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Old 06-26-2018, 11:02 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Pueblo, CO
Posts: 1,319
Re: 2018 Desert Trip

Trail day 1:
We still have Richard and Hugo to meet up with in Bullhead City, so after breakfast we top off the tanks again and head out. After a little while we are coming down the grade into Bullhead with Laughlin across the river from us. Itís pretty cool to see these towns that have sprung up on the Colorado in the middle of the desert. The meeting spot is a Wal Mart in Bullhead, one more spot to add supplies before going way off the grid. We all get what we need and our crew is complete when Richard and Hugo find our rigs in the parking lot. (we are not hard to miss) Introductions are made and we take the obligatory clean truck pics that we always do prior to hitting the trail.

Crossing the Colorado:

Everybody gets lined up on the right cb channel and we cross the Colorado and Larry leads us down through some hay fields to find the start of the Mojave road at the banks of the river. We get our first taste dust. Fine, silty dust with the ability to completely obscure your view of the truck in front of you if you ride too close.

Photo op taken, trucks are loaded and we start off on the trail. The Mojave is notoriously tricky to navigate on purpose. There are little to no signs to mark the start of the trail from the road. The friends of the Mojave have set stacks of stones called Rock Cairns on the right side of the trail as you travel from east to west. Larry is following a GPS track created from the last visit. It showed that following the track from the previous visit had us bouncing off of the actual trail a couple of times. Had we not known about the cairns we wouldnít have known we were off track.

Still, itís absolutely astonishing to think of traveling across this inhospitable land in anything less than our well-equipped rides full of food, water and a few beers. We stop for another photo op where the trail crosses from Nevada to California. Even that sign is subtle.

We plod on as the temp rises while we cross a large valley. We can see the trail cut through the scrub brush like a laser through the night. Itís very easy to tell where the trail is now.

You can see the line leading off of Larry's truck off into the distance.

I mentioned it was hot didn't I? Yeah according to the truck it was friggin hot..

The next landmark is Ft. Piute. Itís the first watering hole on the trail that travelers would stop at. Due to threats of Indian attacks, the Army was sent to make the trail safe to travel. With a small amount of men to do this, they protected the watering holes. Control the water and one controls the road. While it was called a Fort, it certainly wasnít much as far as size. Time has taken its toll on the fort, but itís easy to imagine what it was back then.

Looking at the fort in this next photo, our campsite would end up being straight up that gorge, but no trail connects for vehicles to drive so we end up going around the mountain on the left in this pic.

The timing for this stop was right to make lunch happen. Ian whips up a couple of sammiches for us and everybody else grubs on something. You can look back from where we are and see the trail heading across the Valley East almost to the horizon. (look just to the right of the topper on the Waggy and zoom in to see the trail)

The trail up to the fort is actually a dead end that we have to double back to get to the main trail. We make our way back to the next landmark of the Piute Corrals. Again, itís on an offshoot of the main trail and connected to the fort via the Piute Gorge. We all find a place to park and set up camp. Shade is a premium to escape the sun. Don puts out his ARB awning, I pull out an idea I cooked up using a tarp, bungee, aluminum poles and some rope. Larry ties off to ours with another tarp while Richard deploys a wicked cool awning that wraps around 270 degrees of the rear of his truck. Then Mother Nature proved us all wrong. What was calm as can be turned into huge gusts of wind that effectively blew me and Larryís tarps practically off of the trucks and inverted Richardsís super awning like an umbrella in a tornado.

Piute Gorge

Rob Z.
1975 K5 350/465/205/D44/12b 4" lift on 35's- RIP
1991 K5 5.3L/700r4/241/D44/14b Under Construction
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