NOTES FROM THE ROAD


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Back to Las Vegas …


Ending the Roadtrip..


29 January 2018: Marathon drive day out of the desert and back to Las Vegas to catch a late night flight ending this latest roadtrip through the southwest. Has been an amazing journey with some great new discoveries mixed in with good fun in familiar places. Already looking forward to the next desert outing…



Recovery in the dunes …


Driving and recovering…


28 January 2018: The final day of the Barlow Adventures training event took us back to the big dunes for some more driving and navigating to a point simulations with an unplanned added “bonus” lesson in a complex recovery deep in the big dunes…



Driving and navigating …


Making our way through the dunes…


27 January 2018: Day two of the Barlow Adventures dune driving training event gave us a solid day of driving and navigation in different sections of the dunes allowing us to get comfortable with the sand. Plenty of opportunities to play and grow our skills…



Back to the dunes…


Imperial Sand Dunes for the weekend…


26 January 2018: Started the weekend off right with a quick visit to the overlook before heading into the dunes to join the Barlow Adventures training event. The view from this point is always incredible and reminds us how humbling the dunes can be in all their vastness…



Desert sunset …


Around the Cargo Muchachos…


25 January 2018: Spent the afternoon chasing imaginary checkpoints in the Cargo Muchacho area and caught a beautiful sunset on the way out…



Heading towards Picacho …


The chocolate mountains…


24 January 2018: Got out into the desert to practice some nav skills in an unfamiliar area between the Chocolate mountains and the Cargo Muchacho mountains. It was a great day to take it slow and focus on distinguishing individual mountain peaks in a chain…



Yuma Fields…


Green in the desert…


23 January 2018: Always find it somewhat contradictory to see such lush green farmland in the middle of the desert and this trip has followed the Colorado river and its dams to this unlikely place for agriculture — acres and acres of rich farmland made possibly only by the system of dams and canals that control the water’s flow…



On the Road to Yuma…


Heading south…


22 January 2018: Back on the highway today heading south towards Yuma as the late afternoon sun begins to go down, casting its magical spell over the desert. A beautiful day with a splendid sunset and golden skies…



Parker: Swansea Townsite…


Ghosttowning in mining country…


21 January 2018: An easy trail today into the remote backcountry where the remains of an old mining town are preserved between a series of Jeep trails into the wilderness. Though the site is well marked and protected, it’s remoteness makes it feel like a new discovery…



Parker: Buckskin Mountain…


The backway to The Desert Bar…


20 January 2018: A fun time discovering a new corner of the Arizona desert today outside Parker AZ, where a great trail goes to a little bar in the middle of nowhere with live music and a big crowd on weekends. Made a stop there after driving the trail, but then headed off to camp someplace quieter…



A Brief Stop in Sedona…


And a quick run on Broken Arrow…


19 January 2018: In Sedona for less than 24 hours, but had to make time to hit a favorite, the iconic Broken Arrow trail. Was a great day to be on the red rock and fun to revisit familiar territory before heading off for someplace completely new…



Back on Route 66 …


A moment on the Mother Road…


18 January 2018: Headed from Laughlin NV to Sedona AZ and decided to take an older Route 66 alignment for part of the way. Was a great journey on the “slow road” with a few nostalgia stops en route before darkness hit. At Hackberry it seemed like the donkeys came out to pose in the scene, though they were probably just curious …



Desert Oddities …


The Laughlin Labyrinths…


17 January 2018: One of the odd attractions in a patch of desert not far from the casinos is a series of stone labyrinths set up in the middle of nowhere. It is unclear who built them or why, and there is no official website or explanation, but they are there and their presence encourages visitors to walk along the geometric patterns in a bizarre performance of hidden choreography …



Waypoint: Laughlin Nevada …


A pause on the Nevada-Arizona border…


16 January 2018: Taking a brief pause in the town of Laughlin NV, on the edge of the state line between Nevada and Arizona. The border is defined by the Colorado river, which also shaped the town’s character and history. Mining and gambling have left their legacy here, and the riverfront casinos promote that tradition…



