Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mojave National Preserve visit 1/13-1/15/2014, Part One.

This was my first visit in over a year and started out with big plans which ended up
being dropped after finding out that recent rain events had made existing dirt roads
too rough for the Morongomobile to drive down.

Lesson learned was that it is time to think about getting a higher clearance vehicle
such as a cargo van, smaller suv or truck. The cargo van idea is based upon my time
spent in a previous employer’s Astro Van which I drove down many desert dirt roads,
including in the MNP.

This will be just observations not a day by day journal. There will be pictures and video.

Knowing that my friend the drycyclist(his desert trips mentioned here many times)
stayed at the Royal Hawaiian Motel in Baker a few times, I discovered that the motel
has shutdown and is for sale, so I took a couple of photos. I noticed 3 squatters who
were going in and out of the rooms, there goes the neighborhood. There were many
closed and shuttered businesses to be seen in Baker. Plenty of open fast food joints

After stopping in Baker I continued onto Cima Road and picked these up at the store by the
offramp. This picture taken at my little thinking spot, my hangout by the powerline road which
cuts down between Morningstar Mine Road and Cima Road.

I am pleased to say that the Snake River Sarsaparilla, while not as full bodied as the
Sioux City brand, is a beverage that I strongly endorse, both were enjoyed, the SRS
right after the pic was taken, and the SCS while on a hike the next day.

This pic was taken after I had to back out almost 2/10ths of a mile on a dirt road that I had
planned to drive up to check out a location from which to attempt another climb of Kessler
Peak. After almost scraping the bottom out of my car, I decided that the peak attempt would
be postponed until later, either I bought another vehicle or got into better hiking shape. I felt
that a 3 mile r/t hike plus the summit climb was a little too much right now for me.

After mulling over my situation sitting in my car next to a shade providing gnarly old Joshua tree
I decided to head toward my hotel, the GoldStrike in Jean, Nevada where I had a reservation.
One thing I spotted right away when I got to the intersection of Morningstar Mine Road and Ivanpah
Road was a bright square off in the distance, really bright, and instantly I thought it was Solar One’s
receiving tower at the Ivanpah SEGS. Turned out I was right. Here is a photo taken the next day.
0113_142014mnp_trip 031

Above is the zoomed in version. The glowing tower is instantly spotted miles away by the human eye.

This day I took the photos with my cell phone which for technical reasons are not shown,
and were not very good to be brutally honest. Once I got to the Nipton Road onramp to the
freeway, I was amazed at how bright the 3 towers were at the solar plant and vowed to myself
to take better photos over the next couple of days. All I can say is you have to be there, to
experience just how huge this solar plant is, to appreciate just how much it dominates the north
end of the Ivanpah Valley, aesthetically and physically.

In my opinion, the worse case scenario for the Ivanpah Valley as outlined prior to its’ building by
caring desert activists and others, have been fulfilled. This has become an industrial zone and
lots more building is coming down the pike.

Anyway, exhausted from the drive I ended up at my hotel where I had this and then crashed for
about 12 hours.
0113_142014mnp_trip 005

Yes, it tasted as good as it looked.

Next post will be my visit to the Good Hope Mine off the middle fork of Globe Mine Road near
Kelso Depot.


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