Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Carols - Not So Been There, Done That

What do you do when you've already got the T-shirt? Been there–done that is how the younger generation puts it. What about Christmas carols? We've all heard them so much and for so long — who hasn't got them memorized… well pretty much?

Take a look/listen to these TEN carols that I've found on the web – on TEN different instruments – in TEN different arrangements. All of them take an original Christmas carol and make it fresh and new for the season… with or without the snow! Yo, ho ho!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ultimate Offroad: Santa

If either you or your children occasionally watch the NASA channel (and who doesn't) you undoutedly have seen the giant electronic map, taking up one whole wall in the Mission Control room, which displays the earth, the Space Shuttle orbits and the current position of the Space Shuttle and Space Station at any given time. In short… a huge "Google Earth" trail map!

And you probably know that on Christmas and Thanksgiving the little symbol's representing the Space Shuttle and Station are substituted for icons of Santa's sleigh and a Turkey respectively. Radar and Satellite tracking data are fed into NASA computers and the exact positions of any satellite can be displayed to the second! Better than most of our GPS units we take along to track our rides.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to actually follow along the Shuttle's path over the earth? Or better yet – even be able to track and plot the track the "Old Guy" takes Christmas Eve? Is anyone tracking him? Does he show up on radar… or whatever? Do we still have any records of his flights?

Well, yes, Virginia… the answer is YES to all of those questions. [In fact, this is a post where I'd appreciate it if you would make an effort to forward this link to families you know who could use the information. Copy and paste this link into an email   --> http://OffroadingHome.com <--   the post will be left here through christmas so you can link to it.]

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Trail 1: Gold Butte Backcountry Byway and Mine

Despite a couple of rain and show storms, the 2010-11 Winter riding season is underway around Mesquite Nevada. Offroading Home accompanied the Kokopelli ATV club on its second ride this season (didn't want to brave their first ride in the snow).

There were several 'new' members along to make taking one of the "old standard rides" – the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway – very interesting and enjoyable, even when a sticky automatic-choke valve requred towing and cut the ride a tiny bit short.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Trail 1: Byway/Treasure Hawk.]

Whitney Junction
Even though we had eight or nine trailers, we were able to swing around the newly environmentalist-inflicted, railroad-tie fenced, control-those-nasty-offroaders parking lot they've landscaped the desert with now at Whitney Junction and still all fit in. That was most assuredly because we all arrived fairly close together and had the same goal as we swung around and parked properly. Surprised that the environmentalist scheme to landscape didn't fit in with what the area is actually used for? I'm not. Who's gonna break it to the campers that their spot is actually supposed to be a parking lot?

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Finally Open - Bridge at Hoover Dam

Because the mountains were full to the foothills with the almost irrational desert snowstorm, Gordon and I took a ride to see what Bass Pro had on their shelves this Yuletide season which was different from last year – not, much. At least from what we could see.

That's not to say that what they had wasn't incredible – just not new. In fact they are stocked to the rafters as the Las Vegas Valley's premiere "everything sports" store. A good visit, especially for Gordon who found some things that he couldn't get up in the mountains of Wyoming.

With a half day still on the clock, we decided to go check the rumor that the hapless bridge over Black Canyon at Hoover Dam was actually completed – finally, after being knocked down at least once during construction by the canyon's fairly common "breezes," which can pull the enamel off your teeth.

Ever since 9-11, and the fact that it was discovered that Hoover Dam was on some kind of "target" list, the drive from Boulder City over the dam has been something out of Nightmare on Elm Street. The auto equivalent of pat-downs both coming and going, coupled with the ever-present brain-dead looky-loo's and heavy equipment, brought traffic over the dam to a stand-still. Any time of the day or night!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gold Butte Trail Monitoring

Offroading Home met with an intrepid group of offroaders who have just quietly and behind the scenes been going about the business of monitoring trail usage in the Bunkerville/Gold Butte riding area.

Probably few of us know that the BLM recruits cooperation from clubs and individuals who can ride the trails taking GPS readings and noting things like wash-outs, land-slides and other trail damage as well as noting usage.

A few members of the Trails and Dunes club from Las Vegas rode the West Bunkerville Flats area today monitoring trails along Nickle Creek Ravine and into the Old Mine area being trained on how to use the BLMs GPS units and what types of forms are necessary to document "hazards and incidents" for the BLM.

Why on earth would an offroad club want to monitor trails for the BLM? Well, there are many reasons.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Maps To Go Offroad By

"Don't leave home without one" is a great idea – especially if you are talking about a map. I've even had a person tell me that he wasn't lost, he just wasn't on the map for a few hours.

