Road Trip – 07/26/19 – Day 1

Headed for Las Vegas, Nevada, from my home in Ridgecrest, California, to pick up my daughter DeAnne, our destination Salt Lake City, Utah. With lots of time to spare I decided to abandon the freeways and motor across the Mojave National Preserve. North and east of Barstow, California, I turned off Interstate-40 onto Kelbaker Road.

Google Maps predicted this route, passing through the historic site of the Kelso Cima railroad station, would only add 20 or 30 minutes to the freeway routing. WRONG!

That road is one lane in each direction with rolling dips in the pavement by the dozens bracketed by 35-mph curves and maybe six 1/2-mile straightaways on the entire route. Every dip bore scars from vehicles with slack suspension bottoming out and gouging into the pavement with the chassis frame. Subject to motion sickness?Take another route…, or carry a box of barf bags along.

By the time I rolled into Las Vegas I had lopped an hour and thirty minutes off my original two-hour time buffer. Top that off with Southwest Airlines arriving 15 minutes early and I didn’t have time for a cup of coffee before rolling into the airport.

I collected De at the airport and headed for St. George, Utah, after a food stop.

Now that I’ve painted a loathsome picture of the Mojave National Preserve, let me say that I’m definitely going back there. When I do, with a load of camera equipment, I won’t have a priority deadline pressuring me. I’ll take time to really see the features that I only glimpsed out of the corners of my eyes: the Joshua Tree forest; the huge granite formations; the historic Kelso train station; and more. Go to  and navigate to Mojave National Preserve to get the real scope.