Waypoint: Spirit Mountain Wilderness …


A walk on sacred ground…


15 January 2018: Moved south into the Spirit Mountain wilderness today. The mountains here hold many areas of importance to local native american communities in addition to Spirit Mountain itself. Took the time out for a short hike to see some petroglyphs at Grapevine Canyon and ponder their messages from the past …



Waypoint: Pinto Valley Wilderness …


A Redstone morning…


14 January 2018: Working on navigation today in the Redstone area of the Pinto Valley Wilderness where some beautiful red rock formations make for some great play time. Lots of fun climbing and scrambling around the rocks while taking the time to improve the accuracy of triangulation skills …



Back in the Desert…


Exploring around Nevada…


13 January 2018: Checking out an unfamiliar area around the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada for the first day of what should be a very interesting roadtrip across the southwestern deserts …



Got the Maps…


Preparing for departure..


12 January 2018: Headng west, and back to the desert for a few weeks of exploration and training. The journey will cover quite a lot of ground and requires 18 different 1 to 100k maps. The plan is to venture into a few new locations while also spending time in some favorite spots …


PREVIOUS NOTES FROM THE ROAD >


THIS MONTH:

Headed back to the deserts of the southwest for some more fun in the sun and sand…

Advanced sand dune training with Barlow Adventures at the Imperial Sand Dunes in southern California. This three day driving and navigation program focuses on moving safely and effectively through large dunefields. Skills-building exercises are intended to improve pace, line choice and vehicle control, as well as developing precision map and compass navigation technique…


COMING UP SOON:

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Heading out with the Offroad Consulting group to check out some brand new trails in an area of Pennsylvania’s coal country that will soon be opened up for recreational wheeling opportunities, expanding that area’s off-road offerings…


Headed back to Paris to connect with friends and favorite places and lay some groundwork for upcoming projects…

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Focusing on the logistics and routes for the next Sahara segment…


Teaching navigational skills and talking about international overlanding at the second annual Wheelers Overland Adventure, May 17-20 at Anthracite Offroad Adventure Area (AOAA) in eastern Pennsylvania. The four-day overland camping and wheeling event is sponsored by Quadratec and Offroad Consulting, and brings together a diverse group of overlanders for trail runs, skills instruction, and networking opportunities in a festival atmosphere with onsite camping and optional activities the whole family can enjoy……


THE IMPERIAL SAND DUNES

The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, located in the southeast corner of California, is the largest mass of sand dunes in the state. Formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, the dune system extends for more than 40 miles in a band averaging 5 miles wide (map). Widely known as “Glamis” it is an off-road paradise, with an extensive open area for OHV use.


THE CARGO MUCHACHOS
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The Cargo Muchacho Mountains are located in southern California near the border with Arizona and Mexico. The range runs in a northwest-southeasterly direction, southeast of the Imperial Valley and northwest of the Colorado River not far from Yuma, AZ. They are south and southeast of the Chocolate Mountains and east of the Algodones Dunes. The area is home to the American Girl Mine, and the Golden Bee and Cargo mines, as well as the ruins of some old mining towns. According to DesertUSA, the discovery of gold in the Cargo Muchacho Mining District can be credited to a stray mule. A California-bound wagon train was camped near the mountains in 1862, when the mule wandered off into the foothills. A sharp-eyed man saw something that looked like a golden nugget when he found the mule, and picked it up on the spot. Over the years, there were several mines operating in the area, and they were considered among the most hazardous in the Southwest. Cave-ins and fires were common. Living conditions were deplorable, particularly in summer, and when the mines closed the town–originally known as Ogilby and Hedges, then later called Tumco–was abandoned. The site, with just a few ruins and some very dangerous mine shafts that drop a 1,000 feet or more, is now managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).


