Awhile back, LostInReno mentioned she doesn't do any off-road driving. Then I find out she's entered the rally (or volunteered, I can't decide what she's doing). This brought up a bunch of questions from new participants and suggestions from 'veterans' of last years course.
So me, knowing the course for everything except the 2006 night, offered to lead a tour out to the 2004/2005 route. Instant response.
I figure it's a good opportunity for those who haven't driven off-road to get a feel for what dirt is like, and for those who've been stuck in the city to long to shake off their pavement addiction and get back out there.
As you can see, it's a fairly long loop. I started out at Salt Wells and headed towards Mountain Wells. The road is mild, with small rocks to contend with, and little washboard. There's a rocky hill that TLG wants me to watch my little ducklings go over, and a small section of loose sand - small as in a truck length. All in all though a very easy road as long as you don't go to fast. It does hook up with the road along the edge of the bombing range and it's a great 60MPH road.
After that, we swing up into the Project Shoal area, where in 1963 an atomic bomb was detonated underground. There's a brand new marker at Ground Zero and a new cache. Then it's down Pucker Canyon.. The view up here doesn't bother me as much as it did the first time down this road, but oh boy is it stil steep.
Once back out on Hwy 50, we head over to Chalk Mtn, where there's a section that I might cut. I was hoping for the stream to have water in it, but I forgot about the extremely dry winter we've had. Bone dry all over the area. Afterwards, we cut down a road that I think MooseMob would love if I'm reading the logs of his new Jeep's maiden voyage right - seems he was racing as fast as possible down the dirt. This road is easily a comfortable 70MPH, more if you're brave.
Back up into the mountains and towards La Plata, then up over the mountain on a very narrow twisty road that ends up on the BEST overlook for the whole area. Then down we turn towards Mountain Wells again before taking another road and heading into Ripley Canyon. Even in the twilight, it's a beautiful place and I think I found a spot for a cache, possibly even the Aerial Intelligence cache I would like to do.
Nothing exciting after that point, just out to Stillwater and back into Fallon. Overall, it took me 4 hours to complete as we got out there about ten till 3. TLG is thinking that it should take everyone else 6-7 hours, that shows you how fast I shouldn't be going.
So far, LostInReno wants to ride along with me, and GeoSpyder will be making an appearance.
Oh mystery readers, if you're in the area, want to meet up and go for a drive in the desert?