Great! It's mostly downhill to Kelso for the next 12 miles

Bicycle camping in and around Mojave National Preserve 2006

Day 1: Baker to Kelso Dunes

48.5 miles, 5:06 hrs, 25.6 mph max, 9.4 mph avg

Elevation: 923 to 3800 to 2123 to 2800 to 2500 feet

At the summit of Kelbaker Road, four bees decide that I am an excellent source of water or nectar, or whatever it is that they want, and they buzz around my head.

More downhill on Kelbaker Road toward Kelso

So I don't linger here any longer than I have to. Besides, I have a fun downhill ahead of me!

I begin the 12-mile descent down toward Kelso. This feels so great after 25 miles of slow uphill climbing. However, a strong headwind is keeping me from moving downhlll as quickly as I might. Oh well... if bicycling were more predictable, I'd probably be bored.

I remember once reaching close to 40 miles per hour going down this hill, but I doubt that I'll even hit 30 today with the so much wind blowing in my face.

After a few miles of this fun, I find myself fixated on the very rocky low mountains to my right—part of the Kelso Mountains. Something about their harsh rugged texture is quite beautiful.

Kelso Depot comes into focus as I cross the lower flats of Kelbaker Road in Kelso Valley

As I ride down, down, I love how Kelso and its patch of trees are visible from so far away and slowly get bigger as I approach the tiny bit of what's left of that town.

The last few miles of the downhill are almost flat across the Kelso Valley and my mind drifts off.

I'm very much looking forward to visiting the recently restored Kelso Depot, which now serves as the park's visitor centre.

When I was last here five years ago, it was just a big abandoned train station with a couple of porta-potties in the parking lot.

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