Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Mojave National Preserve–Beauty and the Beast

Camped in austere beauty

Camped in austere beauty

©Bert Gildart: For much of the time, Mojave National Preserve provides a 1.6 million acre expanse of desert beauty, a place where total and complete silence backdrops its assortment of volcanic rock, Joshua trees, and tiny desert plants that strike you as brave for what they at times must endure.

What they endure is the beast part of this posting, and what has driven both Janie and me to the point of frustration. Three days running now (with absolutely no cessation!!), the winds have swept down from between Table Top and Wood mountains and pounded our trailer–relentlessly!

At times gusts approached 60-miles per hour and as they blew, they shook our Airstream, which groaned in pain. Because the awning over our slide-out flapped violently we pulled in this (our slideout) extension of our living space. Not all other RVers we saw followed suit, but that’s their problem. They may not mind paying the replacement cost inherent in the fabric of their slide-out’s awning, but we do.


Another thought is that we remained two days at Hole in the Wall Campground while many others left, and that could be because our aerodynamic trailer better deflected the wind.

Like the low-growing wildflowers that so characterize this desert.

Of course, Dick and Linda, our new friends from our last posting remained, but in their 30,000 pound motorhome, they were rock solid.

But it’ all relative, after all, and the winds have greatly affected us. They’ve prevented sleep–totally–and that’s been particularly frustrating as three days ago, I picked up a horrible desert cold manifest by a persistent night-time cough that was at times violent in itself.

Low growing, to endure the beast

Low growing, to endure the beast

Wind! Cough! Janie has gotten absolutely no sleep and neither have I. We recall that for prairie women, wind was the bane of their existence, creating insanity in the extreme. Now I can empathize, and the result is that this morning, I am writing this blog from the KOA in Needles, about 40 miles from the preserve. In a hollow; protected from the wind!

As a result, we both slept well last night, and this morning, my cold is more the curse recalled from a bad dream. That’s the beast of Mojave National Preserve, what follows is part of this park’s staggering beauty.


All that came on the heels of several more informative days of exploring the requited beauty of Mojave National Preserve, most notably a day with Dick Pfeifer who took us on a tour of a trail he has laid out. As Dick says, “The idea was to find old trails, old roads, old cattle trails and then link them together. Because the trail is to be six miles long, we added new segments. That’s where I came in.”

Built by the VIPs

"Built by the VIPs"

Because the trail does not yet have a name, I’m calling it Dick’s Trail. Dick says that’s OK, but that “VIP trail” might be a more acceptable Park Service name. In this time of great fiscal hardship, some way of recalling the contribution of Volunteers in the Park might be appropriate. Appropriate allusion would have a ring of historic importance, similar to “Built by the CCC Boys,” but in this case, “Built by the VIPs.”

Not only has a VIP laid a trail, but as well the trail will actually be constructed in the next few weeks by a group of national volunteers Dick will pick up in Las Vegas. When completed, the trial will begin and end at the campground and will thread through geological features unique to this park. It will pass a Ryolite cliff from which Indians once gathered shards to create arrowheads. Chards came from a band of opalite in the cliff of ryolite.


The trail will also pass an old Native American midden and will acquaint hikers with some of the park’s many floral spectacles. It will introduce you to a few techniques ranchers once used to maximize water retention. Finally, it will take you back to your campground via the already established and very popular “Ring Trail.”

In short, the roundtrip trail will provide insights into the natural history and history of this spectacular preserve, and you won’t have to do anything but depart your campsite, and then hike six glorious miles.

Holes are unique geological formation

Holes are unique geological formation

Assuming my cold stays gone, tomorrow we’ll make a day trip back to Mojave Preserve. We’d like to see Dick and Linda and learn more about their summer plans which will take them near our home in Montana on their way to Alaska. In the meantime, there are some other things Dick and Linda have suggested we do to truly see all the beauty that characterizes this preserve–most of the time.

(Note: Rich Charpentier , an Airstream enthusiast, has been adding links to posts he made one year ago. I think it is a great idea and am following suit with one of our posts made ABOUT this time last year. I intend to do this frequently.)

One Response to “Mojave National Preserve–Beauty and the Beast”

  1. Rich Luhr Says:

    Bert, you’ve once again re-discovered the beauty of a home with wheels. If the conditions don’t suit you, you can MOVE!

    We’ve found that with the Airstream, sometimes just orienting the trailer into the direction of the prevailing wind is enough to make windy conditions comfortable. The aerodynamic shape of the trailer really does help.