December 30, 2017 – Back to the Desert

December 31, 2017

I spent the final week of the year back in the desert. Barstow again and then the Nevada border. From my usual Barstow base motel my first excursion was to Route 66. This was a rare trip where caching wasn’t the primary activity. I made an effort to see the sights. Here’s a fading sign from another era.
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The Bagdad Café occupied the other end of the lot. My Garmin Oregon’s compass arrow pointed to a cache, apparently inside the building. Nope, not for me. I kept going.
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Next was Pisgah Crater where I found a cache that was unreachable in November due to muggles. This time no one was around and it was an easy 2 minute walk across the lava to an ammo can.
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Four miles farther east, back at Lavic Siding I spent 2 hours carefully looking for more rocks (jaspers) for my tumblers. Again I was astounded by the sheer amount of material laying out in the open.
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I was even more selective than in November’s trip because so many of the rocks collected then didn’t tumble well. Here’s what I took home this time. They’re smaller and have fewer hard-to-tumble-away defects.
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That night I’d planned to watch Star Wars at the theater across from the motel. But the parking lot was full for the final showing at 8pm. Instead I watched TV reruns. The next morning I left for Primm, Nevada, stopping for Alien Fresh Jerky in Baker. They’re building a UFO themed hotel behind the store.

I arrived in Primm at noon. While waiting for the 3pm check in time at Primm Valley Resort I drove onto the dirt road behind the outlet mall along the state line and border of Ivanpah Dry Lake.
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Others report caching there in 2WD rental cars but I was extra glad to be in my AWD Subaru Forester with AT tires. Caches were easy finds with no real need to be well hidden. I kept saying to myself, “just a little farther for the next one,” and…
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…emerged onto pavement in Nipton California, a super small town recently in the news. The only sign of the impending changes there was a green flag. The word “green” was visible on it. Then I found a cache in the parking lot that I DNF’d in 2010. At 3pm I returned to Primm by paved road and I-15.
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The next morning I drove back through Nipton and again into Nevada.
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My caching target was a section of the El Dorado series. There are apparently several thousand numbered off road caches. The first one reached was 228 – El Dorado! (GC4DTG9). The trail went ever upward and parts were VERY rocky. Definitely don’t try to drive here in a Prius. I never saw so many Joshua trees, yuccas, and multiple cactus species. Somehow I managed to NOT shed blood.
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The hides were all in small rock piles on the W side almost all within 5 feet of the road’s edge. The cache name number decreases Northward. At about #200 the uphill ends, replaced by undulations and then relative flatness. Because of general stupidity I switched directions 3 times. And due to a defective pocket query that stopped at cache #170 I found less than 70 series caches. With an earlier start and complete pocket query I would’ve easily found 100+. Oh well. I enjoyed the scenery. Note the robust Joshua trees. They’re very different from the mostly sad droopy specimens seen in Palmdale and Lancaster.
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The cache road, was a powerline utility road. Signs indicated “Designated Route,” OK for recreational use. But in the 4 hours I was there no one passed in either direction.
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I was disppointed to return to Primm with daylight still remaining. Oh well, there’d be more caching the next day…

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