Trip Report: Mojave Rd

Trip Report: Mojave Rd

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Trip Report: Mojave Rd 
It all started at the local coffee house. Fridays after work a group of Vegas FJ Cruiser owners and offroad enthusiasts got together to talk mods and trails. Being February, it was just nice enough to sit outside as the coffee warmed our hands. But, as winter sometimes does in Las Vegas, the breeze picked up and brought a chill to the air.  We moved our conversation back inside, and the topic changed to where we should explore when the temperatures rose. Almost immediately it was mentioned that the Mojave Road should be at the top of that list. Before we departed we settled on the dates of April 5 and 6, 2014 and started planning; in addition to the normal camping/offroading supplies there are a couple things you will want to bring: some pennies, a ceramic frog and a garden gnome.  You know… for safe travels.

With gear loaded up in the ten Toyota FJ Cruisers and one lonely Jeep Wrangler, we hit the road for what would turn out to be a journey we all would not soon forget. Day One started on the banks of the Colorado River, just south of Laughlin, NV. Trip Report: Mojave Rd Oh, and make sure you pick up a big rock as you head out.  You’ll need it later. 

As we moved into the Mojave National Preserve, we knew that the excitement would keep building. We knew some of the sights that were in store for us from weeks of research leading up to the trip and had planned our route and time accordingly.

Twenty miles in, Fort Piute was our first stop. There were several miles of a very rough and rock road. When we arrived, it was amazing to see not only the remnants of old buildings, but lush green foliage surrounding the fort. This was a natural place for us to take a break and grab some lunch before hitting the road again.

From Fort Piute we drove on to see the Mojave Road Bus, Penny Can Tree and Government Holes. Each of which provided plenty of opportunities for the photographer in all of us to come out. Trip Report: Mojave RdTrip Report: Mojave Rd

As Day One came to an end we pulled into an old cattle corral just off the trails and set up camp for the night. Before we set off on this journey, some of us knew each other, but there were some that we had just met only hours earlier. The true testament to the trip was that at the end of the day we were all able to sit down around the campfire and enjoy sharing stories.  The sun ducked behind the mountains in the west and night set in. The stars came out, brighter than any of us had seen in years. With the distant howl of a coyote we put out the fire and headed for some much needed sleep.

A chill was in the air as we fired up the coffee pots the next morning. On the horizon, the sun was just coming up and lit up the surrounding Joshua Tree forest. It is times like that, that you really can take a step back and realize how beautiful this part of the desert can be.

Back on the trail for Day Two and the first several miles we headed up towards Mojave Camp and on to the highest point on the trail. From there you could see miles upon miles of trail from where we’ve been and to where we were going. Along this section of trail the flowers were blooming and were cause for frequent quick stops for pictures. Trip Report: Mojave Rd

We stopped at the Mojave Mailbox, signed our names in the journal and left a Vegas FJ Cruisers sticker for those that may come after us to know we were there. We also placed our frogs in the Frog Garden and gnomes next to the Gnome Tree, to welcome the next group of travelers.
Trip Report: Mojave RdTrip Report: Mojave Rd

On to the Lava Tubes.  This for me was the highlight of the journey. At one time lava flowed underground in the area and eventually blew through the earth’s crust leaving lava rock for as far as you could see.  You can climb down inside the tubes to see that the lava had formed the rock around it. We were there around 12:30. The time is important as you have small windows in which the sun’s rays show through the holes above the tubes creating unforgettable images. Trip Report: Mojave Rd

Here’s where we have to give the Jeep guys a hard time. We had to do a trail repair on the lonely Jeep, before leaving the Lava Tubes, due to a break line issue.  The only Jeep and it’s the one that has issues. All the FJ’s were doing just fine.

After a quick lunch we headed over to an abandoned cinder mine. Apparently you need to be on the lookout for big-horn sheep in this area. Cresting a ridge, one member of our group almost caught a hood full of horns. The mine was still very much intact and almost looks like it could be started back up at any time. Here we stopped for a poser moment. Trip Report: Mojave Rd

The trail continued on towards the dry Soda Lake bed. We were able to really get some speed going. Word of caution though: be on the lookout for sudden drops.  There are many washes that have formed since the lake went dry and they can be hard to spot with the sun reflecting off the mostly white surface.

Near the end of the lakebed is Travelers Monument. Here is where you place the stone you picked up at the beginning of the trail. Make sure you climb up the mound for your history lesson of why the monument stands. It is hard to imagine, after all of the miles we have traveled at this point, that the Interstate 15 is within view. Trip Report: Mojave Rd

Leaving Travelers Monument we are down to our last stretch of the trail. We continue on through Shaw Pass to the sand dunes and into the Mojave River bed. We follow this for a few miles before having to cross it twice. Trip Report: Mojave Rd  It was the perfect way to end the journey. We made our way back to I-15 to air up the tires before parting ways. The trip had a little something for everyone, but more importantly brought us all a little closer. This is a trip that the Vegas FJ Cruisers will be making on an annual basis. If you take the journey, make sure to leave us a note in the mailbox.

For GPS track and coordinates, visit

Vegas FJ Cruisers are at or


  All Photos!

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