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Tag: 4wd

Cameron to Utah - The Best for Last | AZBDR Stage 6

A quick recap... We knew even before starting the AZBDR that we'd need a permit to cross the Navajo Nation, and we knew we could conveniently pick up the permit just outside of Cameron, AZ just prior to entering Navajo land. What we didn't know for sure were the hours of the permit office. Knowing that we didn't know, we'd tried calling the permit office earlier in the day - just before visiting Waputki National Monument - thinking that we could pick up our permit well before the office closed for the day. However, when no one answered the phone,…

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Winona to Cameron - Volcanoes, Pueblos, and a Grand Canyon | AZBDR Stage 5

Having "wrapped up" (and by that I mean, essentially, skipped) Stage 4 of the AZBDR in a little under six hours, it was just after 3:30pm when we set out from Winona in search of open roads. The elevations here were nearly as high as those on the Mogollon Rim, so I was a little worried that we'd soon find ourselves blocked by snow, but @mrs.turbodb was reasonably confident that we'd be just fine. As usual, she was right. The snowy San Fransisco Mountains would provide a familiar - and beautiful - backdrop for much of this stage. For the…

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Young to Winona - The Mogollon Rim is Closed | AZBDR Stage 4

As our tires hit pavement in the outskirts of Young, it was time to start thinking about Stage 4. Climbing - and then traversing the Mogollon Rim - this was where satellite imagery, which I'd been watching on a daily basis for several weeks prior to our departure, suggested that 5-19" of snow still blanketed the ground. This didn't look promising. Still, my copilot - having spent the last half hour looking through the road conditions page for the Coconino National Forest - thought we stood a chance, at least in part. Though she confirmed closure of the Forest Service…

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Globe to Young - Take a Hike | AZBDR Stage 3

Globe definitely won the "best marketing" award of all the towns we passed through on this trip. It was fantastic to photograph. Rolling out of Globe early on our second day of running the Arizona Backcountry Discovery Route (BDR), we were once again on - you guessed it - pavement! This was quickly getting old - as we sped north at speeds we rarely encounter on our adventures - and by now we were pretty sure that the AZBDR wouldn't be climbing to the top of our "favorite BDR" list unless something changed dramatically, and quickly. AZ-288 (the Globe-Young Highway)…

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Benson to Globe - Kinda Boring | AZBDR Stage 2

Having wrapped up Stage 1 of the Arizona Backcountry Discovery Route (BDR) more quickly than we'd anticipated, it was early afternoon as we headed north out of Benson, toward Globe. Having just gorged ourselves on Wendy's, we weren't in any position to stop at the shop directly below this tantalizing sign as we left town. While unexpected, we were both glad that things were working out this way. We've found it much more pleasant to end a day halfway through a stage - rather than at the end/beginning of one - in order to find somewhere to setup camp and…

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Mexico to Benson - Unusual Encounters | AZBDR Stage 1

Prologue Running a BDR (Backcountry Discovery Route) this year is going to be a little different for us than it has been in years past, for several reasons. First, we'll be exploring a state that - due to its distance from home, or even Las Vegas where the Tacoma is now stored - we've done very little adventuring through. This should be a great thing, as one of the "problems" with the last couple of BDRs we've explored was that we were already reasonably familiar with what we'd encounter, making the trip less exciting. Second, we'll be running the route…

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The Perfect Day for Something Stupid

I love nearly every aspect of getting out to explore. The research when I'm at home. The anticipation of what will be found along the way. The unexpected discoveries along the journey. And, of course, the excitement of finding the destinations themselves. Usually. The Back Story Even the best-laid plans - of which mine rarely qualify - run into a snag every now and then. Sometimes it takes multiple attempts to find what we are looking for - if we ever find it at all - as I learned in the case of a singular rock along the Pahranagat Trail over…

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Searching for the Scallywag | Missing Death Valley #3

I slept soundly at the head of Ashford Canyon, two days of driving and hiking finally catching up to my aging body. Knowing that I'd have another long hike - and steep climb - ahead of me for the day, I spent a few minutes around camp, soaking in the sunrise and enjoying the shade that I knew I'd long for as the day went on. With the Tacoma still cool in the shade, a little glow on the Owlsheads, just as the sun is cresting the horizon. As I was eating my breakfast, I spotted this little guy near…

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In Over My Head | Missing Death Valley #2

Making my way south from Furnace Creek, I wasn't in any rush as I putzed along Badwater Road. With tourists swinging into the other lane to pass me by, I soaked in the ever-changing western face of the Black Mountains. Is it just me, or does it look like that guy is fishing in Lake Manley? No fish out there buddy! After passing the parking lot at Badwater, traffic thinned out significantly. Sure, there was still a bit - heading to or from Sidewinder Canyon or south towards Jubilee Pass and Las Vegas - but by and large I was…

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Pick One to Hug | Snow in JTNP #3

It's extremely rare that we camp in the same location two nights in a row, but our second night in the Jumbo Rocks campground was - being essentially windless, and certainly snowless - so much more pleasant than the first, that it was as if we'd driven for hours and camped somewhere entirely different. Unfortunately, that didn't mean that the tent was dry. It was still cold, so a thick layer of frost had formed on all the exterior surfaces overnight - a situation that we'd ignore as we packed up a few minutes after sunrise - requiring us to…

