OAUSA Net – 10/26/17 & 11/2/17 – Destination Camping in the Mojave Desert

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Re: OAUSA Net – October 26, 2017 – Destination Camping in the Desert


Post by DaveK » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:57 pm


1. General George Patton WWII Desert Training Center

During WWII, in an effort to train our troops in the inevitable encounter with Rommel, in the deserts of Africa, General Patton selected portions of the California and Arizona Mojave Deserts for various maneuvers, training and exercises. While the military and all of its equipment, including buildings, are gone, there is still evidence of their occupation. Satellite views of this area still show the outlines of various camps, air strips, and installations. If you are interested, there is a great deal of information on the internet, including some great satellite pictures, location information, and pictures of remnants left behind.

This is from the National Park Service (I have redacted some of the silliness that the Park service added to this description, which really added nothing to the history and was clearly the product of the personal politics of the Service):

The Mojave Desert seemed to General George S. Patton to be an excellent place to train his troops during World War II. In early 1942, Patton established the Desert Training Center, and stationed troops throughout the Mojave.

Much of the heaviest activity took place to the south of the current Mojave National Preserve boundaries, but some of these wartime camps and much of the maneuver areas were inside the present Preserve. A major division-size camp, Camp Clipper, was located north of Essex, with its northern boundary located inside the Preserve, north of I-40. A support division, including an ammunition dump, several large warehouses, and a military hospital, were located at Goffs, along with an emergency airfield a mile north of the hamlet. Later, the training grounds were expanded and renamed the California Arizona Maneuver Area, and remained in use until mid-1944. At least one million soldiers spent time in the area. Tanks and other military vehicles roamed throughout the desert, conducting exercises in the valleys of the Preserve and surrounding areas.

During World War II, many places in the greater Mojave desert received permanent designation as military training areas, but lack of such a status did not preclude the military from again using the eastern Mojave for practice.

Tank tracks remain visible in many places inside and outside the Preserve. Rock alignments laying out huge tent camps dot the desert, especially in the southeast corner of the Preserve, and military artifacts are still present on the desert floor in some places

This picture carried the description of, " A half-ton jeep rolling over the desert at the desert training center June 1942", Check out the picture - a genuine Willy's!!!

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Here is a map of some of the areas used by Patton

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There is a booklet, entitled "Patton's Desert Training Center, by Lynch, et al, which gives a reasonably accurate history of the Mojave Training Center, without all the political BS that seems to pervade so much of the history surrounding Patton. If you have any interest in Patton or the war, this is a must read. It is available on Amazon, albeit a little pricey, or your can read it here for free:
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For those who need to dig deeper into Patton's history, there is the General George S. Patton Memorial Museum, located in Chiriaco Summit, CA. More information here: http://generalpattonmuseum.com/. Their mission:

The mission of the General Patton Memorial Museum is to promote peace by honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans while educating the public on modern U.S. military history through the preservation and interpretation of artifacts from the major conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries.

“Preserving the Peace through Lessons of the Past”

Visit this site to see some amazing photos of the remnants of the Training Center: http://www.airfields-freeman.com/CA/Air ... ino_SE.htm

2. American Indian Petroglyphs

Many tribes called the Mojave home in years past and their traces are still present in the drawings and messages left on various rock surfaces. Cow Cove is one of the best examples of these drawings, but there are countless others which will only be discovered by exploration.

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3. Lava Tubes

A unique formation caused by flowing lava, under the surface. It forms when the flow ceases and exits the tube in which it was traveling. The remaining hole or tunnel, is the result.

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4. Mitchell Caverns

Stalactites and stalagmites await the adventurous traveler.

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5. Amboy Crater

The Amboy volcanic crater is one of several instances of recent volcanic activity in the Eastern Mojave. The Crater has been designated a National Landmark and is administered by the BLM, who says this about it:
Amboy Crater, formed of ash and cinders, is 250 feet high and 1,500 feet in diameter. It is situated in one of the youngest volcanic fields in the United States.

