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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Anza Borrego - Just Us - Part 2 - "gnarly high step followed by a series of deep holes"

 We left our Mesquite Oasis camp, drove back to the S-2 and then south to the Dolomite Mine Road near the Coyote Mountains.
 Jan spotted this cholla blooming next to the road and we both wondered if Rachel was still holding a grudge against this genus of cyllindrically-stemmed cacti.
Really impressive structure but we couldn't find much evidence of mining.
 We did, however, find the names
of the people who built it.
 Looks like it has been used at a target in the past.
We did find a few small pieces of marble on our walk back to the truck.
 The most curious find was the front of this retaining wall.
 Looked like Art Deco to me. Volute maybe?
 Jan noticed this ocotillo in bloom on our way back to pavement.
 We drove through the Ocotillo Express Wind Project on our way to I-8 for fuel.
 After filling the truck's gas tank we ate lunch at the Red Feather Market and Cafe in Ocotillo. We were pleasantly surprised at both the service and food at this cafe.(WIFI) The next time we are in the area this cafe will be a priority stop.
Our route to the next location had us driving south on the Dos Cabezas Road through the wind project.
While standing next to this wind turbine listening to the blades speed by I wondered how fast the tips were moving. I should have been more concerned about the blades falling off and crushing us. Note: The tips of the blades move between 120-180 mph.
The road turned toward the RR.
 We crossed the San Diego-Imperial Railway and drove toward a couple of places that I had read about in Desert Magazine.
Jan found the large caliber holes in the no shooting sign ironic.
We drove into the sun headed for Dos Cabezas Spring and Mortero Palms. When we reached the spring I realized that there wasn't time to visit the palms, Piedras Grandes, and drive over to Dos Cabezas siding before dark. So we hurried over to the siding and saved the others for another time.
While taking this photograph of the Dos Cabezas siding looking NW I realized how many years it had taken me to get to this location after having read about it many times.
When composing this shot some lettering on the rails caught my eye.
Cudos to the people who wrote these messages.
Enjoyed the juxtaposition of the technology in this photograph.
We had about an hour of light remaining in the day. Would it be enough to drive back to pavement via Jojoba Wash?
Taking this route meant the we would have to drive down the Piepkorn Slot.
Some research discovered that Mark Piepkorn died of a heart attack at this location. He was 39 years old.
We scouted the slot and it looked doable.
There were some tight rocky sections with off-camber turns.
We made it to a wash and climbed up a short rocky ramp. Now all that was left was the dropoff.
The drop-off turned out to be a gnarly high step followed by a series of deep holes down to the wash below. Examining the route, the holes were doable, but I told Jan that the possible damage to the truck and camper coming down the step wasn't worth the risk. And what if there was another obstacle, because we weren't getting back up that step.
So we drove back up the slot.
South of the Volcanic Hills returning to the RR.
After reaching the RR we drove east making for the Mortero Wash Road.
These holes were about the same size as the ones below the gnarly step near Jojoba Wash.
On the Mortero Wash Road driving to pavement. We reached the S-2 just west of the Border Patrol checkpoint and were surprised that we weren't investigated.
We drove NW on the S-2 over Sweeny Pass and the Campbell Grade, through Box Canyon to Little Blair Valley where we made camp under a cold starry sky.

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