Desert Camping Trip 2012

Checked off quite a few things off my first-time to-do list over the past several days. I went camping with a couple of friends in the Rainbow Basin area close to the Mojave Desert, spent a couple of days exploring and shooting some rifles, and ended with a memorable buffet dinner in Vegas.

The campgrounds

The campgrounds

Day 1

I met up with my friends early in the morning, and after fitting all our gear into the SUV, we were on our way to the desert! After a quick stop at Barstow for lunch and some supplies, we arrived at our first stop: a giant pit in the desert, specifically used by people for shooting. We spent a good several hours setting up various targets (soda cans, steel targets, plus a bunch of random stuff that people left there, such as bowling pins), trying out the different rifles (registered and CA-legal), and cleaning up after our ourselves at the end. The sun was setting as we pulled into Owl Canyon Campground. We quickly set up for dinner and made a bonfire – dinner was beef soup, ramen, and beef jerky. We forgot spoons so we used BBQ chips as makeshift spoons. After dinner, we stood around the campfire and chatted until the last of the firewood was gone, set up our tent, watched Anchorman, and called it a night.

So what’s it like camping in the desert? It’s cold. Very cold, especially in the winter months. I think the temperature dropped to the high 20s/low 30s, and I was freezing (despite several layers and a thick jacket) anytime I wasn’t near the campfire. It’s extremely serene – there are no trees or shrubbery, and you can see the outlines of giant mountains, craters, and the clear night sky, dotted with bright stars. Since it was a weekday in the middle of the winter, we were one of two camping groups, and the entire campground was pretty empty. All in all, I’d say it was a pretty fun experience, and despite the coldness, I enjoyed it a lot!

The desert

The desert

Day 2

Woke up with sunlight casting a glow over the tent. Daylight, nice! We packed everything up, bid adieu to the campground, and were on our way. Our first stop was a visit to China Ranch, which was a mini-oasis in the desert and had some of the best dates I’ve tasted. We each bought some dates to take back to family, and my friends even ordered their famous date shake (one with banana and one with chocolate chips). After enjoying a lunch and spotting quails and roadrunners, we arrived at our second site, a deserted flat area in the desert with some shrubs and cacti. We set up some more targets and spent a few more hours until sunset shooting in the desert before calling it a day. Next stop, Vegas!

With only a brief traffic jam, the drive wasn’t too bad, and we made it to the Strip around dinner time, and you know what dinner time in Vegas means – buffets! We tried out the buffet at M Resort. It was a pretty awesome one, with all-you-can eat for $23. I definitely made multiple stops for their prime rib, plus they had some impressive Thai food and BBQ pork ribs. After eating our fill and staying till closing time, we had a hard time walking back to the parking lot. But we made it and checked in at the Luxor – quite a change from a three-person tent the night before.

From three-person tent to queen beds

From three-person tent to queen beds

Day 3

We had a pretty standard drive back to LA, with a stop at Barstow again for lunch. Got the chance to eat at the original Del Taco, which boasts a special menu with food items such as the Bun Taco, Barstow Taco, and Tostadas. I ordered their Bun Taco, which was basically all the ingredients of a normal taco (except they had sliced tomatoes) in a hamburger bun. Delicious, and a perfect end to an awesome and memorable trip!

And that’s it for my first trip this winter break! I’ll be updating my travel log posts a bit more – just found out that I’ll be heading back to Vegas with family tomorrow, plus a snowboarding trip with friends from church after Christmas. Stay tuned!

More photos below!

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