Amboy Crater was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 and is recognized for its visual and geological significance. Amboy Crater is an example of a very symmetrical volcanic cinder cone. There is a breach on the west side of the crater where basaltic lava poured out over a vast area of 24 square miles, which contains lava lakes, collapsed lava tubes and sinks, spatter cones and massive flows of basalt. Amboy Crater lies about halfway between Barstow and Needles (about 66 miles from each) off Historic Route 66 National Trails Highway.

The Crater

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The Amboy Crater is right next to the town of Amboy, home of Roy's Cafe and Motel. Located on Route 66, this well known landmark still draws tourists for gas, snacks and a look at the motel as it once existed. In years past, the cafe was still serving food, but has recently been closed due to the discovery of 14 fibers of asbestos, which apparently will need to be abated before the restaurant can be reopened. Our last visit was two years ago, and it may now be open. Roy's has a website,(https://www.rt66roys.com/) and here is what they have to say:

The site of Roy's has become an icon for a lonely desert gas stop due to the multiple appearances of Roy's famous Googie-styled sign in movies, commercials and more. Amboy has it all: airport, garage, cafe, school, church, graveyard, even a volcanic crater. Yet most of it is not operating anymore.

Currently the town of Amboy is owned by Albert Okura, who also owns the Juan Pollo restaurant chain. Fortunately he is dedicated to preserving Amboy in a 1950's look and feel and will try to preserve and restore the site to its former glory.

The town of Amboy and Roy's Cafe and Motel

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Re: OAUSA Net – October 26, 2017 – Destination Camping in the Desert


Post by DaveK » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:01 pm


6. Mojave Road

The Mojave Road is probably the most well known part of the East Mojave. For many, it is the first introduction to this part of the desert, and an excellent one, at that!!! From my personal perspective, however, I believe that it merely scratches the surface of the desert, but if it stirs an interest in getting to know more more, then it is highly recommended.

The Mojave Road, or the "Old Government Road" (as it is still identified on USGS Topo maps) was used extensively as a route from the east to the west. It became a well used trail for a variety of reasons, but most notably for the multiple consistent locations where water was present - an obvious advantage when traveling through the hot desert. The road, as it exists today is a dirt trail, requiring a 4WD vehicle, in order to traverse it's nearly 150 miles. There are a few ways to experience the trail and your choice will depend on how much time you have and how much preparation you are willing to devote to your adventure.

There are a number of trail guides who know the trail well, for a fee, of course. But, if you have at least three 3/4 days, you can zip through the trail on your own fairly easily. Devoting more time will certainly yield a great deal more appreciation for it's history and the surrounding beauty of the desert. There is no scarcity of information and guide books on the Mojave Road, but there are some recognized standouts, including the Mojave Road Guide by Dennis Casebier. He gives a very detailed route guide with mile by mile commentary along with some history of the road and the area through which it travels. The book is available from Desert USA, https://www.desertusa.com/web_cart/db/pages/5094.html. Highly recommended.

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If this will be your first visit to this portion of the Mojave, there are some important things to know:

1. Never travel alone
2. Carry plenty of water and gas.
3. In most ares of this desert, no cell service is available. Have a means to contact civilization if you need help.
4. Make sure that your vehicle is in good working order.

7. Table Top Mountain

Table Top Mountain is one of the higher peaks along the Mojave Road (6100 ft.), and it gets it name from the flat surface of the top of the mountain. There are no trails to the top and no guide books where information can be obtained. The hike to the top is a rough 700+ foot ascent, but the views from the top are as spectacular as it gets. Interestingly, while there is no cell service at the bottom of the Mountain, it does exist at the top. Like most peaks, it has a bottle at the top where you can record your trip.

Table Top Mtn.
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Views from the top

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Can you spot our vehicles?

