Mojave Road and Death Valley, March 2011 | Page 9 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Mojave Road and Death Valley, March 2011

I don't have time to go through all my files yet, but here's a short clip from the trip.

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A few of my pics here: Road 3_21_11/

A few previews:


Ft Piute








Those pics are just freaking awesome Brian! The lava bubble looks like it would of be fun to crawl around in. :chug:

..I'm in Baker headed home...Left Badwater area this morning which leaves only 4 left on the trip till tues-wed when they will leave...

...I think I took like 700 pics and I'm not sure where to put them..:(

..I'll probably go thru them later and post some up..

...Got a story to tell or two, with one including a couple gals with 4 out of 5 tires cut and they were plugging them as they went like 47 miles from racetrack toward Stovepipe wells...:biggthump

Congrats on a great trip and some real "Serious Explorations":chug:

That looks like an awsome trip some day I will be able to do it. They fixed the ladder in the lava tube. Last time I was their the ladder was almost toast. same time O got stuck on one of the cinder cones. :rolleyes:


Looks like ya'll are having a great time there, when u get to DV and if you cross over to the Nevada side ghost town, (don't remember the name) don't forget to post a pic of the "Leggo Lady" !! What I remember about DV services was that the food was expensive but the beer was cheap!!

The town you are referring to is Rhyolite. We were there! I didn't get a picture of the "Lego Lady" - sorry. :(

The town you are referring to is Rhyolite. We were there! I didn't get a picture of the "Lego Lady" - sorry. :(

I was there with my oldest daughter when I saw that for the first time, I just thought, sure ain't much to do in this town!!! I think I still got a pic of it somewhere

Brian - those are some great pictures. Makes me miss it - except for the cold!

T-Bars! Are you going to share that story of the girls or what? :p What happened?

..I had a whole report I wanted to post but I've been waiting to find out what's going on with my zip file uploads and other picture album problems..:(

...Got a story to tell or two, with one including a couple gals with 4 out of 5 tires cut and they were plugging them as they went like 47 miles from racetrack toward Stovepipe wells...:biggthump

..This was taken when we rolled up on the gals...The drivers front tire was the only one that wasn't cut..:(

..I followed them probably 5-10 miles and had to replug their front pass tire a couple different times...They had some type of stop leak they had used and it was working against the repairs...The plugs were actually blowing out as they would not grip and the stop leak was working like a highly slippery soap..:thumbdwn:

...I had just got their tire plugged and holding air again (25#) and they got about 200' when the tow truck that their husbands went after hours ago finally showed up..

...We actually ran into that tow truck driver later in the day at Scotty's Castle...He was there to extricate a honda suv vehicle which somehow went off the road and broke it's front axle and wheel..No one could figure out how it happened but I saw the Ranger out in the field giving them a ticket on they way back from helping the gals..

..Oh yea, the gals..Thankful their tow truck showed up posed for a picture with their plugs and tools they were using..

..One of the husband's also posed with what they had to fill their tires up with..Yes, it is a hand pump...Can you imagine plugging 4 out of 5 of your tires and filling them up with a hand pump for miles...This is why they were on day 2 of getting back to town..

...Right after I took that picture I noticed their pass rear wheel..They also broke a lug off during this adventure..

..And a couple more scenery shots..:D




..And a few more stories for later..:D

..When the snow storm was coming in hard and fast and the GPS units went out the window..

..And when we picked up Khiori from the local jail for a another night of D&D..:p:

That's crazy about those tires and plugs, T-Bars! I can't imagine pumping by hand but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. They'll have memories of that trip for some time haha.

I look forward to reading your trip report. *being patient - where'd I put my halo??*

(oh and LOL @ the last shot :D )

..Actually, I'm really waiting for ScottB to post up seeing how this was his planned trip..:scratch: I'm sure he should post up soon but he's been busy shopping Motor/trans info and parts for his 93 Ranger..:hammer:

..In the meantime, one of the guys who met up with us from EP in Death Valley that is from Colorado, started a write up..For your viewing pleasure..:D

Fact: There were four Rangers throughout this trip and for a few hundred miles, it was only the four Rangers on this trip. Two from Cali, one from Georgia, and one from New York..;)

..and they all made it home safe and sound..:biggthump

I've been going through my pictures (almost 1000 of them!)...

I was hoping to do my write-up this past weekend, but... At least I have all my gear from the trip cleaned and put away!

Tbars - post up pictures and a write-up if you want (don't have to wait for me!)

...Nope..I'm waiting for you..:p:

..Actually, I am busy day and night for the next week or so but if I get some free moments I'll go ahead and post more in this thread..;)

...A little birdie told me someone is currently working on their write up..:D

Desert Expedition 2011 - Part 1

Desert Expedition 2011

Part 1 – Bullhead City to Barstow via The Mojave Road

Wow! What a trip! 5347 miles, 986 photographs, and memories to last a lifetime.

The expedition started on a dreary Monday morning, after an uneventful 2 1/3 day drive across the country to Bullhead City, Arizona. There, I met my Dad, Ted (Tbars4) and Harley (his dog.) We stocked up on provisions at the local grocery store, snapped a few pictures, then headed to the Avi Casino, the official meeting place for this adventure.


At the casino, we met up with Brian (Brian1) and his Dad, Sean (Ritsui) and Rachael (Khiori), and Michael (mjmcdowell). My Dad and I have wheeled with Brian and his Dad several times before (in Colorado). Ted also knew Brian, as well as Sean and Rachael. The only contact any us of had with Michael was on Expedition Portal. He drove all the way to California from New York – without knowing any of us! Was he in for a surprise!


After hellos, introductions and few quick pictures, we were off! The adventure had begun!

First stop – air down. Even though I was the one who put this expedition together, I didn’t feel the need to be the trail leader for the entire trip. Seeing as Brian had run The Mojave Road last year (and I hadn’t run it since 1988) and had the map with waypoints in his GPS, I suggested he lead. I brought up the rear (which was great, as I could stop and take as many pictures as I wanted!)


Not too long after the start of the Road, we stopped to see some petroglyphs. It is amazing to me that these markings on the rocks have withstood the test of time, and remained intact for all these years. I must say, it was/is a very interesting way to communicate.






As we went on down the road, I stopped many times, taking pictures, and
absorbing the vastness of it all. Fortunately, the clouds from the morning had broken up, and we had a beautiful blue sky with white, puffy clouds.



I had to stop for a flex shot…


Next stop was Fort Piute, built in 1867. While only used for six months, it was very well constructed. Its walls remained standing into the 1930s.




Next was the school bus and penny can.



In 2008, a monument was erected in remembrance of the Nevada Southern Railway. Once again, we were reminded of the hard times/work of 100 years ago.


Late in the afternoon, as were debating about where to camp for the night, the weather changed – significantly. The wind picked up speed, and lost temperature. It even acquired some moisture – in the form of snowflakes! For about 20 minutes, we got snowed on by these huge snowflakes. Even though the snow melted on contact with the ground, the cold temperature stayed.



We made camp in a clearing, in front of an old, stone house. Seeing as the building had a fence around it, no one ventured inside. The wind slowed, allowing us to set up camp and eat dinner. It was still cold, but I set up my (brand new, first time use) shower shelter. Not sure if I was going to take a shower, it was also good for the portable toilet.


Dinner was finished as the sun was setting. The night sky brought with it colder temperatures. Everyone crawled in their sleeping bags – no stories around the fire tonight.

I have owned my truck for 17 years, and it has carried the camper shell for 11 years – but I have never slept in it. I have always used a tent. On this trip, I had my tent, but planned to sleep in the truck on the new sleeping platform I just built. So, first night sleeping in the truck, and it’s 30 degrees outside! (Actually, it was probably warmer in the truck than in a tent.)

The wind blew most of the night. I woke up around 2:00 in the morning, to a really strong wind. I thought I should check on our gear outside the truck – it was windy enough, that I was concerned. Good thing I looked! The shower enclosure was lying on its side – the wind blew hard enough to pull the stakes out of the ground. Now the realization hits that I have to go outside, disassemble it, and put it in the truck – or, it will probably be blown across the desert floor. Did I mention it was cold outside – and I was nice and warm in my sleeping bag?

Once I got dressed and out of the truck, it wasn’t that bad outside. The wind had slowed, and there were absolutely no clouds in the sky. It was a beautiful, clear, crisp night sky. Couldn’t ask for anything better.

Here’s a view of “home”, the morning after the first night. It’s actually roomier than it looks.



After a quick breakfast, we headed out. First stop was Rock Spring. We found some petroglyphs there, too. One neat thing about this place, in the Mojave Road Guide, there is a picture of Rock Spring from 1863 or 1864. The rocks are the same, but the level of the wash is different.






Government Holes was the next stopping point on the Road. A nice watering hole – unfortunately, the building where the gunfight on November 8, 1925 took place was no longer there.






We turned south at Kelso-Cima Road, to see Kelso Depot. It has been recently renovated, and has a Ranger, a movie theater, a lunch counter and small museum and gift shop. (Rumor had it there were movie stars in our group – but none of them were in the movie.) Needless to say, we took advantage of all the depot had to offer. And, had the added opportunity to see a Union Pacific train pull into and depart the depot.




Back on the road, the next stop was Marl Springs. Originally a watering hole, there is one arrastra remaining from the early days of gold processing. More recently, cattle were raised and watered here.








Shortly after Marl Springs, we came to the mailbox. We all signed the book, and took the requisite pictures.


Our second evening’s camp was just after Aiken Cinder Mine Road. Off to the side of the Road, we settled in a nice clearing. Since the weather was much nicer than the previous night, I decided to cook – pizza! Sausage and mushroom pizza, to be exact. It took a long time, but was pretty good. Definitely not your average trail/camp food.



Next morning, we awoke to a beautiful sunrise (complete with the moon!) It looked to be another wonderful day.


Our first stop of the day was at the lava tube. We had to backtrack a short distance to ACM Road, but the detour was well worth it.

A lava tube is an opening in an old lava flow. This particular one is large enough to walk into. (We actually used a ladder to climb down into the “deep” end.) It was very interesting – we could see what appeared to be three layers of lava. The assumption is we were seeing the remains of three separate eruptions – each many years apart.




While at the lava tube, we met a guy from NASA. He explained that NASA is studying lava tubes on Earth to determine if any exist on Mars. The idea behind this is to use a tube as shelter for the astronauts. It will probably be easier and faster to convert an underground shelter than to erect one on the planet’s surface.

After our impromptu science lesson, we meandered across the desert to Soda Lake. We stopped just before crossing the lake to ponder. The big question was whether or not we should cross the lake. It looked dry. After some bargaining, the decision was made for Ted to lead and all of us to stay close together. (I wasn’t too sure about this, but being in the back, I figured I wouldn’t be the one getting stuck!)



As soon as we started across the lake bed, the chatter on the CB picked up – “Is it dry?”, “It’s good and dry”, “Uh-oh”. The caravan stopped. More discussion, then we continued. “How is it?” “Getting soft.” We stopped again. More discussion. This time, we turned around.



Before heading up to Baker and the interstate, to bypass Soda Lake, we stopped at the old Green Rock Mill and Little Cowhole Mountain. A great spot for pictures. Unfortunately, the corral and windmill complex that once stood here have been removed by the NPS.




Once we hit the blacktop, we said goodbye to Brian and his Dad. They headed off to New Mexico, and we went to Baker, where we fueled up, had lunch and visited the world’s largest thermometer.


Heading south on Interstate 15, we exited onto Zzyzx Road, to visit the Zzyzx Resort. In its heyday, I think it was quite a place. Today, (after the Government stole it from the Springers) the facility is the California Desert Studies Consortium, used by several colleges and universities from the California State system and NASA. The buildings are still standing, but the landscape is in desperate need of help.




It was getting late when we departed Zzyzx, and Sean wanted to see the caves in Afton Canyon. Instead of exiting I-15 on Basin Road to get to the Mojave Road, we continued on to Dunn Road (Afton Canyon Campground), taking that to the Mojave Road. Once there, we headed west, past Afton Canyon Campground, and parked by the railroad bridge near The Caves.


The Caves looked to be approximately ½ mile up the canyon. The bottom of the canyon, a wash, was overgrown with scrub brush. There appeared to be a trail along the canyon’s west wall, so we started up it. About half way to the caves, the trail became very rugged and virtually non-existent. That, coupled with rain in the air and impending darkness, caused us to abandon the quest. Next time.



From here, we headed back to the interstate, then west to Barstow for dinner, a shower, and a place to sleep. The original plan called for performing some work/maintenance on the truck – however, we were unable to work on any trucks due to the rain.

Desert Expedition 2011 - Part 2

Coming Soon

Desert Expedition 2011 - Part 3

Coming Soon

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..I was figuring you had gotten injured in your basement and I was going to have to call for help from your Sheriff to see if you were alright..:p:

..I am going to go thru some pics tonight and add them to try and correspond with what days you are posting..;)