[139]       

Old Spanish Trail (Journey of Death)

Clark County
  36.50103, -114.76053


"(#139) What a shame. Such amazing text and from no marker to read it. I'm stocking up on a few supplies here at the Crystal Market and heading south to Echo Bay. Hopefully when I get back, I'll have some information on this one ..." -- Journal Entry, March 2009


According to the State Marker System ...
"Located on Interstate Highway 15 at the Ute Interchange."
Today, this marker is currently missing

Original Date Visited: 3/17/09

Signed: No

Currently Missing -- Last Seen: February 2001
This is some of the finest text you'll ever read on an historic marker! Too bad we can't read the plaque because this marker is nowhere to be found. The "Ute Interchange" on I-15, Exit 75, is otherwise known as "Crystal" from the interstate. Rumor had it that [139] was moved to the rear trucker's parking area at the Moapa Gas Station. This was the first place I checked and found nothing in the way here. Considering that this gas station is the only thing on this interchange, it'd be impossible to miss this large Standard marker even if you wanted to.

Like the other Clark MIAs, I was at a loss until fellow marker hunter and NDOT employee, Gary Bodell informed me that [139] was probably in his maintenance yard in Las Vegas. Why it would be moved all the way back here (a solid 40 miles in the opposite direction) is a mystery. He checked and went back "into the books" to find out whether any historic marker was moved here in the last three years. His frustration, as much as mine, was felt in his response ...

"... I've tried to get their (co-workers) butts in gear, but they didn't even know what I was talking about. Blue signs aren't their thing."

The SHPO chose a great location for this marker and it's still unknown as to why it was removed. There is some speculation that it was removed by request from the Moapa tribe because the entire exit sits on reservation land, but this is highly unlikely. If the marker was originally placed at the southeast corner of the interchange, this would place the marker approximately in front of their gas station. I inquired with the friendly folks at the gas station and they were actually quite sentimental behind its value! It hadn't been seen in a few years, but they clearly remember the "big blue sign."

Exact Description:
Early Spanish traders named the 55 dry miles separating Las Vegas and the Muddy River the Journada del Muerto (Journey of Death). This longest stretch without water along the Old Spanish Trail was littered with the skeletons of animals and parts of wagons abandoned along the sandy desert. Most experienced travelers made the trip at night.

John C. Fremont crossed the Journada in 1844 and commented: "We ate the barrel cactus and moistened our mouths with the acid of the sour dock. Hourly expecting to find water, we continued to press on to midnight, when after a hard and uninterrupted march of 16 hours, our wild mules began running ahead; and in a mile or two we came to a bold running stream (the Muddy River).

Next Marker:

OLD SPANISH TRAIL (GARCES EXPEDITION)