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8. Camping

Most camping in the East Mojave (and this includes the Preserve) is dispersed, meaning that you can camp anywhere (almost, but see the rules). There is hardly a bad place to camp and you can travel from location to location every day and have a completely different environment. Here is an example of camping in the pinyon pines and junipers:

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9. Ghost Towns & Mines

This part of the desert was used extensively, and in some areas still is, for mining. The Death Valley Mine is just one example (NOT located in Death Valley). There are several building still present which were obviously use as residences for the mine owners and laborers. The mine shafts are (at least at last look) still open and from all appearances, quite sturdy. Much of the original machinery is still in place. The ride there is a bumpy one, but worth it.

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10. Cima Dome and Teutonia Peak

One of the most fascinating sights in the Eastern Mojave is the Cima Dome. The dome occupies about 75 square miles and is one of the most visible features of this desert. The dome itself is about 1500 feet above the desert floor and near the top is Teutonia Peak. There is a 3 to 4 mile hike to the top of the peak through one of the densest concentrations of Joshua trees in the world.

The Cima Dome (a batholith) was a product of volcanic geologic uplifting that stopped rising, well below the surface. A hike to the top of the Dome, on Teutonia Peak, offers spectacular views of the entire desert. Although in ruins, the hike passes a long abandoned silver mine. There is (or was) a sign at the mine which reads:
This silver mine was first worked in 1896, but was quickly abandoned. In 1906, Charles Togel discovered the old mine, interested investors, and built roads and a small camp called Togel City. However, Teutonia Mine was soon abandoned again – like so many others in the Mojave Desert.
Joshua Tree forests covering the Cima Dome

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Cima Dome

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11. Hunting

Yes, there are plenty of hunting opportunities in the Eastern Mojave, including deer, quail, chukar, and big horn sheep.

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Bucks challenging one another, usually during the rut.

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12. Kelso Dunes

Located near the Kelso Train Depot, the dunes are the largest area of wind deposited sand in the Mojave Desert. The dunes are huge, at about 45 square miles, and the tallest sand dune is about 650 above the desert floor. Another distinction of these dunes is the sound that the sand makes as you climb, often referred to as a booming or singing sound. It has often fooled several of our campers into believing that what they are hearing is a jet plane. The hike to the top of the dunes yields the reward of solitude and terrific views. For those who want to get a little more adventurous, the steeper dunes offer an excellent opportunity to slide down the slopes, much like skiing or snow boarding.

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13. Cinder Cones

This part of the desert has seen some relatively recent volcanic activity, as evidenced by the numerous cinder cones (about 32, to be exact), located south of the town of Baker. Lava last flowed just 10,000 years ago. Roads or hiking trails lead to the largest of the cones and the hike to the top, while difficult, is fascinating as you look into the caldera. Well worth the effort!!!

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Re: OAUSA Net – October 26, 2017 – Destination Camping in the Desert


Post by Wildland909 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:12 pm

Early check in please.....KN6FPT

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Re: OAUSA Net – October 26, 2017 – Destination Camping in the Desert


Post by KAP » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:04 pm

Please check me in
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Re: OAUSA Net – October 26, 2017 – Destination Camping in the Desert


Post by KA9WDX » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:29 pm

Early Check-In Please - Thanks - Bernie

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Re: OAUSA Net – October 26, 2017 – Destination Camping in the Desert


Post by HsuuJrt » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:55 pm

Please give me an early check in.
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Re: OAUSA Net – October 26, 2017 – Destination Camping in the Desert


Post by KK6DYO » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:03 pm

Please check me in. Thanks.

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Re: OAUSA Net – October 26, 2017 – Destination Camping in the Desert


Post by NotAMog » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:12 pm

Please check in KD6GCO, Bruce and KN6VL, John.
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Re: OAUSA Net – October 26, 2017 – Destination Camping in the Desert


Post by Jeff-OAUSA » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:17 pm

Web check in request. Thanks.

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Re: OAUSA Net – October 26, 2017 – Destination Camping in the Desert


Post by k9atk » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:28 pm

Please check in
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