The Kelbaker Road descent from Baker finally ends in the valley bottom at the recently restored Kelso Depot

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

It's not until I arrive at the restored Kelso Depot (elevation 2126 feet) that I realize what a huge asset to the park it is now. It's an interesting piece of history meticulously preserved.

The "front" of Kelso Depot faces the train tracks and not the road behind it

I lean the 10-ton bike up against one of the columns outside the building and go inside to ask if there's an easier way to fill water bottles here than from the shallow restroom sinks outside.

I'm happy when the park staffwoman leads me downstairs to a utility closet with a water tap and a hose.

During my previous trips out here, this building was empty and there was no water available here. The new role of the depot as visitor centre instead of abandoned building serves a bicyclist well who needs to fill his water bottles every day, somewhere.

Travel possibilities are increased and it's good to know that the outdoor washroom are open 24 hours a day should I need to get water here after office hours.

The 10-ton bike waits for me outside Kelso Depot

I have long chats with a couple of park staff-members here and get more information to help with future route planning on my trip.

I consider heading way up the hill to Arrowweed Spring for the night, especially upon receiving good reviews of that area from park staff at Kelso Depot.

But even bicyclists get lazy, contrary to popular belief. So maybe I'll just head to Kelso Dunes instead and call it a night there. The ride will be less demanding for a tired cyclist.

Kelso Dunes was on my must-visit list during previous trips out here, but I always just rode past, rather than stopping there for a night, for various reasons.

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