Driving cross-country as I did for so many years has left me with unforgettable memories. Many of which I enjoy sharing here. I often crossed along the northern border of the Mojave National Preserve on I-15 on a weekly basis. Depending on the origination and destination of the return load, found myself on the southern side (I-40) of the desert. For the life of me, I can’t remember the exact reason I opted for what I thought would be a “shortcut” across the Mojave, headed northbound to I-15 from 40. I can only think that I was meeting my friend Steve for the eastbound return… Often times for me, the “shortcuts” were the most scenic (but also the most time-consuming!). I “think” I took Kelbaker Road north, to Kelso Cima Road, then straight north to I-15. I remember seeing folks on their 4-wheelers and dirt-bikes out playing in the sand dunes, BUT I also remember how desolate it seemed. The roads, though paved, were “dusted” with sand, and the ‘ole Western Star was raising a cloud of dust behind her as we lumbered along in unfamiliar territory. In all my years on the road, I’d seen “Deer Crossing” signs, “Watch For Moose” warnings, and even in a few populated areas, “Duck Crossing” warnings. But never had I seen a “Turtle Crossing” sign until Skip and I crossed the Mojave! Though on the lookout, we never did witness any turtles making their way across the road!
What I DID come away with was a collection of great memories of the trip and a number of photographs that would eventually make their way into my “archives” for later use. I vowed to add the back roads of the Mojave to my “need to return” list when I wasn’t dragging around a 53 ft. trailer, loaded with produce! Who knows, perhaps I’ll come across one of those elusive desert turtles!
“Nature reaches out to us with welcoming arms, and bids us enjoy her beauty; but we dread her silence and rush into the crowded cities.” Kahlil Gibran