Our base-camp for a long weekend in the desert was about 60 miles east of Palm Springs, near the Red Cloud Mine Road. From there we could wander and explore large areas of eastern California desert.
Links to extra-credit videos are near the bottom of the page.
We spent a long, occasionally wet weekend with Matt and Sandy and Morgan and Stevie and Steve and Henri and Robert. All of us had places to hide from the rain if necessary.
Since we were looking at a day of off-and-on rain, we decided to make it a 4×4-exploring day and drive up the Red Canyon Jeep Trail from Salt Creek. Our destination for the day was Chiriaco Summit.
Matt’s new F-150 leads Henri and Robert up the jeep trail.
What the Red Cloud Jeep Trail would like like if there was no rain:
Stopping at a view point, also a good opportunity to get out of the car and run off some energy.
While it rained all day, it would pause for us to get out of the car. Temps were never that cold.
Desert rains bring happy red barrel cactus.
“Ahhh … it’s time to relax …” — The Offspring
For our explore-in-the-desert day, we decided to visit the trifecta of eastern California tourist destinations: Salvation Mountain, Slab City, and East Jesus, all within an easy drive of each other.
Our first stop was Salvation Mountain, a creation of Leonard Knight (1931–2014) in 1998. The mountain is built of adobe, desert trash (old tires, refrigerators, etc.), straw and thousands of gallons of paint.
God is love; cats love God, therefore cats are God.
We sidled past Slab City — it pretty much met our expectations of “vagrants and derelicts hiding in the desert.” Our next destination was East Jesus which exceeded expectations — well worth the visit.
To be creative in Slab City, it takes lots of desert trash, wine bottles, plastic shopping bags and chicken wire. And presumably drugs, lots of drugs.
Couch-bound, oversized-Americans glued to their TVs? Naw …
Philosophy at East Jesus: “Dolphins killed Jesus so they could invent Evolution then converted to Christianity to make Santa not real.”
Henri and Robert and I took a day trip to visit the abandoned mining town of Eagle Mountain. Until the mine closed, iron ore was taken by train from here to the Kaiser Steel Mills in Fontana for processing. Mine tailings tower over the town.
Eagle Mountain was founded in 1948 and had a peak population of 4,000. Wikipedia: “It had wide, landscaped streets lined with over four hundred homes, some with as many as four bedrooms. Two hundred trailer spaces and several boarding houses and dormitories provided living space for Kaiser’s itinerant workforce. Other amenities included an auditorium, a park, a shopping center, a community swimming pool, lighted tennis courts, and a baseball diamond. Businesses included a bowling alley, two gas stations, eight churches and three schools.”
Carol and I took an afternoon putt in the desert. Because of recent rains, the desert was green and happy. Spring blooms are not far away.
We rest from riding inside a big ear-like rock.
Henri and Carol and Robert, with others, at Cocktail Point. The kids got to play on some very fun rocks.
Robert and Henri and I stopped to look at a section of distressed Eagle Mountain Railroad. While much of the track is still in tact, there are more sections like this.
The new day’s ride took us up a slot canyon named Red Canyon — all fine until we ran into big boulders blocking the canyon. Later, we learned of alternative ways around the blockage.