Monday, July 25, 2016

Day Four - Mojave Road Saga (Ends)

The Fourth day on the Mohave Road started with little sleep.

 A million mosquitoes from the Mojave River just to the southeast of the Afton Canyon campground kept the arms sweeping the air all night. That is not a way to sleep. Even a zippered tent didn’t alleviate the need of the flaying of the appendages. Each time one of the two boys went out of the tent seemed like a siege was going on with the annoying little flying beasts.

I just need the restroom 
Zip the door open and dozens of mosquitoes flew into the tent. OFF – GET OUT – and – WHAT THE HELL! was sprayed in the air and every crevice of the body but to no avail. 

Three in the morning found John rinsing his mouth with bits of chewed mosquitoes flowing out.

No photos here - obviously!

Gross – yes – it’s an adventure right? No, it was just disgusting.

The sun rose and so did two very tired guys. A quick breakfast while being chased around by two of the largest wasps known to mankind made the early morning that much less cheerful.

On the road – thankfully.

Road looking good from the passenger's side view 
The day’s driving was rather uneventful until the end while trying to locate the location of Camp Cady. It sounded like a great way to end the trip - a fort established in 1860 by the 1st U.S. Dragoons near the Mojave River. 

Through the years it was manned by soldiers, abandoned, manned by soldiers and then abandoned completely in 1871. We needed to find the spot where this mainstay of the Mojave Road had been crucial to soldiers and pioneers as well.

But there was a problem.Trying to figure out how to get out of the Mojave River and locate the Manix Wash and up onto firm land. Easy - just follow the deep sand, hang a right on the wash and it's done. Oops, the river bed ended suddenly into tightly knit channels which offered no way out of the river bed. 

Four days and this is was how it was to end? Back track - not even in the equation.

One more try up a dry wash west and suddenly there was a dirt track jumping out at us. It was the Manix Wash. We smiled.

Okay - where was this marker? Taken from the internet.
Two hours later the old site of Fort Cady could not be found. It's like Fort Mojave - is it there or there? 

Who knows but sometimes being near is as good as being there.

Tired, dirty and ready for some sleep, a good meal and just all around relaxing the boys decided to spend the last night at a KOA in Yermo. Pool, showers, snack shop and shade. What else did they need?

A good cigar - a cold beverage and the trip was over. Wonderful experience but an eye opener when traveling in the desert of the southwest.

Pool, showers, and shade - it was Heaven after 4 days of none of the mentioned.
What did we learn? Isn’t that research demands? And the exploration after that research needs to answer those demands if at all possible?

The following is in bullet points – easier that way.

·       *  Realize that sites aren’t always to be found – the general area is good enough many times. It’s the adventure that counts.

·      *  Bring plenty of supplies when traveling in the remote wilderness – overkill is not a thing to be ashamed of.

·       * Be prepared for an event which can turn lethal – sort of like the above point.

·       * Don’t travel alone on the Mojave Road – Casebier says that is not a good idea in his guidebook. It’s not.

·       * Carry good maps and a GPS.

·       * Don’t drive like a ‘Ricky Racer’ – the road or path dictates the speed not the mind.

·      *  Slow down and enjoy the scenery – there is so much to see and witness.
·       At night look up into sky – there’s a lot of stars up there.

·       * The deserts of Southern California are gorgeous and full of life.

·       Just remember – time on this planet is short so get out there and explore it.

A final side note – the day the trip was over the FJ’s starter went out. The vehicle would not start, granted a deep part of the Mojave River was crossed in Afton Canyon and may have led to the malfunction with water rushing through the engine compartment, but the point is if that starter had gone out two days earlier it may have proven fatal. Hot desert days, limited cell service, no full service auto shop, closet town dozens of miles away, and no vehicles seen in four days while on the road point to the direction of a dire circumstance.

You don't want this to happen out by yourself on the Mojave Road!
Enjoy, but do be careful.

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