New update Mojave Road

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New update Mojave Road

Post by Jim_b » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:00 pm

New update - Mojave Road by John Marnell - condition of the Mojave Road - trip of June 1-2, 2015.

From the Colorado River, mile 0.0, until you pass mile 10.1 (crossing Underground Telephone Cable Road) there are few remaining cairns. The rains and flooding have caused almost all of the cairns to collapse and no longer be of any use. There are a good number of BLM signs showing "Mojave Road" and these help significantly. The trip leader needs to pay attention to the mileages and gps to help stay on course.

Once you reach the summit of the Dead Mountains the route is obvious, and in typical condition as it is for the rest of the way into Fort Piute. The 1.9 miles into Piute are slow and rocky but no problem with route finding or difficulty.

The "bypass" route over the cable road is typically slow the first two miles with no real issues. Once you reach about mile 29.5 you'd be best to put the transfer case into low range and use a lower gear for the rocky section ahead - this part begins where we widened the route several years ago with Cal 4 & Harry Baker. It is simply slow going this last mile of the climb, actually easier and less of a challenge than on our previous trip. I'd suggest that there is no reason to consider a detour to avoid this short semi-difficult section.

The Mojave Road across Lanfair Valley is as it has been for years. The slight off-camber sections in the area of the penny can are not as severe as in the past.

The downhill section into Watson Wash is just as described on page 86 of the Mojave Road Guide - short and steep! For the novice or nervous driver it will be intimidating as you drop over the top and head down. I advised our group to use low gear/low range and go slow. We had six vehicles including a stock full size four-door pickup and though it seems tippy at times, no one had any problems at all. Or....maybe the driver had everyone on board just close their eyes?

The mail box still has a beautiful American flag attached which you can see shortly before arriving - it is really spectacular! The frog/toad/gnome garden 100 feet away is growing! The sign in book is there and doesn't need replacement. There is now (since my last trip anyway) a lantern hanging from the mailbox with cash in it. We didn't count it but I wouldn't be surprised if there was $50 or more in it. Maybe we should have cleaned it out and mailed it to Goffs.

Willow Wash was easy. We did not drive Kelbaker Road to Zzyzx on the Mojave Road. We re-entered the Mojave Road at the lower gate from Zzyzx. No issues with the road or cairns all the way to beyond Shaw Pass - so if you exit at Rasor Road it will be easy going.

FYI - the soft sand beyond Shaw Pass is soft! Lots of evidence that the wind has been strong and the route is not well-defined and if it were not for a dozen or so cairns you could just drive without knowing where the heck you were going. Even when you enter the wash at mile 108.3 the very soft sand continues nearly making the cairns invisible due to blowing sand. If it were not for the lone tall pole at mile 109.3, a driver could wander for years in the soft sand.

Once you cross the wash at mile 110.1 you are able to follow cairns and upright railroad ties to Basin Road. There are so many crossing roads and tracks in this area that you couldn't possibly find a direct route to the Afton Canyon lower bridge. As it is, I've lead a number of trips in this area just to rebuild cairns and install upright ties, and if you pay attention ahead of you, you can almost go from cairn to cairn until you reach Afton Canyon.

We didn't go up Afton Canyon because I was having starter issues - had to pound on it with a hammer several times to get it to start so I didn't want

p.s. A work party could make quick work of cairn building from Needles Highway to Highway 95 and really be of great value.

More on Mojave Road ... page1.html

PS it is hot in the summer, bring water and do not go alone - more then one car.

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