Checking in again from Big River, CA …
This milestone was reached about a third of the way across the Mojave Desert. Although the odometer, maps and GPS tend to not agree, all sources indicate that we are now within 300 miles of the Santa Monica Pier. All distances have been carefully recorded by a handheld GPS that I carry on each walk. Maybe that extra 300 miles is me running behind bushes and cacti.
The walk across the Mojave takes six days. On the first three days, we return after the walk to an RV park in Big River on the banks of the Colorado River. Then we move the RV to Twenty-Nine Palms, California for the last three days. After that, I’ll ease back on the daily mileage to time our walk to the Pier to arrive on Sunday, September 2, where we look forward to celebrating with friends and family. Currently, my walks start at about 5:15AM and end around 10:00AM to avoid the heat. The forecast calls for a high of 117 with a low overnight of 91. Temps reach triple digits as my walk ends each day. Also, there is not much to see on this stretch of desert.
California has an agriculture inspection station not far from its border with Arizona. Every vehicle is stopped to check for fruits, vegetables and animals. Mostly they concentrate on commercial carriers but all are subject to inspection. So far our apples and oranges haven’t been confiscated, and Zuzu has passed muster. Across from the inspection station, is only one gas station along the 110 mile road across the Mojave. The proprietor takes advantage of his location to gouge the public. With gas priced at $3.26 back across the river in Parker, Arizona and $3.83 in metro Los Angeles, this guy charges a whopping $4.79 per gallon. We haul extra gas with us rather than trading with this guy.
Camp Rice, Desert Training Center, CA in Mojave Desert. One of 12 such desert camps built in 1942 where over one million American troops were trained in this harsh environment to harden them for battlefields in WWII. The Center was operational for 2 years and was closed early in 1944 when the last units were shipped overseas. A total of 13 infantry divisions and 7 armored divisions plus numerous smaller units were trained here. The 5th Armored Div., nicknamed “The Victory Division”, began combat operations in France in July 1944 and quickly gained a reputation for combat excellence, spearheading the Normandy breakout of the 3rd Army. It was the first division to reach the Seine River, first to enter Belgium, first to reach and liberate Luxembourg, first to fight on German soil, and first to plunge through the Siegfried line.
We have seen a lot of strange things along the roadside during our travels but this is one of the strangest. Near Rice, CA (a town of zero population) there is partial fencing (about 100 ft. long) and about 20 ft. from the road (no yard, no house, nothing around but desert for miles and miles) and people have stopped and hung their old shoes, tires, t-shirts or whatever they found around to the fence. It seems this has been going on for a long time because some date back to the 90’s. I am leaving a pair of old Heart Trek tennis shoes tomorrow.
Hope you’ll keep following our final month of Heart Trek USA. Thanks for your interest and support.