Mojave Road - open to advice and tips

sportsguy

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After realizing I've taken 3 vacation days in 2020 so far, I decided a break was in order. So later this month, I'm going to take a few days and go do the Mojave Road. East to West, I think...

Plan is pretty standard:

...load Jeep, drive, camp, drive, camp, drive...

Jeep is ready. We have the gear. We have the experience. We have backup plans. We have a strong will to live, so bailing out is always an option. We have at least 3 ways to cook, so ... yeah! Food! Because we’ll be overlanding here, we will have a CB, a HAM (KN6GYI) and my older Delorme InReach. We’ll have an extra 8 gallons of gas, probably close to 10 gallons of water (2 people, 3days), a stocked fridge, a 16x12 fly for shade, 2 tables, 2 chairs, roughly 6,000 sq ft of papers maps covering every inch of the West Coast, 4 GPS-capable devices, and all the sundry little bits like body wipes, cooking gear, cleaning supplies, first aid, recovery gear, a couple of big power sources (Jackery 500 plus another Rando-brand 300-level unit), extra rope, shovels, a mallet, pry bar, tools, holy crap, the list just goes on and on...because...overlanding. Did I mention I also have a sink. Collapsible, but still, insert kitchen sink joke here...

And yes, I believe 50% of this is over-prepping and 50% is covering our bases because, we’ll, it’s the desert. Laugh or applaud, I’m cool with either.

The only unanswered question in my mind is the water hole near the Eastern end of the road. Frankly, I can take or leave water crossings. Deeper ones, at least. Shallow I don’t worry about.
But deeper? Yeah, I’ll take a bypass rather than risk swampy water in my carpets. Been there before, chose differently before.

Does anyone know if there IS a way to bypass that water hole AT/NEAR the water hole? I understand you can backtrack a ways, head to the nearby road, go around and come back from the opposite direction if you really want those last few miles.

Obviously if the water isn’t deep, this whole question is moot, but figured I’d ask in case someone knows. Not keen on blazing a new path around the obstacle myself. I’d rather respect the land and backtrack a ways.

Should be a fun couple of nights under the stars. That, or either my wife or I will have said...nope...and we’ll be back home in Camarillo sooner than expected, rethinking our approach for future trips.

Had a blast exploring down Saline Road a few weekends back, with dinner overlooking the Panamint Valley. No overnight on that trip, but I fully loaded us out as if we were, to (literally) make it a shake down run (that road is rough!). The only real changes I’m making are the addition of a 12v fridge for this trip (want, not need) and tire deflation gear (Staun-style deflators). Oh, and I got us one of those fold up toilet seat rigs...because we are NOT animals!!!

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JimLee

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The water crossing should be at its lowest point this time of year, its been dryer than a popcorn fart here in the Mojave desert this year. What the actual depth is though can only really be known when you are there, or by someones recent reports of conditions. There is a way around, you should be able to find it on your maps or Gaia before you go. Sometimes the crossing is actually worse when its very low, it becomes a big slippery mud hole around the edges, but like i said the only way to really know is be there. Going solo i personally would take the way around. https://mdhca.org/94-afton-canyon-mojave-river-crossing
 
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sportsguy

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The water crossing should be at its lowest point this time of year, its been dryer than a popcorn fart here in the Mojave desert this year. What the actual depth is though can only really be known when you are there, or by someones recent reports of conditions. There is a way around, you should be able to find it on your maps or Gaia before you go. Sometimes the crossing is actually worse when its very low, it becomes a big slippery mud hole around the edges, but like i said the only way to really know is be there. Going solo i personally would take the way around. https://mdhca.org/94-afton-canyon-mojave-river-crossing
Thanks Jim! I pretty much 100% align with your thinking. Not looking for a hero badge, or excuse to test my winch, etc. I do intend to go to the water hole to eyeball it personally, and your input confirms that might lead me to see it could be viable - we'll see.

Roger on Gaia - got that, a few different GPX layers and my own notes on hand, but I think a couple more hours in the maps won't hurt me. ;)

Appreciate the insights, sir!
 

steverino

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There was a group at the lava caves a couple of weeks ago. They did go to Afton Canyon and they did report that they went through a 34 inch deep watercrossing
I want to do Mojave Road near the end of October so let me know how your trip goes.
 
