5 Days in Mesquite (Nov 2020)

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While we originally had plans to travel to Australia for 3 weeks, the raging fires and Pandemic quickly put an end to those aspirations.

So, where else to go to celebrate 30 years of marriage? Mesquite, of course!

We reserved a newly built AirBnB house on the outskirts of town (because it had a private hot tub and was huge), packed up our gear into the 2020 Jeep Gladiator and off we went.

The plan was to offroad, gamble, eat well and just generally relax - Mission success on all points.

Up until the last day, the weather was fantastic.. averaging 88-90F, more than sufficient to take the roof off the Jeep and make our runs in the open air (that would later to prove a mistake!)

After a great dinner at the Eureka steakhouse, we relaxed the remainder of the evening. In the morning, the plan was to run South/East toward the North rim of the Grand Canyon, then to the North edge of Lake Meade. Game on!

The routes:

The Trek South / East from Mesquite:


Coming off the final "Elbow Canyon" switchbacks.


Calm before the storm:


  GPSr tracks for the Mesquite Area:

Mesquite Area Riding.gdb

Hurricane area to Beaver Dam.gdb

FYTO 2019

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With the inversion settling into the valley and temps hovering just above freezing, I jumped in my Land Cruiser, that I had packed Thursday night, and made my way to the Loves in Brigham City where I would meet 19 other vehicles to kick off the 11th annual Freeze Your Tail Off. FYTO is one of my favorite trips each year!
Temps in the 30's may seem cold at first, but if you have ever been on a FYTO event, or driven into the NW desert in Utah, you know you want temps in the 20's to avoid the snotty, sticky, slick as $#i+ mud in the area. Since I haven't figured out how to control the weather, the game plan was to find higher ground and avoid mud like the plague.
As I pulled into Loves, I saw a few familiar faces topping off tanks and assembling in the parking lot. I topped off the tank, grabbed some burritos from the C-Store, and started handing out waivers and sticker packets. Once everyone arrived, we held a quick drivers' meetings and hit the road toward Golden Spike National Monument.

We hit dirt and cruised to the Transcontinental Railroad Grade. Our first stop was the ghost town of Kelton. The stretch of road between locomotive Springs and Kelton is chewed up and slow going. I am super thankful it was still frozen when we got there! By the looks of the ruts, there were many less fortunate than we were. Along the way we spotted a bald eagle chilling on a fence post. It was Amazing!


Arriving in Kelton, we circled the vehicles at the Cemetery to stretch our legs and air down tires. We paused for a bit to admire other rigs in the group, get to know one another, and take some pictures. With temps on the rise, we made the call to stay as high as possible. We set sights on Element 11, Utah's local version of Burning Man, and set out on the road slightly less traveled.






On 3 November, Mike and I staged at Little Moab. Our singular goal was to run Rattlensnake Canyon, a narrow 50" trail that drops down over the top of the mountain to the North end of the Tintic range. Having untouched snow on the ground made the ride even better. A geocache has been placed near the center of the trail and can be found at:


A couple photos and GPSr tracks for this area:


GPSr Garmin tracks found here:


On ~5 October, Mike, Scott and I departed the Wasatch front at around 6:30pm en route to Circleville where we'd overnight at Butch Cassidy's Hideout Cafe' and Motel. While the Motel is quite comfy, we actually prefer to eat at the Circleville Cafe' down the street.

Our plan was to awaken Saturday morning, hit the Cafe' at 8am for a great breakfast, then ride up/over Rocky Ford en route to Antimony. What we had failed to realize was that this was the last weekend for the Elk Hunt. Hunters were easily every 100 feet along the trail down into Antimony.

Well, up Rocky Ford we went. That trail has not aged well and had several sections off-camber and ready to fall into the waterfall below.



Though it seemed as if a trailcat went half-way up, it was totally clear that hardly a machine had crossed atop the waterfall and gone further ahead. Once we passed the waterfall, we came upon two trees down across the trail. The first, we could move easily enough, but the second was too large to cut with a hand-saw and too heavy to pull aside with the winch. Up/over it we went.


Down into Antimony we went. We enjoyed great burgers/fries at the Merc, then departed back up the mountain via the PST73 switchbacks, following the Paiute 01 all the way toward Barney Lake.


