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: 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:]

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:] 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…