAY, FEB 8 (est.100 miles). Breakfast is included in our stay (on points) at the Residence Inn. Today we drive to Joshua Tree National Park. We use Mrs G to get there, but then turn her off. We are told that the GPS units are a bad choice in the desert parks we are visiting. Our first stop is the Bajada Nature Trail. The trail is well marked, flat, a ¼ mile loop with good signage. They are in the process of upgrading it. The pictures will help you get the nature of the views, but we do recommend this trail for everyone. Our next stop is the Cottonwood Springs Visitors Center (about 6 miles into Joshua Tree). The VC is very busy and we decide to skip the video, which provides seating for 2-3 only. The exhibits in the VC are modest. There is a “trail/area” outside with plants and signs. The rangers are quite helpful. TOI’s available.
The speed limits are generally 35-45, a bit too fast to really enjoy the desert. Fortunately for us, the traffic is light and there are several pullouts. Most of the pullouts are announced as Exhibits, seemingly because of a sign board or two. Most of the information is not specific to the location, mostly general data of Joshua Tree/deserts.
The next area of posted interest is the Ocotillo Patch. Not a highlight, but clearly visible from the road. This disappointment is followed by a definite MUST SEE, the Cholla (ChoyLa) Cactus Garden. It is a 1/4 mi dirt/sand easy trail. Beware of these cacti as their spines will hook onto you (20 mi N of Cottonwood). 1,000’s of Cholla, of various varieties. Little furry runners are likely Wood Rats.

Next, on the way to Keys View, there are lots of options to stop. Arch Rock offers numerous smooth large boulders. There is a dirt parking lot for about 6 cars. Hall of Horrors offers good parking, tois, and an iffy titled stop. Jumbo Rocks, has little parking but titled properly. Joshua Trees offers the first sight of hundreds, if not thousands of the name sake for the first time. Oyster Bar (could not figure that one out). Cap Rock.

Keys View, a 10-15 min detour, with a 1/4mi paved loop from pkg. lot is next. There are great views from the lot and even better after a steep hike up to a point. The temperature was much cooler here. I found the prospect of the hike, in the cold and the elevation issues too much of a challenge, But Leslie took the challenge and camera. There is a lower level parking lot that offers handicap parking only and a flat access to some views.

Hidden Valley (trail is a moderate one mile loop) would be the next stop, but our time is running low, so we head for Twentynine Palms for the night. Tonight we stay at the Fairfield Inn and Suites 6333 Encelia Ave 92277 760-361-5000. We top off the tank before arriving at the motel ($3.58 gal.).

If you want to do more extensive hiking, JT offers 9 campgrounds and backcountry camping. Fees run $10-15/nt. Pets are allowed, but there are many restrictions. Birding is popular in the park. A second VC is located in 29Palms and a third in Joshua Tree Village. JT contains about 794,000 acres.

THURSDAY, FEB 9 (est 200 mi). Breakfast is included with our room. Again we stayed on points. Today we drive to the Mojave Desert. There is very little traffic, allowing us to drive very slowly. It is very pleasant tour. Basically all of today’s drive is in Mojave, but the actual Mojave National Preserve (MNP) doesn’t start until after I 40. The road is paved and in mostly good condition. Lots of “zones” are represented with low vegetation low areas to some highly vegetated higher elevations. There are several signs of past and current mining in the area. Our first actual stop is Kelso, 22 miles from I40, VC/Train station (87 mi from 29 palms+-). Good paved parking. Major toi’s out in the parking lot. The VC/Train station is full of exhibits, has a 12 minute film, talks at 11 and 2, and is free. They also operate a soda fountain. 760-252-6108.

The MNP was not established until 1994. The park is 1.6 million acres and includes elements of the Great Basin and Sonoran deserts. Elevations range from 800’ to 7,929’. Because of the elevational differences, MNP supports a large variety of flora and fauna in its various zones. We are splitting our visit in two. Today we visited the central-western portions. On the way back we will discover portions of the north, central-east and southern-east. While no formal lodging exists in MNP, it is a camper’s paradise. Developed campgrounds, roadside and backcountry camping offer opportunities for individuals and groups.

