Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Death Valley to La Quinta

The day of our departure from Death Valley was heavy, low cloud.  We had planned to stop at Zabriskie Point for photos but it was deep in cloud.

This is a view as we head out of the park.


Views across the bleak desert, however the sun is trying to break through in places.


The roads on this particular morning were unbelievably quiet.  On one section between Death Valley Junction and Baker which is approximately 80 miles we passed just 3 or 4 cars. 

The view here is after passing through Baker and heading into the Mojave desert.


Mojave desert is much like the other deserts in Southern California, big, bleak and a handful of Joshua Trees.


For a while the weather brightens up although it is still cold out.


Views around the Mojave desert.



Interesting rock formations.



After exiting the Mojave on the south side we pass through the small town of Amboy.

Amboy is a modern day ghost town with numerous boarded up and abandoned houses, an empty motel, school, some shops etc.  It had been a thriving community on Route 66 with about 700 residents catering as a convenient stop enroute between the California coast and the desert cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix.  However the construction of Interstate 40 in 1972 bypassed the community and virtually destroyed the town overnight. The town was sold as a whole package in 2000 to a buyer hoping to revive it, but they were foreclosed a few years later.  It was re-sold again in 2005 but to-date there doesn’t appear to be much development.  Apparently the gas station still opens ‘sporadically’.

This photo is of Roy’s cafe, named after Roy Crowl who opened the first business in the town, a gas station, in 1938.


Ambody Crater is an extinct, 6,000yr old cinder cone.


South of Ambody is a large chloride works next to large dry lake beds.


We head further south, this view as we descend the valley towards the city of Twentynine Palms.


When planning our journey at home we had anticipated spending the night in Twentynine Palms.  However, we had underestimated what good progress we would be able to make on long journeys with the RV and so it was only about 2pm when we arrived in the city.  Upon arrival we discovered there was nothing appealing about Twentynine Palms whatsoever and as La Quinta was only an hour or two further on we would just head straight there.

We were glad we made this decision, the other towns we drove through as we left Twentynine Palms such as Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree were also dismal.

Having completed this journey, our arrival in La Quinta felt like arriving in a lush oasis.


The late afternoon sun on the surrounding hills.


Mojo is happier with the campsite at Lake Cahuilla Regional Park.

IMG_0597 So we get unpacked and look forward to three nights here.


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