Saturday, March 31, 2012

Offroad: Toquop Gap

Charlie and I needed some space to clear our heads in the fall but haden't quite gotten our "oomph" levels up to where loading and unloading and trailering our ATVs interested us yet.

So, where to ride when you're completely surrounded by dirt, if you can get to it? Most everywhere close we've already been to many times. Where could we go that we didn't need to trailer, we wouldn't mind seeing again and we would stand a high probablility of seeing something we hadn't seen before?

For us, this season, it was up into the Tule Desert (pronounced too-lee). Yes, if we weren't going to trailer we needed to start the ride with the standard (and at least comparitively speaking: "tiresome") ride up and over Flat Top Mesa, and yes, we then had the "long and arduous" washbords of Toquop Wash; but this is offroading we're talking about!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Offroad: GB Mines

The last time Charlie and I trailered down to Gold Butte (the town) we decided that it was easier to ride our ATVs down than pull a trailer, so we wouldn't do it again. However, the allure of being able to ride in air-conditioned comfort down a road you've already been on plenteous number of times before, makes one reconsider past decisions when conditions change.

Such was today. Gordon brought his much more rugged frame trailer and we wanted to test to see if it would ride better than the fairly massive toy-hauler did before. The findings: 1) it did ride better, 2) the road was no better than before, and 3) it still is easier to take the ATVs.

However, the break in the weather gave us a chance for a 'shake-down cruise' to loosen up the shock absorbers, limber up the springs and see what surprises, if any, 'the Butte' and the BLM had left for us over the summer.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Google Earth Trail FileOffroading Home: 02-Gold Butte Mines.]

Friday, March 23, 2012

GEO-tography: Dirt Roads (mostly)

Roads - it's what Offroading Home is all about. Whether it's being ON them or OFF them all together in an ORV. The lure of going somewhere to see something often puts our mind on something other than the road; but, it's there none-the-less.

On the other hand, sometimes for us off-roaders it's the road which is uppermost in your mind, whether it is in the high-uintas or looking down the Scanlon Ferry Road and wondering if you're going to ever going to be able to get back out. But, surely (excepting New Yorkers) it's a rare human these days who hasn't trodden at least one dirt road.

So, here is a collection of photographs of some of the world’s dirt roads just to show you how universal a dirt road is and how they can be used to add interest and perspective to the photographs we take.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Utah's Got It Right: Public Land Bill

I've just recieved word that the Governor of Utah will Sign the Public Land Bill tomorrow. It's being called A modern day declaration of independence designed to stop and prevent Obama's government from any more "land grabs."

Gold Butte: Bloom Alert

The spring wildflower bloom on Gold Butte is within hours of being upon us. On a ride taken to the (former) Treasure Hawk Mine on 21 Mar 2012 we noticed that a few specimins were fully open but thousands more were budded and ready to burst any minute. The whole of "Pleasant Valley" (valley with the old generator to the south of Gold Butte (the town) should be ablaze next week. However, it doesn't look like…

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Offroad: Virgin River

Nine hundred and ninety nine times out of a thousand the Virgin River is pretty much as laid back a river as you'll ever want to meet. Always a refreshing and beautiful landscape, it was once a terrible hardship to pioneer travelers; but, today, merely an annoyance preventing one from crossing anywhere one wants and a source for mosquito's and Tamarisk.

However, its increasing schizophrenia has been bringing it to people's mind a bit more often lately; namely, the thing has had two 500-year floods in the past five years! The restorationists have had a couple substantial setbacks of late when huge volumes of water tried to see just how high up the banks it could erase in one fell swoop.

We were greeted to the 2011-12 snowbird season, yet again this year, with a couple of weeks of rain. Nowhere near the deluge we had last year, but enough to prevent much escaping from the condo.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Offroad: Five Canyon Loop Trail

When one has been riding the off-roads of an area for several months one gets a bit nostalgic when it is time for one to migrate once again back up north. Such is the case with this ride taken at the end of the 2011 riding season (sorry, I just noticed that one or two rides hadn't been posted yet) around the "Five Canyon (or maybe six) Loop".