Offroading Home has posted previously about the where's and why-fore's of mapping, in fact several times. You may remember that not too long ago, I completed an entire "101" series on the subject:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

GEO-tography: Minimalism

If you spend any time at all navigating around the web you will undoubtedly see that it is highly graphically oriented. And unless I miss my guess you will, on occasion, stumble onto a photograph which impresses you as being exceedingly fine. You may bookmark it so you can look at it again, or you may even get an idea how to take one like it of your own for your favorite offroad spot.

Sometimes, it's sort of like watching a movie – you may not be able to write a screenplay or know how to direct a film but you do know what a good film looks like and what plots seem hokey, even if you can't put it into words. Such is the case with the set of GEO-tographs that I've included below. Of course they are in focus, have good color and interesting content; but, they also have something else – lack of other things to go wrong!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Central - Part 4

Even though Moab isn't in either of its surrounding "national areas," it takes next to zero amount of "make-up" to change this area of the desert into a Disney-worthy spectacular extravaganza. They don't call this Canyonlands for nothing!

And even though it doesn't take much to turn the area from a peaceful ride into a life-threatening challange (think rain, flash floods and landslides) more and more of the "get-away-from-it-all" population is landing in this Coppola-esq city – some, even in the blistering summer.

As Offroading Home readers know, we have begun digitizing the trails found in Charles Wells' book "Moab, Ut Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" and this is the fourth and final post about those ATV and SUV trails in the central area whose base-camp is the town of Moab. Two other riding areas remain for digitizing into maps; but, we thought that you would rather see them as each area is finished rather than waiting until the whole map is done.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home on the Utah tab under the file name: "UtahMoabTrailsystem.kmz".]

Friday, November 26, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Central - Part 3

If you've been following along with these series of posts about the new "Moab Trail System" maps, you've got to be tired of exclaiming "wow!" There is some incredible country "down south."

And the most interesting thing is that many "tourist types" [you know – see the world from your car window] drive right by most of it not having a clue that there's anything there. In all fairness, when you look at the land from road level it does look kinda flat and non-descript. But that's because the much of the terrain is: under ground (i.e. below surface level.)

And that's precisely where many of the offroaders in the area have their most fun – finding a way down to the river along the ridges in the cliffs and down the washes. Erosion is what has made the Moab area, not tectonics like in much of the rest of the country.

Of the twenty trails mentioned in the book "Moab, Ut Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" by Charles Wells" as being in the Central riding area, a full 14 are rated "difficult" and require modified vehicles.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home under the "Utah" tab and in the file "UtahMoabTrailsystem.kmz".]

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Central - Part 2

This is the second of four posts describing the trails in the central riding area described in the book "Moab, UT Backroads and 4-Wheel Drive Trails" by Charles A. Wells. Like the majority of riders into the Moab area – Wells is merely a "visitor"; but, he's done it a lot!

Offroading Home is digitizing GPS tracks for the trails he describes in the book. The fifteen trails in the Northwest area were published previously and now we are working on the 20 trails in the Central area, the majority of which are considered "difficult." Wells rode the trails in his Jeep (and therefore "street legal") but many should be rideable in an ATV with a bit of pre-planning.

  [The portion of the map for the "Central" riding area of the system is complete and ready for download over at the Offroading Home web site, under the Utah tab and entitled, of all things: "UtahMoabTrailSystem.kmz".]

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mo-vember

This year at the rodeo we heard all about the "tough enough to wear pink" campaign which supported women's breast cancer awareness month in October. It's only now that I've learned about MOvember – too late to participate in the growing, but not to to late to publish about.

The term "Mo" is the slang word around the english speaking world, especially Australia (and perhaps elsewhere as well), for moustache; and November is, well, November.   Put the two together and you've got: MO-vember, the month where there is a growing world-wide initiative to generate similar awareness for a plight of men: Prostate Cancer.   A manly approach to publicizing a manly problem using a "stache" instead of a froofy ribbon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Central - Part 1

Three previous posts explained that we are digitizing trails in the Moab Utah area into a master map which will serve as a companion to the book: Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails. The Northwest and Arches section was completed and received heavy amounts of downloads in its first week of offering.

Now, the portion of the map for the "Central" riding area of the system is complete and ready for download over at the Offroading Home web site, under the Utah tab and entitled, of all things: "UtahMoabTrailSystem.kmz". As usual, it's a Google Earth file and requires the program in order to be utilized. You may want to run on over there and load the file while we explain some of the trails – I'll wait.

There are twenty trails in this central riding area, immediately adjacent to Moab, which will be covered in four posts. If the Northeast section was predominantly "easy" trails, then the trails in this area are mostly for the experienced rider and modified rigs – most are really "hard"!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tribute to Utah

Having lived in several areas of California, I am well acquainted with the vagaries of "riding the waves" or "surfing" as they call it.   A bit similar to snow skiing for me, surfing is called "volitional" by most people; but, I swear that the very last actual "choice" you make is to flop yourself down on the board and start paddling toward Hawaii.   From that point on much more happens "TO" you than "BECAUSE OF" you until your deluged body spews out sodden and trembling upon the turf.

