Finally! The DE-III trip report (multi-part)


Wiffleball Batter
Here's hoping it was worth the wait. :elkgrin:

OK, sorry for the delay, Liz and I have both been very busy working on our little teardrop trailer Bubbles to get ready for a long awaited Summer camping season (see the "bubbles" link in my signature) so my writing has suffered a little.

In any case, here is my trip report, hopefully some of the other people on the trip (Scott, Michael, Ace, Keith, Frenchie, and Gary) will chime in with their experiences/observations as well.

Day 0, Monday, May 20th:

I call this “day zero” because our trip wasn’t scheduled to “officially” begin until we jumped off from Cedar City, UT, on the morning of Tuesday, May 21st. However, like the rest of us, I had to leave home before that, so I departed Englewood on the morning of Monday the 20th.

My initial plan had been to stop in Basalt (about 20 miles southeast of Glenwood Springs) to have my new front bumper installed. However, the builder notified me by email that it would not be done until the late afternoon of the 20th at the earliest, and so I decided that rather than roll into Cedar City in the middle of the night, dead tired, I would just pick up the bumper on my way back home.

Well, Day 0 was pretty uneventful – I had spent Sunday washing my 4runner and packing up. Heading out it was cool, drizzly and overcast. Given our terrible fire season last year, I was glad to see the moisture. By the time I got onto I-70 Westbound, the rain was steady and kept with me off and on. At the Eisenhower Tunnel (elevation 11,000’ above sea level) and Vail Pass (10,600’) the rain turned into a slushy snow.



Once I was off Vail pass, I knew I’d be “downhill all the way” at least until I hit Green River, UT. The rain stayed with me, intermittently, which made for a pleasant drive.

Glenwood canyon was spectacular, as it always is.


I think this exit was named after Clint Eastwood’s character in “A Fistful of Dollars.”



Normally I like to stop at the state line for gas just in case the price increases significantly in the next state over, but an app on my phone indicated that gas in Green River was as cheap or cheaper than in Grand Junction, so I decided to head on through. Grand Junction is about 275 miles from my home, and in my old (99) 4runner I’d have had to stop for gas here but since my newer 4runner (2007) carries 5 more gallons in the tank, I knew I could make it to Green River with ease.

Rolling into Green River the sky was still cloudy but the rain finally stopped. When I rolled into town I saw this amazing sight:



Unfortunately I didn’t have time to stop and talk to the truck driver but I have to say it was one of the most impressive collections of “old Iron” that I’ve seen on the road in a long time (and I’m a huge fan of “old iron,” especially old 4x4s from the 1960’s or earlier.)

For those not into old trucks, these are all 1955-59 Chevy pickups. Not terribly unusual except that they are all 4x4s. Those who are into “old iron” know that this was a time of transition – prior to about 1956-57 you generally couldn’t get a Ford, Chevy or International with factory 4x4 (and the only Dodge with factory 4x4 was the venerable Power Wagon.) What you did if you wanted a 4x4 was to buy the truck and then have it converted to 4wd by another company. The Chevy/GMC conversions were usually done by a company called NAPCO and Ford was normally done (I believe) by Marmon-Herrington. Not sure who did the IHC and Dodge conversions. Sometimes dealers would have trucks converted to 4x4 before selling them but they were still considered “conversions.” Starting in 1957, International, Chevy, and Dodge all offered factory 4wd (I believe Ford didn’t offer it until about 1959.)

So, I’m not sure if these trucks are NAPCO conversions or Factory 4x4s, but either way, they’re very rare. It’s rare enough to see one of these but to see three of them all together makes me think some collector out there acquired these.

After this, it was an uneventful trip on into Cedar City by way of I-70 and I-15. I rolled into the parking lot of the Wal Mart on the south side of town to do my grocery shopping (I didn’t shop in Denver, figuring that there was no reason to haul a load of groceries from Denver to Cedar City.) After dinner and checking my email via the free wi-fi at Applebees, I settled in to sleep in the Wal Mart parking lot with the windows cracked for ventilation and towels for shade from the parking lot lights.



Wiffleball Batter
Day 1, May 21st 2013

Day 1: Tuesday, May 21st:

I woke up early from the sunlight flooding into the back of my 4runner and hastily got out of my sleeping bag. Looking around I saw another person in a 4 door Jeep JK Unlimited with a RTT and figured it was one of my traveling companions – sure enough, it was Frenchie. We introduced ourselves and then decided to head one exit into town to get some breakfast. It wasn't even 7 yet and we were supposed to meet up and depart from the Smith's grocery store at 9, so we had plenty of time. As we pulled into the Denny's parking lot, I saw Keith's orange 4 door Colorado with the Little Guy teardrop trailer, parked at a motel.

Frenchie and I ate breakfast together and then headed over to the Smith's. We saw Keith in his truck and he followed us to the Smiths. Once there we met up with Michael and Gary, topped off our gas tanks and cans, and just generally got to know each other. Of course me, Scott and Laura, Michael, and Gary knew each other from our Moab trip last year as well.



I was a little disappointed to be the only one who thought to bring a waffle ball bat!


Michael and Ace, who had both been at the big Overland Expo in Flagstaff, decided to stay somewhere over on the East side of the mountains from Cedar City, so we waited for them to show up. We met up with Michael, Ace (and of course, Kyla!) Once they were there, our group was assembled and we headed out.

About 50 miles West of Cedar City, just past the almost-ghost-town of Modena, we turned off the pavement and aired down.


Had a nice drive through the high desert and Joshua Tree forest, crossing the state line at an unmarked spot and finally ending up at Echo Canyon State Park. It was getting close to lunch time, so we stopped for a meal.


From there we headed South, hitting the hardball near Panaca and then continuing South towards Caliente. At Caliente we turned South again on a state highway that paralleled the railroad tracks.


This road continued as pavement for quite a while and then turned into well-graded dirt road. Well graded, except for the rather sharp rocks that led to our first mishap of the trip. Michael (MJMcdowell) was ahead of me and called out on the CB that “something feels wrong” on his truck and right at that time I noticed his left rear tire flapping around, obviously blown.


It was a hot afternoon, but we all pitched in to help change his tire. Kyla thought staying in the shade was a smart idea.

It was getting close to 4, so we decided to start looking for a campsite. We were taking a small dirt road that passed through the Delamar Range, and there were several turnoffs and spurs. We headed up one spur that looked promising, and found another spur off that road at a stock tank that led us to a nice open meadow, where we established our camp for the night.



While setting up my cooking area, I noticed (with some embarrassment) that while I'd packed all my cooking utensils, I'd completely forgotten to bring a plate or bowl to eat off of! Since I was cooking a pretty simple meal of Burger Brats, it was no problem sliding the burger brat right off the pan and into the bun, but I still felt like a dummy for forgetting my plate and bowl! Of course, I've discovered that there's an ironclad rule of camping and that's that you always forget something. Always.


Notice the absence of a plate or bowl.

While we were there relaxing and shooting the breeze, I heard a sound that I assumed was a CB radio “breaking squelch” (i.e., short ‘static' noise.) I assumed that Ace or Frenchie had left a CB radio on and it was picking up spurious signals. As the sound continued, we started looking around, only to see a group of about 4 wild horses, a couple hundred yards away, staring at us and snorting loudly! From the piles of horse manure near our camp, we knew it had been used by horses, and apparently they weren't happy with these “squatters” on their nice little resting place!

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Wiffleball Batter
Day 2, Wednesday, May 22nd:

Since our camp faced towards the East, the sun woke us up pretty early.

I cooked my typical simple breakfast (I usually just heat up water for coffee and instant oatmeal when I'm by myself) and then packed up. Scott and Laura, of course, made a nice breakfast of pancakes, which they shared with us. They were “imitation blueberry” which means basically they were blue-tinted pancakes.

As I said above, there was a stock tank near the road, and there were plenty of cattle around. As we drove off, I took the lead, hoping to get us to the town of Delamar, our first real “ghost town” destination. Driving down the road, I passed a group of cattle, some of whom scattered at our approach. Then one little black calf started following me, rather closely. I kept thinking he'd turn off at any moment and go back to his mother, but he stayed right behind me, galloping along (do cattle gallop?) and trying to keep up with me. I increased my speed a bit, hoping he'd turn away, but he tried to stay with me. I felt bad for the little guy – was his eyesight so bad that he didn't know where he was going or did he somehow think my 4runner was his mother? In any case, I finally got to the point where he either ran out of steam or realized that my truck had no udders to feed him, and he turned away and headed back toward the other cattle.


