The Mojave Desert on Day 8

As you're driving through the desert on I-15 there are few services or populated communities for 100 miles or so on either side. Traveling South from St. George, you briefly cross the northwestern most corner of Arizona and the Virgin River Gorge. Continue driving through the Mojave Desert -- especially when you don't have A/C in your car and it is 45+ degrees -- and you will get the distinct feeling that you definitely do not want to have any car trouble. There is no relief. The Mojave is, after all, the driest desert in North America, receiving less than 2 inches of rain fall in a year 😟. Then about 20 miles or so outside of Las Vegas, you come over the Mormon Mesa and "Sin City" appears out of nowhere. You get a totally panoramic view of the city and you realize just how sequestered it is in the middle of the desert. There is nothing around... and I mean nothing. No sprawl. 

Leaving Las Vegas is much like the arrival. You leave the urban limits and you're again traveling through the Mojave Desert with few services. It's about 4 hours to Los Angeles. Upon leaving the city, you pass a sign saying "last Starbucks for 100 miles". 

The I-15 crosses the California State line at Primm, about half an hour from Las Vegas. Primm is home to a few casinos, an outlet mall, and a roller coaster. It's like the prequel to Vegas. Before crossing into California you need to go through a border check point. We were waved through without inspection. On the other side, you're still very much in the Mojave Desert. Next you pass the Mojave National Preserve -- a wilderness area featuring mountains and dunes. Joshua trees abound. 

At the southern tip of the preserve you will find Zzyzx, California (/ˈzaɪzɪks/ ZY-ziks -  like Isaac). For more on this bizarre ghost town's history read this Roadside America post: it involves a quack doctor. I instantly recognized the name from Michael Connelly's The Narrows - a Harry Bosch novel in which Bosch works cracking the case of a serial killer known as the Poet and uncovers a dumping ground on Zzyzx Road.  

A little over 100 miles further up the rolling, barren highway you reach the Cajon Pass, the mountain pass between the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains (still in the Mojave Desert of course). You are almost in LA County. The pass was created by the movements of the San Andreas Fault. It's at the head of the Horsethief Canyon (great name right?). I-15 doesn't traverse Cajon Pass, but rather the nearby Cajon Summit (elevation 4260 feet). Anyway, on the Southern edge of the forest there is, once again, urban sprawl all around. 

From here you are about an hour outside of the city of Los Angeles. For us, this meant the end of our epic, cross-country road trip and the beginning of our year in the Southwest. Stay tuned for regular updates on our dog-friendly adventures in LA County and beyond. 

We stayed in Pasadena for the first week until our "home for the year" in Altadena was available. 
We made it! 

Bertie enjoying her grass rolls (no matter where she is!)

Bertie enjoying her front patio views

We have been excited to pick the fruit of overhanging trees: so far we have found pomegranate, grapefruit, lemon, lime, and figs!
Our hikes look a little bit different now: sandier, hotter, and hillier

Day 8: ~450km


  1. A magnificent 4,400 kilometres of adventure! But you’re so far away now!!! 😭😭😭💞


Post a Comment

Popular Posts