The fresh, slippery gravel on parts of Wild Horse Canyon Road is likely part of road repairs required after last winter's rainstorms

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

Back on Wild Horse Canyon Road, I'm again a tourist experiencing pretty views like tourists are supposed to. As the road drops down lower, there's more and more sand. It gets tougher to ride and in a few spots, I have no choice but to get off and walk a hundred feet or so, until conditions improve.

Sand along Wild Horse Canyon Road—out here, sand is plowed off the roads in the same way as winter snow on the roads in eastern North America

This road was closed for a few months last winter due to rain damage and I bet it is these lower, sandier areas that got washed out.

A few cars have passed me since my brief excursion down Macedonia Canyon Road. Since this road is a big loop that starts and ends on Black Canyon road, and doesn't actually lead anywhere, I'm guessing that the few vehicles that I see are tourists out sightseeing.

I take a tourist break and pull over near a large rocky outcrop, not quite a mountain, alongside the road and take a short walk up its steep incline to look at cacti and other plants.

The 10-ton bike takes a short rest at the foot of one of many interesting formations that appear along the lower parts of Wild Horse Canyon Road

There are some desert mallows (sphaeralcea ambigua) growing here that are so much smaller than the one I planted in my San José backyard. Expecting a compact two-foot plant, I ended up with a sprawling five-foot bush!

I get back on the road and ride the last couple of miles toward the Hole-in-the-wall campground area. My gravel road ends when I reach the pavement of Black Canyon Road.

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