Saturday, March 7, 2009

After we exited Death Valley at Shosone, on the south east quarter of the park, well it was breakfast time, so we stopped at the best restaurant in town (I think it was the only one, too!), the famous Crowbar Cafe and Saloon. Upon googling it to see why it was famous, all I came up with was a couple of restaurant reviews. But it looked like it should be famous!

The local chamber of commerce has a free wi-fi service next door, so after days of being deprived in Death Valley, I took advantage to get caught up on news, e-mails, and paying bills.
By the time this was done, there was only enough time left in the day to find a shared camp with some other RV'ers on a back road just outside town.

We continued south to Baker, on the I-40 after a dip in the hot springs at Tecopa, I think it was.
After re-stocking important provisions in a small market in Baker, once again there was only enough time to find this delightful campspot on a deserted little road.South of Baker is a huge area designated the Mojave National Preserve, which is relatively new (established in 1994?)

At 1.6 million acres, Mojave National Preserve is the third largest National Park Service area outside of Alaska. Death Valley National Park and Yellowstone National Park rank first and second.

At a central crossroads in the preserve is Kelso, a small encampment (with a visitor centre) that was established as a 'pusher station' on the railroad, where smaller locomotives would help push to the loaded trains up a long steep grade to Cima. At various times in it's history it was a busy place with many saloons, hotels and business. It did not have it's own jail, so to end the use of empty box cars as a lockup, a famous 2-cell jail was built.

A large portion of the preserve was affected by forest fires that swept the area in 2005, including Midhills campground, which was about 2/3 burned over. But all facilities are operational, and I found an unburned site to use to cook up some grub.

Managed to talk some of the local fauna to pose for my camera.

Then, I checked out some trails in the Hole in the Wall area of the preserve.
This trail had some steep sections (depending on your point of view, of course) where they installed big rings for hikers to use as hand or footholds in the narrow canyon.
I made it through!

I noticed that a garbage bin in the parking area strongly resembled some we use at home - other than a desert colored paint job - and sure enough, I saw that these bins originated in Lethbridge Alberta, just like the ones in Canadian Parks.
Then I spotted this nice truck and camper through a hole in the wall, while I contemplated where the name had come from.

Now it was time to head for Arizona. First up - Lake Havasu!

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