Spent one night at the Walmart in Bakersfield (sorry, no photos!), then kept heading east through Barstow on I-40.
Then I headed north into the Mojave National Preserve, which is a huge area of 1.6 million acres, established in 1994. At least half of it is designated as wilderness. I had driven through it previously, but had not visited the area of Kelso Dunes. This area boasts dunes several hundred feet high.
But I had secured the best camp spot under the trees and had the only official fire pit, and all the new arrivals kept their distance. I had marginal coverage with my iPhone on AT&T, but my truck phone got nothing on the other carrier.
I knew there was very little to be found in Kelso, about 10 miles away, but went for a drive one day just to make sure there wasn’t a store or post office. There wasn’t! Still just the parks visitor center, and housing for the railroad employees. On the return trip, I took a rough road out to visit the abandoned Vulcan mine operation. It appeared to be undergoing some restoration or rehab work from Parks, if the outhouse with the federal government licence plate was any indication!
A view of the Kelso Dunes from across the valley at the Vulcan mine site.