They don't look identical to me, but then again I'm not a cow.

The road through the Delamar Mountains was very twisty and tight in places, with a couple of good climbs that offered some nice vistas.

Once we got out of the mountains, we turned onto the long, straight power line road.


It was here that I made a miscalculation in navigation (<---because I refuse to say &#8220;got lost.&#8221; :D ) I had assumed (yes, I know :rolleyes: ) that I was on a road that took us out of the mountains somewhere to the North of Delamar, so when we got the main road, I had us turn South, figuring that soon we'd intersect one of the roads leading East into Delamar. Well, it took several miles of driving to thoroughly confuse me as I saw no road leading where I thought one should be. Finally we turned off on what I thought was &#8220;the road&#8221;, only to find it dead-ending in a cow pasture near a stock tank.

As I got my map out and started trying to plot our location using our latitude and longitude, Laura said &#8220;weren't we on Cedar Wash road?&#8221; Looking at the map, I could clearly see Cedar Wash road running to the SOUTH of Delamar, meaning that when we turned South, we were going AWAY from Delamar, not towards it.


Suitably humbled (and having confirmed our location using geo coordinates), we headed back North, turning off at the very same point where we had joined the straight pole line road, and made a beeline for Delamar.

The first sign of any kind of settlement was, unsettlingly, the graveyard, visible off to the right side of the road. For a city that has been deserted for nearly 100 years, the graves were surprisingly well maintained.



Of course, most of them were pretty simple:


We thought it was interesting that several of the graves had obviously been maintained recently, including in a couple of cases, headstones that were obviously of fairly recent make (at the very least, less than 20 years old.) So clearly, there were people who had relatives who's lives they still commemorated, even at a place like this so far from the nearest town.

After checking out the graveyard, we continued on the road, which ascended from the flat desert and up over a fairly steep dirt/rock road. Cresting the hill, we first saw the huge tailings pile. Continuing on, we started seeing the extensive remains of the old mill, and then the rest of the town.

Calling Delamar a &#8220;ghost town&#8221; is something of a misnomer: I'm used to seeing ghost towns in Colorado that are nothing but an assembly of a few shacks, maybe some mining equipment, and not much else. Delamar is really a &#8220;ghost city&#8221;, a huge, extensive collection of buildings and artifacts from a place that was obviously a thriving enterprise for quite a few years.



We decided that with so much to see, we would overnight here even though it was just about lunchtime. After lunch we found a nice sheltered spot to camp just above the old mill. After that, some went exploring on foot, while Ace, Gary and I headed up the mountain to check out more of the ruins that were higher up.





We couldn't figure out what this large basin might have been used for. Collecting water, maybe?

Some of them were surprisingly large and sophisticated. All the more impressive since they appeared to be constructed almost entirely of piled-up rocks generated by mining. In fact, in many cases, I couldn't tell if the rocks were held together by mortar or if they were just stacked on each other dry!

There were vertical and horizontal mine shafts all over the place. Some were fenced off, most were not. These horizontal shafts led to vertical shafts that were covered with some very shaky-looking planks.


Now, I know it doesn't need to be said on a forum like this, but the lawyer in me feels compelled to do so:


For what it's worth, I only went into these shafts far enough to be able to snap a picture and then backed hastily (but carefully!) out, typically one or two steps. There are lots of vertical shafts in this area (as there are in most mining areas) and there are also a lot of tragic stories about people falling down them. I'm fairly confident in saying that there's nothing in these old mines worth dying for, so please be careful if you go to these sites!

The views from this area are great. Delamar is located at the Western edge of the Delamar mountain range and offers commanding views of the Delamar valley, even as far away as Delamar dry lake.




This part of Nevada is also known as &#8220;the region where there are so few people that we decided to just name everything Delamar and be done with it.&#8221; :D

Following our excursion to the top, I went back down, set up my camp and enjoyed a cold beer before dinner. Because of the wind, we elected not to have a campfire so Frenchie brought out his LP Gas "fire ring" and we sat around that instead.



And after that it was off to bed!

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Great report so far. I feel like I am reliving it. I will add a few pictures later when I finish with them.


Many thanks Martin for the most excellent photo story telling. Now I await a yarn or two told around the campfire and brew!

"The story of Ol' Clyde~The Night he went amuck... plum crazy after sippin' Miss Lizzie's brew? Yeah! Them kind!



