15-Feb-2004 -- This would be the second of 3 confluence visits on this 3-day weekend (Presidents' Day). We would make a large (700 mile) counterclockwise loop around the Salton Sea with visits to 33n-116w, 33n-115w, and 34n-115w prior to returning home.
Planning consisted of a review of the first visit and National Geographic California topo maps. We would stop on Hwy 78 at the closest approach to 33n-115w and then hike what both National Geographic Topo and Garmin Mapsource showed to be about 2.5 miles to the point at the closest point of approach to this confluence. Noting that Sam Gallucci had said the distance was 1.06 miles I was curious to see where the discrepancy was. Both Garmin Mapsource and National Geographic TOPO have inaccuracies of well over 1.5 miles for several miles along this portion of Highway 78!
As we passed through Glamis we saw thousands of RV's and ATV's riding on the dunes in the Imperial Sand Dunes. It was quite the sight. Near the roads were stores set up in tents selling anything from T-shirts to pizza. It literally was straight out of a Mad Max movie. A great description of this general area and the dunes can be found here http://www.americansouthwest.net/california/algodones_dunes/
Another link I found that shows some of the incredible vehicles and the people who go there is located here http://www.glamisonline.org/
We found a dirt road at 33 00.894n 115 00.296w and drove down it a little bit to make our hike even shorter; we attempted to turn around by going just off the graded dirt road. The ground was deceptively soft and a tight turn coupled with insufficient forward velocity resulted in our 12000 lb RV getting stuck. Rats!
Luckily, a passing dune buggy with a very friendly driver happened by and knew someone with a small road grader. We were only stuck for a couple of hours. Once the grader arrived, it was able to pull us out with a simple quick tug. We attempted to thank them for their effort with cash and cold beverages but they politely declined both. Thanks Craig!!
We elected to camp right there since it was now dark. I would make the hike alone early Sunday morning to be on our timeline to make 34n-115w later that day.
The early morning hike was uneventful, very flat land with a few shallow drainage patterns to cross. I found a cairn about 6 feet north of where my GPS's settled. Picture #1 looks to the north. Picture #2 looks east not too long after sunrise. Picture #3 looks south. Picture #4 looks west – notice my golden retriever sneaking into the bottom of the picture. Picture #5 displays my GPS position. Picture #6 shows our low-riding RV. Picture #7 shows how we finally got out.
Total time was 1 hour and distance was 2.11 miles. Off to 34-115!