Similarly, my experience with skiing is indistinguishably congruent, except for the sole proviso that it doesn't start at sea level.   They used to call it: "Snow surfing," so I wasn't much surprised to experience that the activities, skills required and outcomes were pretty much identical.   AND, after this past week, I now also much better understand why they call purusing the Internet – SURFING THE NET.

The odyssey began simply enough with me "Googling" – Utah, merely to see if anyone else had written a blog about the state recently.   There were 90 MILLION one hundred thousand results.   So large that Google had to add the disclaimer "about."   For grins, I thought I'd like to see the last item on the list, but as it turns out Google won't do that.   There is no "last" button, and when you try to do it manually, by clicking from page to page, it stops at about 700.

Friday, November 12, 2010

GEO-tography: Mountains

Black, white, red, blue, brown, rocky, smokey or superstitious – the one thing they all have in common is: they're mountains!

Continuing our series of posts about GEOtography, today we have a collection of photographs that we found on the web about mountains of all sizes, shapes and colors.

Despite their ubiquity around the globe, these photos pretty much tell the tale that: mountains are usually, really off-road.
[Remember, like always, these are full photographs so be patient while they load.]

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Northwest - Part 3

My guess is that these posts about the Moab Trail System Map which Offroading Home has produced will go on to become one of the all-time most downloaded before this is done.   From the looks of my "site analytics" either Google has finally found us OR there are an awfully lot of you who are planning a trip to Moab Utah in the next few weeks!

This is the third (of three) posts about the fifteen trails in the Northwest Moab area of those listed in "Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" by Charles Wells and includes those around the Secret Spire and Mineral Point section.   There are three other areas listed in the book which are under construction; but, this one being done, I felt like y'all would like to see it now and from the looks of things it was fairly timely.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home on the "Utah" tab.]

You should be aware that Wells prepared his book of trails from the back of an SUV and a Jeep so they might not be directly transferable to ATV rides as they stand.   Looking at the satellite image however, there are definitely alternate trailheads for these trails which avoid paved roads.   Check with local shops for better details when you get down there – then please let us know if we need to change anything.   AND please turn on your GPS so you can send us your track which will allow us to verify the map.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Northwest - Part 2

Whoa… there must be a grundle of you guys heading for Moab in the next few weeks cause my blog "hits" went off the wall a couple of days ago when I posted about the "Moab Trails" offroad map. Good for you, it's a great place to ride – AND it's getting to be the best season to ride down there as well!

This is the second of three parts about the Google Earth map Offroading Home is producing as a compliment to Charles Wells' book "Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails".   There are 15 trails in the "Northwest Moab and Arches NP" area and it is now complete.   The other areas are under construction even as we speak.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home on the "Utah" tab.]

Wells is not a Moab native but he just as well could be with all the time he must have spend there riding and re-riding these 58 trails for his second edition of this book.   Originally trained as a graphic designer he moved to Colorado and became a printer come outdoorsman.   Not content with riding only Colorado trails he joined a club and began riding Moab – the rest, as they say is history.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Northwest - Part 1

When someone sends me a book full of offroad trails it's a bit difficult for me not to want to create a Google Earth map to go along with it as I analyze it for possible rides.   Such is the case with a book which I recieved as a donation some months back: "Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" by Charles A. Wells, published by FunTreks.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home on the "Utah" tab.]

I've mentioned his books before in relation to the various types of "difficulty ratings" found between various sources.   There are 58 trails described in this book, all given difficulty ratings of: Easy, Moderate, Difficult or Extreme, and all found within close proximity to Moab in Utah's "Canyonlands."   Arches National Park is in the area in case you were wondering.

Some of the trails are part of the Easter Jeep Safari held every year down that way which draws hundreds of "jeepers" from all over the country.   Therefore the trails in his book are sort of based upon "street legal" vehicles; but, in most cases a little review will enable you to decide upon a slightly different trailhead which circumvents paved roads and will allow you to ride an ATV.

Wells has also written two other books called: "ATV Trails Guide" for both Moab and Colorado's central mountains (which I would greatfully receive as a donation or loan should someone like to see a map made of its trails – hint, hint… see the donation link "wish list.")

Saturday, October 30, 2010

NEW: Lake Canyon Recreation Area - Utah

Quite some time ago a reader emailed that he was going to go ride in the Lake Canyon Recreation Area and wondered if I had any trails or advice. I didn't have the system digitized into a map at the time, but now do.   [For now a free Google Earth file of this route is available here Lake Canyon Recreation Area but it will probably be moved to the Utah Trails Master Map in the future.]