DE III trip report......

Many thanks Martin for the most excellent photo story telling. Now I await a yarn or two told around the campfire and brew!

"The story of Ol' Clyde~The Night he went amuck... plum crazy after sippin' Miss Lizzie's brew? Yeah! Them kind!

Martin, as usual you have outstanding reports of our trip,( I like the cow comparisons) I will second what Gary said, "reliving it" Thanks again for the help and support when I had my tire failures. This why I will continue to travel across country for these trips, EVERYONE get's my thanks!! You and your wife have a great trip with your teardrop, stay safe and lord willing we shall have another great adventure.:sombrero: Michael


Wiffleball Batter
The trip report continues....

Day 3, Thursday, May 23rd:

Breakfast on day 3 was one of my favorites, Chorizo Burritos, thanks to our talented “camp chefs”, Scott and Laura. :D

We got up and packed up, as usual, but as we were getting ready to leave, Frenchie said he wasn’t feeling well. He decided that for safety reasons he would go ahead and drop out of our trip and find a motel in nearby Caliente. He followed our group as we drove out of Delamar along the narrow shelf road, and then said goodbye.

Back down on the flats, we again took the power line road to the South, with a destination of Alamo, where we would top off with gas (Scott’s V8 turned out to be rather thirsty!) and maybe a few groceries. Although there was a shorter route to where we were going, we decided to take a longer route across Delamar dry lake.


We chose to go this way because the map showed that there were petroglyphs there, and after all, we came out here to look at cool stuff like that. We weren’t disappointed.


The petroglyphs were surprisingly easy to read, and located on what appeared to be a large hill of volcanic rock plopped right into the middle of the flat, dry lake. We stopped here not only to look at the petroglyphs, but also to hike up onto the volcanic hill, which offered a commanding view of the surrounding basin.


After that it was a pleasant drive through brushy desert until we hit the highway (US 93) South of Alamo. Rolling into Alamo, I had expected to see, at most, a small gas station/convenience store, and was quite surprised to see that it’s a decent sized little town and that the gas station is combined not with a little convenience store, but with a full-service grocery and general goods store!

The other surprising thing (to me, anyway) was the reasonable price of gas here: $3.59. By contrast, when I filled up in Denver, I paid nearly $3.70. Typically, you figure that small towns like this that have the only gas station for miles will charge dearly for gas, based on the fact that they can.

We all did a little shopping here. I finally bought a plate and bowl so I could have something to eat off of! I also got a block of ice for my cooler, although my fridge was still working great (more on that at the end of the report.) One odd quirk about this store: It had just about everything except beer (I guess you can’t buy beer in grocery stores in Nevada? Seems odd – I expect those sorts of rules in strait-laced Utah, but in the state that is home to Sin City, I would have thought the rules would be more relaxed.)

In fact, there were no liquor stores in Alamo, the nearest one was a few miles North in Ash Springs. So after topping off in Alamo, we stopped in Ash Springs so some of us could replenish our beer supply!

From there we continued on the pavement to the junction of US 93 and UT-375, the so called “extraterrestrial Highway” that borders the super-secret Nellis Air Force Base/Nevada Test Site/Groom Lake Airfield, commonly called “Area 51.”


We then headed up 375 the 60 miles or so to the little town of Rachel, where they milk the whole “alien/Area 51” thing for all it’s worth:





I saw this guy in the parking lot. Yes, he was green and had big, dark eyes but I don’t think he counts as an “alien”:


A couple of the people got lunch at the little café here, the “Little A-Le -Inn” :)rolleyes:) The rest of us decided to take advantage of the nicely shaded picnic ground and ate our lunch outside. It was nice, warm but not hot, but the very gusty winds made eating outside a bit of a chore. You had to hold on to your plate pretty tightly!


While we were there, I took advantage of the nearly-deserted road to take a “single point perspective” photo of the road, looking Northwest:


Following lunch, we continued to the Northwest, turning off the pavement about 30 miles past Rachel, headed to the towns of Reveille, New Reveille, and Bellhelen. We got a little bit disoriented again, but finally found “old reveille”, with its surprisingly modern (probably 1940’s?) building standing amidst the older ruins:





It was getting close to dinner time again, so we located a campsite just a little ways down the road from Old Reveille, and got our camps set up.



The inside of Gary’s Wildernest seems cavernous!


