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.

What few GPS waypoints he does bother to give contain inordinately more than the expected amount of "typos," which seems like a sign of a complete lack of concern over proofreading. He seems to think that having you "zero out your odometer" then telling you the distance (rounded to the tenth) to items for 30-50 miles comes even close to being adequate.

If it weren't for the fact that these books represent a near life-time that an accomplished geologist (or something like unto it) has been in the field and are burgeoning with little known historical facts about nearly everywhere he takes you – I wouldn't waste the money.

However, they do… so they are… worth it, that is. And I'm very glad I have the books even though they, more than absolutely ANY other map source I've used, have made me want to break things in fits of rage.

A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice.”
Bill Cosby
Mitchell claims that he has rambled all over this and foreign countries for his whole life and never had to rely on "the younger generation's…(crutch for?)… high tech gadgetry." I'm sure he probably has, except he doesn't tell you how chuck full his trunk is with TOPO maps of multiple resolutions, how many times he had to back up or how many other trails he took trying to find the one that he is describing.

From personal experience I can tell you that riding the hills merely following wherever the trails take you without a specific destination, because you are scouting for some to put in a book, is not even in the same universe as actually trying to follow those directions in a book, because you want to see what someone else has seen and described – you know, the very reason you paid him for writing the book in the first place.

Being told to turn left on a side-road 34.8 miles from where you zeroed your odometer, and finding there are 3 side-roads at 34.7, 34.9 and 35 miles is pathetic in this day an age; and, depending upon whether you actually found the right road, didn't sustain any vehicle damage, or ended up not having to spend the night in a tree because of it, may determine whether or not you want to seek out the author for a "personal" conversation.

Goldfield Nevada
Not to mention that, if you inadvertently follow one of those wrong directions for some unknown distance, you may have to double back, THEN need to do calculus for the rest of the trip because your odometer NOW does not match any of the worlds known numbering systems.

And still further, heaven forbid if you want to do any pre-trip correlation with… I don't know… let's say… a satellite image!   I have not seemed to need a haircut in the near three months that it has taken me to produce this map (no kiddin').

The Mitchell books are a maddening mixture of truth and fiction which sometimes is way to difficult to tell apart. However, now that I've completed the task of building this "explanatory" map – I'd advise: buy the book so you will know and understand the country-side in a depth that adds grandeur to your ride; BUT… don't leave home without printing or downloading this map to take with you!

When I haven't been able to correct the mislabeled waypoints or find the trail on the satellite image, I've made an editors note in the trail's description box. And I have needed on occasion to show "alternative" options in orange.

I'm pleased with the way it turned out and believe that it should add greatly to not only the safety but enjoyment of riding these trials. They take you all over the southwest portion of Nevada, into Nye, Esmerelda and Mineral counties.

These 34 trails are divided into those closest to: Beaty, Goldfield, Tonopah, Bishop (California), Mina and Hawthorne; which, by the way, make great "base camps" for a whole set of adventures.

They will take you through hundreds of mining camps and ghost towns, along mountain ridges, into Native American homelands, around streams and through pinon forests, along routes of historic significance and onto peaks with views into other states.

This map is a companion to the one in the book "Great Basin SUV Trails: Vol 1, Southern Nevada" by the same author and I understand that he plans a "Volume III, Western Nevada" in the future.


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