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   --> <--   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: