Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trip planned to the Wee Thump/eastern Mojave National Preserve area next week.

According to the 10 day weather report, the temperature at Nipton, California should be 87 degrees F this coming Monday, and 84 degrees F on Tuesday.
Up the hill on Nevada state highway 164, it should be a degree or two cooler up at the area around the Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness Area.

Wee Thump and the Castle Peaks area of the Mojave National Preserve have been on my mind a lot the last few days since I found out from the Mojave Desert Blog post regarding a huge wind turbine project possibly going in to the west and south of that location, basically at the nexus of several wilderness areas and the northeastern boundary of the Mojave National Preserve.

Followers of this blog will of course be aware that a gargantuan sized wind turbine farm is going up immediately adjacent to the eastern border of Anza Borrego State Desert Park, a development which will directly result in the cutting off of wildlife movement corridors and the deaths of quite a few desert bighorn sheep, a development that saddens and angers this blogger to no end.

So I fear for the wild integrity of the Wee Thump area now, with good reason I believe, based on past performance by the new green industrialists and their backers in government and on Wall Street.

As written about in my last post, I just purchased a gently used Specialized Rockhopper hardtail mountain bike(the Morongocycle) and I have been itching to take it up to the desert, and that is what I will be doing. I don’t have a car carrier yet, so I am just going to toss it into the trunk of the Morongomobile, after taking the front wheel off of course, and head on up, probably about 12:30 in the morning next Monday. It will take about 4-5 hours of driving to reach the Wee Thump trailhead parking lot- I may take a short snooze there- but then I intend to ride the dirt roads that go completely around the edges of the Wee Thump wilderness and try to get a photographic record of the place, as well as try to figure out how the place will be changed if this development does occur.
Late change- I will leave Monday after getting some sleep at home, and go via Joshua Tree/Amboy/Route 66/ Kelso Depot/ Cima- driving through the Mojave National Preserve, and time permitting, I will do a bike ride in the afternoon, maybe around Kelso or Cima, and then check into a hotel, and do this Wee Thump area ride on Tuesday morning, the cooler day temperature wise.

From correspondence with Shaun over at the Mojave Desert Blog and Drycyclist at Drycyclist.com, I have a good idea of where the development will be and the roads in the area. I have also discovered a free and excellent topo
map of the area which has been added to my gps unit, for use while biking on the dirt roads in the area.

Man, there is a lot involved in all this preparation for a ride on a bike on a dirt road. I never realized all that was involved. One thing I will have to get is a setup where I can attach my gps to the handlebars, and I may end up having to upgrade to a better model gps as well- actually I am bidding on one right now on Ebay, the same one used by Drycyclist on the ten ton bike on his expeditions in the Mojave National Preserve.

I really am not in shape for a major ride, so I am just going to take it slow and stop for water and photography breaks as needed. One day I will undertake a weekend bikecamping trip but not at this time. I did not envision being out so soon documenting potential future desert destruction, but events forced my hand.
CPW Northern Section

In the above satellite view, I will be riding around the words Wee Thump. Below is the large scale map overview, all those red
areas will be covered with giant wind turbines on the mountains, with many wide and destructive dirt roads bulldozed to allow entry for the construction crews and equipment, as well as the turbines themselves.
CPW overview

Having driven through and hiked in the Wee Thump area, I can already say that
from my point of view, this wind development project will be a total visual and
ecological disaster for this very beautiful area- home to Bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, and raptors of all kinds. And don’t forget about the rare earth mine that may be going in somewhere near the top two red zones on the map.

So stay tuned, unless problems develop, I will be riding up Monday and should have more photographs and a few more personal observations about this situation developing near Wee Thump and the MNP.



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