HISTORY: YUMA, ARIZONA

On the bank of the Colorado River, Yuma is tucked in Arizona’s southwest corner, and shares borders with Mexico and California. Unique geography created the Yuma Crossing and shaped the history of the community and the entire Southwest. Two outcroppings of granite that held their place against the Colorado river’s might and squeezed it into a narrower channel made it possible to cross the river here. The location was strategically important, and the first european explorers in the area noted it as a potential site for settlement in 1540. However, it was the gold rush of 1849 that put Yuma on the map for most Americans. Thousands of fortune hunters headed west, seeking the quickest way to reach California, and in one year, more than 60,000 travelers passed through Yuma to the rope ferry across the Colorado. Reflecting the town’s new importance, the U.S. Army in 1852 established Fort Yuma on Indian Hill, overlooking the strategic crossing…


ABOUT THE DESERT BAR

The “Nellie E Saloon”, more popularly refered to as the Desert Bar is built on land that was once an old mining camp in the Buckskin Mountains outside Parker, AZ. The name “Nellie E” originates from the old mining claim. The bar was completed in 1988 and is unique in many ways. It has windows that are old glass refrigerator doors, the bar stools are made of steel and they sway from side to side. The top of the bar is brass and the ceiling is made of stamped tin purchased from a factory in Missouri. The saloon is powered by solar energy. There is live music on weekends from October through March, depending on the weather…


PARKER, ARIZONA

Founded in 1908, the town was named after Ely Parker, the first Native American commissioner for the U.S. government. However, the town’s origins date to the mid-1800s when a site, known as Parker’s Landing was established on the Colorado river as the place to land and pick up cargo and personnel for the Indian Agency and the U. S. Army detachment that was stationed there. The modern town is divided into two non-contiguous sections; the northern section consists of the original town and is located in the Colorado River Indian reservation and the southern section consists of a larger, roughly rectangular section of largely undeveloped territory. With a 16-mile stretch of the Colorado River as a beach playground, the Parker Strip has become a recreational destination ..


BROKEN ARROW JEEP TRAIL

The Broken Arrow Trail, easily reached just off Hwy 179 on the south side of Sedona, is a very popular jeep track an hiking trail, climbing gently up a wide valley, lined with amazing red rock formations that tower into the sky. It ends at Chicken point, a low pass which has good views south towards Oak Creek village, and north to Sedona and the high mountains beyond. Though heavily trafficked the trail offers a great introduction to Sedona’s famous red rock scenery, with a few optional fun obstacles along the way. The highlight of the drive is the “Staircase,” a steep and somewhat intimidating downhill drive over rock “steps” which is always exciting…


SEDONA, ARIZONA
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Number one on USA Weekend’s “Most Beautiful Places in America list,” Sedona, AZ is surrounded by 1.8 million acres of national forest land, with great jeep trails that wind in and out of a rugged landscape defined by pinnacles, spires, buttes and domes. …


ROUTE 66

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U.S. Highway 66 — popularly known as Route 66 or the Mother Road — holds a special place in American consciousness and evokes images of simpler times, mom and pop businesses, and the icons of a mobile nation on the road. Route 66 embodies a complex, rich history that goes well beyond any chronicle of the road itself. As an artery of transportation, an agent of social transformation, and a remnant of America’s past, it stretches 2,400 miles across two-thirds of the continent. Today, more than 85% of the original alignments of Route 66 are drivable. Flanked by historic buildings and diverse cultural resources, Route 66 slices across the continent, revealing the process of historical change that transformed the lives of people, their communities, and the nation. This fabled highway’s multiple alignments connect not only the East and the West, but also the past and the present…


ABOUT LAUGHLIN, NEVADA


90 miles south of Las Vegas, Laughlin is located in the far southern tip of Nevada. The townsite along the Colorado River, where Nevada, California, and Arizona meet, was established in the 1940s as South Pointe and consisted of a motel and bar that catered to gold and silver miners, construction workers building Davis Dam, and fishing enthusiasts. In the 1950s, construction workers left, and the town all but disappeared. Then, in 1964, Don Laughlin, who operated the 101 Club in Las Vegas, purchased the land, and opened the Riverside Resort. More casinos soon followed and the town was bustling, with shuttle boats transporting customers from the Arizona side of the river to Laughlin’s resorts and back. Today there are nine hotel/casinos and the city attracts around 2 million visitors annually…