The whole area is at the north end of the Arapeen Trail System just east of the Skyline Drive trailhead on UT-31 between Huntington and Cleveland resevoirs.   As you already know the Arapeen Trail System is such an extensive riding area that it grew to demand its own map: Utah Arapeen Trails available over on the Offroading Home web site under the Utah tab.  And, the Utah Trails master map has a few tracks through the area as well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

GEO-tography: Halloween Edition

In spite of the fact that Sam's club has had scary paraphenalia out for over two months, and Home Depot has a whole fleet of snow-throwers chained to their front door ready to go, the most sure sign that Halloween's near is the snow falling on the tomato plants at snowbird headquarters and smashing those suckers flat, freezing them harder'n a rock!

If it weren't for the smoke/carbon monoxide detector-alarm calling out the fire department just to remind us that its shelf-life was only 5 years and needed to be replaced, we'd be hibernating by now – but it does and we aren't. I've always thought that bears had it figured out – just go to bed, pull the covers over your head and sleep 'till it's over!

However, the horses are all sprouting winter coats, you get sugar-intoxication diabetes just walking in the door of most supermarkets, the garden has freezer burn and we've run out of neighbors to strong-arm into taking a basket of squash; so, I guess we pretty much have to resign ourselves that:
IT'S HALLOWEEN!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NEW: "Death Valley SUV Trails" Master Map

Another major Google Earth trail system map has been created as a companion to the book "Death Valley SUV Trails" by Roger Mitchell a Death Valley native and geologist.

Some time ago Offroading Home produced two other "companion-maps" maps to the trails listed in his books: Great Basin SUV Trails – Southern and Southwest.   All of them provide an off-roader valuable GPS data corrections and clarifications which are largely absent from the books; however, unlike the trails in his other books which can often be taken by ATVs and side-by-sides alike, the Death Valley trails are governed by National Park rules which prohibit non-street-legal vehicles.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lake Bonneville and the Great Salt Lake


A Google Earth Map of Lake Bonneville is Available
Since the advent of computers I must admit that one of my former favorite hobbies (reading books) has gotten the short end of the stick. I mean, once Wozniak came of age I began finding myself more and more often startled by the 2 am hour while sitting at the keyboard than in the recliner with books like "Hawaii," "Space," "Alaska" and "Mexico."

Ahhh… Michner…   now there was an obsessive/compulsive after my own heart.  When he would write a book about an area he would begin with one asteroid hitting another and forming, what else… the earth.   Then, he would touch on nearly everything in-between like a part of that collision eventually making its way to the gaping maw of a super-giant black hole and succumbing to its gravity; but, not before giving up a tiny gamma ray particle, blasting back in the direction it had come at the moment it was being torn asunder.   Me… I just want to tell you about a female trout in labor far up an isolated arm of a world which seemed to consist mostly of water.

Monday, October 18, 2010

NEW: Silver State Trails

The Silver State Trails in Nevada was posted about over on the Offroading Home Forum a few days ago. I'd never heard of them before, so did a bit of research and found that the trails were just a bit north of our old stopping grounds in Mesquite, up by Pioche and Pananca.

The person who posted about them left some links to pages that he had found, so I followed them.   As usual, there were no REAL, usable maps or files available; so, no-one could actually download anything but PR hype.

I found the BLM web site for the area, and one additional site which had the area split up into five of those proprietary, and nearly unusable, Adobe PDF maps.   As you know some BLM field offices are still using this "protectionist" type of format – probably thinking that what they are doing is somehow useful to people.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Autumn Leaf Loop - East Canyon

Our "Autumn Leaf" tour around the Wasatch Range concludes this post as we reach East Canyon after having traveled from I-215 in Immigration Canyon, around through Mirror Lake in the High Uintas and out through Evanston Wyoming before going over Monte Cristo past Causey Reservoir. Backroads all the way, it none-the-less is easy for our offroad-challenged street vehicle and covers nine counties in Utah and Wyoming.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Autumn Leaf Loop]

We're now looking at the leaves going out of Huntsville over Trappers Loop on our way to Weber Canyon where we'll head to the Morgan exit.   It's been a slightly grander "Sunday Drive" to see the leaves than we originally bargained for; but, hey, these are the the autumn colors we're seeing and this is the mountains!   And besides, we remember all these places back from the time when we were less chronologically challenged (or at least tell ourselves we do) and the government was less extensively exclusionary of seniors.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Autumn Leaf Loop - Mirror Lake

Recently, we took a grand-loop tour up Immigration canyon, through the Uinta Mountains by Mirror Lake, around through Woodruff and down Monte Cristo, by Causey Dam, into Huntsville and over Trappers Loop, up Weber Canyon to Morgan then over East Canyon until… finally, reaching Immigration Canyon again.   [Those of you who have never heard of these places, trust me, it's a long way for a day-trip.]