Next we drove to Zzyzx (ZI, 4.5 mi off 15). The road is paved, with the exception of about 100 yards. We have driven past this off-ramp a dozens of times on the way to Las Vegas, and never pulled off to check it out…just as many of you have. The area is Soda Springs. Mining was common in the past. Today evaporative salt mining and mill sites are still operating. The place has an interesting history of a spa run by a
“con man” on a property he did not own. Today the property is run by the CA University system, specifically Fullerton. It is operated as a desert studies center…and includes any of a wide array of scientific studies. Lodging is available for participants. The property has Lake Tuendar, which holds the endangered Mojave Tui Chub. There are class rooms, a lab, offices, a lunch/kitchen, several picnic benches, a visitors parking lot (with tois), solar panels, an under construction project 4 or so feet above ground level, and made of several 6-8” cross pipes by great length…unknown, palm trees, etc. (refer to the pictures). We spent about 2 hours walking the area and eventually having lunch (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we made fresh from our goodie bag). We were never approached by anyone.

Next we drove the short distance to Baker to top off the tank (ARCO, $3.85), before heading to the Shoshone Inn for the night, State Hwy 127. The Shoshone Inn and another lodging option at an opera house a bit further along provide an overnight close to Death Valley, but at a much lower charge than in Death Valley itself. Gas is available here at Chevron for ($4.79). We have dinner at the eatery Crowbar Café and Saloon, across the highway. They have a wide array of foods, but we opt for a sandwich. Later we drink our wine out by the propane fire pit at the Inn (no one else joins us). It is cold, but the fire does its job. Seating is provided for about 8.

FRIDAY, FEB 10 (est. 130 mi). For breakfast, we made coffee in the room and have some of the bear claws that we brought with us. We next drive to Death Valley Junction, turning left into Death Valley Nat PK. (DV). The fee is $20 per car. We have senior passes.

Our first stop is Dantes View. The elevation is over 5,000’. There are restrictions on how long your vehicle and tow can be (25’), so there is a drop off area on the way up, to leave your trailer, motor home, fifth wheel or ?. The road is 26 miles RT, and a bit steep (14%) and narrow in some places. There is a pull out just before the parking area with a toi (good idea if you intend to walk out to the point). The views from the parking lot are fantastic. This is a MUST SEE stop in DV. We are there very early and it is quite cold (usually 15-25 degrees cooler than the valley floor). From the parking lot it is a ½ mile or more along the ridge path to the best view point. We pass. Not even Leslie wants to brave the wide, but steep and “high” trail in the freezing cold for a bit better picture. Most of the other people arriving do take the trail. We have a lot to see, and really view from the parking lot it is Great!

Returning the way we came (no choice) we next head to Zabriskie Point. Here the view from the parking lot is not much. You must take the short, but steep, trail to the viewing area to see the panoramic view of the colorful badlands. Leslie takes the camera and I await her return. My hip will not allow this trail. The parking lot has a toi! From what Leslie says, and our friend that was there two weeks before us, this too is a MUST SEE, quite different from Dante View (the pictures are great).

Next we back track to drive the 3 mile (unpaved, but well maintained) 20 Mule Team Canyon Road. This is a fantastic one way view corridor with almost no traffic. The road winds through the scenic mudstone hills. The road is narrow in spots and maybe challenging for a regular passenger car with a nervous driver. No problem with a truck, SUV or careful car driver. You might feel that you pulled off into another world. Recommended. Refer to pictures. The area is not for hiking. We exited the vehicle a couple time for short picture alignments, but lots of signs warning of unexploded materials, vertical shafts, etc from the past mining in the area. There is a big sign on highway 190 announcing this turn off, but the turn itself is easy to pass. It is a one way in from the highway and out down the road.

Our next stop is Badwater, located about 13 miles (one way) from the main highway. This too is a MUST STOP. Here you are in the LARGEST national park in the lower 48 states, and you are now at the lowest land point in the United States, some 282’ below sea level. It is a massive salt lake. The water is unfit for all but some specialized life that has adapted to this salinity. A several blocks in length, and 50’ or more width salt path is available for visitors to venture out onto the lake. You are cautioned to stay on the path, as the outer edges will not support the weight of a person. Most people, go part way to experience the “walk on salt”, experience. Leslie and I do that, and then she ventures a bit further to get some more pictures.

