10/12/02 Desert Run Trip Report and Photos | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
  • Register Today It's free!

10/12/02 Desert Run Trip Report and Photos

Ken Cooke

Explorer Addict
Joined
April 18, 2000
Messages
1,371
Reaction score
0
City, State
Riverside, California
Year, Model & Trim Level
'03 Rubicon - Tomb Raider
Trip Report

Three rigs from the Explorerforum.com page attended this fun run in the desert backcountry of the Old Dale Mining region. Mark Meenahan, Josh S., and me The Desert Outlaw traveled some loose, sometimes off-camber sections of the trail that at times resembled cliffs with tire tracks leading down, mining camps that were recently vacated, and of course, rock-filled canyons with tricky, washed-out paths for driving through.

We met up at Snow Creek Road on Highway 111 just south of I-10 at 9:25 a.m. Mark Meenahan drove north from San Diego in his newly lifted and outfitted Explorer sporting Warrior Shackles, 31" BFG A/T KO's, and a 2" torsion twist. Josh S. also piloted a newly lifted and outfitted Explorer with 5.5" Superlift, fiberglass fenders, Con-Ferr roof rack w/Hella's and Hi-Lift, and a sound system that rocked the canyons. My Ranger hasn't changed much recently, but I did discover that the 33" BFG A/T KO's *do* rub along those ribbed traction-lugs and the fender. I really do need to trim fender approximately 2"-3" in order to stuff those tires appropriately up front.

Anyway, we drove along I-10 to the Cottonwood Vistors Entrance, and quickly blew past the Rangers station, to the Old Dale Road entrance. After approximately 9 miles of high-speed washboard road, we began a 4-Lo hillclimb that took us into the mining district that to this day is experiencing some mining activity. Lunch was spent in a Truckhaven-like section of the Mining area where me, Josh and Mark all performed hillclimbs, lifted wheels, and even bounced frontends. We scoped a section of trail that DB-1 bent his tie-rod on, and we climbed some nearly vertical sections of dirt that must be seen to be believed.

After breaking from our lunchtime antics, we continued on Old Dale Road where another obstacle presented itself. We each drove down this section, lifting 1 and sometimes two wheels going down. Upon driving up this section, wheels were lifted and Josh's 'X' even became partially airborne. Josh has guts! This led to our next trail visiting O.K. Mine.

On the way to O.K. Mine, our guide Dan Wilson helped us spot several sections of the Old Dale community that now lie in ruins. He also pointed out routes to Ivanhoe Mine that I'll most likely visit in another month when his rig becomes fully operational. After some loose hillclimb sections that positioned our rigs off camber, meeting sheer dropoffs, we made our way to O.K. Mine. Dan noticed that the Vertical shaft at O.K. Mine was badly vandalized. The wood super structure which processed the Ore in this area was burned down, with just ashes and burnt timber left as a reminder of what Dan saw just 9 months ago.:( Dan vowed to return to this area soon to photograph the remaining superstructures in order to preserve images of what this area looked like for future generations of mining buffs.

Exiting O.K. Mine, we were confronted with several obstacles which challeged our rigs - particularly a hillclimb with a few large rocks in the middle which provided some entertainment for all of our rigs to drive past. I actually slid sideways, bouncing past this obstacle. Josh witnessed the whole thing, and maybe he can explain what really happened here much better than I can. After another hour, we finally left the O.K. Mine trail and made our way to Brooklyn Mine Jeep Trail.

Before entering the trailhead, Mark became stuck in a sandy section of trail which led to his rig being strapped, and pulled by Josh S's "Rebel 4X4." The Rebel pulled Marks 'X' out after some tugging and pulling, and the two were finally making the hilly climb to Brooklyn Mine. Driving to the crest of this hill, you are confronted with what looks like a cliff that you cannot see past the other side. After getting out and walking most of the downhill section, I stacked a few rocks around a section of trail that experienced a tiny avalanche, and I ran back uphill to continue on down.

At Brooklyn Mine, much of the facilities are in good condition. A rock and adobe house still stands, with evidence of new construction meant to keep the structure standing. Old containers of cyanide and large quartz rocks with cyanide discoloration were seen in the area. After taking several photographs, we quickly departed, and continued on down the trail. The road out of Brooklyn Mine is at times narrow, and filled with rocks that call for paying close attention to wheel placement. Large boulder outcroppings were driven up, and like an R.T.I. ramp, we were able to check for cases of tire rubbing on fenders, improper brakeline length, and tire traction. Several photos were taken of all of this, and we continued on to the end of this fascinating trail. There were two distinctly different trails you could take through this canyon. An 'Extreme' trail lined with boulders and rocks requiring a minimum of 35" rubber, and low-gearing, and another milder trail which could be accomplished with a minimum of 31" rubber and at least 2 inches of suspension lift. Mark made it through this milder section as did the rest of us, but I would like to give the other trail a try at a later time.