A bit more than one deliberately sets out to take in one fell-swoop; but, once you get going, it's hard to stop… until you can't, and it's just plain "shorter" to go around than go back.   Especially when you think you remember all the places you're seeing – and even more especially when you're talking about the Uinta Mountains where most of us had spent many a summer.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Autumn Leaf Loop - Causey

If you live in Utah between Ogden, Salt Lake City and Provo [and almost who doesn't in Utah] then you may be one of the thousands who are looking for a good "Sunday Drive" to see the leaves. Most likely, the rest of you can see the leaves out your window.

The Rocky Mountains, specifically the Wasatch Range, being full of maples and deciduous trees of all kinds, as well as heavy amounts of conifers which act as 'foils,' sports the most grand fall color display of anywhere west of the Appalachian Trail.  [I say that because having lived in New York I remember the blaze the sugar maples make each year.]

They are beginning to turn now that we've had a few cool days to accompany the cooling nights of fall.   Just like in Vermont, however, they don't turn all at once or in all places at once; so, if you make your drive long enough you can avoid being disappointed.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

GEO-tography: Wet Summer

Offroad Summer
There is a huge difference between "Offroaders" and ATV (or motorbike, or jeep) "riders"! One is very focused on the sport and thrill and accomplishment — the other, on the destination or the locale.

The BLM and other regulatory bodies should no more lump the two together than we should lovers of the outdoors and rabid "tree huggers." While some of the accouterments may be the same the approach and outcome is totally different.

So, the photographs I post aren't so much about the "whiz bang" stuff; but rather, more about the destinations and views and outcomes. Such, is the case with this post: Summer riding is nearly always TOWARD something cool – and that's pretty much: water!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Enough Said

In addition to not being much of a motorcycle enthusiast, I have never once felt that merely posting one photo of someone else's work is an adequate post… until now… and then some!   [ED Note: Hold onto something bolted to the floor while you watch this]

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Utah Trails Master Map - North and Southwest

The Utah Trails Master Map has undergone a substantial re-do for the complete northern and southwest regions. It was the first master map that I ever made and a whole lot of enhancements have taken place since then.  [For this free Google Earth map see: www.OffroadingHome.com "Utah Trails"]

You may recall that about a month ago I discovered that this flagmark map had been sorely neglected and gave it a complete new face lift – visually – which gave it a look like the newer maps.

While working on it I found that, because hand constructing trails and extracting data was so cumbersome back then, I had elected to only display selected trails – therefore many of the books trail contents were left out, fully intending to complete the task some day, but forgot.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

NEW: Black Joe Mine-Horse Thief Canyon-Keyhole Canyon Trails

In his nearly tireless efforts to GPS track every offroad trail in southern Nevada before he turns 30, Mike took his jeep across "the dam" (or possibly we should call it "THE Dam") the other day with his son and captured two more trails: Black Joe Mine and Horse Thief Canyon.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: OffroadingHome.com/nevada/nevada.htm and is called the "Great Basin SUV Trails: Southern Nevada" map.]

He says his son loves to hike, which is a good thing because both of these trails end in a short hike to mines or the mountains, although at least one requires climbing gear.

As you can see from opening the map in Google Earth, both trail-heads are just a hop-skip-and-a-jump east of Boulder Dam on the Arizona side. ATVs or high-clearance 4WDs are a must on these trails due to rugged terrain and pinch points, and both have primitive camping opportunities.

Friday, October 1, 2010

USGS Map Waypoints: Colorado

Well, what was started over 5 months ago is finally done: the Colorado USGS Features file.   I had a request from a reader to do the same thing for Colorado that I did for Utah, Nevada, Montana and elsewhere and did start it but just too many things got in the way.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Colorado USGS Features (2.6 mb)]

All that's over now and it's finally completed… all 64 counties of 'em! It does go a bit faster now that I'm used to the grind; but, it's still a fair amount of tedium which is why it probably gets relegated to the back burner so easily.

It has turned out that these USGS Features files are quite a bit more useful than I had anticipated which is why I've had so many requests for them. You may have noticed that Google Earth has changed perceptibly over the past couple of so-called "updates."

Monday, September 27, 2010

GEO-tography: The Island of Antelopes

Offroading Home took a short jaunt over to Antelope Island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake the other day. Later, when I posted about it, I reviewed our trip on the Google Earth map and was struck by how many Panoramio postings of photographs there were.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Antelope Island Auto Tour]

Continuing our series of GEOtography, I've selected a few, which struck me by their color, composition and content as being representative of the island, and have posted them below.

You are welcome to view the others, and there are many, and will notice that many come from the same photographers: andre bonacin, jerome bastianelli, ryan ferrin and hessidy – to name just a few.

You will also notice that there seems to be an inordinate fascination with buffalo's… once endangered, but not now.
[Remember, like always, these are full photographs so be patient while they load.]

Saturday, September 25, 2010

NEW: Antelope Island State Park Auto Tour

We needed a short excursion from Salt Lake City in order to test out a recently acquired Town and Country and some ramps so went looking for a trail on our maps. We espied Antelope Island which we hadn't been to in many years so loaded up and went for a look-see.

