Christian Kemp's USA travelogs

< Previous | List | Next > Heading from Las Vegas to Valley of Fire; then back to California and through Mojave Npr down to Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree, with a sunset on Route 66 near Amboy

I left Las Vegas in the morning, and headed North-East on I-15 towards Valley of Fire State Park. I was thinking this would be faster than SR 167 that travels along Lake Mead, but in the end, the difference is probably insignificant.

The sky was covered in grey clouds, and at times, a very cold wind was blowing - definitely a change from my last time in Valley of Fire (in July, and scorching heat).

I toured many of the places we had missed out on two years ago, then did the main drive, trying to recapture some of the pictures I took back then, but not succeeding too well because of the unflattering light.

After touring park for a while, it was time to return back to California, passing Las Vegas on the way, and entering Mojave National Preserve in the early afternoon.

There were weather reports on the radio (and warning signs on the roads, even) of rain showers and/or flash floods, so I opted to stay on paved roads - while an Oldmobile Alero might be able to handle many dirt roads as long as weather conditions are good, I wouldn't want to trust it on rainy or snowy roads - not to mention that the risk of wrecking it increase incrementally with the decrease in conditions.

Many of the mountain tops were covered in some snow, but I was lucky enough to escape rain or snow during my drive through the Preserve. I stopped a few times, but the light and the temperatures were far from perfect, so I chose to press on, in hope of better conditions elsewhere.

The further South I headed, the better the weather became. As I crossed Interstate 40, the sun started setting and providing a much warmer light that made the entire scenery appear so much nicer and accomodating. I stopped for sunset at Amboy, near the famous Route 66 and Roy's Café, and got a few good shots, many oriented towards Amboy Crater.

After sunset, I still ventured South, thinking I didn't want to just stop next to the road to set up camp. While the probability of any misschievious person finding me is very low, I'm still not about to tempt my fate, preferring national parks to public (or private, how does one differenciate when it's dark?) land. I ended up at Twentynine Palms, fueled up, and drove into Joshua Tree National Park. Finding the park entrance straight away, and finding a free camping spot where both fairly fortunate, I thought.

I soon drifted to sleep in the trunk of my car, but was awoken multiple times during the night by the cold creeping in more and more.

Campground Accommodation: ? (Joshua Tree National Park): $0