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Mojave Crossing - Day One


11/5/12, N. Of Joshua Tree Nat. Park (Coord. N. 34 deg, 06.535 min; W. 115 deg, 40.951 min)

Today was the first of about six days it will take me to cross the Mojave Desert.  It was a day in which I left civilization behind, yet met some great people.

With Doc and Bill hitched, I hit the road by 7:40 am (PDT or MST). Since I will be in Arizona in less than a week, I ignored the federal mandate to switch my clock back an hour.  (Hmm, I wonder, will the clock police come after me?)

Most of the day I spent traveling through interspersed houses of those people that dwell in the desert, east of 29 Palms.

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This young lady and her mommy were kind enough to walk out and make me a gift of some bottled water and granola bars,

All day long, people stopped and said ‘hello’ and take pictures. Traffic was light, but about 1 in 4 vehicles stopped.

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With open water virtually nonexistent, I surprised at the number of boats that I see alongside desert houses. Many appear to be parked and waiting for a flood, but some, like this one, seem to be shipwrecked after the folks took a ‘Three Hour Tour’ with the Skipper and Gilligan.

There is always something to see in the desert.  The terrain and flora change a lot, even at three miles per hour.

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I never exactly figured out what this 25 foot high thing was.  In my mind, it was a toss up between, a sculpture of a dragon, an ore loading chute, or the creation of a bored home owner!

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This place doesn’t look like much (and it probably wasn’t) but it appeared to be the last occupied dwelling on the road east out of 29 Palms.  From there eastward, the only occupants I could spot were bugs, jackrabbits and coyotes.

After a twenty two mile day, I turned into a side road and called it a day.  Bill was just starting to exhibit a few signs of being tired, and it’s always best to call it quits before the team is worn out.

I settled on a nice piece of desert that has some dried out sheep grass to supplement the guys’ grain and hay.

While I was chowing down on a great supper of curry chicken, I had a visit from a real nice couple that I had met yesterday in 29 Palms. They came to wish me well and brought along a nice bale of alfalfa and 20 gallons of water.  Both of these gifts were greatly appreciated and I couldn’t say enough to express my gratitude. The water saved on what I have to use from my supplies and allowed me to tank the horses up. The hay buys me some more margin before I have to resupply!  With another day and a half of travel before I reach the Colorado River Aqueduct, The addition of this water will provide me with almost another half day of reserve.

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Typical scenery in the Mojave Desert.  Flat desert lands in the foreground with a dry lake bed and a mountain range in the distance.

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Bill, looking pretty good; even after a long day in harness.

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As the sun started getting low, all of the hues in a mountain range became visible.

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Even without clouds to capture all of the colors in a setting sun, the sky still looks magnificent as the sun fades below the horizon.

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Of course, it only takes seconds for the setting sun to affect the color of the mountains.

To some the day up, I could say, “it was magnificent”!