It had been long enough that we weren't really certain of the off ramp to take – and found that the Utah State Map, which the state had published, had it wrong. And it was most likely wrong back when the blame thing was published, unless they let someone build a 30 year old house in the middle of the road.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Antelope Island Auto Tour]

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Final Lake Havasu Closure Map

With the deadline for public comments screaming down at us - Offroading Home has finally received a last piece of tracking information from the BLM and have published the final trail closure map for the 2010 Travel Management Plan (TMP).

The updated map is located at: Lake Havasu Trail Closure Map and contains all the updated tracking information we have requested from the BLM.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Great Basin

The Great Basin is an endorheic watershed, if you know what that means… for that matter, its still one even if you don't know what it means.

In fact, it's the largest area of contiguous endorheic watersheds in all of of North America! And, is particularly notable for both its arid conditions and its widely varied Basin and Range topography.

The North American low-point, at Badwater Basin, is less than 100 miles away from the contiguous United States' highpoint, at Mount Whitney summit.

Endorheic Basin

"Endorheic" is one of those high-falutin' Greek based words (meaning "within" and "to flow"); which, to us normo-falutin' people, translates into: "a closed drainage basin which retains water and allows no outflow to other bodies of water such as rivers or oceans." It may also be called an "internal drainage system."

Normally, water that finds itself in a drainage basin eventually flows out through rivers or streams or permeable rock – ultimately winding up in an ocean.

An endorheic basin… not so much. In such a basin, the center is lower than any possible route to the ocean, and to top it off the rock isn't all that permeable. So any water that gets in pretty much has only two options: evaporation and seepage.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Public Lands Day at Gold Butte

Public Lands Day is being "celebrated" all around Offroading Home Country, but nowhere more urgently than on Gold Butte near Mesquite Nevada where it seems a mere handful of locals are trying to overcome the massive avalanche of outside special interest environmentalists and politicians (clearly good ol' Obama-boot-lickin' Harry Reid can't be considered a true "insider") who have nearly closed off the area to senior and non-hiker interests but aren't even close to being satisfied.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fire Singes Snowbird Headquarters - Camp Williams, Herriman Blaze

[For the second time in a row the excellent post explaining the Great Basin is preempted by late breaking issues. It'll be back and get its full allotment of headline time – I promise]

Even though Snowbird Headquarters escaped the actual flames, it's a bit difficult to breath around here lately. And I'm just not talking about the "normal" brown gunk that passes for mountain valley air during inversions.

All The Kings Horses and All the Kings Men …

It'll take a lot more than the "Kings Men" to make right the Pandora's Box they unleashed with their machine gun practice. The inferno began when the army was playing with their machine guns in the bone dry hills – go figure.

So far, they claim that their maneuvers were "meeting the protocol"; but, it'll be interesting to see how THAT one shakes out, 'cause I'll tell you there's a whole lot of pissed people around here who aren't about to let this one ride. I mean, it's pretty hard to exhibit the "righteous inner peace" everyone seems to expect of the valley's residents, when it's you who is sleeping on a cot in a high-school gym!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Havasu Trail Closures

After several "back-and-forths" with the IT department of the Lake Havasu Field Office of the BLM about the maps available for the Travel Management Plan (TMP) - we have now received the map coordinates for all the connecting trails and have finished updating the master map.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NEW MAP: Great Basin SUV Trails - Southwest Nevada


Thank the maker this file is finally done!

Some months ago I put out an appeal for the donation of a couple of extra map books and I was able to obtain the "Great Basin SUV Trails: Vol II, Southwestern Nevada by Roger Mitchell" just as I had requested (bless you people).   [For a free Google Earth map of these offroad trails, it is available for download on the page: OffroadingHome.com/nevada under the name - Great Basin SUV Trails: Southwest Nevada]

This is the author, as I have said on a couple of previous occasions, who prolifically generates some of the most historically colorful and geologically interesting books of any that I have ever seen.

At the same time, however, his publicly professed aversion to that thar new fangled technology makes his books some of the worst for accuracy and actual field usability of any on the market – except, as I've said, to use for historical and geological background 'color.'

Which is why working on one of his books is a bit like cutting a tooth – It's painful to do, but for some unexplained reason biting down on your gum to 'pop it through' feels good.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

NEW: McCullough-Telephone-Rhyolite

Three submitted trails have been added to the Southern Nevada area (folder) of the "Nevada Trails" Master Map: McCullough Pass, Telephone Canyon and Rhyolite Back Door.   [Obtain a free Google Earth file of this route at: http://offroadinghome.djmed.net/nevada/nevada.htm]

They were anonymously submitted trips which DO check out on the satellite image, DO look like they visit or pass significant features verified in the USGS Features file BUT WEREN'T submitted with specific directions or ratings SO NEED the verification of other riders.

