Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast

Thread: The Mojave Road - A Newbie's Tale Pt 1 - Pic Heavy

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    65
    Thanks for sharing. Nice write up so far. I just did the Mojave Rd for the first time last week. We did it west to east so it's nice to have your perspective going the other way. Looking forward to the rest of the trip report.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Riverside CA USA
    Posts
    530
    This place is beautiful and maintained by the family of the original owner and a 4WD group. It has supplies in it - take what you need, leave what you don't for the next person. Well kept and much appreciated. It had the BEST outhouse - you can't tell from this angle, but it had a really nice view. Yah - she was happy, I scored major points.
    Brannigan 2.jpg

    Some pics of another great desert sunset.
    Brannigan 6.jpg
    /
    Brannigan 4.JPG
    /
    Brannigan 5.jpg
    /
    Sitting by the fire, cooking some carne asada quesadillas and having a Moscow Mule with friends made for a really pleasant and enjoyable evening. It is also at a much lower elevation than our previous night's spot and the day overall was about 10 degrees warmer than Day 1 which made it very nice to sit by the fire for awhile without seeing a bunch of faces with blue tinged lips staring back at me. The wind did pick up again though, but nowhere near what it was on Night 1. As we headed off to sleep on our 2nd and last night, the memories of the two days travels, adventures, and sites danced in my head like the effeminate dude from River Dance - loud aggressive and in your face powerful, yet simultaneously delicate and graceful.
    Last edited by Stryder106; 01-09-2017 at 11:08 PM.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Riverside CA USA
    Posts
    530
    Day 3 - the final day.
    /
    Up before the sun, fed, packed and back on the Road at 9am. We had picked up rocks at the Lava Tube to place on what would be our first stop of the day - Traveler's Monument. We also aired down just a tad (from the 30 psi we had run the entire Road at) to 25psi just in case because of the warnings of muck on Soda Lake, deep sand from that point on, and then potential mud on the bottom of the Mojave River. We made sure that our host spot for the night was in better shape than when we found it and left some stuff for the next folks who happen upon it. With the sun at our backs, I put the Avalanche into gear and we headed Southwest for the last day of our adventure.
    Brannigan 1.jpg
    /
    As we approached Soda Lake, the terrain takes a noticeable turn for the worse, it changes rather abruptly from sand to rough, deep rut, hard, yet wet silt (not the dried out style - but the still wet stick to everything style). Now, I had been at Bonneville Salt Flats for Speed Week during the summer, so the temptation to open her up and let her eat was very tempting, but I heeded the warnings in The Mojave Road Guide about the drops that are present - so I restrained my testosterone and just cruised along across the lake bed - it was wet, but tacky and not sloggy - all good to go. We spaced the vehicles out and worked our way across.
    Soda Lake1.jpg
    /
    In the distance, and growing larger, we see it growing as we draw nearer - Traveler's Monument. If driving on the Aiken Mine was like being on Mars, then driving on Soda Lake and seeing the flag on the monument was like being on the Moon.
    Travelers Monument.jpg
    /
    Had. To. Do. It.
    Travelers Monument 3.jpg
    /
    We placed our rocks, read the plaque, and enjoyed the moment.
    Travelers Monument 2.jpg

    Time to head out for Shaw Pass and the deep sand of Rasor and Afton Canyon.
    Last edited by Stryder106; 01-09-2017 at 11:39 PM.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Jupiter, FL.
    Posts
    62
    That was a great ride and write up, we really enjoyed it!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    High Desert CA
    Posts
    608
    Great write up and awesome pictures.............looks like you guys had a blast!
    2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road
    2014 F250 CC 4x4 Lariat Diesel
    2017 Hallmark K-2
    KM4QFW

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Riverside CA USA
    Posts
    530
    Shaw Pass - this is interesting. In my planning for this trip, I noticed that that marked "Mojave Road" in Google Earth continues straight against the right side of the mountains rather than making the left hand turn called out in the Mojave Road Guide. I then checked the Lowrance routing in my Avalanche, and it also had the route sticking to the right like Google Earth, rather than making the sharp turn left. The Tom Harrison map I have shows a SLIGHT left that actually could be interpreted as bending around the mountain. I previously mentioned that I had "flown" the road virtually many times on GE just to familiarize myself with terrain and landmarks (that did prove to be a a good use of time) - but there are two clear paths - one that goes straight and hugs the mountain, or one that runs left and then down to a wash - and disappears into nothing but deep white soft blow sand. Ironically, my girlfriend's dad used to work with Dennis back in the 70s and he would tell me about the guy he worked with who got all into the Mojave desert and even bought the schoolhouse to turn it into a museum. Her dad is also the one who bought me the book. It's just a dang small world. When I told him about the discrepancy, his reply was " Trust the book, Dennis is never wrong about anything in Mojave." Side note: Her dad used to do Riverside Mountain Rescue so, whenever we go out, I give him the details and Mapshare my Delorme InReach with him - he gets a breadcrumb every 10 minutes; and he will sit and watch our progress (I do have his daughter and two grandkids in the vehicle with me).
    /
    We took the left and once you get down to a main wash, take a right - the trail stops being marked by cairns and starts being marked by wooden posts driven lengthwise into the ground - THANK YOU volunteers for doing that!!!! Wending our way through the deep blow sand I kept it in 4Hi and in Drive; I also had my new rear locker on just because I thought it would be best to spread the load of moving the fully loaded weight of my vehicle through the soft sand. I don't know if that was a good decision or not, but my Av never once even hinted at getting stuck and I got to use my locker. So, I'll just take credit for a good decision.
    /
    Successfully navigating the Rasor area, we then found ourselves in Afton Canyon and at the RR bridge. We posed the vehicles for a picture and my girlfriend said, "It would be perfect if a train came by." Within 30 seconds, we heard the train whistle coming. No kidding. I need to have her pick my Lotto tickets next time. The engineer laid on the horn for the kids (ok - and us) and gave us a wave as he raced West.

