What’s It Like To Off-Road Across The Mojave Desert? In A Word: Insane.

In September 2016, two friends and I made the trek across the Mojave desert in two nights. It was full of sights, dust, exploration, and a stranger in a Suzuki Samurai that he called “Hotel Samurai.”

His rig is a Toyota 4Runner with a mild lift, frame sliders, tube frame bumpers, Bilstein shocks, a nice looking snorkel, and a sweet roof tent. My truck is a humble Chevy Silverado that’s completely stock except for a 4-inch lift and 315s. What our trucks accomplished on the trip was nothing short of impressive to me. We had no major mechanical failures except when my power steering started to fade.

Mojave Road holds a bit of history. It was first used by Indians to transport goods to the Chumash and other coastal tribes. Later, it served as a route for those expanding westward into the new frontier. Today, it’s used by people like me to troll along in their 4x4s.

The trip started with a drive from Ventura County, CA, to Laughlin, Nevada. We started out in the evening on Friday night.

Loaded up with supplies, we headed out of town. It went smoothly until the 15 through Barstow. Traffic was at a standstill. In the spirit of adventure, we used our creative minds to bypass traffic. After all, it’s an adventure, isn’t it? We ended up hitting a section of the Mojave about twenty minutes from Laughlin at around midnight. We headed into the desert for some night wheeling.

This part of the national park had official campgrounds. Being so late, we opted to pass by those to not disturb those already asleep. That’s when we found out why there was no one camped farther in: washout. The roads were in pretty bad shape from a recent rain, but we headed in still. After a few attempts to find a suitable campsite via GPS, we decided to follow what was left of the road until it was completely impassable. We set up camp at 4 AM.

The next morning, we woke up to a gorgeous sight of Lake Mead.

We carried on toward Laughlin. Here’s a peek at one of the worse washouts.

After a stop at the Lake Mead harbor, the real trip began. We officially made it into Laughlin. We gassed up at a station with slot machines inside. The next challenge was to find the start of the trail.

Photo cred: 9nine2


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