At the end of Brooklyn Mine Jeep trail, we decided to go looking for Rattlesnakes! Dan led us up a tricky mining trail that led to this giant mine entrance. Upon walking in the entrance, Dan proceeded to flip over debris that could be inhabited by snakes or rodents. With a long stick, he knocked over objects one by one. He found no rattlers, but we did take home a snake skin that was recently "taken off" by a rattlesnake that was resting in this large entrance.

Dan then decided he wanted to lead us to an actual Bat cave! We exited this mine road, and traveled yet another off camber trail to a bat cave. At the cave, there was bat feces lining sections of the walls as well as the cave floor. The further we walked in, the more feces could be seen, and the more pungent the fecal odor became. Dan and Mark shone their flashlights on a section of the cave where Dan mistakenly walked inside of years past to find himself surrounded by bats! We patiently shone our flashlights on this section, and bats hanging upside down looked in our direction, awoke, and proceeded to hover about due to curiosity, self-defense, or both. Lying beside us, a young bats carcass was lying on a mound of dirt wall. This bat carcass was later carried outside by Dan who held it as Mark photographed it. With sunlight leaving our surroundings, we decided to head on out for the day.

It was only 6:15 p.m., but the extended daylight of the summer was but a memory. We drove our rigs to a flat section beside the trail used for camping and photographed our rigs against a stunning canvas of orange and purple sunset patterns. These photos may or may not have come out, but we sure enjoyed the beauty this sunset brought to this parched landscape.

Upon driving to the main road which was about 12 miles away, I found out that the hardware controlling my headlights was malfunctioning. I was able to run with bright lights, but that meant I would have to hold back the control arm to illuminate these headlights. Josh S. had a set of 55 watt Hella's attached to his roof rack which did a great job of lighting up this path. Mark had no problem either finding his way back, but my rig presented a problem all its own. After a few minutes of bumping around on the trail, the lights began to function on their own, and we were back to high-speed washboard running, and we made our way back to the main road in nighttime conditions. After airing up our tires in North Palm Springs we said our "Goodbye's."

Thanks again to Dan for his assistance in leading us to spots on the B.L.M. land that we knew nothing about, and to Josh and Mark for making this a great run. Hopefully Big Bear Bob and Thunderhorse can make our next run in the Old Dale Desert backcountry!:cool:
 



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





Josh S.

can't kick the habit
Elite Explorer
Joined
January 19, 2001
Messages
1,900
Reaction score
4
City, State
Seabeck, WA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 sport 4x4
I couldn't have said it better myself Ken! This was truly an awesome trek through the old dale mining area and I give a very big thank you to Dan, for leading through this wilderness. I would have no idea where I was going without him. I appreciate very much the wealth of information he had to offer about the area and all the mines, as well as the killer spots no one would know about like the bat cave and rattler den. Thanks Dan!!

I would also like to thank Ken for organizing this trip and leading us through crazy sections, always waiting up for me and Mark, and also being very inclusive of people he didn't know. Thanks for giving us a great adventure.

This being my first all day trip, I was quite pleased and impressed at what all of our explorers can do. We all did some pretty cool stuff like when Ken was going up that short, very steep rutted climb out of the first wash and his front end shot into the air. The front end then came down to the right a few feet and landed on the side of the wall. He was spinning the back tires like crazy in the ruts, but then the front right tire spun down and his bfg ko's gripped the hell out of the big rock wall and carried him right out of the ruts and up the small exit from the wash. That was killer! Mark was also doing some sweet stuff constantly with wheels in the air about every 10 seconds all the way through the wash. His explorer was very impressive and had no problems all day doing stuff that would make all those jeepers who don't believe in all our X's and rangers astounded at what we can do.

Anyways, that run totally kicked ass and I appreciate all the guys who made it possible. Thanks a bunch!
 






Ryan1

Explorer Addict
Joined
December 18, 2000
Messages
1,682
Reaction score
0
City, State
White Bear Lake, MN
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 XLT
Where are the pictures
 






Ken Cooke

Explorer Addict
Joined
April 18, 2000
Messages
1,371
Reaction score
0
City, State
Riverside, California
Year, Model & Trim Level
'03 Rubicon - Tomb Raider
O.K. Mine at dusk

The action photography is being programmed into Marks web site, and should be ready for viewing once Mark gets done completing this monumental task. This might take a little time. But, here's an image of O.K. Mine at dusk, and of the remnants left over from our historic California mining days...
crw_0861.jpg
 






Big Bear Bob

Well-Known Member
Joined
April 20, 2002
Messages
463
Reaction score
1
City, State
Big Bear area of Southern Ca. near "Rim of the World drive", & Sugarloaf Mountain
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 XLT /01 Dodge 1500 4X4
Someday I'll rent a room for the night and do this run with you guys. On both of the recent trips to this area th reports have made it sound as if you guys had a great time.

Wish I was there
 






DesertSpive

Well-Known Member
Joined
November 12, 2001
Messages
772
Reaction score
0
City, State
Huntington Beach, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'02 Ranger FX4
Awesome guys! Like I have said many a time, this is one of my favorite trips to do. With any luck I will be with you on the next run.

