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Mojave Desert, California

Location

The Mojave Desert occupies a huge area of southern California, from the southern end of the Sierra Nevada Mountains roughly as far south as Interstate 10 where it meets the Colorado Desert. The Mojave stretches east to the Nevada state line.

Description

After climbing out the Los Angeles basin over the Cajun Summit Interstate 15 crosses the Mojave to Las Vegas. Picture (25KB). The transition from the normally relatively cool and cloudy/smoggy Los Angeles to the clear blue skies and extreme dry heat of the desert takes place over a few short miles and is quite an experience. On every occasion that we have done this journey, always in late May or early June, there has been a most distinct line where the L.A. smog cloud finishes and the temperature rises from the mid-seventies to over a hundred. For first-time visitors to the USA, this is where you learn that having the car windows open won't make things any cooler, since the actual desert air itself is hot. It's also where you learn how to operate the car's air conditioning, and discover that it is only effective when you close all the car windows. Tour buses are climate controlled, off course, and the most comfortable way to enjoy the area.

The Mojave (pronounced mo-har-vay) does not have sand dunes or large cacti, but instead is a land of rugged arid mountainous scrub land covered with millions of sage bushes.

Crossing the Mojave on any road marked on a road map is an interesting but perfectly safe thing to do, but it still advisable to join a group tour to experience all the rich history and the stories of the Mojave your guide has in store for you.

If you are crossing the southern Mojave on I-10 then we would highly recommend a visit to Joshua Tree National Park


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