Today is day 116 of our ‘Once in a life-time???’ tour. If yesterday was an appetiser of the ‘return-to-cactus’ photography, today was a four course gourmet dinner that should have left us with indigestion, but instead succeeded in increasing our appetite for more to come – after all, we have to go home at the end of next month!
S1269 was at a location with the unlikely name of Zzyzx Road, honest! The plant we were hoping to find here was Mammillaria tetrancistra – or, as Eunice calls it, Mammillaria Ten Transistors. We found two small plants, eventually, as well as Opuntia basilaris.
We were now on Kelbaker Road and S1270 was prompted by a Cholla (Cylindropuntia sp.) spotted along the road and some nice scenery. We needed a leg-stretch anyway.
Farther up the road, S1271 was a stop in the Mojave Desert National Park, and we were joined by Todd Masilko, whom we had met at the San Gabriel C&SS meeting and at the San Diego C&SS Show and Plant Sale. Todd is the twelfth person to join us in the field on this trip, since November 2008 and like the others, has to suffer receiving the Diaries until we finish our trip on 1 April.
Quite a diverse collection of cacti & other succulents here, as we found Echinocactus polycephalus, Ferocactus cylindraceus (syn. F. acanthodes ), Mammillaria Ten Transistors (sorry, M. tetrancistra), Cylindropuntia ramosissima (aka Pencil Cholla), C. echinocarpa (the Silver Cholla), Opuntia basilaris(the Beaver Tail Cactus), Yucca brevifolia and Yucca shidigera (The Mojave Yucca).
S1272 had much the same selection as the previous stop.
Still along Kelbaker Road, S1273 there were ‘different’ Chollas to the Silver and Teddy Bear Chollas that we had been seeing. The cladodes on this one were much longer than on the others, at least twice their length. C. ramosissima was also around, as was Opuntia basilaris. To complete the list for this stop, add Ten Transistors! But why do they only have 1 central spine? Were we getting the name wrong? What else could it be? Coryphanta / Escobaria vivipara? var alversonii is reported from the Mojave Desert.
S1274 was prompted by a gigantic and very photogenic Yucca brevifolia, the Joshua Tree, at Cima
Farther along Cima Road S1275 offered us Echinocereus engelmannii, Mammillaria tetrancistra and Yucca brevifolia
Cima Road turned into a dirt track and changed into the Excelsior Mine road as we drove through the Kingston Peak area S1276 is for all the pictures taken as we drove the 18 miles (29 km) before the track dropped down into flat lands where the spectacular display of cacti disappeared. We saw: Hills jam packed with Echinocactus polycephalus, Echinocereus engelmannii – a very variable plant! – Ferocactus cylindraceus (The other familiar name for these plants, F. acanthodes was found to be invalid), Cylindropuntia sp. #1, C. bigelowii, Opuntia basilaris, O. erinacea var ursina, Yucca brevifolia, Yucca schidigera and Nolina parrishii – now Yucca whipplei ssp parrishii, although Todd thinks that they are very different) with massive thick trunks.
We arrived at the Soshone Inn (the only accommodation in Soshone, population 52) just before dark and after swapping rooms a number of times, we ended up with the right accommodation but no wifi, at least not on my lap top that seems to have an out dated wifi receiver, or at least less powerful than Cliffs & Eunice’s.