Gary's & Debbie's MtnLeo

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Desert 2001

May 4th through the 7th of 2001 Mom & Gary traveled to the to the High desert of the Southwest. There was no advance planning except that Mom expressed an interest in seeing the spring wildflowers that she remembered from her childhood in the Mohave Desert of California.  We left san Jose and traveled south on US Highway 101 to California State Highway 25 towards Hollister. From Hollister we followed Hwy 25 south along the valley formed by the San Andreas fault through the cattle country of San Benito County through Tres Piños, past Bolado Park, through Paicines and past Pinnacles National Monument. This area still has the look and feel of the old Spanish cattle ranches and, in the last of the green glory of spring, was an excellent start to a scenic trip.  At California State Highway 198 we turned east across the hills to Coalinga and then followed California State Highway 33 and Jayne Road to Interstate 5. We stopped for some great burgers from the In & Out at the Kettleman City exit on I-5.  The trip down I-5 was as uneventful as the highway has been successfully designed to provide until we came to the western crossing of the Tehachapi Mountains where we returned to the green carpet of California spring on the steep slopes mixed with Oak and Chaparral.  We found Mom's flowers at Gorman along I-5 near the intersection of California State Highway 138. The hills were painted by California Poppy, Lupine and Buttercup. Our little disposable camera provides a less than vivid record of the views but this is the record we will have to rely upon. 

Yes, I was there as well. Maybe it's good that the little camera does not provide an accurate record after all. 

These pictures were taken just off I-5 in downtown Gorman. We then drove down the Gorman Post Road to Hwy 138. There were spectacular flowers on the hills all along this short section of the old road between Gorman and Rosamond. 

The hacienda that we found along the Gorman Post Road was enjoying broad sweep of color that Mom though could be attributed to God providing inspiration to any artist who may aspire to the Jackson Pollock method. 

The next stop was the The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve established to protect and perpetuate outstanding displays of native wildflowers, particularly the California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica, the state flower. 

We spent the night in Mojave where Mom lived from 1935 until her father passed away in 1944. We found Mom's old home and the surviving buildings that she could remember such as the Community Church and the school built by the WPA. 

The Motel 6 was comfortable but someone tried to open our door during the night. The latch held the door. 

We ate dinner and breakfast at 

Primo Burgers
16862 State Highway 14
Mojave, CA 93501-1200
Phone: 661-824-2011

They are very popular for good reason. They have an extensive menu of fast food fare along with some Mexican and Greek items. Service is great, prices are reasonable and the portions are generous. 

In the morning we visited Mom's father's grave and hit the road for Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon State Park was established as a state park in 1968, the first state park in Kern County.

The unique and colorful layers of white, pink, red, and brown cliffs grace both east and west sides of Highway 14. These fluted folds are the result of wind and rain eroding the softer materials beneath the dark cap rocks, which were formed by a harder lava flow layer. 

After topping off gas tank at Olancha (where they advertise "fresh jerky," a seeming oxymoron), on US Highway 395, we turned east to Death Valley.  Death Valley National Park has more than 3.3 million acres of spectacular desert scenery, interesting and rare desert wildlife, complex geology, undisturbed wilderness, and sites of historical and cultural interest. Bounded on the west by 11,049 foot Telescope Peak and on the east by 5,475 foot Dante's View, Badwater is the lowest point (-282 feet) in the western hemisphere. 

The following pictures were taken at Padre Point looking into the Panamint Valley. 

We stopped at Panamint Springs a small western-style resort located in the beautiful Panamint Valley in Death Valley National Park. Marvelous views of distant sand dunes and the soaring 11,000' Panamint Mountains complete the setting for leisure dining and relaxation. 

Located in Death Valley National Park
On Highway 190
48 miles east of Lone Pine
31 miles west of Stovepipe Wells

The following pictures were taken looking out across the sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells

This picture was taken at Badwater in Death Valley, the lowest point on land in the western hemisphere. The small white sign far up the cliff, visible next to the label "Sea Level" on the picture, in fact indicates the mean sea level. 

Below we're looking the opposite direction, out across Badwater. We have found the limitations of our disposable camera here and my photo editing ability. I hope you can see the snow capped Telescope Peak at 11,049 feet above sea level in the background.  I'm looking up at the sea level indicator on the cliff behind Mom. 

We then decided to head for the Grand Canyon. We drove out of Death Valley through Shoshone to Pahrump, Nevada. We then drove through Las Vegas to Hoover Dam where we took the following pictures in the failing light. 

After a comfortable night at the Howard Johnson's in Williams, Arizona, the site of the last stoplight on old US Highway 66; we drove to the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park.  I was a great day with a clear sky but our disposable camera, a new one that offered a panorama setting, was not the right tool in our hands. My limited photo editing capability has enhanced some of the scenery. 

The first three pictures were taken near the El Tovar Hotel and the Hopi House

The two pictures here were taken just east of Mather Point at a scenic turnout. 

The series here is from Grandview Point. 

The last pictures of the Grand canyon were taken at Desertview. 


The next views are of the Little Colorado River Canyon where we shopped at the Navajo jewelry shops. 


The Moqui Cave, just north of Kanab Utah is a personal museum collected by the Chamberlain family from the travels around the world and around the area. The museum was closed on Sunday evening when we were there but we considered the facade a good subject for a photo. 

We came to eastern Zion National Park, the white rock area, just before sundown and snapped these last pictures.