I think that I've mentioned it before, but we always try and verify all the trails which are submitted for inclusion in our master maps. You just need to actually look at one of our maps to see that they are NOT like those computer generated, forum posted, difficult to follow "Every Trail" on other sites. Most of our submitters welcome the help with making their listing look polished and be helpful for others who come behind them.

Once in awhile, for whatever reason, a track comes through without the ability to get back to the submitter, which puts me at a disadvantage. If the trail looks like it could be in a popular area, does actually follow visible markings on the satellite image or is in an area where there are few other submissions then I may decide to try and include it – hoping for further verification and descriptions.

Such is the case with these three trails. They are all in most interesting areas which should be able to be verified easily.

Friday, September 10, 2010

GEO-tography: "Out Of Bounds"

Now that you've got the "Bokeh" photography technique under your belt, and to continue in our series of posting the "geographically related" images that we find around the "net," I've found another techique that might pique your interest.

It's called: "Out Of Bounds" and it starts where Bokeh leaves off. Just like Bokeh there is an apparent shallow depth of field; but, the next step is to intersperse yet another image right at the "break point" of the image, usually a photo frame of some sort. Well, you'll just have to see it to believe it (or not.)

It does require a fair bit of image manipulation in some image processing program or other, like Photoshop or GIMP; so, they are not the "raw" photographs which sit well with some photographic "purist" types; but, wow! What an attention getter they are. They cannot be achieved by the skill of the photographer, but require a different skill – just as accomplished.

The technique is reminiscent of some of the old cartoon illustrations we used to see on magazines like the "Saturday Evening Post" and others; so, has some "nostalgic" value.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

NEW: Trails Near Boulder and Searchlight Nevada

In the never ending quest to make the master maps complete, another addition of submitted trails to the Great Basin SUV Trails: Southern Nevada master map adds four more routes to both the Boulder and Searchlight Nevada areas.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: www.OffroadingHome.com] and choose the "Great Basin SUV Trails: Southern Nevada file.

The Eldorado Wilderness Road, West Powerline Wash Road and Sand Wash Road trails are all in the "Near Boulder" folder and really are starting to fill in the trails for the area running down to Black Canyon and the Colorado River.

The Powerline Wash Road trail is almost in the same area as these three except that its trailhead is south of the Keyhole Canyon trailhead, and closer to Searchlight than Boulder.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Trail Difficulty Scales - Off Road ATV SUV

Nearly every offroading book I pick up has some kind of scale they use to rate how difficult a listed trail is to ride. The problem is that there is NO one standard rating system so every one is different and unless I want to make my brain explode by trying to "interpolate" between them I'm stuck using all of them in the master maps.

Some of the books simply use a 1 through "n" value and leave it up to the reader to visualize whatever they want (where "n" is anything between 3 and 10.) Or, use "ski-run" type descriptions for trails – you know "green circle," "blue square" and "black diamond" (which may or may not relate to: "Beginner," "Intermediate" and "Advanced".

The big difference between them is that they all attempt to rate different aspects of the experience (and there are many) depending upon the mind-set, compulsiveness and preference of the writer. One rates the trail, another rates the riders skill level and still another rates the vehicle. Some describe it in great detail, others show pictures and still others just leave everything up to the imagination.

Friday, September 3, 2010

NEW: Havasu BLM Trail Closures

We interrupt our normally scheduled posts for a BLM "Travel Management Plan (TMP)" alert for the Havasu riding area in Arizona.

Offroaders will recognize this term as used by the BLM for the periodic review of all trails in an area to see how many we can "get off the books," so-to-speak – i.e. "close them off for everything except hikers." Which pretty much means: "Close them off to seniors!"

Offroaders who have at all been paying attention also recognize that this process spans several months fraught with hair-tearing frustration over trying to obtain usable information and straight answers from the BLM in order to make your "comments," all the while fending off mis-information and attacks from various "save the dirt" groups.

What makes this TMP a bit unique is that for the first time, in my knowledge, the BLM has…

Monday, August 30, 2010

NEW: All Roads Lead To - 3 Corners

With the addition of the "3-Corners Western Route" trail, it now seems like this is the second sought after destination (right after Devil's Fire) as far as downloads and submissions are concerned.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Nevada Trails Master Map]

From the statistics, almost as many readers search and browse to the various three-corners tracks as do to the Devil's Fire map files.

For some reason it has also become a frequent destination of our own personal rides when we are snowbirding down that way. Perhaps it is due to the several directions one can get to it.

Trailheads can begin along old Route 95 just north of Beaver Dam, or along Lytle Ranch Road. We've also found ourselves at Three-Corners when we've ridden from the top of Mesquite Heights Road.

Additionally, just about any trail which takes you to Powerline Road over Flat Top Mesa or Lone Mesa or Toquop Wash can also get you to Three-Corners. As do trails coming from the north around Beaver Dam Wash.