After stopping to rest a bit, we went up the mountain and were surprised to find that the USFS had rerouted a mile or so of the trail at the top. We saw evidence of a hastily blocked former trail:


The ride down was uneventful, but it was a great sun-filled day, despite some cool temps.

A few videos from the climb up/down Barney Lake:

Part 1:


Part 2:


Our full route; about 126 miles total:


Garmin GPSr Tracks of the route:


Flew my father in from Houston to have him join us on a first Jeep trek across the Pony Express (starting at Vernon, Utah) all the way into Wendover.

On the way, we had stops at:

Simpson Springs

Fish Springs


Gold Hill

Wendover, NV



The amount of water in the desert is surreal. Who would have thought how much wildlife and water (fresh springs) existed in the expanse of Utah west desert!

After an overnight with some Blackjack at a Wendover casino, we proceeded due north toward the north end of the Pilot Peak Range. Patterson Pass is a great route to a scenic overlook:


The question posed was, do we drop down the steep and off-camber or do we turn around? The group decided we should venture over the top. While I’ve dropped down this section on ATV at least 3-4 times, I’ve never done this in a brand new Jeep Gladiator. Being off-camber in a Jeep is so much different than on an ATV!



Once at the base, I stashed a new geocache and we proceeded toward the Sun Tunnels for a late lunch.


From there, we passed through Lucin and onward toward the Devil’s Playground. From there, onward to Zaqistan:


Europe Family Trip - 2019

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Europe 2019 trip..
Today at 03:20:48
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Two years in the making, planning and setting aside $ to take my Wife, Two sons, youngest son's girlfriend and my Mom (lives in TX). Six of us total.

Agenda was:

Rent a VW Diesel passenger van at the Munich Germany airport, drive:
3 days in Munich, Germany
4 days in Austria (Salzburg area)

Return the Van at the Salzburg, AU train station, take a 4 hour train trip to Zurich, Switzerland.

3 days in Switzerland

Uber to the Airport, catch ALITALIA airlines to Rome, Italy.

5 days in Rome

What did we do?

For the first two days in Germany, we did a WW2 tour of the Dachau concentration camp, then into Berchesgaden to see the Eagles Nest, Hitlers Home below the Eagles nest (he didn't live at the top of the mountain, despite most stories), all the various bunkers and hidden WW2 sites that still exist. In Austria, we spent time in Salzburg and surrounding small farming communities. We hit the Alps.

In Switzerland, we learned that that tiny country costs almost double as Germany and Austria, but our time was spent in/around Zurich, up the mountain via tram and took a steam powered paddle ship around Lake Zurich.

In Italy, we spent time bouncing between ancient Rome and a 2 hour train trip south to the coastal town of Naples.

Take 1 Utah DNR Trail Host Video

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Utah DNR Trail Video

Video taken in ~12F atop the Barracks trail near Kanab Utah.

Trail Map found here: Kanab_Area_OHV.pdf

GPSr tracks found here: Fillmore-to-Salina-Richfield.gdb

On 10 June, my friend Aaron and I took off at 0630 AM en route to the Fillmore KOA. Our objective was to run the PST03 (Chalk Creek), up and over the mountain, dropping down into Aurora, then proceeding into Salina for lunch.



At elevation, temps were easily 55-60F, while in the low land of Salina, temps were low 90's. What a contrast in temperatures.


While up top, we decided to check out a little side trail named: Bear Hallow. What a nice run through wild flowers to a cattle pond at the base.



In April, my youngest son Nick and my friend Scott departed Utah for Oklahoma City, OK. Final destination was a small town to the SW (about an hours drive) called: Gracemont. Final destination was: No Mercy Hunting.


Nick got the first kill from a tree stand, followed shortly by me from a stalk, then Scott. The final pig was the largest of the entire hunt, a sau on the run. My weapon of choice: Henry .45-70 with Hornaday 335gr ballistic tip.


A few photos:




All told, I shipped back 150 pounds of processed pork: Chops, ground pork, roasts, etc. Delta unfortunately didn't have a clear policy on how to check-in coolers with frozen meat and the check-in process was a total cluster.

In March of 2017, my friend Aaron (known as the "Moose") and I decided to stage in Green River for a trek to the old ghost town of Sego via Thompson Springs. We approached from the West and ran some cow-rutted trail until we crossed a cattle gate and thankfully got out of that decimated trail.


A few photos and GPSr tracks from this run!



GPSr tracks here:


 Where is James King?


Language Translation


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