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Black Rock Desert Memorial Day W/E 2013


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On a Memorial Day weekend a few years back, we joined up with Mark and the Reno 4x4 and Hills Angels folks.  I have archival scenic photos from that outing.  The aspen and Basque ovens make for great photography, panoramic vantages from Granite Peak as well!  These club members are great to 'wheel with...


High Rock Canyon ranks high on our list of "destination" four-wheeling trips, we travel there with family and "new-to-four-wheeling" friends.  I plan to do High Rock soon on a plated, "true dirt" dual-sport motorcycle, in response to growing interest in dirt dual-sport motorcycling.  Been dirt biking as well as four-wheeling, both single- and two-track, since high school.


I took my first driving test in the family's '64 Jeep CJ-5—48 years ago this week at Carson City, Nevada!  The entire State of Nevada had well under a half-million population when we hit the dirt routes between Tonopah and Austin in 1965.  The prior year, I attended Nevada Range Camp with the USDA Extension Service, late spring of 1964.  We camped at Big Creek, visiting the reservation ranches 40 miles down the isolated Reese River Valley. 


I caught a 14-inch brook trout in Big Creek, coaxed from beneath a grassy undercut at the four-foot diameter, snow melt pool that formed the head of the tiny desert creek!  Many years later, even the powerful steelhead at Oregon's coastal rivers gave no more thrill than that surprisingly feisty brookie at Big Creek!


Our family has always liked destination 'wheeling, where the 4x4 is just that: a means for accessing hunting, fishing, historical and mine sites, archaeological sites, anthropological remnants, rock hounding and Nature in general!  My first reach into Nevada's mining and Native American history was a half century ago, and our family still calls Nevada "home" today.


In addition to the Black Rock/High Rock Area north of Gerlach, Mark and I share an appreciation for Central and Eastern Nevada, as do many avid outdoor Nevadans!  I'd like to gather up fellow destination enthusiasts, either four-wheelers or dual-sport motorcyclists, and share some of these spectacular rural, historical and scenic Great Basin adventures! 


I've done the Rubicon Trail since 1967.  Despite the significant "challenges" that each of us has experienced on the Rubicon Trail, my "quintessential experience" was guiding and driving the first Geo Trackers (one stone stock, the other very mildly modified with 29-inch diameter tires) to negotiate the Rubicon Trail.  At the time, one of my professional roles was guiding new 4WD truck and SUV media launches for several vehicle manufacturers plus teaching four-wheeling clinics on behalf of Tread Lightly.  The Geo Tracker assignment was a "publicity" challenge for Chevrolet in the mid-'90s.  We turned the customary 12-16 hour campout with a Jeep CJ or YJ, or a Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40, into a 46-hour marathon!


After winching, Hi-Lift jacking and personally driving both vehicles through the roughest stretches and Sluice Boxes, I suspected that any future trip over the Rubicon would be on my Honda XR350R motorcycle!  Chevrolet was ecstatic about the outcome and launched a national print media ad campaign from the photos...


My field work includes conducting workshops with friends like Bill Burke (Four-Wheeling America) and Cody Lundin (Discovery Channel naturalist and survivalist).  Whether competing at a Land Rover Trek or driving a manufacturer's $80K SUV alongside a rock ledge, I keep it real.  I've taught fellow journalists (try that some time!), family members (really?) and friends (remaining friends becomes the goal) to appreciate "low environmental impact four-wheeling", getting to remote, difficult places without destroying the natural world in the process...I'm pleased to share these values, assets and my many experiences—here at these forums!


Mark and I have 'wheeled together, including an impromptu run over the Gold Lake Trail after transporting kids with disabilities to a Camp Wamp wilderness base at Hawley Lake near Sierra Buttes...Great to see Mark's photos from the Homestead...Trust we'll see his photos and 'photo bucket' links here as well!



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Ah, Reese River Valley.  We recently stopped into the abandoned Hess Ranch. Interesting ruins. The drive up Big Creek over to Kingston is  fun but there is a pesky seasonal snow drift right at the top that denies many  intrepid explorers.  Same for Northumberland Pass.  We have a fall run in the planning stages to traverse northern Nevada from Jarbidge to Gerlach, hitting all the isolated mining camps and fishing lakes.

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Got my attention, Mark!  If my plated dual-sport is available, what do you think of HD video coverage on the Jarbidge to Gerlach run!  Logistics and details can be worked out...What a plan, what great country to cover...GoPro Hero3 with a helmet mic on the cycle, I'm ready! 


Fall is incredible across the region, I hunted Areas 6 and 7 in the '90s, the Santa Rosas above Hinkey Summit in the early '70s and know the Sheldon Antelope Range, Kings River Valley and the Black Rock.  Did Leonard Lake in a jon boat during the early '70s, mounted the boat atop a Kaiser era V-6 Jeepster, traveled with Irving Tonneson, a well driller from Idaho who ran a pump supply business at Carson City.


Great areas!  Lots of memories from Reese River Valley, Smoky Valley and Monitor Valley...We'll share stories around a campfire, Mark!



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