On the way back, we drive to Devil’s Golf Course. Access is via an unpaved, but fairly well maintained, 1.3 mile road. The area surrounds the parking lot. It is basically a lumpy salt area, but the soil is mostly dark, so it looks like mud. Not recommended.

The next stop is Artist’s Drive. This paved road is open to vehicles not exceeding 25’. There are some good views, but not necessarily highlights. Mid way on this 9 mile one way drive is Artist’s Palette. The time to see this is late afternoon, and we are there at 1 PM (yes we started out very early!). The somewhat multi-hill/canyon has the potential to show lots of colors in the right light. We did not have it. Leslie took some pictures anyway. We ate lunch here in the car. Another peanut butter sandwich, soda and chips (from the provisions we brought).

Our last stop for the day is the Furnace Creek Ranch 760-786-2345 (FCR) complex. First we go to the DV VC and check out the information available (toi). Next we go to the FCR office to check in. We will be spending 2 nights ($188/nt). Our room is ready, so we check in. Before going to the room, we stop to visit the eateries (several all in a row, with menus posted) and the museum. The food prices are ouch, a bit higher than I expected. Ribs are $32. The pizza we get to go for dinner is $25 (18+2+2+1+2), basic cheese+mushrooms+sausage+box+tip. The Borax Museum is free, so we spend some time there. A small room is packed full of stuff to view and several items for sale. The large collection of rocks and minerals does not include Rhyolite! The outdoor area has more than 66 pieces of equipment, mostly mining, to consider (make sure you get the exhibit guide from inside). We take some pictures and move on to our room. We again have breakfast in our room, coffee and bear claws (both mornings). We have wine on the balcony each night as the sun goes down. Misc. food for the second night (brought).

Sideline: The FCR is the mid-priced lodging at DV. The Furnace Creek Inn (a couple miles away) is twice as expensive. At Stovepipe Wells Village (760-786-2387), lodging is the least expensive. Several campgrounds/RV parks/parking are available. Various levels of accommodation are available, and are subject to being full. We also found mentioned of a Panamint Springs Resort, privately owned and operated (775-482-7680). Many campgrounds are available. A few include hook-ups. Generally, those without hook-up run free to $15/nt. Dogs and bicycles are not allowed on the trails or in the wilderness.

DV has the largest area of designated national park wilderness in the contiguous US at over 3 million acres. With 150 years of mining history, material monies have been spent recently on improving the safety of the public in some of the more popular areas. More than 800 miles of unpaved and 4-wheel drive roads provide access to wilderness hiking, camping and historical sites. Hiking throughout the park is unlimited. Jeep rentals are available at the Furnace Creek Inn (Farabee’s, 760-786-9872.)

SATURDAY, FEB 11 (est.170 miles) Today we drive to Scotty’s Castle (60 miles, but still in DV). TOI’s. Three tours are available. The most popular is a one hour tour of the castle/house. The second tour, also an hour, is the “underground”, basically how the house is powered and supplied with water. The third is the Lower Vine Ranch. Costs associated with these tours are so complex with multiple categories. Enough to say they are cheap enough. Visit website, as reservations are highly recommended, to insure a slot. It is too far to drive to be turned away, although none of the tours were even close to full when we were there. I will pass on the story of the Castle, except to say Scotty was a con man, and Johnson was rich enough to accept some losses/payment for Scotty’s “friendship”. The tour of the house was too fast, and the guide did not allow enough time for even half the pictures Leslie would normally take. We were the only ones on the tour, almost…but at the last minute a couple with 3 small children joined us (to friends and family…yes we were not happy). Okay, they were good, mostly. The furnishing and architecture are quite worth seeing, and the story somewhat interesting. The organ is really cool.

Our tour of the underground was just the two of us and the guide. Now, we could ask the questions and take the pictures. What Johnson accomplished with the power of a distant spring, is quite amazing for such a remote area. Nothing, not common in a more developed area has been used. There are a couple scenic stops on the way to Scotty’s, but the drive is tempered by the need to arrive 15 minutes early to obtain the will call tickets at the VC and get to the meeting place on time. The operations are run by the National Park Service. Everyone is in such a hurry on the highway, so we left early and pulled over two times, to let the poor planners by.

