Sunday, November 19, 2023

Sierra Nevada Mountains in California to the Colorado River in Nevada (confused?)

With the Whitney Portal road closed between Lone Pine and Movie road in the Alabama Hills, the narrow detour route was the best route back down to the 395.  It's very scenic, but also very narrow and winding.

For the first time, we stopped to check out the options at Fossil Falls, a primitive BLM campground just off the 395.  The dry falls themselves are worth the short hike in, and the road to the trailhead parking lot isn't that bad.  But the winding road through the actual camping area is very rough, and studded with sharp volcanic rock that had me quite worried about the trailer tires, especially with the tight turns.

Nevertheless our route continued on down 395, before catching the 58 into Barstow.  Highway 58 used to be a 2 lane, rather rough, heavily traveled route, trying to combine trucks and trailers at 55, with the rest of the traffic trying to go 65 or above.  It wasn't fun.  But in the last few years, the entire section has been twinned and re-paved, so now its a relatively mellow drive.
After some fuel and supplies in Barstow the goal was to reach Baker, on the I-15.  Google had a better plan, it said, because of an apparent blockage near Barstow, and took us a ways down I-40 before cutting across on some secondary roads.  Lots of traffic doing the same thing, so I guess it was a time saver.
Our favourite spot to camp near Baker was open and available, after being closed off last year because of washed out roads.


 It is usually a very quiet spot, though depending on the wind, sometimes you can hear the distant hum of traffic on the I-15.  There was no one else camped anywhere close, and in the 4-5 days there, only a very few vehicles came by, and a Sheriff who drove in, waved, and carried on.

Despite the lack of sound usually from the Interstate, there is at least 25 miles of it within view, which creates quite the light show of headlights and tail lights at night.
Traffic on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons gets intense, as it appears that almost everyone in LA attempts to go to Vegas for the weekend!  And, that usually results in miles of stop and go traffic!
(evening shot of the westbound traffic)

I've camped in this spot or nearby quite a few times and really enjoy it.  It's close to town and the interstate, yet is very quiet, and there are lots of opportunities to hike and bike around in the vast expanses of desert and mountains.

(a very busy colony of ants)

After a number of enjoyable days in the desert near Baker, Ca, it was time to move on.  With traffic on the I-15 somewhat lighter on a week day, it was time to head for some lake time - in Nevada.

Topped off the propane and had a bite to eat in Searchlight, then headed down to Lake Mohave, within Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

There are a number of nice coves along the western shore of the lake, but the access roads can be rather rough at times, with some loose sand, and not suitable for all rigs.  Scout ahead or research before you go! (Cottonwood Cove is paved all the way)

I was pleased to find that my favourite spot was totally empty, so wasted no time getting set up and having a quick dip in the lake to cool off.  A couple more rigs arrived in the next couple hours, but even on the weekend when a few more showed up, including the expected kite boarders when it gets windy, it was still incredibly quiet, with not a single generator!  I noticed a number of Starlinks, including mine, but mine quit working as I put it on pause for the time being. I still have decent service with my hotspot and MIMO antenna on AT&T, and that is even more convenient and a lot cheaper than SL.
Had a few night time visitors, as usual.

There was also a suspected Racoon that climbed into the back of my truck - and took a big crap!  I recall that we camped here also in 2021, and I slept in my hammock, and had a band of masked night raiders come right by.  Check out the link to that post!

(View out the living room window)

See you down the road ...


  1. I’m happy to hear you are making your way back to the southwest. Enjoy. Safe travels.


  2. Fossil Falls has been our go-to spot for decades, it's just the right distance from home. From there ... options abound! We enter the campground from the exit, good site there and less crappy road.

  3. Pie melons! (At least that's what we call them in TX, never knew of anyone making an actual pie with them.) What is that white globular stalk? Nice photos and looks like good camping out......

    1. I'm not sure what the mushroom-like thing is; Google didn't recognize it!

  4. Doug Laning8:34 pm

    Very pretty camping sires you find. Love the moon shine on the lake. Enjoy your trip slowly south.

  5. You certainly do know about some great spots to boondock. Continued safe travels as you enjoy your journey south.