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!!!
Here is a map of some of the areas used by Patton
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:
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.
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.
4. Mitchell Caverns
Stalactites and stalagmites await the adventurous traveler.
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 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