SPIRIT MOUNTAIN


Spirit Mountain, also known as Newberry Peak, is part of the Newberry Mountains in Nevada and the summit is the highest point in the Spirit Mountain Wilderness. The wilderness area is named for the imposing monolith of white granite that is an important site for native peoples of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. Yuman and Mojave people believe all life began on this mountain, which is visible for miles from Bullhead City in Arizona, and Laughlin, Cal-Nev-Ari, and Searchlight in Nevada. The Newberry Mountains rise to an elevation of about 5,600 feet and the area is strewn with granite boulders and steep canyons, with gentle bajadas and more rounded hills to the southeast…


PINTO VALLEY WILDERNESS


The Pinto Valley Wilderness consists of the upper canyons of three major washes which drain from the edge of a plateau east toward Lake Mead. The canyons are rugged. Elevations range from 2,700 feet along the southeast side to a 4,700 foot ridge on the northern end. Low mountain brush species vegetate the land. Scenic views of Iceberg Canyon and the lower reaches of the Grand Canyon are visible from here. The wilderness measures 3.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. Known water sources are Cottonwood Spring and Sandstone Spring. In the south the volcanic Black Mountains border Lake Mead and the north is defined by titled carbonate ridges with sandstone outcrops. Between them are gypsum mud hills which provide evidence of ancient lakes. The area known as “Redstone” is known for the remains of ancient petrified sand dunes which have eroded into a series of strangely shaped formations. This island of giant red rocks is a great place to explore and there is a short well marked hiking trail as well as a more difficult-to-navigate “discovery loop“…


ABOUT LAKE MEAD NRA

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Lake Meade National Recreation Area encompasses 1.5 million acres of mountains, canyons, valleys and two vast lakes, straddling the Nevada-Arizona border. It also includes nine separate wilderness areas. Nine developed areas are spread along the shores of the lakes and there are plenty of opportunities to explore the backcountry, including 800 miles of dirt roads and Jeep trails presenting drivers with a variety of access and challenges. More than 6 million people visit the recreation area each year, making it the sixth most-visited unit of the National Park System. Created by Act of Congress in 1964 as the nation’s first national recreation area, Lake Mead NRA stretches along nearly 140 miles of the old Colorado River channel between Nevada and Arizona. It includes both Lake Mead, created by Hoover Dam, and Lake Mohave, created by Davis Dam. Three of America’s four desert ecosystems—the Mojave, the Great Basin and the Sonoran Deserts—meet in Lake Mead NRA. As a result, this seemingly barren area contains a surprising variety of plants and animals, some of which may be found nowhere else in the world. Lake Mead is home to desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountains lions, coyotes, kit fox, bobcat, ringtail cat, desert tortoise, numerous lizards and snakes, and a wealth of bird species. Archeological and historical sites and remnants are evidence of 12,000 to 13,000 years of human occupation. The park’s namesake, Lake Mead, is the largest reservoir in the United States in terms of water capacity, providing water to nearly 20 million people in the states of Arizona, California, and Nevada. However, the lake has not reached full capacity since 1983 due to a combination of drought and increased water demand …



Yuma
63°
clear sky
humidity: 27%
wind: 3mph SW
H 63 • L 63
72°
Fri
82°
Sat
84°
Sun
Weather from OpenWeatherMap

Nesconset | Las Vegas | Laughlin | Sedona | Parker | Yuma | Glamis



MORE NOTES FROM THE ROAD:
December – East Coast Roadtrip
16-30 November – Paris
1-15 November – Florida
October – Rausch Creek
18-30 September – Kyrgyzstan
1-17 September – Rebelle U
15-31 August – Arizona
8-14 August – TFT9
1-7 August – Serbia
July – NY and Serbia
June – NY and Paris
May – Wheelers Overland
22-30 April – Algeria
15-21 April – Algeria
8-14 April – Algeria
1-7 April – AOAA
March – Long Island
February – Sand dunes and Paris
January – El Camino del Diablo and more
December – Roadtrip
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