Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Road Trip to Tecopa, Part 1: Amboy & Mojave Preserve

On Sunday my friend Phyllis and I hit the road: destination, Tecopa Hot Springs. We took the back way through Amboy and the Mojave National Preserve. Our first stop was Roy's Cafe, where we went in to find out if it's really going to reopen. Right now they're selling snack food only. We talked to a security guard who said that indeed, not only the cafe but also the motel will be renovated. They were acquired by the guy who owns the Juan Pollo charbroiled chicken restaurants. So there you have it!

I had never been to the preserve before, so the drive was full of wonders. We were lucky to have dramatic skies with lots of weather moving through.

We stopped at Kelso Depot and toured the museum. The exhibits give a good feeling for what life was like at the depot way back when. There are also good exhibits on Indian artifacts and the Kelso dunes--complete with a recording of that booming sound they make. The Desert Light Gallery downstairs is showing photographs by Jim Smart through April 25.

Botanical highlights of the drive included the first yellow blooms of bladderpod and a rocky hillside studded with brilliant reddish barrel cacti.

My favorite things in the preserve were the cinder cones. There are over 30 of them! This one has particularly dramatic coloring. Lava flowed here as recently as 8-10,000 years ago.

Next week: Tecopa itself--prepare to be amazed!!