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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sourthern Nevada: Airway Beacon and Double Negative - "take a moment and consider the hysteria"

We drove East from Las Vegas to an old airway beacon arrow located in the desert North of Riverside on Mormon Mesa. I became interested in the history of Transcontinental Airway System beacons after finding one decades ago.
Bosco was more interested in rolling in some fresh cow manure. To his canine olfactory system the manure was probably Eau de Cologne but to me it just smelled like shit.
Next we drove down the Moapa River valley to Overton and then East up onto the southern portion of Mormon Mesa.
About 30 minutes later we arrived at the Double Negative.
Double Negative is a 1,500-foot-long, 50-foot-deep, 30-foot-wide trough that was cut with dynamite and heavy equipment in 1969 by artist Michael Heizer. Take a moment and consider the hysteria that the construction of this piece of art would create today.
Hiezer is the artist behind LACMA's Levitated Mass and the man who has spent decades building "The City" in Garden Valley, West of the Golden Gate Range in Nevada. Don't put a visit on your Nevada itinerary because the site is not open to the general public. Although Senator Harry Reid visited the installation and then convinced President Barack Obama to declare 740,000 acres surrounding the site wilderness. -
We found a few wild flowers blooming near Double Negative.
And then drove on looking for a place to camp.
One of the few cleared areas we could find the site of an old oil well
and that is where we set up camp, prepared dinner and watched the sunset.
The next morning we packed up camp, drove back down to the Moapa River valley and motored on to our next destination.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Overnight at Green Mountain Lake - "weird shape in the playa"

We set up camp under a hazy moon on the dry bed of Green Mountain Lake.
Sunrise found Bosco exploring the lake bed.
Had no ideas about what caused this weird shape in the playa.
Our camp on the lake bed.
After breakfast it was time to pack up camp and drive East toward Las Vegas and rendezvous with Jo Ann.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Surprise Adventure to the Carrizo Plain - "amid a blanket of blooms"

(photo credit: Megan Murphy)
Eventually a total of 21 vehicles sporting Explorers flag window stickers arrived at the rendezvous spot for this year's Surprise Adventure. We parked next to the San Andreas Fault alongside Soda Lake Road on the South end of the Carrizo Plain. After a brief discussion about the area and distributing maps the group dispersed and drove North.
(photo credit: Megan Murphy) 
We came to view the super-bloom and were not disappointed.
 (photo credit: Keira Banks)
(photo credit: Megan Murphy) 
Most of the group stopped at Traver Ranch.
I drove ahead of the group to mark the turn to "The Purple."
The week before Bosco and I had the entire area to ourselves. This weekend there were more than 20 vehicles parked near this massive floral display.
After "The Purple" most of the group continued North to Soda Lake.
I drove into the hills to secure a campsite for the Explorers who were camping for the night.
As sunset approached five families joined me and Bosco at a lovely campsite above the plain.
 (photo credit: Keira Banks)
The shadows lengthened as we set up camp amid a blanket of blooms.
After dinner we gathered together for S'mores and then retired for the night.
This particular night was the 365th for me in our Four Wheel Camper. Difficult to wrap my brain around the fact that in the last ten years I have spent 1/10th of those nights sleeping in a camper.
Our camp at dawn. The overnight low was 12 degrees lower than forecast.
 (photo credit: Keira Banks)
Keira captured an image of our camper in the morning light.
There was a large field of Fiddlenecks across the road from our camp.
After breakfast we broke camp. Bosco and I drove South for home while everyone else drove North to visit Soda Lake.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Two nights on the Carrizo Plain - "yelping of coyotes in the distance"

 We arrived late in the afternoon.
 As we looked for a campsite we found the side roads still muddy from recent rains.
 The spring wildflower bloom had begun.
We set up camp deep in the hills far from the main road.
 Dawn was misty.
 More mist rolled through after breakfast.
 Eventually the sun broke through the clouds and we went on a hike into the surrounding hills.
 There was rain to the East.
 We followed the road high into the hills.
Caliente Peak was far to the North.
 We cut cross-country across the hills.
 And made our way back to the road and followed it to our camp.
 I spent the remainder of the day reading while Bosco patrolled the perimeter.
 The yelping of coyotes in the distance signaled the approach of darkness and about an hour later we retired to the camper.
 Another foggy morning.
 We broke camp and drove back toward Soda Lake Road.
 In an odd twist of coincidence I was listening to Snortin' Whiskey by Pat Travers as we drove by Traver Ranch.
Massive fields of yellow were to be found along the road.
 And we found a gigantic field of purple.
 Then we drove farther to North Soda Lake.
 Reflections on Soda Lake.
 We drove East on the San Diego Creek Road and found a quiet place to eat lunch.
 On our drive back to Soda Lake Road we had a chance encounter with Tom Hanagan, who owned Four Wheel Campers from 2001 to 2016. We talked for awhile about exploration, retirement and Four Wheel Campers until it was time for Tom to drive North and me to head South.

 The Soda Lake Overlook was crowded with people and vehicles.
 We parked at a turnout to capture a photo of water in and clouds over this shallow, ephemeral, alkali endorheic lake.
 After visiting Soda Lake we turned around and drove South toward CA-166.
A mile from the highway and time to leave the lush blooming plain of Carrizo behind and head for home.