Monday, May 23, 2011

Jackrabbit Homestead Cabin Driving Tour

Decided to take a little tour this last weekend.  I came across a website with a map recommending a driving tour to see Wonder Valley homestead cabins.  Here's the link (hope it works):

The site even has podcasts you can download and listen to as you're driving through the desert checking out all the little cabins.  The map kind of gives you the small / medium / large menu approach, with small being 62 (east) to Godwin (north) to Amboy (west) and back.  Not bad, but you never leave the pavement or really get into the open.  Still, good choice in 2WD and/or limited time.  It will wet your appetite!  Medium is 62 east to Chadwick north to Amboy west loop.  However, absolutely need 4WD for this.  Chadwick is dirt and hits soft, heavy sand at about the half-way point.  Large is 62 all the way out to Ironage Road, N to Amboy and back.

For my money, Amboy is the best place to check out cabins as far as paved roads.  Although 62 doesn't get much traffic east of 29 Palms, the speed limit is 65 so you shouldn't be poking along and doing u-turns all over the place.  

To really explore the homesteads, 4WD is necessary.  Bottom line, just go east of 29 Palms, find any dirt road, and go.  You really don't need a tour guide.  You will be amazed at what you find!  We've done this many times and never been disappointed!

We did a variation on the "large" tour, and went out Amboy all the way to Ironage, then south to 62. One cabin that caught my eye on Amboy was on the south side of the road.  I've dubbed it "the pink palace" after the beautiful Hawaiian hotel in Waikiki... this one is just on a much smaller scale!
Pink Palace, view from the front.

Pink Palace, view from the rear.
Wide open space with  homestead in the distance; north side of Amboy Road
Only the 2x4 framing material remains of this homestead.
Dry lake to the west of Ironage Road - appears to be a salt processing facility.

Old foundation in forground, dry lake in the distance.

SmokeTree Wash (not on the tour)... some great roads on the S. side of 62 at Ironage to explore!

Also not on the tour... late day sun lighting up the roadside plants.

My wife doing her very best to capture the last rays of the desert sun!

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