This is the third article on the United States in this series.
When I came back from Germany and arrived in Las Vegas, the border stuff was rather relaxed. I declared the 6 pieces of chocolate and told the lady that I will be traveling for about two weeks in the US and then go to Mexico – she was very friendly and told me that I get a new VISA permit because I was a significant time out of the country (about 6 to 7 weeks). So I got a new permit, this time a new electronic one, which might become difficult at the border when leaving because I somehow have to “de-register”, right? Lets see how that works out.
After two nice days in Las Vegas with my parents, where we visited the Strip, ate at the Mirage All You can Eat Buffet and had a bit of family-time together, my dad and I brought my mum to the airport and she left the States and went back home to Germany. My dad and I left Las Vegas one day after that.
Our first stop was in the Valley of Fire near Lake Mead where we stayed one night and visited the awesome and colourful area there. We did two little hikes and I really enjoyed the good weather. Albeit cold, it was sunny and we had blue sky – nothing you can expect in Germany in this time of the year!
The next day we drove to Lake Mead and met two other travelers – the “Bodensee Overlander” – finally! We always joked because they were in Labrador for ... like forever, and we always guessed that they must have been dead-by-freezing already! But hey, they are not! They have adopted a very friendly Husky (Tuco) and are a really friendly couple. The other travelers we met there were from the Netherlands, also a very friendly couple with a nice dog. We shared a good conversation and an awesome place above Lake Mead with a wonderful view.
Mojave and Joshua Tree National Park
The next day we drove south. After all, Mexico is our destination, right? So we drove towards Mojave Desert and stayed the night on the “Hole in the Wall” Road on a really nice, “off-roady”, lonely and in the night rather cold place with a fantastic view over the desert.
We hiked near a already closed Visitor Center through the rocks and headed forward to Interstate 40 where we drove West and re-entered the Mojave to spend the night near the Kelso Dunes. We did not hike the Dunes, though, but had a nice afternoon and evening – even with a little campfire (the first since we entered the US) – on a nice and quiet place there.
Twentynine Palms is a City in the Desert where we entered Joshua Tree National Park and did a drive-through (two times). In the afternoon, we stayed on BLM Land near Twentynine Palms (three nights) where we met friends that we had not seen since Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. We also met two couples from Switzerland there and had a wonderful time and even some “relaxing” was allowed!
On our second day we did another drive-through of the Park (the second one) and on the third day we left. We drove through the park (yes, a third time), but this time left through the south-entrance and stayed another night on BLM Land on the southside of the park.
Salton Sea and Slab City
After filling our Propane Tank in Indio, we went south to the Salton Sea. This was the first time (and probably the last time) where I changed from Jeans into Shorts in November!
Slab City and the Salvation Mountain – who does not know it (and really, if you don't – look it up!)? Probably the most famous settlement in the United States. We stayed in Slab City and met Peter, a guy from Minnesota, whom we shared a nice conversation with. He told us about his Land Rover and how the Salton Sea was created (not by mankind, though).
The Salvation Mountain was a really spectacular place to visit, as was Slab City. I've never seen so much Trash near the roads, ever. I guess we're heading for Mexico now, so that might change, but this is the US, a “developed country”, right? Still, people basically lived in Trash there. Well, I cannot change that, ... so I can only learn from it for myself.
The next day we drove to the south of the Salton Sea where we visited the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge and tried our luck with Bird-watching. We saw a few hundred Geese and some other Birds I cannot name, but our Lenses were not advanced enough to take nice pictures, I guess. We spend the night on the beach of the Salton Sea on a really lonely spot where we even had another Campfire.