May - Flowers & Fun
When: Friday May 1st
Who: Ken, Darren, Andy, Susan, Gordon
The drive down from home was uneventful except for the wind in I-5. The big rigs were having a tough time of it. We were supposed to meet the team at Marble/Cottonwood Canyon at 4pm, so we thought a small detour to Surprise Canyon was called for.
We stopped at Ballerat in Panamint Valley to see what the trail conditions were like and to grab a soda and some candy.
We then headed up Surprise Canyon. Instead of staying in the wash we took the ramp up to Novak's camp. I'd just parked the truck when George Novak showed up. He'd seen my CB headset and thought it was some new hearing aid (He told me his hearing aid had been giving him some trouble). I told him what it was and he seemed disappointed. However he seemed to really be interested in the black F-150. We spend about 20 minutes talking about Fords, Panamint City, artifact thieves and Panamint Daisy's. He really doesn't like 'jeepers' too much, but if you're in a full-size or are just hiking the canyon, he's a great person to talk to. Ask him about the Panamint Daisy and cockroach story.
We said goodbye to George and headed back down to the main road and headed off to Stovepipe Wells.
Just as we passed the turnoff for Lemoigne Canyon Rd, we picked up the dust trails and CB chatter of the other trucks in our group. They'd just left the paved road at the airport and were headed out across the sand.
We met the team at our usual camping site at the entrance to Cottonwood/Marble Canyon. Susan came into camp about 15 mins after the rest. She's stopped to help 'Pete' from Oregon. His RV had broken down on the long descent from Towne Pass. Susan took him to Stovepipe to call for a tow.
After sundown, the bats came visiting. One tried to fly against the strong wind and ended up flying sideways and backwards.
May 2nd: We broke camp and stocked up at Stovepipe wells. We were headed for Chloride Cliff, but we stopped of for a quick visit to Keane Wonder Mill.
After a beer, we headed up Daylight Pass to the turn off for Keane Wonder Mill. After taking some photos of the mill, we resumed out course toward for Chloride City & Chloride Cliff. This was a great side trip. Fairly easy on the 4WD, only needing 4-low for speed control on the return journey.
After visiting the sights of Chloride Cliff, we took the Nevada trail back to the main road. After a bunch of washouts and fairly good paced driving we were back on blacktop.
That night we camped Echo Canyon. Again there were bats lots of bats.
May 3rd: This day we headed to Greenwater Valley. It was here that Gordon got a little too confident and clipped a rock with his front right tire. Boy what a blowout. Gordon is now a fully paid up member of our bloopers club.
After fixing the flat we headed to Gold Valley Road.
On the way to Gold Valley & Spring, Darren looked the wrong way at the wrong time. When Susan came around a bend in the trail, there was Darren with two wheels off the trail, hub deep in loose dirt. Ken got out his yank strap and together they got the 'cruiser back on the trail. The moral of this particular story is "ya gotta lock them hubs or 4WD ain't much use".
We ended up at some fun spots in Gold Canyon.
Finally we headed for Trail Canyon to camp. However, with the wind blowing hard and the steering and alignment on Gordon's Pathfinder were in need of attention, we decided is would be better if Susan and I escorted Gordon to Ridgecrest, while Darren and Ken camped at Wildrose.
The next day we headed home while Gordon got his alignment fixed.