The Mojave Desert and Driving Hwy 66

Jon pretty much covered this in his earlier post, but I wanted to add a few pictures and notes. We wanted to be in Flagstaff by Tuesday, May 12th to prepare for the Overland Expo which runs from Friday, May 16 – Sunday, May 18. We drove from Shoshone, CA to a small flat spot just off of Hwy 66 near Oatman, AZ.

We started off driving south on these great little back roads rather than following the major highways. You can tell that mining has been an important part of this region’s history. We passed by talc mines, coal mines, and a large number of mines producing who knows what. The land is so dry that the mine openings and tailings are visible for decades after they stopped.

We saw a ton of Joshua trees while we were passing through public lands. I saw Joshua trees in amazing shapes that I hadn’t seen before. The scenery was just amazing.


We ate lunch at a WWI memorial. It was convenient that there was a nice shady spot by a picnic table. I had fun climbing the rocks. The views were interesting.


We stopped in Kelso, CA for a pit stop and information. The station is a beautifully restored Arts and Craft style train station. It is part of the Mojave National Preserve. We strolled through the museum, marveled at the closed luncheonette and I did a little shopping for nature guides.


We decided to take old Hwy 66 towards Flagstaff with a night spent somewhere in between. We saw some interesting sites, some very depressing ruins of earlier attractions and services, and were frustrated by the lack of consistent signage. It wound up being pretty often that we had to turn around because an important turn wasn’t marked or wound up on the interstate due to the lack of signage.


The modern attractions build around or promoting Hwy 66 were interesting. We saw numerous bikers and in the more built up areas, we found tour buses.

We had hoped to disperse camp on BLM land, but couldn’t seem to find a good spot. We kept going in hopes to find somewhere else to camp without success. The roads were very worn and often in poor condition, but the winding route had a number of spectacular views. Sorry that I don’t have any photos, but it was getting dark and there was no where to pull off and take photos.

We turned a corner at one point to find ourselves in Oatman, AZ. It is a very tiny town with feral burros that wandered the street looking for food. If you ever travel on this stretch of Hwy 66, please slow down coming into Oatman. The burros are everywhere. When leaving the town the road was completely blocked by about a half dozen burros. Our Fuso has a pretty impressive, very loud horn, but the burros just stood there waiting for treats. Eventually a few of them wandered off and we were able to inch forward until the road was clear in front of us.

We did eventually find a spot to camp that was relatively level and big enough to park our truck just before dark. At least I have a few photos of our camping spot from the morning. It was really lovely.


Categories: Spring 2014 | Leave a comment

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