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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Desert Tortoise

In May of each year I drive to Palm Desert to bring a load of shoes, clothes and other items back to Salt Lake for the summer.  This year I left on a Thursday (two weeks ago) after work and drove to Mesquite, Nevada where I spent the night. The next morning I got up early to take the rest of the drive from Mesquite to Palm Desert.  This potion of the drive takes about about 5 1/2 hours.  As usual, I drove on I-15 through Las Vegas to the Nevada- California border.  At the border I either get off the Intersate on Nipton Road which is four or five miles from the border or I continue on I-15 to Cima Road which is about 20 miles from the border.  This trip I chose the Cima Road exit to head over the Mojave Desert to 29 Palms and from there to Palm Desert.

After driving 3 or 4 miles  down Cima Road towards Cima, I saw a sign I have seen dozens of times - "Watch  For Tortoises".  As I drove past the sign I was thinking "oh sure, I have seen the sign but never a tortoise and doubted I would see one that day."

Wrong, within a 60 seconds of the sign, a tortoise was stopped on the road in the other lane. I hit my brakes, stopped, did a u turn and drove back to the tortoise. I got out of my car with my trusty camera and approached the tortoise. Initially he put his head and legs into his shell. But I started talking to him, I just talked in regular English since I don't know tortoise speak, and his head and legs came back out.

Here is a photo of a similar sign that was on Nipton Road.  I did not take this photo.

I took a few photos of the tortoise that I thought came out pretty well.


I was very excited to see this tortoise.  After seeing the tortoise I did some online reading about tortoises.  Here is a link to one website that provides good information.

Keep your eyes open in life, you never know what you may see. 


  1. Bud,

    Great shots! I have always hoped I would come across one of these while wandering around the Mojave desert in extreme SW Utah--no dice though!

    -Tim (Sam's husband)

  2. Oh, I am so jealous!! We always take that road to Palm Springs and I have yet to see that tortoise. Thanks for the pictures. I have renewed hope of a firsthand view. Kathy