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6-17-09 004_edited-1-2
Mojave Crossing - Day Four


11/8/12, Rice, CA - (Coord. N. 34 deg, 04.751 min; W. 114 deg, 48.842 min).

This was a very pleasant day, driving across a desert empty of human habitation.

Doc and Bill had an easy pull across flat terrain. Traffic was light and the day was cool.  By lunchtime, the lads had pulled within a couple of miles of Rice before I broke them out for some water and oats.

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Most of the journey this morning was through a sandy landscape.  About the only thing that would grow in the sandy soil were sparse clumps of creosote brush.

Fortunately, the terrain was flat and I seldom had to pull off the highway and give the guys a break.  With all of the sand on the desert floor, the shoulders were very soft with a thick cushion of sand. If I had to pull off onto a shoulder, the lads could have pulled the wagon out, but it would have been an effort.

With no place to pull off, few people stopped to chat or take pictures.  Bill and Doc were feeling their oats and pulled 12 miles in the first three hours. I took a long lunch and enjoyed a less hectic pace.

After lunch, I drove into the old town of Rice, CA.  This once bustling community is now dead, I wouldnít even call it a ghost town because most of the structures are gone. 

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About the only thing left standing in Rice was this old gas pump awning. Everything else has been bulldozed or burnt down.

A few miles east of Rice, I decided to make an early camp. A Cal-Trans maintenance worker in a dump truck dumped a bale of hay on a turnout alongside the road. He explained to me that he found a good bale of alfalfa down the road that had fell off a truck, and was wondering whether I wanted it.  Since he dumped the hay in a good place to camp, I decided to call it an early day.

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Doc and Bill enjoying the setting sun!

With only 35 miles to go before I get to Parker, AZ, Iím looking forward to leaving behind this long dry stretch of the Mojave Desert. Itís a desert without much wildlife and not used for recreation or cattle grazing - itís just dry Ďol desert.