Wildlife: When leaving the parking lot at Scotty’s, I spotted a coyote drinking water at a low spot on the grounds. A few visitors tromping through the parking lot spooked him and he ran across the street and up a hill. I trying to keep an eye on him and get Leslie to get here camera back out. Luck is with us. The coyote stopped at the top of the hill: yawned; turned and stared our way; then he laid down right there. We have a couple of good pictures.

Next we drive 8 miles to Ubehebe Crater (u be he be). The view of this crater from the parking lots is complete! You do not even need to leave the sidewalk, if you park at the far end of the parking area. Many people park short and walk the slippery slope to get a view. Some people hike down into the crater (long trek, esp. back up). Many others hike the rim (1 ½ mile RT) past several smaller craters, including Little Hebe. We are satisfied with the wonderful view of the crater from the sidewalk. We have P&J sandwiches for lunch in the car. No toi at this stop. If you are going to Scotty’s Castle, then this crater is recommended, as an addition.

We drive back toward the FCR, stopping at Stovepipe Wells Village on the way. Not a lot there, so we pass on pictures and top off the tank at the Chevron station ($4.56). This is quite a discount, as gas at the Chevron station at FC is $5.19. All the prices are for regular gas. The amount you pay will obviously vary from those in this report, but the relative prices should hold up as a guide.

We also stop at Sand Dunes. There is a good size parking lot. A bus tour is onsite. The dunes are visible from the lot, but don’t look too impressive. Several people have chosen this area to hike. The booklet says that children enjoy climbing the 100’ dunes, about 2 miles from Stovepipe. You could miss these, if time were of issue.

Next we stopped at Salt Creek. This area is home to the Pup Fish. The road is not good. TOI, picnic table and trash receptacle. Wood plank walkway takes you along the creek. There were no visible pup fish on our trek. Those returning also were “skunked”. Later, we found out that the fish are deep into the creek well beyond the distance anyone was walking. A bit later in the year they would be visible.
It is back to FCR for the night. Pup fish are very sparse, but seem to somehow survive year after year in small numbers in DV CA and DV (Ash Mountain, see later) NV.

SUNDAY, FEB 12 (est. 150mi). We head out of park thru Mud Canyon (Daylight Pass Road), stopping for Buttes and Hells Gate viewing. There is a shorter way, but we would miss Buttes. Neither of these sites is signed, so you just have to wing it. Perhaps taking the Beatty cutoff would be better, as this day is really full!

We drive to Rhyolite Ghost Town/Bottle House and Goldwell Open Air Museum, toward Beatty, NV. All three of these venues are located next to each other and well back off the highway. Be prepared for some on and off paved surface driving, all doable in a passenger car. This area is part of Bullfrog Hills. A minor deviation along the way takes you to a barn like structure, next to the old jail and the law offices of an ex-Senator.

The open air museum is sort of a “hippie” joint off a dirt road. Here various artists have done sculpture work. The main exhibit is the Last Supper. There is a gift shop/museum, but it was closed when we visited. Some trash heaps, collapsed buildings and a trailer round off the property. This was the coldest we got on the trip. Out came the knit caps, scarves and heavy jackets! It took 25 minutes to walk around and do some pictures.

Tom Kelly’s Bottle House is located over by the ranger’s quarters, and is fenced. The ranger came out in the cold and opened the gate for us (we again are early). No access is allowed in the house. The bottle construction is original, with some added support since. The yard is adorned with some other bottle art and some old relics. Figure 15 minutes tops.

