Driving from Vegas to 29 Palms

Old Apr 6th, 2022, 05:43 AM
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Driving from Vegas to 29 Palms

Hello,

Has anyone ever driven from Las Vegas to the military base in 29 Palms? I'm thinking of going to visit my son while I'm taking a vacation in Vegas. Is the 3 hour drive safe enough to do alone? Are the roads ok at night? What is the best/safest route to get there? Thanks for your help.
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Old Apr 6th, 2022, 11:45 AM
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You're driving through the Mojave Desert, you can see the drive starting around the 5:20 mark of the video below. This part of the drive is a good two hours.

Bring a couple of gallons of water with you in case of a car breakdown. Start with a full tank of gas in LV and fill-up in Twentynine Palms before leaving. And you may want to have the AAA premium coverage on the off-chance that you'd need a tow...relying on the rental car company for help could mean an overnight wait. And before leaving LV, test and make certain that your air conditioning is working fine.

You probably wouldn't be at all comfortable driving alone on this stretch after dark.


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Old Apr 6th, 2022, 01:19 PM
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I would not drive through the Mohave desert alone and not at night ever. I would take a longer route on I-15 to either Barstow or Victorville, then turn off the freeway towards 29 Palms. It will take over four hours, but would be much safer. I don't much like driving across the desert on the 15 when it's dark either, but you should be fine. At least it's regularly patrolled by the CHP and there's other traffic.
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Old Apr 6th, 2022, 03:24 PM
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The 3-ish hour drive is through the Mohave National Preserve -- not a drive you want to do alone and definitely not at night. Driving via major roads and highways (like via Barstow) is more like a 4.5 or 5 hour drive.
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Old Apr 7th, 2022, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj
The 3-ish hour drive is through the Mohave National Preserve -- not a drive you want to do alone and definitely not at night.
You probably wouldn't be at all comfortable driving alone on this stretch after dark.
I would not drive through the Mohave desert alone and not at night ever.
Could someone explain why this drive should not be done alone or at dark?
What is so dangerous? What should the OP be concerned about?
I'm picturing wild groups of Mad Max-style marauders terrorizing the roadways after dark.
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Old Apr 7th, 2022, 07:24 AM
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Except on freeways/major roads, driving in the desert at night is never a good idea -- not because of Mad Max but because of animals on the roadway and other issues (same as on mountain roads). Plus not a place one wants to break down.

Now, driving across the SW deserts on I-15 or I-10 etc -- not an issue. There's other traffic, lighting, gas stations and all mod cons.
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Old Apr 7th, 2022, 08:00 AM
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There is almost no cellphone coverage throughout the Mojave National Preserve.

I'm a native Californian and pretty fearless driver. But... potential nighttime hazards on lightly traveled roads (animals), being alone, and no way to call for help... Uh, no thanks. I'd rather take the longer route on I-15 which has traffic 24/7, rest stops, highway patrol. I wouldn't have the same concerns driving through the MNP in daylight, but I'd leave LV as early in the morning as possible
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Old Apr 7th, 2022, 08:29 AM
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Thanks Janis and Jean! When I checked Google maps, it said I-15 between Las Vegas and LA has tolls. Is that a new thing? In Nevada? Or just wrong? It's been a few years since I drove to LV and there were no tolls then. The Mohave National Preserve does not have an entrance fee.


Last edited by Barbara; Apr 7th, 2022 at 08:31 AM.
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Old Apr 7th, 2022, 01:24 PM
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No tolls. Google maps is not perfect.
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Old Apr 7th, 2022, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean
No tolls. Google maps is not perfect.
I thought that, just wanted to make sure. Thanks.
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Old Apr 8th, 2022, 07:33 AM
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We did that drive this past spring and I completely agree with other's that I wouldn't do this drive at night because of animals and there are some curvy slightly hilly stretches that would be hard to see at night. I can see do it alone during the day, but I do agree that you should bring some water. Even during the day there are stretches that feel very desolate-especially when you lose your cell phone signal. I remember on the drive with the two of us thinking, "wow I wouldn't want to break down here".
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Old Apr 8th, 2022, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jpie
We did that drive this past spring and I completely agree with other's that I wouldn't do this drive at night because of animals and there are some curvy slightly hilly stretches that would be hard to see at night. I can see do it alone during the day, but I do agree that you should bring some water. Even during the day there are stretches that feel very desolate-especially when you lose your cell phone signal. I remember on the drive with the two of us thinking, "wow I wouldn't want to break down here".
I still don't understand the paranoia/hysteria with making this drive.

What specific desert animals are you concerned about hitting while driving?
There are millions of 100+ lb deer running all over the roads in the eastern US and it doesn't stop anyone from driving.
And there are millions of "curvy slightly hilly stretches" of road.

Is the primary concern just the lack of cell phone coverage?
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Old Apr 8th, 2022, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by bluegrass1
I still don't understand the paranoia/hysteria with making this drive.

What specific desert animals are you concerned about hitting while driving?
There are millions of 100+ lb deer running all over the roads in the eastern US and it doesn't stop anyone from driving.
And there are millions of "curvy slightly hilly stretches" of road.

Is the primary concern just the lack of cell phone coverage?

There is no "paranoia/hysteria". We were asked for advice and we gave it. You may feel free to disregard it as may the OP.
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Old Apr 8th, 2022, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bluegrass1
I still don't understand the paranoia/hysteria with making this drive.

What specific desert animals are you concerned about hitting while driving?
There are millions of 100+ lb deer running all over the roads in the eastern US and it doesn't stop anyone from driving.
And there are millions of "curvy slightly hilly stretches" of road.

Is the primary concern just the lack of cell phone coverage?
My goodness . . . paranoia/hysteria?? That is a ridiculous comment. No one was hysterical -- we just explained why it isn't a good idea. Have you ever driven through the desert where there are no people, no services, no lights, no cell phone coverage?? Thought not.

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Old Apr 9th, 2022, 06:56 AM
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Lack of cell phone coverage in a desolate area with very little lighting and almost no services for miles around would be my primary worry driving this stretch at night. While the likelihood of hitting a large animal is small-we have seen a number of people on our desert drives swerve to miss small animals such as rabbits and roadrunners or even larger animals like coyotes during the day that I wouldn't want to risk it at night. Anyway just my opinion.
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Old Apr 9th, 2022, 07:31 AM
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Always interesting when locals give their comments and non-locals push back...
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Old Apr 9th, 2022, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Jean
Always interesting when locals give their comments and non-locals push back...
And newbie non-locals at that . . .
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