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Title for Crucero Crossing Sites

Crucero, a Spanish word for Cross, was a watering stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad, which traveled east and west. The Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad crossed at this point going north and south. There was once a trading post and a small community named Crucero.


Counting train cars on the desert

We were camped at an old rail stop called King, about six miles east of Afton Canyon. In the morning, breakfast was interrupted as we counted train cars, which averaged over 100.


The lonely Delores Holland grave

On the desert not far from the tracks, the Delores Holland gravesite was decorated for Christmas. There is no information about who maintains the grave, but there is a lot of offroad activity allowed on this part of the desert. Mann suggests that railroad retirees might be involved. During the night, we noticed the grave glowing. It turned out that there was a small solar-powered light shining on it.


Delores was an infant who died in 1931

The words etched into the conrete slab state that Delores Holland lived from March to July 4, 1931. They also say "Please let her rest in peace." The cross is made from railroad spikes. Coins and small toys show that people are touched by this infant whose story is unknown.


A mysterious rock igloo

We followed the train tracks east to Crucero Crossing, then walked over the tracks to the south to view this rock igloo. Mann claimed he crawled into it, but it looked like a tight squeeze. By looking at the broken glass around it, he estimated that it dates from the turn of the 20th Century. Maybe it is the equivalent of today's one-man tent.


The pumphouse and water tower at Sands

Farther to the east we stopped at Sands, which used to have a ranchhouse and various other buildings. All we saw was this pumphouse and water tower, without the tank.


A fence is still stands in the desert

We examined the old barbed-wire on this fence, but its purpose was not obvious. The sands of The Devil's Playground show in the distance. After traveling more miles in the sand, we arrived at Kelso and turned north.


Shaman's Eye in the northern part of the Mojave

As we neared Interstate 15 at Halloran Summit, we passed the Shaman's Eye in the Sky, a volcanic neck towering over the desert floor. Indian legend says that the great Shaman of the Sky came down through this eye and created mankind. Mann's book says that the sun shines directly through the eye after the winter solstice, highlighting the desert floor at sunset. We were at the right time of year, but clouds obscured the setting sun and we were unable to see the effect.


The setting sun casts light on the mountains to the north

As we drove through anextensive and beautiful Joshua Tree forest, we were treated to a brilliant sunset. The color on the mountains to the north was magnificent.


Sunset in the west

TThe colors to the west and the silhouetted Joshua Trees were even more dramatic.


The full moon

There was more to come. The full moon rose in the east, at first unobscured by clouds and then slightly veiled. Since this was December 31 and the second full moon in the month, the moon was called a "Blue Moon." We truly experienced a New Year's Eve to remember.



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