DECEMBER 27, 2014 – Heart of the Mojave Desert (HMD) series #800 – #1,000

The Heart of the Mojave Desert power trail is a series of 1,000 caches by f0t0m0m. It’s entirely in California. It begins on hwy 62, 8 miles West of Parker, Arizona and ends just South of Amboy. Even though I’d cached the surrounding power trails, multiple stories and logs about getting stuck in deep sand kept me away until now. But still 434 caches short of my goal of 1,200 finds for 2014 and 9 days left in the year I broke down and found HMD #800 – #1,000 and some nearby non-series caches.

I stayed overnight in Barstow, started early and drove 76 miles East on I-40 to Kelbaker Road, then South to Route 66. At the T shaped intersection, Route 66 East was barricaded “flooded – closed to through traffic,” though I saw some cars go around. The road West was open through Amboy and just beyond up to the famous Amboy CratOr. There the road was closed. I turned South at the sign onto Amboy Road.
I passed what I thought were salt flats.
It was cold, dusty and windy. Driving backwards from the end of the series to HMD #800 let me check out the other side of the road where’d I’d cache later in the day. The shoulders were sandier than along the Route 66 or Trona/anorT series’ and a few sections looked scary. I was reassured when passing a bulldozer crew in the 900’s, hard at work clearing the sand.
By the time I turned around at #800 the dust had cleared. There was no wind and the temperature was up to the mid 60’s. Evidence of other cachers was very visible. The container was 250′ off road and I worried that they’d all be that far. But they weren’t. Most were within 30′ and no others were beyond 50′.
Only 18 caches in, I turned on a super wide, nicely graded dirt road to find 6 non-series caches placed by others to honor f0t0m0m. I considered adding a cache but didn’t because the location is 250 driving miles from home and I’d never be able to maintain it.
Back on the main road the next section was fairly steep. My door was heavy to open and slammed shut at each cache. Cache #835 was close to a compound flying a Confederate flag. I kept an eye out but the people walking around inside ignored me. #864 marked the downhill section. #873 began the straight line stretch for the end. Soon I saw a lone cholla cactus Christmas tree.
Several caches in the 880’s were obviously bulldozed away. I put down a replacement at GZ for the picture. Then I moved it 10’ directly East and put it in a small rock pile.
Here’s one that was squashed flat. The log was under the piece of wood.
I stopped at #915, then found the 7 post-series caches and went back to Barstow. The next day I returned to find #916 – #1,000. This section was much the same, all wide open and flat. The 980’s had the sandiest shoulders in my 2 trips. My AWD wheels spun slightly but I wasn’t in any serious danger of getting stuck. Those caching in 2WD cars should still be careful here.
Recent and ongoing bulldozing/re-grading made driving the shoulders easier than I thought it would be. Even the sections that looked scary on the way in ended up being non-dangerous. Thanks Jim (f0t0m0m) for setting up this huge series.


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