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Highway To Hell

23 November 2017

HighwayToHell GrandCanyonLooking out over the Grand Canyon

The title aside, the past two weeks have been amazing.  Touring the Pacific Coast, and down to San Francisco was great, but I was really looking forward to starting the turn East.  Our campsite expenses were getting up there, and we were feeling a bit crowded as well.  Thanks to a great boondocking app, we found the perfect solution and spent 3 nights off the grid at Heart of Mojave Bureau of Land Management area.  Camping is allowed at any place with an existing site, the indicator being rock or steel fire rings.  Our site was well off the highway, with large rock hills on 3 sides, and a breath-taking view of the Mojave Desert. We were the only campers there for an entire weekend!  The locale put us minutes away from the Mojave National Preserve and about an hour’s drive from Joshua Tree National Park.

 HighwayToHell Joshua TreeNamesake tree at Joshua Tree National Park

Friday, we hiked the surrounding area, watched closely by a herd of Bighorn Sheep, who stayed nearby the entire weekend.  Saturday we explored the Preserve, walked sand dunes, checked out volcanoes, and were entertained by a Tarantula. 

Highway To Hell TarantulaFriendly Neighbourhood Tarantula

Sunday was a full day at Joshua Tree National Park, certainly an amazing place to visit.  Our total expenses for the 3 days: $50 in diesel and about $6 in gas for our Honda 2000 generator.  The sunsets and starscapes were amazing.  Some planning for the next week netted us more savings: we booked 2 nights at Williams Arizona, at the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel/RV Park, another 2 at Sun Valley RV Park at the edge of the Petrified Forest, and 2 at Clifton North RV Park on the Arizona/New Mexico border. Our nightly costs with Passport America are $22, $20, and $9.50 (full hook-ups at each)!  So for 9 nights, we spent about $104 in accommodations. 

HighwayToHell PetrifiedForestPetrified Forest

So, the Highway to Hell.  Our maps and GPS showed the best way to get from the Petrified Forest down to our stop at Clifton was highway, 191.  It looked to be a nice scenic trip through forests and hills.  What we didn’t know was that 191 used to be called Route 666, "The Devil’s Highway". 28 miles of the most convoluted road in North America. 

By the time we neared the summit, we were praying that the backside would be somewhat less challenging.  Not to be, however, as at the summit you’re greeted by a large sign warning any vehicles over 40 feet long to turn around. We're a bit over 60 feet long. What made no sense, however, is the exact sign was also on the opposite side of the road.  So we feared turning back and finding another route more than continuing. 

Our saviour was very little traffic, and the diesel exhaust braking of our truck, otherwise we’d not have made it.  If you’re bigger than a Smart car, I’d not recommend this route!  We arrived exhausted at Clifton, found the community owned park, and calmed our nerves.  Next stop, New Mexico!

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