    Afton Canyon Train.jpg

    Back on the trail, it looks like you should bend right up on the service road, but don't - stay left against the cliff walls, the exit point is much further down through the wash. After a bit, we jumped up on the service road and then come around the bend - and there it is - my nemesis from a few years (and many mods ago): The Mojave River. There was a couple in a Toyota with a hard shell. They were not wanting to cross the river as it was higher than they thought it would be. It was definitely higher than when I had backed away from it the first time. We all stopped and took a look, but having the snorkel on my Avalanche automatically made me the guinea pig. It's not like I could say "No". If I backed away from this, with the snorkel, locker, and 35s - then I would have to go home and order a personal license plate that reads: MLCRWLR. Now, I've never done a river crossing or water crossing in my vehicle. I used to do water rescue and was a rescue diver - so I know all to well what can happen when vehicles (of many sorts) lose the battle with water. Facing my previous demon, I turned on the Go Pro, the air compressor, the locker, put it in 4Lo 2nd (to keep the RPMs up), and eased into the throttle. Here we go kiddies..........
    River Crossing 2.jpg
    /
    I do read the "How To..." articles both on ExPo and in Overland Journal - as I'm learning this whole overland/expedition/adventure thing. So, I knew what gear to use to keep my RPMs up and get enough steady speed to have traction and maintain enough speed to create a bow wave in front of my Avalanche. If the author(s) of said articles are reading this (LOL - right?) take a look at my pic below and let me know if I did it correctly.
    /
    Well, I enter the water and there is a sudden, very unexpected, DROP. It felt like a foot or more, but in reality was probably closer to 6-10 inches. But, it was enough that the nose down attitude of my entry caused water to come OVER my hood. So, being the drag racer that I am - front end lifts on acceleration, I hit the gas before my rear tires got into the water. That jumped the nose back up and as I got to 10 MPH I back off on the throttle and followed the bow wave all the way through. WOOHOO!!!! Knocked that river out - though I'll concede that it won the first bout and then landed the first blow of the rematch.
    River Crossing.jpg

    My buddy in his Raptor was next and I had told him on the radio about the drop. He said, "Yeah - saw that." I told him to keep his nose up. Well - damn son. I didn't get a pic, but I have it on Go Pro video - he hit the throttle hard on that Raptor and had a bow wave I could have surfed. His wife in her JK made it through fine as well.
    /
    With the joy of completing the final obstacle, came the immediate realization that it was over, we had done it. The only remaining obstacle was to navigate the freeway traffic home. We aired up at the Afton Canyon Campground and headed for pavement with the knowledge that we can do this, some experience under our belts, and tighter friendships than were in place just a few short days before. Socrates once said, "One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been." Now, that the sun was setting on our first adventure, I look back and realize what a splendid day it was.
    /
    EPILOGUE
    A few weeks after the Mojave Road trip, we were on I40 headed to Flagstaff, AZ. As I mentioned at the start of this thread, I've been up and down the I40 and I15 my whole life and never gave a second thought or glance to the dirt space in between. On this trip in my girlfriend's Camry, I was riding shotgun. I found my eyes glued out the window to the left now knowing what was out there, and how much more there is to see. It's pretty amazing what exists between two freeways. It's even more amazing how many millions of people drive up and down those stretches and have no idea how much adventure is right there - literally - right there to be enjoyed. I am blessed to count myself as no longer being one of them.
    Last edited by Stryder106; 01-10-2017 at 02:21 AM.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    People's Republic of California
    Posts
    225
    Nice write up. Like you I have driven through the area a dozen times. I bought the Mojave Road Guide and map, studying it for future travels. Thanks for sharing.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    19
    Great write up. This is on my short list for this year's trips. Glad you guys had a great time!

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    610
    Great trip report. I am copying some of what you did in terms of vehicle prep and trip research. I ordered the Mojave Road book you mentioned when I read your post. Good sales pitch for overlanding enthusiasts. Thanks for sharing!
    2003 Montero Limited
    3.8L V6 6G75 5 Speed Auto
    Roof Rack, Kumho- AT-51's LT265-75-R16E, Air Lift rear bags, skid plates, rear recovery points added on, modified spare tire holder for larger tires, 2" home made front spacer lift, 30mm rear coil spacer (80 Series Landcruiser Polyurethane spacer from Ironman4x4)

    1984 Isuzu Trooper II, LWB, 3 Door, SOLD
    1986 Toyota 4x4, 31-10.5's, SOLD
    1992 Isuzu Trooper 3.2L, SOLD
    1993 S-10 Blazer 4x4 4.3L Vortec SOLD

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    248
    Thanks for the write up and pics. Great that you had family with you. The kids will remember this for the rest of their lives. Hoping to do Mojave for the first time later this year. Maybe do it in 4 days 3 nights so we have more time to check out stuff.

    Love it when you mod your rig and actually get to put the stuff through it's paces.

    Did you have to do a lot of air down/air up on this trip?

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •