The Ultimate Adventure Report

#81
Almost caught up and now things are getting out of order. Hit up the Appalachian Rendezvous of 2016 and had a blast. Unfortunately I can't seem to find the photos I want to put up...hmmm. Also scored some time off at home and put the truck in the woods.







 
#82
Spent some more time exploring near home as the leaves changed.





Returned to LA and scored an awesome rental car.



Did some night hiking at a little regional park that I don't remember the name of. Sits right behind a fire station and was "closed" when I was there hiking. It was too dark to see the closed sign.



When you're in California you go to Malibu and watch the sun set. It's what you do.





Made a return trip to Alabama Hills because it's that awesome. Also went back up the Mt. Whitney trail.

















 
#83
Ok, almost caught up. My most recent trip had me going to Duluth MN at the beginning of February. Who had that brilliant idea? I don't know but I guarantee they were sitting in an office in CA or TX while I froze in MN. To add insult to injury on my way to the airport I got about 5 miles from home and realized I was apparently missing out on a cool ride somewhere.



With thoughts of FJ's in my head I boarded the plane and headed for the frozen north. I had a chance to explore down near the water one night before an overnight work shift and saw very cool, very frozen things.











Someone believes that the people of Duluth are a simple people and that they must be told things several times before they understand.



Lakes should not be solid. It's just wrong.



After overnight shifts what's the best thing to do? Certainly it can't be return to the hotel and sleep. It must be drive to Wisconsin and walk through the woods in the snow!







Scored a Jeep Wrangler as a rental and drove it through all sorts of frozen stuff. Fell in love with the Wrangler again but will not be trading in the Tacoma ever so I'll just have to keep on renting the Jeeps.







After freezing for about a week I returned home to 70 degree weather and some amazing sunsets!









Did a little local hiking to waterfalls that I've lived near all my life but have never visited. Took to opportunity to grab cell phone shots of them, over expose and saturate them and put them out on Instagram!



Explored a local community with a very cool blue door church.



This past weekend I packed up the truck and trailer and headed to Tallulah River Campground to hang out with @Twin Magnolias for the weekend. Had a great time sitting around the campfire and the kids had a blast by the river. Looking forward to hanging out again soon.











After watching my daughter rig up her new bike at the campground with a cellphone flashlight so she could ride at night I added the first MOD on the new bike when we got home. Had an extra CREE light pod hanging around and was more than happy to tear down a hated Rigid brand drill for it's battery and connecting circuits to power the light. She loves it!



 
#84
It was a great weekend. Thanks for the invite.

That blue door church is the Presbyterian Church in Sautee, right? It's the only church I've ever seen with a blue door.
 
#85
That blue door church is the Presbyterian Church in Sautee, right? It's the only church I've ever seen with a blue door.
That's the one. Only blue door I've ever seen on a church as well. I'm not sure if it has any significance or not. It used to be a tradition in the south to paint the underside of porch roofs blue as people claimed it kept ghosts away. Now painting the underside of porch roofs blue is just the next big thing in shabby chic design.
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#86
The interweb is your friend...

The distinctive Palladian stained glass window over the entrance to the church was created by member Gloria Brown, a noted architect, designer and mapmaker who died of cancer in 2006. Gloria chose the bright blue paint for the front doors to complement the colors she used in the window. Bearing the inscription: "Let the words of our mouths, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in thy sight, oh Lord, our strength and our redeemer."

 
#87
The interweb is your friend...

The distinctive Palladian stained glass window over the entrance to the church was created by member Gloria Brown, a noted architect, designer and mapmaker who died of cancer in 2006. Gloria chose the bright blue paint for the front doors to complement the colors she used in the window. Bearing the inscription: "Let the words of our mouths, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in thy sight, oh Lord, our strength and our redeemer."
Thanks for digging that up Bob! It's nice that in the 10 years since her passing they've maintained her color choice. I wonder at what point the membership will have rolled over enough to have forgotten the reasoning behind the color and the church will end up with red doors.
 
#88
In the last three days I've driven from Houston, TX to Denver, CO and now I'm on my way to Tuscon, AZ. Bring on the miles. In a 2017 Ram 1500 that's averaging around 21 MPG on the highway. Great trip thus far with a little work thrown in. Haven't had a tremendous amount of time to get out and explore but I've been taking in the countryside from the comfy drivers seat.

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And a little sun set time lapse. Beautiful lake outside Weston Colorado on county road 12. Seemed to be plenty of hiking and camping in the area. Really want to bring the Tacoma and the family back here at some point.

 
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WordMan

Adventurist
#89
Someone believes that the people of Duluth are a simple people and that they must be told things several times before they understand.

My father used to own a service station, and people would regularly push their quarters THROUGH the "Out of Order" sign taped OVER the coin slot, then come complain that the machine "ate their money."

Other regular occurrences included:

-Driving off with the gas nozzle still in their tank

-Cleaning the spilled gas off their vehicle with the squeegees

-Putting gasoline in their diesel powered vehicle

-Adding oil, power steering fluid, or some other fluid other than brake fluid to their master cylinder

-Allowing their small child to operate the pump nozzle (despite the child coming "eye to eye" with the gas fill on their vehicle)

-Locking their keys in their running vehicle

-Having their cars towed in because when they stopped running (and were completely out of gas)

I hate to say it, but the "average" consumer is an idiot. :p
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#91
You should try being in the car business...I have customers that think being in an accident should be covered under warranty. I had one Yukon customer that backed into their garage, insisted that the damage should be repaired under warranty because the car was equipped with back up sensors and a back up camera...I told them it has three mirrors too, and they still ran into the wall!
 
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#92
Made it from Denver back down to Raton NM yesterday. After a restful night I ignored the GPS's pleas to turn south on I25 and instead headed out York Canyon Road. The views were fantastic.

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I had taken a look at the map and it appeared I'd be able to take York Canyon Road along with some other FS roads and head in a general South West direction. Soon the road turned to dirt and I hoped I was on the right path.

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Unfortunately not long after the change from blacktop to gravel my arch nemesis "The Locked Gate" showed up and ruined the day.

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I later found out that this is Vermejo Park Ranch, one of Ted Turner's expedition ranches where for the low price of $15,000 a night you and 9 to 13 of your closest friends can have complete exclusive access to the 25,000 square foot house and 585,000 acres of wilderness. If you'd like a guide it'll be another $1500. But hey, you get to sleep here:



Now Ted Turner and I are old friends, I grew up watching the Atlanta Braves on TBS, so I assumed they'd let me right through the gate to explore the property. Apparently Ted must not have been home because that didn't happen. I turned around and decided Interstate 25 would have to be my route for the day...at least for an hour or so anyway. Man those views though.

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Wandering in style.

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So after heading south for a bit I saw a sign for the Fort Union National Monument and jumped off I25 onto 161. Fort Union was an Army fort that was used to supply troops in the area as they protected travelers along the Santa Fe trail. It was rebuilt several times depending on different needs. During the Civil War earthen barricades were constructed to hold up to cannon fire. Later it became a hub of trade and transport in the south west. Many parts of the adobe structures are still standing and there's a self guided walk through the structures with informational boards along the way. It was amazing to stand in this huge open valley and imagine the sounds of hundreds of men working, wagon trains rolling in and out and the sounds of troops going about their daily routine. A very, very cool place that you should visit if you're given the chance.

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While checking out the area where wagons and equipment would be repaired I made a small furry friend. We weren't friends for long though as he dashed off with a puff of dust at his heels.

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After soaking in the history (and buying park service patches, it's an addiction) I hit I25 south again and took in the scenery from the drivers seat. The rental Dodge Ram had been getting about 21 mpg up until this point where a VERY strong headwind had brought things down into the 13 mpg range. Silly wind. Random scenery:

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I tried to check out another national monument near Cochiti NM but it was almost closing time and they didn't accept credit cards for their entrance fees. Guess maybe I should carry cash? Anyway, I went back through Cochiti and on the way out of town stopped to read a sign that I was certain I had misinterpreted on the way in. I had read it correctly though...anyone know why this is a thing here:

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After standing outside of town and taking that picture (that's legal right?) I headed back toward I25 snapping pictures of the landscape.

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After changing over to I40 I decided to hit up Route 66 for a while and came across a few cool turn offs that went back up into the hills. Many of these roads ended up being access to Indian communities or small clusters of houses. I generally backed out of these areas before I got too far or ended up in someones front yard.

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These folks live in a beautiful area.

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Before long I was missing the trees of the Appalachian mountains...there's nothing to block out the sun here!

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Found an overlook off of Route 66 near the Continental Divide. This is a beautiful part of the country.

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Tomorrow it's on to Tuscon.

For some reason these two pictures below refuse to be removed from the post. Can an admin help?

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bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#93
You are absolute living proof that we don't really need all the crap we haul around in our adventure rigs to have a good time and see the good old USA.

I know you pay the price with separation from your family, but I'm always envious of your travels. Your trip reports are priceless, always adding to the places I want to see for myself but probably never will. Keep up the good work!
 
#94
You are absolute living proof that we don't really need all the crap we haul around in our adventure rigs to have a good time and see the good old USA.

