Lost – and then found – in the Mojave Desert (Las Vegas & Los Angeles Recap, Part 2)

Tim Trad

Today’s post is going to be a bit of a shorter recap since, as I type this, I have a flight to San Francisco this evening. It’s crazy how quickly time flies!


For Part 2 of the Vegas and L.A. recap, I’m going to dive into our mini road trip across the desert to arrive in L.A. It was, overall, a great experience: perfect for bonding, talking, and enjoying the views around us. But of course, you know that the trip couldn’t go 100% bump-free – what fun would that be?


We started the day by checking out of our hotel and grabbing a Lyft to head over to the airport and pick up our rental car (we used Thrifty). Once we had packed up the car with our luggage, it was almost noon – and we both realized how hungry we were. Lo and behold, what restaurant happened to be a convenient 5 minutes away? Why, Denny’s of course! I would like to note that, after getting Denny’s twice in the first two days of our trip, we banned ourselves from getting it again. After all, we didn’t go out west for something that we could get at home!


Following a (surprisingly) satisfying breakfast, we hit the road and began our drive out of Las Vegas. Sidenote: Adrian was a champ and drove during the entire vacation! And, considering some of the traffic we ran into in L.A., I was extremely grateful for his generosity. On our way to L.A., I knew that I definitely wanted us to go to the Seven Magic Mountains and the Mojave National Preserve. Both were about an hour out of Las Vegas, but Mojave was a bit more south – so we decided to go to the Seven Magic Mountains first and then drive through Mojave on our way to completing the road trip.


I have to say, the actual layout of the “Mountains” was much smaller than I anticipated – quite like when I visited Stonehenge! You see so many pictures of these giant rocks, taken from clever angles, that you anticipate them being larger than life! But, it was still an interesting experience to see how closely these colorful rock formations were all clustered together, towering over our heads. And, due to their close proximity to each other, Adrian and I were able to make this a relatively short pit-stop before continuing onto the Mojave Preserve.


Once we got to the (first sign of) Mojave Preserve, things started getting interesting. You see, the Preserve is a very large territory…and driving through it ended up taking us around an hour, if not more. Furthermore, the signs are very spread out as you continue the drive – and as you lose signal within the first 5 miles in. Add this to the fact that the roads switched between being concrete, dirt, and rocks, and my worrywart self started playing through all of the worst case scenarios: “Oh my goodness, what if the car breaks down? What if we get a flat tire? What if we run out of gas? There’s no one else driving through and we can’t call anyone! What if this road reaches a dead end and we made a wrong turn and THEN we break down?”


Luckily, Adrian’s calm demeanor saved the day (in this case, “the day” being my sanity) and he reminded me that not only was our rental car an SUV that could withstand these different types of terrain, but that we had a spare tire and plenty of gas – in case we needed to turn back the way that we came and find civilization once again. After that reminder, I calmed down and decided to enjoy the great outdoors and the freedom of being unconnected to the digital world. And it was wonderful! The sun was shining and we had the windows down, playing music and enjoying the breeze as we rolled on through these desert roads. I should mention: the whole time that we were driving, we were looking for the Visitor’s Center on the front end, in the hopes of finding some information about what else to explore at the Preserve. In the end, the Visitor’s Center was toward the end of our journey through Mojave – a few miles from the highway that we needed to get back on! What are the odds?


On our way to the Visitor’s Center in question, we stopped at a few different rock formations to step out of the car and take in our surroundings. The silence of the desert was eerie yet peaceful. And, whenever we spoke, we could hear the sounds echoing all around us before falling back into the hush of the land. I highly recommend experiencing this for yourself. There’s something incredibly calming and awe-inspiring about feeling so small in the world around you!


In the end, we did make it out of the desert with plenty of gas in the car, zero tire issues, and a sense of bliss as we watched the sun beginning to set over the land. Overall, I would do a road trip like that again in a heartbeat – especially if we had more time.


Well, that’s all for Part 2 since I have a flight to catch soon! Have you ever gotten (almost) stuck in the desert, mountains, or another unforgiving environment? Share it below!

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