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Blackrock Desert / Highrock Canyon, Memorial Weekend 2004

Taken From The June 2004 Treasure Chest

story: Jim "Sleepy" Clements & Chris "JPeater" Collard.
photos: Rory "Rockalot" Huber (gallery)

05/28/04 Friday
Left California Burger Friday morning. Had a few more rigs than expected and picked more along the way. The trip was uneventful until we peeled off the asphalt to take a four wheel drive trail up towards Gerlach.
Ron decided to join us in his motorhome. Got stuck in the sand trying to turn around.
Found his Toyota not cooperating – had a problem with the fuel pump and wouldn’t start. Finally got him to the asphalt. Ron and the others pulling large trailers set out to Gerlach.
The rest of the group headed out on the trail. Took a time out while Chris replaced his broken tie rod. Took a little side trip from an old ore processing plant. A little off camber spot gave me and others quite a thrill. I think this was the closest I have come to rolling my jeep. Time to roll again.
With my jeep severely overloaded with fuel, water and other gear we started out on a trail at pace similar to the Baja races I’ve watched on television. Actually had components on the frame kiss the components on the axle. Lost the reception on my CB when the ice chest above me went over on its side. Filled the CB with water, but I didn’t lose the ice!
Speaking of ice chests, Mark said when you mix butter, raw eggs, several ruptured cans of soda and other assorted food products, shake well over several miles of rough roads in a jeep trailer you come up with something less than appetizing.
Matt ended up with a tire carrier and rack hanging off his rear bumper at an almost 45 degree angle. Dropped the tailgate on Troy’s truck and loaded Matt’s stuff on the tailgate. Tied off the carrier to the rear door hinge.
Found a couple of areas swarming with Mormon crickets. They are around 2 plus inches long and blood red. Not bad tasting. Only got $5.00 from Erik since I only ate the back half. The bet was $10.00 to eat one. The front half ran away under his truck.
Fought the wind and rain into Gerlach. Wasn’t a whole lot of rain, but the winds were horrific. Fueled up at Bruno’s Shell and ate at Bruno’s Café, which is just past Bruno’s Hotel if I remember correctly.
Headed out to what seemed to be a gravel quarry and set up camp. Uncle Willy and those who took the black top route were already there. Found out Ron had tried to do some four wheeling on the playa in his motor home. Didn’t work out so well. Sit around the fire and chat. Beautiful weather and company.

05/29/04 Saturday
Time to break camp. Several went out to check on Ron’s motor home.
Put a chain through six or seven straps and hooked up to the available rigs. Pulled it out easily. Parked the motor home in Gerlach.
Drove across the la playa and set up camp at Double Hot Springs. Boy is that water hot! The winds in the afternoon are wicked. Went out and played around. Came back to camp and found a tents and other equipment had been retrieved by those who stayed behind. The wind is unrelenting when it starts up.
Uncle Willy was our tour guide. Great deal of history was learned about this area. Visited Soldier Meadow and some hot springs. Took a trip in the surrounding hills. Saw several antelope, mustangs, one huge coyote and many a fantastic view.
Pot Luck! Typical too much good stuff Treasure Hunters style meal. Pasta, potato and green salads, chili, strawberries and pound cake. Dump cakes. Something Chris and Suzie brought with sausage, shrimp and rice. It was all delicious! Sit around the camp fire and watched the stars and satellites. No flashlight needed. Could see perfectly well with half a moon and no clouds.
Woke up at 3:00am. Sat outside viewing the stars for around 30 minutes. The moon had already set. One of the few times in my life I have seen the Milky Way.

05/30/04 Sunday
Uncle Willy was our tour guide again. Some of the trails were closed due to BLM land being declared wilderness areas. Saw the names and dates left behind in the mid 1800’s by those brave souls who were traveling West at that time. There are still the ruts from their wagon wheels visible. The scenery does not even look real.
Some of the routes were a little overgrown. Mark’s poor Bronco got some pin striping. Big
John lost low range. I have a strange intermittent ticking sound in the front.
Came upon two mustangs who actually hung around long enough for everyone to see. They were truly beautiful and magnificent animals.
Back across the la playa, with JT at the wheel. Cook dinner and eat. Used the group as a guinea pig for a new dish. Made some cherry and chocolate dump cake. I guess it turned out OK – no leftovers. A huge fire and marshmallows. Stayed up too late.

05/31/04 Monday
Break camp. Pot luck breakfast. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, strawberries, cheese, tortillas, bananas, oranges, milk, orange juice, coffee and more. No need to stop in Reno for a buffet!
Went to pick up Big John’s targets. JT shot John’s .270 and .30-06. Not too bad a shoot.
Across the la playa heading for home. JT driving at 60-65 mph to the black top.
All went well until we came upon Big John in Colfax. Had a rear driveshaft and yoke setting on the ground. No seal or pinion gear shaft in the differential.
Finally got someone to tow him in. CHP stopped and chased everyone else off but the incapacitated vehicle. A big thanks to Uncle Willy and Chris Collard !!!

Members: Guests:
Jimmie & JT Clements Steve Delapaz
John Hargis & Rory Huber Barney & Larue Merrill
Ron & Rick Stillwell Larry Janson
Mark Gum Cathy & Richard Remmer
Kimber & Matt Hoey Doug Baker
Troy Holmes, Jessica, Rebecca Stilwell Ned Bacon
Chris & Suzanne Collard  
Jim & Andrea Harris  
Eric & Austin Heikila  

High Rock Desert with Uncle Willy
By JPeater

For those of you who did not make our Memorial Day trip to the High Rock / Black Rock Desert, you missed a great run.
  Number of rigs: 15, one motor home and two quads
  Number of adults, kids and dogs: 30+
  Number of miles driven off road: 300+
  Number of stuck motor homes: 1 (stuck twice)
  Number of rigs it takes to get a motor home unstuck: 1 Toyota or six assorted rigs.

Do you know?
  How many vehicles did we lose? Two (gratefully sorry)
  Who saw a bear in the High Rock Desert?
  Who showed up with no top and no doors?
  Who took a bath in his jeep right in the middle of the trail?
  Who just about rolled?
  Who did wine quality control in the hot spring?
  Who found an arrowhead?
  Who ran out of fuel?
  Who set up a tent the size of the Hilton?
  Who saw wild mustangs, antelope and coyotes?
  Who had horns attached to the hood?
  Who found a skull?
  Who got a new CB handle?
  How many people ate raviolis at Bruno’s?

Carnage Report:
  One broken Toyota tie rod
  One slightly/seriously tweaked Jeep rack
  One Four Runner with the keys locked inside
  One Four Runner that wouldn’t start
  One Jeep that wouldn’t start
  One seriously messed up Chevy differential

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