Last week, Melissa and I took a couple of days off and headed up to the Mojave Preserve. It's a beautiful spot wedged between two major East-West Interstates, I-40 and I-15. Our last trip out this way was to Amboy, and the Preserve is only a bit further up but well worth the effort.
Our first stop was the Kelso Dunes. Chiefly because that's one of the first things you see when you enter from the South-Western entrance. The dunes cover 45 square miles and the tallest dune rises up to 650ft above the desert floor. As you drive into the Preserve you get a view looking down onto the dunes, and they look almost ridiculously out of place, like a massive truck just came along and dumped them there. The white sand stands in contrast to the darker landscape around it. Apparently, although the dunes shift over time, they stay pretty much where they are due to the way the wind works in that particular spot of the valley.
You can hike up into the dunes and from the top, you get a fantastic view of the surrounding preserve.
We camped next to an old horse corral which had a fire ring for us to burn the firewood we brought with us. There are campgrounds in the park, but also many spots like the one we used which aren't officially listed but camping is permitted. The moon didn't rise until around 10:30pm, so from sunset onwards, we had a spectacular view of the night sky. The closest significant light pollution is from Las Vegas which is around 100 miles away.