I know you pay the price with separation from your family, but I'm always envious of your travels. Your trip reports are priceless, always adding to the places I want to see for myself but probably never will. Keep up the good work!
Thanks Bob! That means a lot. I've been thinking a lot lately about all the gear that's flooding the market and this "overland" fad. I'm at the point where I'm sick of hearing the words "overland" and "overlander". The largest amount of gear I've taken on one of these trips was a cheap wal-mart sleeping bag and tent. I obviously have the advantage of getting paid to do this, but I've been tracking the expenses lately just to see what's possible. For example the drive from Houston to Denver took 2 1/2 tanks of gas. The truck was obviously full when I rented it and the other tank and 1/2 ran me about $73. A few stops for simple meals and some gas station snacks and I think that entire trip cost less than $130. I will admit it was difficult using restaurant cutlery instead of a titanium spork, but sometimes you have to sacrifice. So that's 1/2 way across the country south to north for less than what most people spend on fast food over a period of a month to a month and a half. Crazy when you think about it.

It does get tough being away from my family, but I'm blessed to have a supportive and understanding wife who allows me to have this job that I love. I absolutely couldn't do it without my other 1/2 and I look forward to being able to bring her back to some of the places I've discovered in the very near future. I'm just out here running recon.

I actually thought I saw you and your truck running north on I-25 yesterday. Same truck and very similar camper. I smiled at the thought of randomly bumping into a friend "out here". Then last night at the hotel I discovered that one of my instagram followers was at Fort Union yesterday at almost the same time I was. It's really a small world. As for places you'll never see, I'll continue to remain envious of your trips to Baja sir...I need to stow away in your camper one day.
 
#97
So today I woke up in a hotel somewhere on Route 66. After a pancake breakfast at Denny's I struck out headed in a general south west direction. I needed to be in Tuscon before tonight (or tomorrow morning at the latest) and meandered along until I saw a sign for the Petrified Forest National Park. Off I40 and near Holbrook AZ this park encompasses over 140,000 acres of semi-desert steppe and badlands.

After a quick stop at the visitors center to test their restrooms and buy some National Park Patches I headed out into the park. There's a single road that proceeds ~28 miles through the park and exits on Hwy 180 which will take you to Holbrook and back to I40. Off of this road are various overlooks and points of interest. Even though some of them are only a few hundred yards apart the views change dramatically at each one. There were very few other visitors today and I often had the overlooks to myself for at least a few minutes. With temperatures in the mid 70's and a cool breeze it was great to drive through with the windows down and some Avett Brothers flowing out of the speakers. Anyway, on to the panoramic scenic porn:

















Eventually you come to where Route 66 used to pass through the park. There's a brief blurb about it on an information board and a 1930's Studebaker setup in the sun.





So after all that I figured the views would be getting a little more tame. I was wrong. The road wraps through the badlands passing petroglyph covered rocks and amazing geological formations. The Appalachian mountains of home have nothing on this stuff!











Eventually there's a road to the left with a sign for Blue Mesa. Again the road looks like it leads into mediocrity and there's no way these views are getting better right? Wrong! You approach a parking area on Blue Mesa and are treated to long distance views of the badlands surrounding it. You can then take a ~1 mile hike down and around some of the formations and petrified wood. Informational markers abound and I learned some interesting geological information.







































 
#98
So after exiting the park and updating my GPS with where I was actually supposed to be going I hit the road headed for Tuscon. Before I could get there though I discovered the most interesting transition. I left the above pictured scrub brush covered steppe and began to gain elevation. As I did trees and snow showed up.



It's very cool how the topography will capture the moisture and hold it captive creating these two dramatic landscapes so close together. Soon muddy roads began to capture my attention.











I didn't venture too far as my rental is 2wd, with street tires, and no recovery gear, and I'm alone. Playing it safe is the best way to avoid having to pay out of pocket for an off road recovery. Coming down the other side of the mountain there was more great scenery and more bugs to crush with my windshield.



















As the elevation began to drop the scenery began to change again.











As I worked my way around Phoenix and toward Tuscon the sun began to set. It was then that I created a new state motto for Arizona based on what I had seen today:

Arizona, as beautiful as California, but without all the BS.







 
#99
So two months with no updates to this thread. My employer has continually sent me back to Houston over and over during the past couple of months, and the trips have been strictly business. Today, however, I'm in a Manhattan hotel with an awesome view.

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A couple days here and then I'll be driving to Virginia and on home to Georgia. There's got to be something to see between here and there, right?
 
Ever watch the show "Justified"? It took place in Harlen, KY.

It wasn't actually filmed there, but the town does exist. It is an old coal mining town. Not much there, but a nice museum - about coal mining. We visited there 3 years ago, on the first long trip with the teardrop.

It is in eastern Kentucky, if you are interested. You know, to say you've been there.... ;)
 
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