Dinner was homemade pizza, courtesy of Scott and Laura. Yum!!


Meanwhile, Kyla found a good way to get out of the heat:


Even though we stayed up until after dark, we saw no UFOs or top secret government spy planes (though of course that doesn’t mean they didn’t see US! :Wow1: )

We did see a few military planes, at least they appeared to be military from the way they flew (pairs of planes flying in close proximity to each other.) We never could tell what kind they were, though.

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Wiffleball Batter
Day 4

Day 4, Friday, May 24th:

Our goal for today was to explore the Reveille area and then make our way over the Kawich Mountains to Bellehelen. Unlike Delamar, where there seemed to be a concentration of activity in one relatively small area, here the mines were spread out all over the place.


Scott and Laura at one of the horizontal shafts in the Reveille mountains.


Kyla exploring!


We visited several mines and crossed the Reveille mountain range over to the West side, eating lunch at the extensive ruins and the headstock at the New Reveille mine:


While I was eating lunch, I saw another big green lizard on top of an old motor:



The &#8220;headstock&#8221; is probably the most distinctive features of a mine. It is used to raise and lower equipment and miners into and out of the mine and to extract ore from the vertical shaft.


After lunch we headed West across the flats to the old Reveille mill (this would have been where the ore was taken after mining.) There were some pretty extensive ruins here, so we stopped a while to look around.



Much to Kyla's enjoyment, there was a big stock tank and the golden retriever was only too happy to jump into the algae-filled water to swim around:



She even caught a koi (or goldfish?) that was swimming in the tank. However, Ace rescued the poor thing and set it free.

I guess when things get boring in Nevada, you just haul your old stove out to the desert and shoot it full of holes.


The views from the &#8220;basin&#8221; portion of this &#8220;basin and range&#8221; country are pretty long:


Old car, probably from the 40's or 50's, abandoned and flipped upside down at the Reveille mill site.


After exploring the Reveille Mill, we headed back up to NV 375 and then US 6 to cross the summit and then come down on the West side of the Kawich range, headed towards Bellehelen. While we didn't see many ruins, we did find a nice, sheltered campsite near the old town.

Tonight was my night for dinner, and I made my &#8220;bachelor burritos&#8221; (I call them this because when I was single I used to make this a lot.) Scott, Laura, Michael, Ace, and Keith all contributed to the feast as well.


Kyla didn't get to partake in the feast, exactly, though I think she may have cleaned a few plates afterwards!


After the customary fire, we all went to bed.



Great photo report! Makes me realize what I missed my not going. But my 20yr old house is a mite more spruced up a bit!


Ace Brown

Retired Ol’ Fart
Really enjoying this report but no photos visible for me. Each image space has a message that they were deleted or moved.


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I love reading your trip reports Martin! Always detailed and educational (i.e. "old iron"). Keep it coming!


Here are some photos to add to yours.

This is one of the wild horses (possibly the leader) that were not very happy with us taking their night resting place.

011 wild horse.jpg

This is a shot from the largest, high excavation site at Delamar. If you look hard enough you can see some of our vehicles parked at that nights campsite. This gives a little more perspective of the size of this area and it still does not show all of it. You might have to click on it to get a larger view to see the vehicles. The white area is a small portion of the mill tailings with lots of potentially hazardous content. Fortunately, the wind was blowing its dust away from the campsite.

030 Delamar campsite from main excavation.jpg

This is a sign I came across that pretty much indicates we were at the boundary of a Nuclear test site.

059 Nuclear test site boundary.jpg

I didn't get a picture of the big green lizard but I was very intrigued by that big single cylinder engine.

051 engine Golden Arrow.jpg

I still need to go through more of the photos and will post more later.

Ace, I don't know why you can't view Martin's photos. I see them fine.

Ace Brown

Retired Ol’ Fart
Thanks Gary. Funny I can view yours just fine but Martins only open the first one or two taken on Vail Pass. I'm guessing its either the size of the images or the number of them. Have to try again with Wi-Fi.

Funny thing about those horses snickering at us...both Frenchy and I thought it was a CB and he actually checked his. But neither of us hears worth a damn.

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Wiffleball Batter
Funny thing about those horses snickering at us...both Frenchy and I thought it was a CB and he actually checked his. But neither of us hears worth a damn.
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Ace I thought the same thing. Sounded exactly like a radio breaking squelch.

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