Old Spanish Trail (Journey of Death)
Original Date Visited: 3/17/09
Currently Missing -- Last Seen: February 2001
Like the other Clark MIAs, I was at a loss until fellow marker hunter and NDOT employee, Gary Bodell informed me that  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."
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).