Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Offroading Home: "Thanks"

Offroading Home has dodged another years worth of bullets and will be around into the next riding season. If it's not the nasties who think that the best way to return the unicorns to the fields and phoenix to the skies is to attack and malign senior offroaders who want to visit Gold Butte; it's the web hosting services who bait and switch to improve their bottom lines.

What many of you don't know is that last year at this time our long time web host, ATT, gave notice that it was "getting out of the web hosting business" – at least for us "low yield" accounts; and, it was only through the magnanimous altruism of the Kokopelli ATV club that our hundreds of maps weren't banished to the isolated recesses of computer back-up disks, never to frolic free on the Internet trails to your computer screens again.

It should be obvious that the thousands of trails on our hundreds of maps have taken almost as many hours of programming and editing and are NOT thrown together willy-nilly by computer programs as done on most other sites. Nor do we take user submitted trails and make money off them. So far, we have still been able to keep the maps and sites fully open and free.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BLOOM ALERT: Spring on Gold Butte

Gordon wins the award for spotting this years first cactus bloom on the Butte and letting us know about it. The Joshua Trees usually begin to sprout their fragrant lilac-like fronds skyward about this time; but, the number and amount varies with – who knows. Four years ago there were blooms all over the area. The following two years… not so much. We've just made it through the wettest, coldest winter in four years around here, so we should be in for a great display! If you've never see the Joshua Trees in bloom – you ought to.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Offroad: Gold Butte - Middle Area for Seniors

Absolutely anyone who has been on Gold Butte more than once in the past three years will immediately recognize the devastating effect the "Great BLM Barricade Project of 2009" has had on Seniors ability to visit sites they have been to for years and years.

Add that to the "landscaping" and "corrals" the fiends of Gold Butte have inflicted on the area and people who have lived here for years can't even recognize the place even if they could get to it.

Even though the Great BLM Trail Closure decimated accessibility to seniors, this post describes a full day ride through the Middle Gold Butte riding area, full of great color and things to see (if you can hike)… and to remember (if you can't).   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Middle Gold Butte For Seniors.]

Saturday, March 19, 2011

GEO-tography: Reflections

I'll bet not more than one in ten of us actually "see" the topic of this GEOtography post when we are out riding. We can be looking right at a magnificent reflection and still be completely oblivious to it's existence.

We probably see more of them, or at least are more aware of them when we are looking at photographs; but, up close and in person – not so much. Most of our brains have been trained to tune them out as distractions. Until, that is, we take the time to just "stand a spell" and take in the view. If we decide to "really" look at what we are seeing they pop into existence as if by magic!

These photographers have captured "Reflections" to the "umpth" degree! As I think you will soon agree.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Offroading Home: on Google Earth

Some years ago now Google gobbled up a small upstart company whith a good idea: Panoramio. It was a company which developed software that would allow people with pictures to share – professional and wannabe alike – to geocode their shots with latitude and longitude then upload them to their servers for others to see. Their idea? To cover the earth with photos of actual places to go beyond what you could get with a flat map.

Once the company had succeeded enough to make it obvious that this was a good idea, Google made a couple of developers very rich… and happy! They bought Panoramio and added it to the growing cadre of "add-ons" to their second "cash cow" product – Google Earth.

Offroading Home has been using the service for years – it's a good place to "hang" your trip photos for others to see and the background is the actual earth instead of a wall.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Geo-tography: Time Exposure

In this series of posts about examples of "geo" related photography we are trying to get acquainted with some of the examples and techniques from the "pros" (either intentional or otherwise) which might give us ideas for our own photographs. Ideas which, perhaps, might subconsciously sink into our brain and down into our camera arm and make the photographs we take a bit more representative of where we've been – so we can show them to our friends too and not just our family (who have to endure us.)

A post or two back we took a look at some photos people had taken in the "dark" and used time exposures in order to just get enough light to make a photo show up. And you remember that it was really fairly easy. All you had to do was set your camera for a longer exposure and/or "open" the lens up (increase the aperture number) a little more. The big caveat was, and it was a BIG one, that you needed to use a tripod in order to prevent the "shakes" from blurring the picture.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Within minutes of posting our last post about the defective BLMs closure maps - Offroading Home received a copy of the response from "Chuck" Patterson about a reader's request for extension. His response and it's inadequacy is below:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Thanks to a vigilant reader who actually read a previous post and acted upon it - the BLM has released, on an individual basis, a Google Earth based map of the trails in the Bear Lake Travel Managment Plan under consideration for closure. A mere two weeks before final deadline for comment unless an extension is demanded and granted!

It's a victory, but a small one. I'm not sure how many of you recognized that the Pocatello BLM Field Office, under the direction of Dave Pacioretty [ - (208)478-6340], has chosen to do their maps completely different than any other BLM field office has done in the past - and not in a good way! Charles (chuck) Patterson, the Recreation Planner [ (208)478-6362] is the person managing the TMP.

Instead of giving us a file of the routes they INTEND TO CLOSE under each of the "proposals," their maps try to obfuscate the issue and "spin" it into "these are the trails which will be left open" under two different scenarios. That means that in order to even make sense of what the BLM is trying to do it is UP TO YOU to look at one map and TRY AND GUESS WHAT'S MISSING!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Offroad: Gold Butte - Virgin Mountains South

Probably one of the "best kept secrets" on Gold Butte (and there are many) are the trails north of Whitney Junction into the south side of the Virgin Mountains and toward the "Natural Area."

It is completely understandable, given the many things to see and do on the Butte, that people would go whizzing by "the Junction" without even looking up at the moutains. But if you are looking for a different kind of ride, sticking in the Whitney Pockets area may be a good deal for a change of pace.

First of all, the view is grand. You can see all of the upper Butte riding area clear down to the lake. And there are the red Aztec Formation sandstone rock cliffs, similar to those down at Valley of Fire. And, you can get at least an overview or "grand scheme" mental map of where else you've been. Also, the area has "adventures" in its own right.