Into the Mojave

roadtoneedles20160624_123450June 24, 2016 – We left Williams, AZ on the way further west, and headed to Needles, CA in the middle of the Mojave Desert.  Notice the little stick-like plants – some sort of small cactus, apparently, that we had never seen before.

In spite of trees, usually with small or needle-like leaves, and the tall green needle-like plants, the predominant color was distinctly brown ….. dry feathery grasses and rocks.  And more rocks.






We have deer crossing signs in Georgia, of course, but have you seen a moose (elk?) crossing sign?  And everywhere …. the soft outlines of mountains painting the distance.

A windmill!
What is it? Anyone ever live there? Stuff of fantasy.  Don’t miss the train crossing the strange mountain below.  I believe that the ribbon running across the mountain is actually a road, built up from the side of the mountain.

As the miles wore on westward, there were fewer plants and more sand and rocks.  And a cloudless blue sky as far as the eye can see.

onroadneedles20160624_152331-bigAt some point, Tom noticed that many of the signs bore testimony of having been shot at.  Target practice?  Notice we are still on Route 66.  We are getting close to the California border.  This is the road the Okies took during the Dust Bowl migration from Oklahoma to California that they had been told was the Promised Land.


Crossing the Colorado River which separates Arizona from California:


About here the Dust Bowl refugees surely must have begun to wonder about the Promise. At least the modern I-40 road is paves nicely, so we continued to sail along.

We passed a checkpoint near the border, but nobody asked us anything or inspected anything.

And here it is …  KOA campground in the Mojave Desert at Needles, our home for a day:

needles-tom20160624_155213 The first palm trees!!needles-tom20160624_155234


Left is a side view from the KOA gate, and the other was taken through TYRTLE’s door window.

Below is the view from our site . . .  a bleached skull or two would not have been out of place.

Nevertheless, the sunset over the distant mountains was dramatic, as the bleak foreground disappeared into darkness.


Needles – practically on the border of California, and right in the Mojave high desert area – is very dark at night.   There was very little light at the camp grounds.  We were expecting to be able to go out and see a mind-blowing night time display of stars, the Milky Way, etc. but we couldn’t get past our own door.  The blackness beyond our doorway was so overpowering that we neither of us could step out.  The flashlight appeared unable to penetrate much into the thick solid dark, so we gave up that idea and stayed in and watched a movie instead.

We had planned to visit a nearby ghost town famous for its goats, but by mid-morning our clock thermometer registered almost 106 degreas with the promise of 109 to 113 later in the day.  We asked about the road through the desert and discovered it is not exactly paved, and there is no cell phone service.  We pictured ourselves in the little Mini with its 4″ front clearance, stuck in a ditch, no way to get help, and out of water.   So we went back inside our nice air-conditioned home and watched another movie.  Our souvenir from this part of the trip is a smooth round rock found in the gravel.needles-dsc_6506


This entry was posted in Arizona, California, Mojave Desert. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Into the Mojave

  1. David Allbritten says:

    I love the embedded video! Lots of hard work authoring yet memorialized for a lifetime.

  2. Shula says:

    Thanks!! I have several other videos from older posts, too, that never got included because I didn’t know how to do it before. Sooner or later, I will go back and insert some of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *