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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Coyote Dry Lake - "where the post-apocalyptic tale was filmed"

We met Clark and Jo Ann long after dark at Starbucks in Barstow where we downloaded data into our iPads, introduced some caffeine into our blood streams and drove NE into the cold desert night toward Jackhammer Gap. After passing through the gap we motored east onto Coyote Lake where we set up camp.
Around 2:30 AM several vehicles drove by our camp. Much to the consternation of the people camping in a tent next to their jeep.
Sunrise was just a few minutes away and the air temperature was 24 degrees when I took this photo of our camp. For those who have watched the movie or read the novella, "A Boy and His Dog (1975)," this is where the post-apocalyptic tale was filmed. If you haven't done so, I must warn you, that it is one weird story.
The Calico Mountains to south of our camp on the Coyote Lake playa.
After breakfast the owners of the Black Rubicon decided to visit Jack Rabbit Spring.
They went off on their search while we finished packing up the camper and remained in contact on 2 meters.
Their next quest was to drive south across the lake bed and locate the lowest spot on Coyote Lake.
We followed behind the intrepid pair. Everyone thought it was wise to have the vehicle with the winch trailing the other because Jo Ann and I remembered how muddy this lake bed was six weeks earlier.
We enlivened our drive by making figure-eights on the mapping app track.
After a few miles we reached the low spot and found it very muddy.
We also found a washing machine, shot to hell, trashing up the area. Okay, I understand the desire to shoot up a household appliance, but why not use the same space in the truck that it took to bring the machine to the desert, to take the machine back home to a dumpster after all the ammunition has been expended.
A cool looking aircraft zoomed by our position. It might have been a Slick 360, the type of aerobatic plane that Red Bull flies.
Off in the distance there was a man sweeping the playa with a metal detector. Looking for meteorites perhaps.
Alvord Mountain to the west. Jo Ann and I were on its summit in November.
Clark, Jo Ann and their Jeep Rubicon.
The dauntless duo continued south headed for Coyote Well.
We discovered a seep along our route.
In another mile we left the lake bed.
Soon we were at Coyote Well where everyone agreed it was a good place to eat lunch.
133. Coyote Well, San Bernardino County (J-5), the first camping place on the road from Daggett to Death Valley, is about 17 miles northeast of Daggett. The traveler may go from Dagget by way of Otis and pass east of the Calico Range to the well, keeping in the open country all the way, or he may take another road which leads from Daggett northward by way of Borate. From Borate this road follows the narrow-gage railroad of the Pacific Borax Company to the divide of the Calico Mountains, then continues down the mountain slope to the main valley, where it turns eastward, following the valley to the open country, and thence north eastward to the well. The well (Pll. Ill, B) is easily found, as it stands by the roadside at the south end of Coyote Dry Lake. It is about 15 feet deep and is covered with a platform. There is a windlass and an iron pump at the well, but the pump handle was broken some time in the spring of 1905 by vandals. The water is abundant but it is slightly brackish. Small sulphur springs issue from the hills about 2 miles west of this well, but the water is small in quantity and is fit only for stock. The next water to be found on this road is about 14 miles farther north, at Langford Well (No. 134). Photo and text from: Springs in California-Congressional edition: Volume 5475 -
On our way to the next stop.
The Calico Early Man Site where we walked up and viewed the dig pits.
Visited the museum.
Listened to a talk on the history of the site by Chris Christensen.
 And met a couple who call themselves the Adventure Duo. The Duo asked Jo Ann about a place to camp for the night. I invited them to join us but they declined. As Jan said to me, "who would want to follow someone as scraggly looking as you into the desert." I countered by saying that there have been many times in the past that hundreds of people have followed me into the desert. She responded with, "but they knew you." Touche.
After exiting I-15 at the Afton Exit, we did something we had never done before at this ramp, headed north.
Soon we reached the road to the Green Mountain Quarry. Our maps showed a small dry lake alongside the road.
Yahoo, the lake still had a little water and it was just the right time of day for reflections.
From the west a figure appeared on the water.
We all watched as Clark moved slowly across the lake trying to keep his footing on the slippery lake bed. I had the camera ready to record the muddy splash that we all expected. When he reached solid ground with a triumphant grin we returned to our vehicles and drove NE looking for a place to camp.
We reached the end of the road at the Midway Green Quarry where further progress was blocked by large boulders.
Reversing our course to find a campsite.
We camped midway between the two quarries. While sitting around camp after dinner Jo Ann pulled up the Adventure Due blog on her phone. (Cell service was very good but then again we were only five miles from I-15) The first post she read was about their climb of Mount Whitney. Now we were disappointed that they did not join us. In the past all four of us have climbed high mountains. Clark has been on the summit of Whitney nine times. It would have been entertaining to swap yarns.
I woke up around 3 AM and decided to leave the camper to take a few photographs. Our camp in the moonlight. (30 second exposure.)
An attempt at drama.
An attempt at design.
It was easier than I thought to turn the letters backwards in my brain. Probably proof of something Jan has known for quite some time.
Dawn near Green Mountain.


  1. The man sweeping the playa with a metal-detector is a colleague of mine, Richard Garcia, and often frequents Coyote Dry Lake. He is an astronomer and meteorite-hunter, and continues to find meteorites at this locality. Hopefully, one day I can update my CyDL Meteorite website with a list of his recent finds.
    Bob "Bolide*Chaser"

    1. Thank you for the identification Bob.
      I have been on many dry lake beds in the west but seldom think about looking for meteorites.
      Read your article about "orphaned" meteorites.
      Thanks for commenting. Cheers