Since the world is currently shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anna and I decided it was the perfect time to distance ourselves from others and head out to the Mojave Preserve for some fresh air, camping and riding. We loaded both KTM’s up into the van as well as all our riding gear, firewood, grill, camp chairs, etc. We have been working on paring down the things we bring on our trips and although it still looks like a ton of crap in there, we’re actually doing much better. We only bring what we need and we know how to stay comfortable by bringing smarter items that pack with less bulk.
Setting Up Camp at the Giant Rocks
After a scenic 1.5 hour drive, we arrived at a spot I have visited many times on adventure rides. It’s a huge pile of boulders along Black Canyon Rd. I always thought it would be the perfect place to camp and get some riding in. There were a couple of other campers there, but they were far on the other side of the rocks so we all still had plenty of privacy/ space between us.
After setting up camp, we cracked a couple of beers and walked around the area for a bit of exploring.
Van Gadget Tip For Making a Fire
Once the sun went down it was time for a fire. I’ll share a little van tip for starting fires without much kindling. Save your cotton balls and vaseline for a more desperate time. We use this little bad boy. Since the can of butane is already in our stove, we just attach this torch and get the fire going.
Since this little gem of a camp spot is at 5300 feet in elevation, the temperatures were a bit chilly at night compared to Vegas. A campfire was definitely needed.
Once it got dark out, those stars were popping! I used my little mini-tripod and mirrorless Panasonic GX-85 to capture this awesome sky. It appears I managed to catch a satellite cruising by too.
Compact Mirrorless Camera Equipment Used
Not So Isolated
At this point in the night, it couldn’t get any better. We had our nice little, quiet camp, dinner was cooking on the grill. It was perfect. Then three cars come pulling in and wanted to camp right next to us. Out of the entire desert, these guys wanted to use the firepit that was literally 50 feet from our camp. I nicely said we were using it and gave them some recommendations for other places to camp. I wasn’t trying to be a jerk, but we really didn’t want neighbors right on top of us. We drove almost two hours into the desert to get away from people and have some solitude. Next time we’ll go farther off the main dirt road. Lesson learned!
Speaking of privacy, the next morning as I was walking around with my coffee, I heard a noise behind the van. I figured it was our trash bag. Nope, it was a tent! LOL Someone at the next camp over pitched their tent pretty close behind us. It wasn’t a big deal but it caught me off guard.
Getting Creative with Breakfast
I attempted a new breakfast idea and it turned out a little weird. 😆 I just took all the things from the fridge, toast, salsa, cheese, bacon and, eggs, then attempted some sort of skillet. It was pretty good but it wasn’t fluffy enough.
Wild Horse Canyon
As the sun came up and it warmed up a little bit, we set out on the bikes to get some riding and exploring in. It was Anna’s first time on the 500 exc-f. I rode my 690. We headed down Black Canyon Rd and did a loop around Wild Horse Canyon. It was the perfect type of ride to get the day started; easy and scenic!
We found another van out there that had the right idea. Zero neighbors, an awning and a hammock! Nice job!
Just up the road we checked out these cool rock formations and took in the view.
After some lunch, we headed back out.
We explored some old double track.
We stopped at an old water tank. Part of this tree had fallen on the side causing some damage to it recently.
Next stop, the Rock House. It is located at the Rock Spring Loop Trail. The history of this place goes like this. “The Rock House was constructed by Bert Smith in 1929. He came to this area to recover from poison gas exposure suffered during World War I. Doctors told him he didn’t have long to live, but the dry desert air proved so beneficial to Smith’s health that he lived here for 25 more years! The second long-term resident was artist Carl Faber, who lived and worked at the rock house in the 1980s, selling his artwork to passing travelers.”- NPS, Christina Mills, Park Ranger
Old Government Rd
Leaving Cedar Canyon Rd, I wanted to show Anna Old Government Rd. It is the most scenic and gorgeous trail I have ridden in the Preserve. Lined with huge Joshua trees and dense cactus, it is an amazing place to take in the desert views.
Along the way, we explored this old rock house that is still somewhat intact. Inside you’ll find an old stove, mattress remains, and a bunch of rat shit. Don’t spend much time inside these places. The hantavirus is a real danger.
Along the way back to camp I spotted a more modern, but abandoned, house up on a hill. I rode up to snap a few pics, but we got out of there. It seemed like it was private property.
The trip was a success. Anna got some seat time on the 500 and became much more comfortable with it. We got to enjoy some outdoors and put the Sprinter van to use once again! Although the world is in the middle of a crisis and pandemic at the moment, trips like this prove how easy it is to forget all the BS and safely enjoy some mother nature and clean air.
An Empty Interstate 15!
On the way home merging on to the I-15, it was crazy to see just how empty the highway was!
Camping Gear Used on This Trip
- PORTAL Lightweight Aluminum Folding Square Table Roll
- Smoke Hollow Grill
- Gas One dual-fuel stove