The 2011 offroad riding season in Mesquite Nevada was an odd one by almost any standards. It rained more water and longer than any of the four previous "snowbird" years so we almost spent more time indoors than on ATVs in the desert.

It warmed up later in the season and we were still riding with jackets through March when we took this loop ride around nearly all of the canyons in the Bunkerville Ridge south of Bunkerville. There were at least five or maybe six if you count Hen Springs Canyon.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Google Earth Trail FileOffroading Home.]

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Offroad: Parashant - Savannic Mine-Tassi Springs Loop

I just noticed that in all the frenetic hustle to pick up stakes and migrate, there were two trails from last riding season which didn't get posted. Nor did their accompanying maps. We have been there before but this time Gordon and I were able to convince dad to ride with us down into "the Parashant".

Monday, March 5, 2012

Keep Offroading Home Alive and Free

As annoying as it is, daylight savings is soon upon us which, to Offroading Home at least, means that it's time to think of paying server costs again to keep the web, blog , forum and free offroad maps online.

It's not much when compared to the national debt, the price of gas or new tires, but all my donated time doesn't pay the web-server costs for a site giving out free off-road maps.

So, a great big thanks to the Mesquite Kokopelli ATV club, Lindley Construction and to all of you who have spread the word about our site and helped with costs this past year … we need it again

Open The Money Jail

There is an area where we need some extra help. I've mentioned before about the "money jail" Amazon and Paypal (and others) create by limiting payouts to a certain threshold amount. That means even though someone donated money months ago - we still don't recieve it until the total amount exceeds $100.

I have to say that even with the generous donation from the club again this year, we're still about $100 short and a big hunk of that is tied up in "Money Jail." A couple small donations will let the captive funds go free and keep us from closing down.

I'm much more versed in things like scouting and verifying trails, GEO-coding waypoints and tracks, digitizing map coordinates and programming Google Earth files than I am in raising funds. So, I look to the web for help.

Last year I ran across a guy who said that whenever he needed funding he just put up his photo with a direct approach asking for money. Of course I didn't think to ask if he ever got any.

So I did the same thing - I put up his picture asking for money.

Show Support

It worked, but not like he said it would.

So, this year I'm thinking that I'll appeal to a broader range of sensibilities, like:

Perhaps, cat lovers…

Cat Lovers
Support The Effort

- and not to be out done, I need to think about dog lovers too…

Dog Lovers
Love The Offroad

And just to cover all my bases…

How about helping one of these cute little kids out?

At any rate, I hope you get the picture… Offroadinghome, just about the only offroading site which still offers free off-road maps to support the hobby, needs your donation to stay "on the air" and keep the maps free. I hope you can, one way or the other.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Offroad: Mormon Mesa Point

In order to explore the Mormon Mesa a little more, Gordon, Hugh and I took to the offroad once again and headed south. OK… Gordon had convinced Hugh to go find two mines which were on his mine database, but which no one in recent history had seen. Then somehow we ended up on the trail without the coordinates to the spots so went sight-seeing instead. And I'm glad we did.

The view from the top gives the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon a run for their money; but, I digress. Hugh calls any trailhead in the area, except the water tower, "riding from the girls trailhead." So, once again, we staged at the water tower parking area on Ben Franklin to begin the days ride.

Up and over the Flat Top Mesa is a beautiful ride, in and of itself; but, for me at least, I've already "got the tee-shirt" on that ride so it can be a bit of an impediment to getting to the "real" destination on the other side. Recent weathering and wear has made opening and closing the gates at the top on the steep grade quite an adventure; so, if you're smart you'll make a side-by-side carrying two people go first. The "spare" can climb over to the gate and open it to let everyone through then close it after.