A map of Rhyolite is available to give you a better understanding of what is gone and what is left. There are numerous signs. Some buildings still have the name on them, and careful study reveals the words. The ranger also helped with what to see. Leslie took lots of pictures. The Montgomery Shoshone Mine was opened in early 1904 and produced gold and silver until about 1910 when the ore and financing ran out. The mine closed in 1911. The town was vacant by 1920. Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic (silica rich) composition and was not the reason for the town, just the name. Rhyolite was once a town of over 8,000 people. The Rhyolite Ghost Casino is fenced off, but the structure seems well intact. A couple of banks and a two story school (never used) were partially demolished and the materials used elsewhere in other local towns. The pictures will be useful. Off the road, in the center of the “housing area” are lots of ruins, artifacts and street signs. It is an area of unpaved and uneven roads, but worth the effort. Younger visitors might choose to walk several of these streets. The area can be quite dusty. A rest area, with a picnic table, also has a toi. You might want to plan 1-3 hours for viewing the three areas discussed above.

Drive to Beatty, stopping at the Betty Museum (417 Main St, 775-553-2303). The museum is open daily, call ahead to assure it remains so, and the time of your visit is good. The museum is large enough to occupy 30 minutes to over an hour. If the lady in change starts talking to you the time will go by and your viewing will be limited…beware. Leave a donation, if you can, as these museums scattered around the world hold a lot of our past that is worth preserving. We also topped off the gas tank, at Rebel for $3.45.

Take 95 South toward Vegas. Turn right at Lathrup Wells onto 373 South. Go to Bill Copeland Memorial Hwy and turn east, left into Ash Meadows Nat Wildlife Refuge (775-372-5435). This is a part of DV, but in NV. The lady at the VC is very helpful and will guide you to your target viewing. Tois, picnic shelter, and parking. Open sunup to sundown, no overnights. Pets allowed, with restrictions. The Refuge is over 23,000 acres of spring-fed wetlands and alkaline desert uplands. It is named for the Ash trees once found in the area. There are at least 26 endemic species here, five are listed as endangered and seven as threatened with extinction. The Refuge main thrust for creation was to protect the pup fish. There are at least 4 locations with pup fish here, 3 of which are open to the public. We visited all three and saw the pup fish each time Rogers Spring, Longstreet Spring and Cabin, and Point of Rocks Springs. They also have mosquito fish, but these concentrate near the top of the water. I also saw a very large toad. The park hosts a number of migratory birds. This is a specialty, for which we have not expertise, but always enjoy viewing the diverse nature of birds and their habitat. We Recommend Ash Meadows. It is so much more that the Government website suggests. There are over 20 plants/flowers that exist nowhere else in the world. The great springs and high water table keeps this place alive. The best time for bird watching is Apr-Jun, and then again in Aug. The dirt roads are generally good. We left the Refuge, headed for Pahrump and stayed at the Best Western Pahrump Station 101 S. Hwy 160, 775-727-5100. Also there is a Pahrump Valley Museum, 401 E Basin Ave, 775-751-1970 (closed Sun-Mon).

We had pizza in our room, purchased from the pizzeria that is part of the Best Western complex. This time mushroom and sausage (9’) for 10.48 plus $2 tip (ice water while waiting, and setup for 2. Free popcorn was available in the office.

MONDAY, FEB 13 (est. 75 miles). Breakfast is included in our room rate. Our first stop is across the street, at a car wash (drive in and sit, drive out), to get all the salt off the car. We then drive to Springs Reserve 333 S Valley View Blvd, Las Vegas (160 to 15, etc), open Fri-Mon). NOTE: on the way from Pahrump you pass the turn off for Red Rock Canyon. We have been there twice and Recommend it. We have been to the Preserve before, but the Nevada State Museum just opened, as part of the entry to the Preserve, 2-3 months ago, and we wanted to see it. The museum was not as great as we expected, but was worth the 2 hours we spent. We also did a bit of the Preserve, but it soon started to rain, and so we went to lunch. The Springs Café on site is a fancy training facility and while a bit pricy, still worth the experience. Many more modestly priced items are available. Our entry brochure provided us a 2-4-1 drink, and we were given a 10% discount for visiting our first time (this is the member discount). Because of the weather, business was slow and the Preserve nearly vacant except for all the school children. Dining is available on the terrace, as well as, inside. Beside the rain, it is very cold, so we opted for indoor dining. Service was very good, plating was very good and our sandwiches were above average. We definitely would eat there again. After lunch we decide to call it a day, as it is still raining. Make sure you call ahead to get the days and hours of operation. Funding is tight and both venues have restricted operating periods.

