New Beauty

Someday, I imagine, all beautiful things will have been worn away and become mundane and undesirable to view. Then, I imagine all the ugly things will become unique and beautiful because they are different and exciting to look at. I imagine.

Hear the Wind

Coyote Lake

Mike was alone now. It was just him and the wind in the desert. He wasn’t scared. He would listen to Nature. It would speak to him–tell him what he needed to do. In fact, the wind was trying to touch base with Mike at that very moment. It was saying, “Hey Mike? Mike? Can you hear me, Mike? Mike?” Mike, however, was preoccupied with trying to get a signal. Without water or shelter, Mike was a goner. Too bad for Mike.

River’s End

It is the strangest thing; the river; I follow it downstream and it becomes smaller and smaller and smaller. With every step, it becomes less and less and less. The water diminishes and depletes until it is just a trickle, until a glisten, until just a wet spot surrounded by damp sand, and then nothing. That is how this river ends–not mightily at an ocean, but quietly, subdued in the sand and rubble and stone becoming as if it never were.

Mojave River
https://digital-desert.com/mojave-river/

Trees

There are three ravens in the sky above the oak on the left. The raven on the far right of those three flew in front of me after first cawing and catching my attention. Over the years I have learned when this happens there are two ravens flying safely and quietly behind me. I like to believe they do this as a strategy to distract potential predators.

Broken Lands

Amargosa River at China Ranch

There is a broken land where mountain ranges rise like angry tidal waves in turbulent, slow-motion seas, senselessly wrestling in convection.

Occasionally, countless battalions of clouds march briskly left to right without leaving a drop of water, all saved for a brutal assault in a faraway war.

Broken people–adapt or die–that is all that can be said.

Broken animals and plants living in arrhythmic symbiosis.

and above; thrown into the wind, birds fly incorrectly and confused
then tumble from the sky in mid-breath.

tiny fish in the broken river’s warm water quietly dance an intricately choreographed ballet.

Trees are not trees, . . .
and the rabbit is not in charge as he would have you believe.
remember that.

Bragging coyotes arrogantly squawk after a kill

By-Passing Barstow

Bits from an interesting 1961 article about by-passing downtown Barstow and modernizing transportation infrastructure at the geographical descendant of ‘Forks-in-the-Road‘ of pioneering times. Speaks to the morphology of the transportation corridor from the classic Route 66 to the modern Interstate 15 Freeway. Also, see Sidewinder Road for maps between Victorville and Barstow.

On July 5, nine miles of the Barstow Freeway, known locally as the “Barstow By-Pass”, were opened to traffic by construction contractors Gordon H. Ball and Ball & Simpson.

The project is an extension of the 24-mile freeway from Victorville to Barstow which was opened in January 1959. It makes available the improvement to full freeway standards of an important link of Federal Interstate Route 1 S (U.S. 91) and the first step of freeway improvement of Interstate Route 40 (U.S. 66) toward Needles.

California Highways, Sep/Oct 1961.
Modern ‘Forks-in-the-Road’ junction at Interstate 15 & 40 Freeways
Forks-of-the-Road – Where the Salt Lake Road and Mojave Road come together and become the Mojave River Trail

Historic Victor Valley Wagon Roads

Primary regional road network — USGS 1901

Not all-inclusive, this 1901 map shows basic transportation routes between the Cajon Summit on the west and east from there through either the San Bernardino Mountains or Lucerne Valley to where the two roads meet in the Big Bear Valley.

This map below was made in 1883 and shows an earlier and geographically expanded version of the routes.

1883 map of route network in the upper Mojave River region (note; no railroad)

The 1883 map is more inclusive and contains a couple of items I want to keep track of. There are differences but the road segments look about the same.

I made a copy of the 1883 roads layer and made it red to stand out better.

There are some nuances between the two maps, and right now the Oro Grande Wash area seems considerably off, fiddling with it some I can get a better fit–but not at these rates. The 1901 would be the more accurate depiction of what went on out there even if it were 35 years or so after the fact.

Williams USGS survey map 1853

Note that in the above map the variations of trails from across the valley leading to the Cajon Summit seem not to have been developed at this time and instead the trail along the Mojave River is shown.

1901 trail routes transposed over modern street map through Hesperia