The stretch between Baker California and the Nevada side of Death Valley is as barren as barren can be. some people still live there but mostly the area is scattered with places where people used to live. There you will find a town called Rhyolite.
It is really a town, but it used to be. Founded in 1905 the town grew thanks to a mining boom and within a year it had a population near 5,000. That is a lot of people when you consider that times lack of highways and its eternal isolation from anything else that could be considered remotely hospitable to human life.
There are abandoned buildings of varying types, a quirky art installation that includes a 15 foot tall female nude made to look as if is made of Legos, and a residence built entirely out of bottles. It is your basic American ghost town.
It is hard to say where exactly civilization begins in this case. Beatty is near by, then Baker, but I think the population of people sitting in traffic on the I-15 numbers more than that 100 mile stretch of land has had over the past century.