Tonight we stay at Tuscany Suites & Casino, 255 E Flamingo Rd, LV. We booked with Hotels.com. We snacked for dinner, as our lunch was late, and filling.

TUESDAY, FEB 14 (est. 200 mi, some unpaved). We have the last of our bear claws for breakfast. Today is Valentine’s Day, and our schedule is easing (except for the long drive). Our day starts with a drive back to the Mojave National Preserve. Mrs G gets us out of the parking lot, to a service station and to the highway. We stopped to top of the tank at Rebel, $3.46. We exit the highway on Cima Road. NOTE the ramp is 2 miles before the first rest stop, and it is a long drive before you get to the first toi in the Preserve! When we reach the “town of Cima” the one store is closed. I am not sure when, or if, it is open. Lots of junk in the area too. This drive is based on the pleasure on the environment, and lessor so, the destinations. Little traffic, allows us to stop and look at the scenery. Much of the area is posted at 55 or more, but we again are going 40. When we reach the unpaved portions we slow to 15-25, but could go much faster. We are only passed twice in a couple of hours. There are dense forests of Joshua trees and heavy growth of other low lying plants and bushes. We see a few birds and some ground “furries” long the way.

We pass two campgrounds, stopping at the second, Hole in the Wall Campground. There are a couple of camper shells on trucks here, a dump station and several campsites with tables and tois. Now more comfortable, we continue several 100 ‘ to the Hole in the Wall VC. This ranger station is only open, Wednesday-Sunday, 9-4 due to the lack of funding. There are toi’s, a picnic table with shelter and the modest wood building that is the VC. Hole in the Wall is not explained, but the rocky hills behind the VC, certainly have lots of holes (shallow caves) in them. Just beyond the parking lot is Rings Loop Trail. This trail goes between the boulders and in at least one place has metal hooks and rings to help you get up and thru (movie shown in Kelso). We did not brave this trail…plus it is really cold (snow on the ground in some areas). 15 years ago, Leslie and I would have made this climb/trek trail a priority.

Mitchell Cavern was also closed due to financial shortfall, as posted. On this day/this route, no place would even allow payment, if one was owed (we have senior passed in any case). We continue on until we meet up with the I-40, and head Barstow. We have several opportunities presented to travel the old route 66 along the way.

We stay at the Rodeway Inn 1261 east Main ST, Barstow.

This really ends the trip report for all but family. Others should scroll down to the section where the pictures have a link. I will continue on the next two days of our trip for those who want it ALL.

WEDNESDAY, FEB 15 (est.150 miles). Breakfast is included in our room rate (modest). We then drive to Corona to check into our motel, the Holiday Inn Express 1550 Circle Drive. We stay on points. When we call Mom to meet for our planned dinner, she is just getting well from a cold and opts to pass on dinner. We decide to dine at the Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon (recommended). This was our second visit here, and we were well satisfied both times.

THURSDAY, FEB 16 (est 150 miles). A great breakfast is included with our stay. We drive to Mom’s in Riverside. She is ready to go on an errand that we had planned in Upland with Charles Schwab Co. Mrs.G is working full time again guiding us. On the way we stop at Von’s , near Schwab, to do some grocery shopping for Mom. After business is done, be head back to Mom’s, but decide to stop at In ‘N Out on the way (Van Buren). It turns out that this is not a dine-in unit, only multiple drive thru. We still ordered and ate in the car. Mom enjoyed it. I guess the salt and spices are a bit stronger that at her Independent Living Resort in Riverside. After returning, we managed to visit a friend we met at LAX 32 years ago (two couples, plus Leslie and I became long term friends). We were all headed on the same cruise and just kept “bumping into each other”. He had just moved into the Independent Resort the day before!

Well that’s it. We went home and started the JOB of emptying, cleaning, sorting and putting away all the travel stuff. Next day all the mail and bill payments, not previously paid.