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Seems "Safe" | EMHT Segment 3C The Bonanza King to Fenner

Just to remind everyone where we left off - we'd found the perfect camp site, with one minor caveat: it was located about 25 feet from a rather deep, Tacoma-sized, hole in the ground. With no barriers. "If you get up during the night to pee, do it on the driver side of the truck," The main shaft of the Bonanza King Framed by enormous lumber, this is one of the most impressive shafts in the preserve. It plunges down 600 straight feet, then continues as a winze for another 200 feet. When the shaft encountered a new ore body,…

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Unfinished Business | EMHT Segment 3B Granite Mountains to Providence

After cleaning up after dinner and getting the tent deployed, it was still only 6:15pm, too early - even for us - to hit the sack for the night. It was, rather, the perfect time for me to be reminded of what we had in store for the morning; the trail description I'd neglected to re-read prior to planning the trek. Whipping out what we lovingly refer to as the Mojave Preserve bible - @mrs.turbodb was happy to oblige: From its head near the highest point in the Granite Mountains to its mouth, Budweiser Canyon climbs about 2,800 feet in…

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Desert Art | EMHT Segment 3A Rocky Ridge to Granite Mountains

There was no way Mike @Digiratus, Zane @Speedytech7, and I were going to run the entirety of the East Mojave Heritage Trail when we set out to do it at the end of November. At something more than 700 miles long - not including the nearby side-adventures that I added for our enjoyment - it might seem like a Backcountry Discovery Route, but the roads are significantly slower and more technical, and the percentage of on-dirt miles is significantly larger. Frankly, these two things make it easily twice the length of a BDR, not to mention the fact that we…

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Racing the Sun to the Mojave Megaphone | EMHT Segment 2C Ivanpah Mountains to Rocky Ridge

I don't know if it was the coldest night of the trip from an absolute perspective, but when I climbed out of my tent, it was the only morning I found the rainfly - and the cab of the Tacoma - covered in a layer of frost. Luckily, as the final full day of our trip, we'd decided that no matter where we were, it was where we were going to cook our shared breakfast. And that meant we'd have a couple extra hours for our tents to defrost. While I waited for Mike @Digiratus and Zane @Speedytech7 to wake…

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Colorful Ore | EMHT Segment 2B Silver Lake to Ivanpah Mountains

Camped at 2,250 feet above sea level, the entirety of the night was quite a bit warmer than the previous two evenings at more than 5,500 feet, and it was so nice to open up all the windows and doors on the tent so that whenever I'd wake up through the night, I can take a quick glance at the surroundings and admire them under the moonlight. Morning brought more clouds than on previous mornings, but with a clear eastern horizon, more clouds just meant more color! After three days of doing it, getting out of camp early was now…

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Mine Hopping | EMHT Segment 2A Clark Mountain to Silver Lake

We lucked out with a windless night along our ridge on the eastern edge of the Clark Mountains. Hoping that out orientation would allow for some nice color at sunrise, I was up early to try and find the best angle from which to capture the splendor we were lucky enough to call home for a night. Framed by Clark Mountain, there was just a hint of color in the sky. Mike @Digiratus and Zane @Speedytech7 weren't far behind, and as I was wrapping up the morning photo session of their best-gen trucks, they were boiling water for coffee and…

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Almost the End | EMHT Segment 1B Caruthers Canyon to Clark Mountain

There aren't many nights that I close up all the windows and doors on my tent, as - especially when there is a full moon as there was on this night - I enjoy being able to gaze out on the surroundings if I wake up in the middle of the night. But parked under the watchful gaze of Easter Island Rock, with temperatures in the my-feet-are-numb range and a 10mph breeze blowing through camp, I zipped everything up tight, inserted my earplugs, and hoped for the best. It worked, and I was nice and toasty when my alarm -…

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We All Arrive ...Except for Monte ...Again | EMHT Segment 1A Needles to Caruthers Canyon

Prologue For the first time in five years, the "annual" TacomaWorld trip has morphed into two trips. I suppose, technically, I should call it a trip-and-a-half, given the debacle that became Half a Trip in Montana, but I prefer to see the glass always full (there's always something in there) so we're just going to call it two. The timing of the second trip - in December - clearly ruled out anything up north, so returning to Montana for redemption would just have to wait until next year. Plus, given the unexpectedly good time that we had in Death Valley…

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Worth the Effort | Third Time #1

The Pahranagat Valley and its surrounding wilderness' have been my nemesis throughout 2023. I set out in January - nearly a year ago now - to follow the Pahranagat Trail in search of rock art that I'd discovered through the trip reports of other intrepid explorers. Ultimately - and luckily, quickly - I realized that without more information, I was searching for a needle in a haystack, so I headed east and south - to Utah and Arizona - where I discovered some of the most amazing rock art that I was not looking for. Strike one. Determined to succeed…

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60 Seconds Out | Connect the Dots #6

As was the warning that crackled over the military scanner for one of the most exhilarating moments of the trip, this story is a short one. - - - - - As you may recall, we'd camped as close as we could to a random point in the middle of nowhere Nevada that an internet stranger had shared with me as one that had nearly uncountable - there were so many - low level military flyovers. And again, as you may recall, we were only "as close as we could be" due to the fact that we'd run into the…

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