There are few places in this world that truly feel as if you are on another planet, but Malissa and I stumbled upon one of those rare places, Trona Pinnacles. Located east of the California town Ridgecrest, and about 1.5 hours northeast from the Afton Canyon exit of the Mojave Road, this National Monument makes a perfect post Mojave Road rest stop. If you decide to visit be prepared for about 10 miles of bone shaking washboard roads to get there, but the free massage chair action is worth every loose nut and bolt on your rig after the ride in.
Once arriving, you drop down into the valley that houses these natural landmarks and immediately find yourself in awe, or just questioning if you somehow drove through a wormhole that transported you to the surface of some remote planet. Spires reaching over 100 feet high, carved from water flow millions of years ago tower over you like giants, calling out to be climbed by those brave enough, or have a lesser fear of heights then myself.
Malissa and I chose to stay 3 days and 2 nights to recover from our grey hair inducing trip across the Mojave Desert, which ended up being a wise choice indeed. We were greeted daily with amazing sunrises that illumined the sky in vivid hues of pinks and yellows, while the pinnacles remained encased in shadows from the valley that surrounded us. The days were mild with temps hovering around the low 80’s, allowing for multiple hikes with the dogs throughout the days, or a nap here or there. The sunsets were equally breathtaking, often stopping us from performing our evening chores just to take in the beauty of the land that surrounded us.
Better yet, there was virtually nobody there. The park is huge, with dozens of choices for camping, our nearest neighbor was a 30-minute walk down one of the dirt roads that wind through the park. We chose a site on the outer rim of the main outcrop, situated on the top of a hillside allowing for 360-degree views. During the last nights campfire, we were greeted with an impressive windstorm that brought with it sustained winds of over 40 miles per hour. This continued through the night and into the morning securing our decision to leave that day. We packed up our belongings and headed out towards Bakersfield. We had an Odyssey battery with our name on it and had been operating off our house bank for the past 4 days. It was time to fix give Mambo some TLC.