Diary of the traveller
The Southwest USA
** The foreword.
In previous article we have already got acquainted a little with Evgenie Safronov and his travel. In this year plans there was a travel to southern states of the USA and the story is about this travel. As the story unfolds I (Sergey Mironov (**)) will provide the reference information and some comments, supplementing traveling notes of Eugeny Safronova. **
The idea of a trip is forming within a year, but we come to route details only month or two before start. It happens that essential changes to already confirmed route are made in the arrival airport. Sometimes, it is necessary to turn back and go in the opposite direction, thinking out a new route on the way. It happened so in Big Band where there is no abundance of roads, and existing ones are closed for repair works. And to get on the road where points of stops are planned in advance, from another direction, it is necessary to go round, for example, more than a hundred kilometers.
This route of 8500 km took us 21 day from the end of May to the middle of June, 2011. The route partially repeated a track made by Igor Drab ( Slovakia ) previous year. By the way 60 percent of this route will be included into the travel planned by Igor at the beginning of summer next year. More detailed information can be found on his site http://cactaceae.eu , or you may contact him.
4-6 persons go to a trip. Practice proved that it is inconvenient to go by two cars. Only once there were seven people, but all the same the car was one. One of latest trips was along the border of the USA with Mexico , but it was the territory of Mexico . This time our route has started in the same direction, but from the USA side.
** The route of Eugey Safronov's travel went through states California , Arizona , New Mexico , Texas , Colorado , Utah and Nevada . **
Flight from Moscow to Los Angeles was carried out by American airline "Delta" with one change in Atlanta . Flight time: about 12 hours to Atlanta , 2 hours on change and 5 hours to Los Angeles ; total 19 hours. And just several minutes after 9 pm I was met by my European friends at an airport exit. They arrived 3-4 hours earlier. Two Slovaks, one Czech, and I - that was full team this time. One of benefits of America - all cars (even small) are big in fact. Car rent is ordered in advance from home. At the airport you just come to the rent company counter and receive the car.
Speaking about money. I spent for the flight there and back, with changes and on good planes a bit less than 32000 rubles (1100 US dollars). For example flight to Baikal and back costs 40000 rubles (1300 dollars). Yes, I would not go to Baikal …
At 23 pm we were drove away from the city heading for our first night stop in the КОА camping near small town of Banning (point B on a map). First 130 km across night California with authorized speed took less than 2 hours. I took the auto-navigator which was an excellent assistant during our travel. Navigation charts of the USA on my device surprised even worldly-wise Europeans. They had everything: from the warnings of speeding to routes by country roads (if so it is possible to name them) and paths in the solitude.
We pitched tents on a special platform and went to sleep – almost slipped off J . Round-a-clock flight should have helped us with it.
In the morning I got unexpected news. We will spend all 21 nights in tents. I didn't plan that, somehow. Everywhere, where we stopped earlier, every second night there was a bed in some doss house, hotel or hoster. But, running before events, I‘d say that not all was as gloomy as I had imagined to the first day. All America is covered by a network of specialized camping zones where there many travelers come by various vehicles. Some use big trailers with all infrastructures, some by cars, some on choppers and bikes. There were few people with tents, but we didn't look like aliens. A tent for one night is very convenient. A special platform for tents is always a flat surface with grass or sand or just firm ground. Near the platform they have sticking out of ground columns with outlets. Tenting area is equipped by small tables and chairs, some have are barbecue zones. Pipes with cold water are also available. Free Wi-Fi covers all territory of a camping. Usually you'll find an administrative building (reception) nearby with comfortable shower-baths and large WC with washstands and hot water. Almost every camping has pools, small shops with souvenirs and articles of daily necessity. Well-groomed territories. Broadly speaking, my fears of the first day were vain. Oh, forgot to mention, almost everywhere there were big washing machines and for it was possible to wash and dry up the clothes symbolical 1-2 dollars. And iron if you had a mood.
Later I noticed that, near some trailers there were many big plants in pots. I wondered if people carry them during the trip. The answer was simple. They live here for years, in the comfortable buses, nearby there are their cars, bicycles. Residing cost there is very insignificant. We spent for a night stop for four men from 20 to 80-90 US dollars.
Besides unexpected news a small menagerie outside of tent waited for me. Small hares with the big ears, any tiny «squirrels» with the lifted tails and unknown small rodents ran around. Though they do not come close, they were absolutely not afraid us. And they were not few, but dozens. Very unusual to me. We met those hares and «squirrels» almost everywhere during the trip.
Having dried tents, we went to the east. Our goal was to reach National Park (NP) Big Band in few days. Meanwhile we were welcomed by the first national park on our way: Joshua Tree NP.
** Joshua Tree National Park is the national park of the USA located in a southeast part of California, near to small town the Palm Springs, in that place where two great American deserts - Mojave Desert and Colorado converge. The area of the park is 3196 km ?. The national monument since 1936; national park from 1994. **
As well as everywhere in other parks, at the entrance of the park were: representation boards, turnstiles, posts of rangers and the posters informing about rules of visit.
It is forbidden to litter, to break, to collect anything; you may start a fire, but in specially places and from wood you brought with you, you can't use the fallen bushes and trees. After payment for entrance you get the map of the park with marked sights, services and routes. It is a pity, that there were no marked points with cacti on the map, but happily they grow there and we saw them.
But you should start from Joshua tree - it is Yucca brevifoliate. It is a succulent; it's size is from 1 to 6 meters , very common here.
OPUNTIA basilaris RUS 259
ECHINOCEREUS triglochidiatus v.mohavensis RUS 260
CYLINDROPUNTIA ramosissima RUS 261
CYLINDROPUNTIA echinocarpa и GRUSONIA parishii (RUS 261)
CYLINDROPUNTIA tunicata RUS 261
One of the sights of the park is Joshua Tree is Skull Rock.
The sun, moisture, wind and night frosts created it.
Cacti are here too:
CORYPHANTHA vivipara v alversonii RUS 262
ECHINOCACTUS polycephalus RUS 262
Next day we moved to other park - Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (Point E).
To be continued ...