We decided to make our journey east to Las Vegas into a three day journey. From our last stop in San Luis Obispo it would have been a seven plus hour drive to Vegas, which is three times the amount we usually like to drive at one time. While we’ve done some longer drives, in general we find it much more pleasant to only travel 2-3 hours in one day. Especially if we’re stopping for just one night. It’s nice to have time on either side of the drive to explore wherever we happen to be. The first day of our drive was very scenic. We followed Route 58 through a myriad of twists and turns over the very northern part of the Sierra Madre Mountains before crossing the flat expanse of the Carrizo Plain, and then heading back up across the Temblor Mtns where the San Andreas Fault lies. The Temblor Mountains are not terribly tall. The tallest summit reaches 4,331 ft. and the highest point along Route 58 is only 3,750 ft, which made the trip visually appealing without adding the stress of crossing a high elevation mountain pass.
After crossing the mountains we made our way through Bakersfield and the persistent thick bank of smog which surrounds the area. About an hour past Bakersfield we stopped for the night at a lakeside county park just outside of a little town called Tehachapi. It was a nice park with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains.
We left first thing in the morning, which for us means about 9:30. Don’t laugh…apparently it takes us awhile to get going. On the way out we stopped to empty our tanks since the last campground didn’t have a dump station and the next few places we stay won’t have one either. This is the sight that greeted us.
The second leg of the journey took us through the Mohave Desert. It was very beautiful in the way that only a stark desert landscape can be. My favorite view from the drive was these funky looking trees that dotted the landscape. We later learned that they are the famed Joshua Trees of Joshua Tree National Park. Apparently they also grow in parts of the Mohave Dessert.
We planned on spending the second night at a small BLM run campground in the Afton Canyon Natural Area which lies just east of the Mohave National Preserve. It seemed like a convenient stop only 3.5 miles off Interstate 15 with lots of natural area to explore and desert beauty to soak up. Unfortunately we couldn’t quite make it all the way to the campground. The dirt access road was very bump and dusty, which we can handle (been there before) but when we started down the final hill with the campground in view a large rock in the middle of the road blocked our path. The truck on its own could have cleared this obstacle no problem, but when we tried to ease the Airstream up and over and the grey tank came in contact with the rock that was it. We weren’t about to risk damaging our grey tank (for all you non RVrs this is where all our sink and shower water drains and an essential part of mobile life) so Tim very carefully backed up the hill and out of danger. Lucky for us at the top of the hill was the easily accessible group camping area. A perfect spot for the night.
Thanks to our early start we arrived with plenty of daylight left for some exploring. We walked down and checked out the campground before hiking around the canyon a bit. There was not a sole at the campground but it looked like a nice place with shaded picnic tables and fire rings.
After our walk we enjoyed a nice late afternoon and evening hanging in the airstream.
I made a killer fruit salad with the persimmons that we picked up last week at the Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market and later a Fire Roasted Pepper and Potato Soup. It was my second time making this soup and it was just as good as the first.
The day ended with a spectacular sunset.
Today we’ll complete the third leg of our journey and spend the next few days taking in the sights of Las Vegas before heading back out to the desert.