Date: April 18, 2017
Place: Rosewood Blvd. from North Edwards to Boron, California
Length: about 12 miles
Level: if driving, requires a AWD or a 4X4.
"It's not the destination, it's the journey."
I don't know to whom to credit this quote, the drive described here is the very realization of it. Yes, this post is not about a hike, but about a certain drive we did during our spring break road trip. An unplanned drive that turned out to be a very rewarding journey.
Long car rides are a necessity when going to see places. These rides are often tedious and boring, sometimes unpleasant (read that, chikas?) and always tiring. On days when we have long stretches of driving we get an audio book to listen thin the car, and we also try to break the day with short hike stops to stretch and relax, and to check out places. On Tuesday April 18 we were driving from Bakersfield to Yucca Valley by Hwy 58 and we had planned to stop in Barstow for lunch and a hike in the area.
The Kern/San Bernardino county passes near the town of Boron. There the road changes from a 4 lanes freeway to a 2 lanes road and a due east traffic slowdown is expected. As we approached Boron we did indeed slow down, and then came to a dead stop that lasted a long time. Our navigator indicated a crash on the road right past the narrowing place.
We stood in a standstill traffic for half an hour, during which Pappa Quail stepped out, took the cameras from the back of the car and went to the divider to photograph the desert globe mallow and some other wildflowers that I saw blooming there.
|Desert Globe Mallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua|
|Red spot is where the crash that caused the traffic jam was. The blue line is Rosewood Blvd.|
|Creosote, Larrea tridentata|
|Thistle Sage, Salvia carduacea|
|Desert Dandelion, Malacothrix glabrata|
|Field Primrose, Camissonia campestis|
|Pygmy Poppy, Eschscholzia minutiflora|
Soon Pappa Quail and the chikas were out of the car too. Some of the plants were familiar to them as well, at least their genera.
|Bajada Lupine, Lupinus concinnus|
|Small-flowered Blazing Star, Mentzelia albicaulis|
Then the road conditions worsened. From a smooth, sandy path, the terrain changed into uneven surface of sharp rock flakes. Not wishing to add a flat tire to our delay I slowed down to a crawl. At times, Pappa Quail left the car and run ahead, clearing as many obstacles as he could manage and patiently directing me around those that he couldn't move.
I had not the mind to photograph that area, but I did take a quick shot of a white bush nearby.
|Winterfat, Krascheninnikovia lanata|
Once we cleared the flock I could breathe again. I could also resume my roadside wildflower appreciation.
|Yellow Pepperweed, Lepidium flavum|
|Parry's Linanthus, Linanthus parryae|
|Parry's Linanthus, Linanthus parryae|
|Purple Mat, Nama demissum|
The burst of speed didn't last very long. Soon I was out of the car again, trying to get focused shots of plants whipping in the wind.
|Freckled Milkvetch, Astragalus lentiginosus|
The vegetation changed as well. Creosote was still prevalent, but no longer the dominant shrub. Other, more crowded shrubs filled the scenery, and the air was sweet with the smell of alyssum bloom.
|Desert Allysum, Lepidium fremontii|
I got out of the car again, encircled the bush and took many photos. I didn't hurry back in even as the rain finally caught up with us.
|Mojave Indigo Bush, Psorothamnus arborescens|
|Hopsage, Grayia spinosa|
The natural garden that grew on these hills was absolutely beautiful. Pappa Quail too was quite impressed and prompted me to take some wide shots of the cushions of green and colorful bloom that adorned the desert.
The promise of rain carried by the wind turned out to by just a short sprinkle. Certainly not the kind of wetness that would deter me from going outside to explore the flowers.
|Desert Pincushion, Chaenactis stevioides|
|Mojave Aster, Xylorhiza tortifolia var. tortifolia|
|Atop a hill|
The storm had passed, the clouds dissipated completely, and a brilliant sunshine illuminated the last strestch of our drive through the boulevard.
We sped on. It was already past lunchtime and we were all hungry. Besides, the vegetation dwindled and the bloom seemed well past its peak along that part of the boulevard. The dirt road was in better condition there, so I could push the gas pedal a bit further down.
And then we met the pavement. Or at least what was left of it - a short, 10 yards relic.
As I got out to photograph this joke of a road I flushed a jack rabbit out of the bushes. The hare shot across the plain at incredible speed. I was fortunate to have captured its hind side as it sped toward the horizon.
We were eager to move on now so we didn't make any more stops until we finally reached Hwy 395. We did stop there briefly to turn on the phone navigator, and I took the chance to look at one last wildflower - a shy buckwheat that was blooming hidden in the thorns of a larger bush.
|Buckwheat, Eriogonum sp.|