Just about the only direction we haven't already taken has been from the far southwest –and now this trail begins from the Carp-Elgin exit off of I-15!

Friday, August 27, 2010

NEW: Hatch-Panguitch-Paunsaugunt-Strawberry Pt-Aquarius-Hells Hole

Now that title is a mouthful; but, these additions to the southwestern region of the Utah Trails Master Map are a lot to talk about.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: http://offroadinghome.djmed.net/]

Offroading Home had an anonymous trail submission (at least that's what it turned out to be) of several trails which followed legitimate satellite image landmarks when verified; but, which attempts to verify the submitter failed.

We are most willing to accept any off road trail that we can receive, but always perform some verification (which obviously takes more time without the help of the submitter) so feel much more comfortable with the data when we can communicate back and forth a little. Unfortunately, this has to lower the priority level for posting and sometimes prevents them from being added at all.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Elsewhere Offroad: Take Back Utah, Gold Butte and Havasu

The time has past when it was sufficient for you to simply work your job, attend to your family, and participate in church and local civic functions and just "expect" others (especially your government) to leave your recreation rights alone.

There are battles being fought against the double-talking "fiends" all across the country, who are frenetically pushing the government to "own" everything that isn't paved and basically close it off to everyone except the "elite" who can hike into it.

These three, that I've listed below, are all at different levels of involvement – they are battlefield reports from the "front lines."

Friday, August 20, 2010

NEW: 9 Boulder City Nevada Trails

Ten new trails have been added to the Great Basin SUV Trails: Southern Nevada master map. Nine out of Boulder City and one out of Las Vegas. Most can be ridden by ATVs and Jeeps as well.    [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: http://offroadinghome.djmed.net/]

Despite the heat, Mike has been out in the field again verifying all the Lake Mead routes – tough work, but somebodies got to do it! One trail in the cool(er) mountains out of Vegas is a bit bumpy, but man what a view! Not a long ride but any chance to get off the pavement – it's all good.

The others all lead to water – and who can argue with that? I've given Mike's descriptions below so you can get a feel for what the routes are like. If you have ridden the area or are planning on going, please leave a comment about the trail.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Utah Trails Master Map - Complete Re-Do

The Utah Trails ATV-SUV master map has undergone almost a complete revision and update.

The graphic interface for the whole file was enhanced, the entire Central Region was re-done almost from scratch and several new trails have been added which complete loops and from submitted trails.

A frequent trail submitter Michael Davidson added four trails near Beaver in Central Utah following a recent trip to the state: Forest Service roads 129, 137 and 147. They all go through beautiful country and to inspiring views. [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Utah ATV-SUV Trails]

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer ATV UTV Jamborees

The "Tri-State," "Outlaw," "Paiute Trail" and "Manti Mountain" ATV Jamborees are done for the year – the Paiute and Manti concluded this very weekend. That still leaves FOUR MORE to go however, for those of you die-hards who either can't ever get enough or those who just haven't been able to break free yet.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dry Fork Canyon Petroglyphs

If you ever find yourself in Vernal Utah, either as a passage home or going to see the dinosaurs, you've got more to see than fossils. And, no, I don't mean the city wide floral arrangement that is their main street.

There be PETROGLYPHS!

And they're not all that hidden or hard to find and they don't need ATVs or SUVs to get to them. Just about every motel will have a brochure rack of pamphlets and they all have many about different "day-trips" you can take while staying in Vernal – a great idea!

The one about the petroglyphs in Dry Fork Canyon, Utah, USA [N 40.545761, W 109.637028] immediately caught my eye, as it where, and I coerced my party to stop and see them the next morning on our way home.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

GPS Maps 106: Reading A Topo Map

[This post is part six in a multi-part series about understanding the GPS system and its coordinate grid.

The last (hopefully) in the series of posts about maps: how they're made and how to use them, I wanted to do something quite difficult (on this end) and that I hadn't tried before. Well… you saw what happened on the last post.

As it turned out, the "dummy down" policy of Google Earth [which supports their "paid version"] prevented anyone who didn't have a fairly new graphics card from viewing the presentation.

Therefore, lets attempt to do in writing that which I thought would be much easier in demostration; so, break out that copy of an actual topo map that you have in the glove box and follow along.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

GPS Maps 106: How To Read A Topo Map

[This post is part six in a multi-part series about understanding the GPS system and its coordinate grid.


Being (hopefully) pretty much the last post in this series about reading topo maps, what we are going to discuss today is really "rubber on the road" stuff and, in large part builds upon what we've already discussed as well as using a slightly different technique than we've ever used in the past.

This is where we actually hold that piece of crumpled, soiled, many-times-folded paper in our hands and try to find "where the blazes are we?" … No kidding — go get your topo map. It's better if you actually have something to look at. I'll wait.