Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 10, 2010

Mojave Desert

Headed to Mojave. Went across Bristol Dry Lake, which actually wasn’t completely dry, and took Route 66 part of the way.  No signs as they always get stolen so they write the name of the highway on the roadway itself. See photo below.  Watched a number of large freight trains go by, as this appears to be a major east/west train route.

Went to the Amboy Crater which did not have any flowers yet.  So much for the prediction of flowers in early March.  There was a lot of green so hopefully there will be flowers in a few weeks. Went into the town of Amboy, which was a throw back to the 1950’s.  Roy’s Café, which has reopened, is the main enterprise there.   I was aware of Roy’s thanks to a video on Amboy at DesertUSA.

Took Kelbaker Rd. towards Mojave.  It was too early for flowers, but it was worth exploring.  The only bloom was Bladderpod.  Other plants seen but not in bloom included Inflated Buckwheat, Creosote, Astragalus, Mustard (probably invasive non-native) and Lupine.  There were no blooms on hillsides just south of I-40 on Kelbaker, which is the west edge of the Marble Mountains.  There was a lot of green and it’s possible the hillsides will be covered in bloom as in past years.

Entering the Mojave Preserve the only blooms were Bladderpod and Astragalus right by the roadside.  Other plants noticed but not blooming included Wild Rhubarb, Mistletoe, Juniper, Creosote.  We didn’t get to see a Desert Tortoise though there are signs along the road warning you to watch out for them.   Only one has been seen so far this year. Did see a stuffed one later at the visitor center. Arrived at Kelso Dunes around 10:30, a terrible time for photography in a very impressive place where light is everything.  Need to be here at sunrise or sunset. Great ripples in the sand creating nice patterns and lines.

Went to the Kelso visitor center and the timing was off here too.  It was one of the two days that the recently reopened Beanery (an old fifties era dinner) was closed.  Headed north towards Cima Dome, which is the location of the largest concentration of Joshua Trees in the World.  There were some nice clouds in the sky so there was some chance for landscape shots even though it was only mid afternoon.

Some Photos from today.  Click on photo to see larger picture.

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