--Sean
 






Ken Cooke

Explorer Addict
Joined
April 18, 2000
Messages
1,371
Reaction score
0
City, State
Riverside, California
Year, Model & Trim Level
'03 Rubicon - Tomb Raider
I found a trail to test that Pre-Production 5" Kit!

Sean,

The Brooklyn Mine trail had a nice, long hillclimb that tests your ability to put power to the ground, a short off camber section with a sheer dropoff on your passenger side, and a nice rocky trail with plenty of rocks and boulders to tests your trucks' limits. I wish we could have seen you out there this weekend, but maybe in the near future we'll all be able to manage a run together...
 






Ken Cooke

Explorer Addict
Joined
April 18, 2000
Messages
1,371
Reaction score
0
City, State
Riverside, California
Year, Model & Trim Level
'03 Rubicon - Tomb Raider
I have the 1st set of photos from our trip!

[email protected]

I have some digital photos that I can email people showing some of the stuff we were doing yesterday. As mentioned in the trip report, I have some photos of my tire being stuffed into the front fender, rubbing traction lugs like there is no tomorrow! I'll email this and whatever else Dan sends me to anyone interested. Just hit me up on the email link above...
 












markmeen

Active Member
Joined
September 1, 1999
Messages
59
Reaction score
0
City, State
Sunny San Diego, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Explr 4x4 XLT V6SOHC
Here is a few pictures of the Desert Run

What an awesome trip. Thanks to Ken, and Dan for being excellent tour guides. Josh and I are grateful for your knowledge of the trails, mines, bat caves and rattle snake dens!

Now I know that my Explorer with a meager 2" lift and 31" BFG ATs can take me to some incredible places. There were a couple minor incidents but my X handled all that terrain very nicely. Thanks for the encouragement to try even harder trails this time like the Brooklyn Mine Jeep Trail.

I've got a few of the pics ready. I'm working on the rest. I'll post them soon.

Meanwhile enjoy these :D

Here is Josh showing us how to hang the rear wheels off the ground while almost doing a head over wheels maneuver (from video capture--I'll post a movie also):
joshexplorer.jpg


Touring the desert trails with Ken and Dan leading the way:
CRW_1076.jpg


This is Ken's Ranger doing some fun hill climbs:
CRW_1083.jpg


Josh also enjoyed doing some fun climbs:
CRW_1092.jpg


The end of a great day with a beatuful sunset in the middle of the desert:
CRW_1258.jpg


More to come....
-Mark
 


















taxx

Make em say Ugh
Joined
June 11, 2001
Messages
4,128
Reaction score
3
City, State
Indianapolis, IN
Year, Model & Trim Level
73 EB
WTF?

I wish I could get my mom on this board!
 












Robb

Explorer Addict
Joined
February 13, 2002
Messages
9,707
Reaction score
13
touched.gif

Wow! That was a touching moment!

Congrats on all your acomplishments this week man!

Robb
 


















Ken Cooke

Explorer Addict
Joined
April 18, 2000
Messages
1,371
Reaction score
0
City, State
Riverside, California
Year, Model & Trim Level
'03 Rubicon - Tomb Raider
No rubby the tubby!

So far I have some photos of my 33" BFG AT/KO's that are rubbing traction lugs on the fenderwells. These AT/KOs are a half inch taller up front than my pre-KO's that are bolted to my rear axle. No wonder the frontend sits half an inch taller. No wonder I never experienced this problem before. When I get the chance, I'll be getting rid of these ATs, and bolting 2 more KOs on the rear of my rig.

Here's the breakdown:

31" BFG AT/KOs on my wife's Jeep Wrangler (rear axle - loaded) = 29.5"

33" BFG AT's on my rear axle (loaded) = 31"

33" BFG AT/KOs on my front axle (loaded w/4.0l) = 31.7"
 






taxx

Make em say Ugh
Joined
June 11, 2001
Messages
4,128
Reaction score
3
City, State
Indianapolis, IN
Year, Model & Trim Level
73 EB
Re: Sorry Darlin'!!:)

Originally posted by Josh S.
Hey Josh, Just wanted to make sure you know how proud of you I am--not all moms have such great sons...and did I forget to mention handsome and a talented drummer too--I love how you use your talents for the Lord! You were terrific last night at church in the band!

Now, about these "nipple lights on the grill"...do I really want to know what they are?????

Boys and their toys...sigh!!! Okay, I will try not to embarress you anymore...this is a very cool website...too bad I just drive a Blazer.

Love, Mom :)

For some reason I have hard time believing that your mom wrote that! :p If so that 's great
 



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





DesertSpive

Well-Known Member
Joined
November 12, 2001
Messages
772
Reaction score
0
City, State
Huntington Beach, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'02 Ranger FX4
Re: Congrats from your very "proud of you" mom

Originally posted by Josh S.
...becoming an official Eagle Scout...

Congrats from a fellow Eagle.

--Sean
 






Top