At the junction—Macedonia Canyon Road heads downhill to my left; Wild Horse Canyon Road descends on my right

Bicycle camping in and around Mojave National Preserve 2006

Day 3: Wild Horse Canyon Road to Hole-in-the-wall campground and back

23.38 miles, 2:43 hrs, 22.4 mph max, 8.5 mph avg

Elevation: 5500 to 4200 and back

I remember where the easy-to-miss Macedonia Road turn-off is and stop there when I reach it. The two-tire-track, dirt Macedonia Canyon Road looks remote and descends downward through the mountains to Kelso-Cima Road. If I were heading down to Kelso Dunes today, I would take this route.

Please close the gate behind you

I'm not going that way today, but I'm going to ride down that road a bit just to see what it looks like.

There is a flimsy barbed-wire gate at the entrance of Macedonia Canyon Road, presumably because it goes through a cattle-range area. I open the gate and it crumples to the ground. I pull my bike through, and return to close the gate.

Blech. The end of the gate fell into a big pile of cow shit that I didn't see. I carefully raise the gate and put it back in its closed position without getting any cow shit on my hands.

I'm not going down this road far very far, so I'll just clean up the mess on the way out. There's no one around and I'll have the privilege of dealing with the gooey gate myself soon enough.

OK, I've gone far enough; I'm heading back up Macedonia Canyon Road

This part of Macedonia Canyon Road is really sandy and it descends fairly rapidly. I glide down around the first bend, already out of sight from Wild Horse Canyon Road up above.

As soon as I get around the corner, I see a giant pick-up truck headed slowly up the hill toward me at 10 miles per hour. Just when you think there's no one around...

I pull over and speak to him as he passes, telling him to watch out for the cow shit on the gate. He looks at me seriously and asks, "Why did you put cow shit on the gate?" I laugh and explain what happened, almost embarassed, like a 12-year-old caught smoking behind the barn.

He drives upward and I'm envious of the traction that his oversized truck has in the sand here. I ride on down a little further, my tires hissing as they push sand aside. Views of the Kelso Valley below begin to open up, but I decide not to go any further.

Sand along Macedonia Canyon Road

I turn around and, just as I expected, I end up walking almost all of the half-mile back up to Wild Horse Canyon Road, even without the weight of all my camping gear. There's just too much sand here!

When I get back to the gate, I pull out tissues from my pocket and wipe the cow shit off the gate. I bury the tissues in sand nearby, not wanting to stuff them in my pocket and carry them with me for the rest of the day. One thing I didn't bring with me is a plastic bag that would have allowed me to carry the tissues to a trash can further on.

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