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sportsguy

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There was a group at the lava caves a couple of weeks ago. They did go to Afton Canyon and they did report that they went through a 34 inch deep watercrossing
I want to do Mojave Road near the end of October so let me know how your trip goes.
Appreciate the intel, Steverino :) I will be sure to report back on our experience - at the very least, we intend to go to the water obstacle to check it out for ourselves. We'll make the call at that point for our individual situation, and we'll report on that. ;)
 

2Wheel-Lee

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I haven't been out there yet in my Jeep, but I want to do that route with the family sometime soon. Yes, we "overland" - or car camp - with a family of 5. Maybe toward the end of October or beginning of November?

I have ridden that area quite a bit on motorcycles some time ago. Before you get into Afton canyon, you can make a right on a trail and go out Basin road to the 15 freeway. You might also drive to the water crossing (which is almost to the 15 freeway), and then back track out and under the railroad bridge again, and then north to Basin road. You should be able to see this route on Google Earth. There's another route up to Rasor road as well. Make sure to go to the Megaphone and the caves before heading out on Basin.

Honestly, while it sounds like you have the equipment, if you're here asking this question, your navigation and route planning skills could use some work. Practice studying routes online so you can see all your options (such as get out points). I pretty much do all that in advance, and typically merely rely on the stock navigation system to tell me about where I am, if I get disoriented while driving at night, and I can judge the rest. Sure, you'll find some desert roads that may not be passable, but at least you'll know the general way of the land.

I remember doing that water crossing on motorcycles. It wasn't that deep at the time, but my buddy went into it a bit fast with his toes up, and his feet got up on plane, so to speak, and they left the pegs. He flailed and dropped the bike in the water. Fortunately it was a Honda 650R. After he dragged/pushed it out of the water, we pulled the plug and got it running within minutes. Getting just the right speed on a bike through that is tricky.

Have fun on your adventure!
 
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sportsguy

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I haven't been out there yet in my Jeep, but I want to do that route with the family sometime soon. Yes, we "overland" - or car camp - with a family of 5. Maybe toward the end of October or beginning of November?

I have ridden that area quite a bit on motorcycles some time ago. Before you get into Afton canyon, you can make a right on a trail and go out Basin road to the 15 freeway. You might also drive to the water crossing (which is almost to the 15 freeway), and then back track out and under the railroad bridge again, and then north to Basin road. You should be able to see this route on Google Earth. There's another route up to Rasor road as well. Make sure to go to the Megaphone and the caves before heading out on Basin.

Honestly, while it sounds like you have the equipment, if you're here asking this question, your navigation and route planning skills could use some work. Practice studying routes online so you can see all your options (such as get out points). I pretty much do all that in advance, and typically merely rely on the stock navigation system to tell me about where I am, if I get disoriented while driving at night, and I can judge the rest. Sure, you'll find some desert roads that may not be passable, but at least you'll know the general way of the land.

I remember doing that water crossing on motorcycles. It wasn't that deep at the time, but my buddy went into it a bit fast with his toes up, and his feet got up on plane, so to speak, and they left the pegs. He flailed and dropped the bike in the water. Fortunately it was a Honda 650R. After he dragged/pushed it out of the water, we pulled the plug and got it running within minutes. Getting just the right speed on a bike through that is tricky.

Have fun on your adventure!
umm...thanks? I guess...

my navigation skills will come into play while I’m traveling, but if you want to second guess them now, have at it.

Route planning...well that’s kind of the point in soliciting input. Maybe some here might have fresher data than, I dunno, Google’s 6 month old satellite imagery? And very specifically, as I asked, I wanted to know if there is a bypass that currently exist AT the water hole. I’m aware I CAN backtrack and take other bypasses.

Luckily, as alluded to, understanding the lay of the land helps in a general sense. Thankfully I’ve been around the area several times in the last two years, though admittedly, not ON the Mojave Road. My point being that this point can prove crucial, as you point out. (I may have overused “point” here...)

But it’s a pretty big assumption to suggest my navigation skills and route planning ability are lacking...when I’m specifically asking for input during that very process of route planning.

All that aside, I do appreciate the reminder to spend more time on these two critical aspects - that advice can never be bad.

And frankly, if anyone is giving YOU grief for overlanding with your kids, pffft. Whatever. You’re out there, doing it. Sharing the outdoors with your kids. That gets my thumbs up every time.
 

Dkretden

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Looks like you purchased those trailrax.

me too. I like them.

let me know how they hold up bumping down the trail for a new days......
 
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sportsguy

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Looks like you purchased those trailrax.

me too. I like them.

let me know how they hold up bumping down the trail for a new days......
yeah, so I made this same request of others on the forum...and damnit, no one ever answered me...! :giggle:

I’ll definitely post up thoughts after the trip. So far, up to 80 mph on the freeway, they’ve been solid and fine. We’ll see what 140-ish miles offroad does.
 

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