In the austerely beautiful and sparsely populated country between Barstow, California and the retirement megalopolis of Phoenix there isn’t much in the way of stops safe for young children. True, there is the Mojave National Preserve. And there are range after range with names like Vulture Mountains and Hieroglyphic Mountains. Also there are plenty of saguaros, Joshua trees, and cacti.
None of this scenic grandeur does much good for parents who want to exercise their kar-bound kids and keep them safe. We did some nice desert stops in the Mojave.
For the record, at a playground in Kingman, Arizona other parents were friendly and informative. At another playground stop in Wickenburg, Arizona kids were belligerent and their care-takers hostile.
As you can see from the pictures, Mathew and Nicky are pretty much happy anywhere so long as they aren’t tired or hungry.
Julian is a touch more complex (not really!): he needs a rock he can think about taking home (this one was obviously too big) or something like a saguaro to photograph:
As for Phyllis, she is happy as long as the kids are:
Oh, and a word to the wise. This is a matter of good parenting. If you stop to play on the train tracks (like we did here), make sure to get the kids off before the Santa Fe engine comes rushing down the tracks:
You can’t see it in the photo, but the engineer waved at us. Good thing we had vacated the tracks a couple of minutes earlier: