Desert emotion

An American road trip across the Mojave Desert, aboard the Multistrada 1260 Enduro.

An endless expanse of white and yellow land, dotted with the green of small shrubs, and framed by enormous dusky mountains that stretch into clear skies. On the Mojave Road, the vast American outdoors shows its true colours: barren, rocky and desolate. In a word - wild.

The United States of America are home to enormous parks, panoramic horizons that extend as far as the eye can see and colossal nature. Whether on the East or West Coast, once out of the city, the USA becomes a series of immense landscapes to be discovered. 

The states of Colorado, Alaska, Nevada and Utah are much-loved destinations for travellers of all types. Something that perhaps few people know is that the USA offers extraordinary routes for the bravest of souls, unique off-road tracks that brim with adventure, history and emotion.

This is true for the Mojave Road, an off-road route that takes in the banks of the Colorado River and crosses the Mojave Desert, located within the Mojave National Preserve, in the state of California. The road crosses the park from east to west, or rather from the Colorado River to Camp Cady, close to Barstow, splitting it in two. American Indians such as the Paiute, Mojave and Chemehuevi tribes would use this road for communications and commercial exchange and then, towards the end of the 18th century, Spanish explorers also came to know of it, using it for many years as they colonised the West.

Today, this stretch of road is 237 kilometres long and, in good weather, can be covered by experienced enduro riders in two or three days, camping permitted in the park.

The Mojave Road is definitely not a route for newbie riders. Sandy sections alternate with tricky patches of volcanic rock and other very muddy areas, often taking riders by surprise. But the effort always pays off, as all roads lead to one of the most peaceful and untouched desert scenes in the entire country.

The Mojave National Preserve is a true paradise for enduro riders. With its 1.6 million acres to explore, it offers a multitude of sensory experiences and satisfies an insatiable thirst for adventure.

Though scarce, the park’s vegetation is very varied. The cactus flowers that bloom after the spring rain are like jewels on the nut-brown ground. Around Saltbrush, a salt lake that has now completely dried up, endless Joshua tree branches stretch towards the sky as if in prayer. And along the way, countless sage plants and wild daisies fill the air with their enticing scent.

It’s not uncommon to come across wild animals during a trip. The reserve counts more than 30 different species, from coyotes to desert tortoises and mule deer, typical of this part of the States. 

There is a continual light breeze blowing on the Mojave Road, particularly in those sections that climb the hills crossing the desert. And the sight of the sun, as it descends behind the mountains come the evening, is a truly emotional experience. As your fingers grasp the handlebar and you feel the golden rays on your face, it’s not unusual to experience the true taste of freedom, if only for an instant.