Taking a Jeepcation. Day 1
It’s an early start to fly out to Nevada and meet Randi’s sister and fiancé. While there we plan on riding trails in the Las Vegas area and Southwest Utah. I took the time to download some maps from Trailsoffroad and send them to Gaia GPS to navigate with. The flight was around 5 hours and had a cool start. Within minutes we flew over Richloam and Croom. Eventually over citrus and Chasawitzka. They look very different from up there. Eventually we reach 36,000 feet and settled in for the long haul. This was all before 10 am.
We landed and picked up the Jeep from Avis. From there the first stop was of course... In and Out burger.
This was a proper introduction to the Nevada area. Petroglyphs, wild horses, and a halo around the sun. Off in the distance a rain storm could be seen moving down the mountains. We made a decision to continue on. The end of this trail was through a wash and that could drastically change with rain. We pushed on. This trail moves around the back side of Vally of fire and took us a little over 3 hours. All this after the flight and still Valley of Fire to get to and see.
I thought we were goners... Day 2You know that sinking feeling when you make a decision that is leading you into trouble? When you are 4 hours down a easy trail and it unexpectedly turns into the kind of trail that is going to leave you stranded 40 miles out and up in the Nevada mountains. You know, when the stock Jeep you rented from the airport with street tires is being pushed beyond its limits. The kind of trail that makes you pray that you will just somehow make it to solid ground. Well that’s where we just were. The vehicle in front of us started down the next hill as the road began to get soft. With no warning the hard pack turned into mess. Mud started to fly off his tires, the tail end started to slide. As he slid to a stop almost in the ditch. We still had momentum and were able to get around and to the top. He backed down the road and gave it another shot. At the top we assessed the situation and what to do. The road had been graded recently and not packed down. We could not turn around nor could we even make it back up. We were forced to move forward. Praying for the next 5 miles we did our best to keep centered. Eventually we made it off the mountain and worked our way to a town called Caliente. Lunch at 4:15pm
A drive to a nearby mountain top radio tower, and the Cathedral gorge. Finally, to our evening destination and off to sleep.
Looking for wild horses in Western Nevada’s White Rock Range. Day 3Exploring the White Rock Range and Parsnip Peak Wilderness area.
We took the day to keep around in the Great Plains basin just north of springs Vally state park. Our goal was to find and photograph the wild horses that roam the area. Our guide Ike lives right next to the park and basin.
Volcanic tuff and sediment give Spring Valley State Park a beautiful light-gray, pink and white backdrop. Old homes dot the area from settlement day of the old west. Now farm land runs in the basin and cattle, deer and horses roam the land. Tumbleweeds blow down the road as you drive up and down rolling hills.
A small trail off to the side leads up to snow covered peaks. A vehicle with off road tires and good ground clearance helps. As we drove up to 6,000 feet you could see herds of horses just off the trail. Here wild mustangs are common.
We then drove back down to the main road and headed to a higher peak with a view to Utah. Passing small packs of snow along the way, we made it to the top of a peak around 7,500 feet. It was cold and windy, and that makes for mic issues. The last 150 feet were a rocky trail up a steep hill, but the Jeep did fine.
From there we went back down to the main road and headed north to an area filled with volcanic tuff rocks. The area looked like white lava that bubbled up. Almost an alien looking landscape.
When the finish line is just in sight... Day 4
Remember that old rule “never wheel alone” ? Today that rule came into play. We were deep in the Nevada desert searching for the ghost town of Delmar. In the late 1800s a couple found gold up in the mountains East of Alamo and west of Caliente. The gold was dry mined by grinding the quartz down and separating the gold. The dust caused many of the miners to die from Silicosis. The nick name was given widow maker. After navigating down the mountain the Explorer being driven by our future brother in law just died. We did stop and buy a tow strap early on just in case. Currently we are sitting on the side of Hwy 93 in the desert waiting for a tow truck... after it’s towed to a shop we will head down to Vegas and fly home.
The explorer has two fuel pumps. One failed and that caused the other to have to work harder. The fuel one of them is in the gas tank which had to be lowered. A costly bill.
The trip home. Day 5Wash the Jeep, return the Jeep, have breakfast at Denny’s.... now the fun part, go to the Vegas airport. South west was a mess and the line to the gates were crazy long. We travel with carry-ons. Now we sit and wait. We are over 3 hours early. NP I have a ton of writing to do.
You can’t take that water... you can buy some in the terminal... it’s only $5 for a bottle.
The flight... a little over 4 hours. Sitting in front of us a family with kids. Brothers, and like most brothers they were having some issues. Parents get call to front of plain, In their absence the youngest son slung his cup of ice at the whole row. Including across the isle to other passengers. Ahh the joys of flying. We finally land and make it home by midnight. A great vacation and a pleasure meeting a future brother-in-law.
Matt N Randy
Jeep Enthusiast, Pastor, Photographer, Artist, A husband and wife team that loves going out and seeing God's Creations.