Bradshaw Trail, California
(November 2008)

We set up camp near an old trail on the east side of Salton Sea. Nestled in Red Canyon and near the Chocolate Mountain bombing range, there was plenty to see.


Our camp was located in a dry wash at the base of some hills just off the trail leading down the Red Canyon.


Here you can see the rocks behind our campsite. I snapped this shot from atop the other side of Red Canyon.


Chris generously let me borrow his Kawasaki 700cc ATV during the weekend. The thing can really haul. I had it up to 53 mph in the dirt and 63 on asphalt.

Here I'm following the trail to the end of Red Canyon.


The canyon is scenic.


The end of the line.


Chris plays harmonica while we wait for the other two guys. He got pretty good at it over the course of the weekend.


The rock that marks the beginning of Red Canyon is quite a landmark.


The other two guys didn't arrive until after sunset.


The next day we set off on the Bradshaw Trail for an oasis named Dos Palmas. Here you can just see the Salton Sea in the background.


We crossed railroad tracks as we drove towards the Salton Sea. You can see it better from this hill.


With the Coachella Canal in the background (on the other side of the chain link fence), Chris and I drink and toss stones around while waiting for Joe. This canal helped the Greater Los Angeles area grow to its current size.


We finally reached the oasis, Dos Palmas. Joe and I wandered around looking at the pools. There was quite a bit of bighorn sheep activity. It also appeared that someone tried to light up the entire place. We saw empty drums, burned trees, and--what I thought was--scorched lines of dirt.

Why would someone want to torch this cool, calm place? There are some really big assholes out there. We also saw ATV tracks, smashed glass beer bottles, badly kept fires, etc. at the oasis. It's a shame.


On the way back I took a photo of this warning sign. In the background is the Chocolate Mountains, I believe.


I stopped under the railroad bridge and waited with Chris for Steve to catch up. Steve's motorcycle is better on asphalt than on dirt. While Steve rested, I took the ATV into the hills and took a photo of the bridge. You can just make out Chris waving in this photo.


So I zoomed in and took this shot. 12 times optical zoom is very useful!


The signpost that marks Red Canyon trail.


Heading back to camp.


Back at camp, Steve relaxed.


Leaving Steve to recuperate, Chris led Joe (pictured) and I up a trail near the end of Red Canyon. Here was where the ATV shined because the drop-offs and off-camber turns would scare any sane biker. This let me, an amateur off-roader, keep up with these two seasoned dirt bikers.


Here Joe and I prepare to continue after a rest stop. In the background the white trucks speed along I-10. We followed the trail until it dropped us off near on a service road near Chiriaco Summit.

The ATV is not street legal but we broke the rules and took it to Chiriaco to fill up the tank. On the way there is when I hit 63 mph. This is a bit different than taking my Midget up to 90 mph. The ATV has a higher center of gravity and, more importantly, a shorter wheelbase (50 inches as opposed to 80), so high speeds are tricky.

In the gas station people looked at us fun. We probably smelled bad and it's not every day that a couple of dirt bikes and an ATV show up at a popular gas stop along I-10.

On the way back I pushed the ATV through corners on the dirt road paralleling I-10. The live axle makes the machine handle like my old sports car so I felt at home "hanging out" the rear end in the corners. Unfortunately, I think my enthusiasm caused the belt light to come on prematurely. Chris kindly said it was nearly the time to change it, but I still felt badly.


The next day Joe and I rode in the other direction along the Bradshaw Trail. Here we saw why the warning signs were out.


The scenery is impressive. When we returned, we packed up and headed back to LA.

Along the way, a tire on Chris's trailer started to run flat so we swapped in the spare near Indio before getting on I-10.





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