Monday, November 29, 2021

From Joshua Trees through the Mojave Desert to Needles, Ca


It did not take long to get over Tehachapi Pass, a mountain pass crossing the Tehachapi Mountains, a principal connector between the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert, also known as Highway 58 through the mountains. We left at 7 am, filled up at the Flying J in Tehachapi at $4.39 per gallon ($150 for 34+ gallons of gas) and soon we were in the western Mojave and coming into patches of Joshua Trees.

As I am passing by tree after tree I think about the many old Western movies and/or TV shows where they show Joshua Trees in places like Kansas, Montana, Colorado, even the Dakotas.  Fact of the mater is that the Joshua Tree is found primarily in California, and small parts of Utah, Nevada and Arizona....along with parts of north-west Mexico.  A similar occurrence happens with Saguario Cactus.  It is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the Mexican state of Sonora, and the Whipple Mountains and Imperial County areas of California...yet can be seen in episodes of Wagon Train crossing through Kansas or Colorado, various movies not set in Arizona, etc.  It's kinda like watching a movie of Custer's Last Stand with the background of Sedona or Monument Valley as the backdrop to the movie.  Back when those movies and TV shows were shot, they did not expect people to have the Internet or that so many would have the ability to visit these sites in person.

Here in the Mojave Desert the tree brings a bit of life to the dreary desert.  Let's face it, except for a few areas, the Mojave Desert is a bit of a boring drive.

We drive through the newly upgraded Highway 58 through Boron (all four lane, two each way now) and through Barstow, and hit the Rest Area just 20 miles east of we seem to stop at each time.

Seems we stop at the Desert Oasis Rest Area area going either east or west on I-40.

Above you can see the west rest area on the other side of the freeway.  Tears came to my eyes as I told Marcia that just 9 1/2 years ago the view was from the other side of the freeway...

Here they are, Skruffy and Bubba...looking at the east rest area right at where we are parked 9 1/2 years later, right where I put this red arrow into the picture.  Perhaps they knew something...or perhaps they were thinking just what I posted about this picture way back then.  "Who stole the #*%*@&* grass?"

Over the next 120 miles there are only a few distant mountains in which to enjoy, along with a few cactus species.  At 59 miles per hour, which is 4 miles over the speed limit but slow enough not to attract the attention of the three highway patrol officers monitoring the patch of highway, it is a long long drive...  

We finally make it to an RV Park we have stayed at many times before...Fender's River Road Resort in Needles, right on historic Highway 66, with part of the park right along the Colorado River.  It is a Passport America park and cost just under $20 for the night's stay.

As we drove the 'back way' to Fenders RV Park from the Interstate, we came across a number of rock displays, all with flags.  I told Marcia that I would need to unhook the car and come back to check it is about a mile away from the park.

All of the displays seems to correspond to a Veteran's Day celebration.  There was a display for the Army, Navy (above), Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, along with a VFA display and this Vietnam POW/MIA display.  All together there was around a dozen displays.

The sun made it hard to get good pictures on the southwest side of the road, and threw shadows on the other side of the road.  It was a real special, inexpensive display of Patriotism that I really appreciated.

Tomorrow we will enter Arizona where the time changes by an hour, and gas prices drop by 25%.


  1. I've never stayed at Fenders before. I'll keep that in the back of my mind for the next time I head that way. You've got to love Hwy 58 now ... much improved! My latest route to Tucson is out of Barstow heading south. Two lanes, so much less stressful.

  2. I think I will try your way next time, we still go into AZ from Needles, turn just past Kingman to Phoenix where it is easy to go to the Lake Pleasant Maricopa County Campground which is where we are right now as I write this! Gas in Kingman is 20 cents cheaper than in Quartzite. ($3.469 to $3.699)


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