As I start the climb up this slippery segment of Black Canyon Road, I look back to Cedar Canyon Road

Bicycle camping in and around Mojave National Preserve 2006

Day 2: Kelso Dunes to Mid Hills campground

38.37 miles, 5:03 hrs, 34.3 mph max, 7.5 mph avg

Elevation: 2500 to 2800 to 2123 to 5500 feet

There are no other vehicles here on Black Canyon Road, so I ride on the wrong side of the road much of the time to avoid the heavy washboarding of the road's surface. I rise slowly, but I keep my ears open attentively so I can avoid coming hazards.

The 10-ton bike adds to the tire tracks in the sand and gravel along Black Canyon Road

Lo and behold, I hear the noise of a car crushing though sand and gravel off in the distance, so I move over to the correct side of the road and continue with my ever-so-slow pedalling.

A pick-up truck comes around the bend behind me and slows down as it begins to pass me. The passengers wave and the truck comes to a halt and we chat for a moment. It's those guys who passed me on the way down Cedar Canyon Road a while back and they're on their way back to Mid Hills campground.

I love this part of the high desert. There are boulders strewn about here and there and the views across Round Valley to the east and the mountains to the north are picturesque. I approach my next turn-off at Wild Horse Canyon Road and it's even downhill slightly for a few minutes. Ooh ahh.

A little higher on Black Canyon Road

The last two miles of this ride up Wild Horse Canyon Road to the entrance of Mid Hills campground are both the most exciting and the most difficult of the day. I'm almost there, but there is still a bit more work to be done!

To my recollection, there will be three short steep gravelly hills for me to conquer along here. As I pedal along, I realize that there are four such short steep hills, not three.

At this stage, it never matters how tired one might be. The inspiration of being almost at the destination, combined with the beauty of sunset in the desert, makes these last couple of miles paradoxically easy.

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