Cell phone service in the three main venues we visited is spotty
Use of GPS in the venues is not advised
We have a senior pass to get into the national parks and some other discounts, like Scotty’s Castle
TOI’s- toilets, TA TripAdvisor.com, Mrs G-our Garmin.
We took 48 bottles of water, 14 sodas, 1 jar of peanut butter, one loaf of bread, 2 bags of chips, some nuts, 7 bottles of wine, and appropriated a couple of jams at our breakfasts. We brought 2 packages of bear claws and some hostess donuts. We brought some can cheese and crackers. Plates, napkins, plastic silverware, Kleenex, paper towels and toi paper. We took umbrellas, ponchos (not used), knit hats, heavy coats, 3 pair of shoes, a few hats, and clothes for 12 days. Binoculars were useful, as was the camera. I brought goggles (I wear contacts, but we did not encounter blowing sand, but could have, as it is common). A box of car emergency equipment. Several bags to put our dirty clothes in. One suitcase that holds 3+ days of stuff. 2 boxes with our clothes, and one box with our specialized clothes.
Sunday, Feb 12 needed to be two days
Most Nat. Parks, Reserves etc. charge. We have a Sr. Pass, good for all
As a reminder, refer to TripAdvisor.com for our motel reviews.

Steps for Viewing Pictures in Webshots

1. To access pictures of our February Deserts Trip [California and Nevada] click on the following link:


Click on the Cal Deserts – A to Z Feb 2012 (357 Pictures) album, by clicking the Pictured Album with this title

2. Select “slideshow” (recommended) from the Box (in light green) to the right of the picture(s). (1 of 4 choices). Slide Show allows for about 5 seconds between each picture. You can sit back and enjoy without any other actions (except you may need to move the mouse every hundred pictures if the screen goes dark). The slide show will start immediately after the selection of that option. (to pause, see item 3 below).

3. While in the slideshow one can place your cursor just below the picture and select pause (from the pop up choices), you can also adjust the time between pictures or choose previous or next to view each at your own pace, there is a volume option shown also but there is no music with this presentation. To return to the slide show select Play and it will continue from where you left off.

4. As explained above you may wish to select the pause option should you have an interest in reading any of the Information Signs, that have been photographed, which explain more fully about the next picture or the subject matter of the next several slides.

5. Alternative viewing. You can view the pictures at your own pace by clicking the first picture (to view it). Each additional picture maybe viewed in order by clicking on the small picture to the right, labeled “next”. Continue through all the pictures

6. Once done (or anytime you wish) you can then exit the program in one of two ways: (a) if you wish to pursue other options available in webshots, select the “back to full album” to the right of the picture, or (b) if you are done then just click the “X” in the top right hand corner of your screen.
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Old Mar 15, 12, 5:52 pm
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How does the slide show feature work? I can only get thumbnails
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Old Mar 17, 12, 4:18 am
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Intereting reort however I would change the title since you never were in Anza Borrego at all. Too bad Anza Borrego is a great place to play... Spent many weekend there growing and riding in the desert.
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Old Mar 17, 12, 9:55 am
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Interesting trip report, it's refreshing to see something like this along the usual trip reports of trips on airlines.
That said, Palm Desert and Joshua Tree make 2 thing spring to mind here: one is Kuyss, the other is Queens Of The Stone Age.
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Old Mar 17, 12, 5:14 pm
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Thanks for the report. Interesting to read about places that we have passed through but have not stopped to visit. Got to see Zzyzx one of these days. Saw a TV program on Zzyzx two weeks ago and sure sounded interesting.
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Old Mar 18, 12, 8:41 pm
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boggie..First click on the pictures you want to see (ie Desert), then look to the right and you will see a few choices and one will be slideshow, click on that.

flightNurse-While Anza was not the target of this trip, we did pass thru a bit of it on the way to Palm Desert, on 371 after turning off 79. We also did a bit of it on the way back from the AZ/NMex trip coming back from Yuma, on a crazy routing to our home in the North area of Escondido. A to Z is therefore correct. The trip actually involved about a dozen named deserts.

Anyone else visited Zzyzx? We have so many time passed by the signs. Thought a bit of a write up would satisfly others that have done the same. The pictures help too. Anyone know what the pipes in the air 6' off the ground are (shown in one on the pictures)? there were 8 or so employees working on the installation while we were there.
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