Why "Fire Aftermath"? Well, I came through there in 2013 (that long ago???
) (scroll down just a little bit) on a NM-to-Bonneville trip, saw 5 fires along the way. My eyes got real big and my ears perked up at every one, as that's what I did for the Forest Service way back when. Well, the one at Lookout Pass I saw the lightning from a couple miles away, then saw the smoke coming up, then this......
So here's what it's like now. Fires are part of the cycle, the trees weren't happy about it, but all the other stuff that now gets to come up thinks it's great.
Onward along the Pony Express Trail.... entering the Basin and Range country.
Here's Simpson Spring Pony Express Station.... when I was in the Army just to the north, I'd never made it down there. (Stupid me). Now, 45 years later, I did it! Would you like to live here in 1860?
Onward..... miles and miles of nothing but miles......
After a while, I saw a bunch of dust and commotion up ahead... a herd of wild horses!
Funny thing, this is a well-known wild horse place (http://www.wildhorsetourist.com/onaqui-mountains
) and there was a herd of people, about 20 head, taking pictures. Lots of lawn chairs, as this looked like a regular watering hole (for the horses).
I was in the Army at Dugway Proving Grounds, and Dugway Pass was south of there.... finally made it, here's the view from the top, looking back east at the horse territory.
I'm glad I wasn't coming up the road when this was going on.....
Lots of nice historical signs in that country. Cap'n Simpson.
Down the pass, on to Fish Springs, a Nat'l. Wildlife Refuge. I guess there are a lot of waterfowl pass through there. It's located in the left of the picture, immediately above those 3 trees, at the foot of those closer mountains, at the edge of the salt/mud flats. Simpson Spring had a primitive campground but it was too early to stop, I knew Fish Springs would have one, and I was looking forward to that.
Man! I love seeing the country like this. The BIG picture.
Closer, Fish Springs is that teeny bunch of trees you might be able to make out at the foot of the mountains.
Getting to where the birds and other critters might like it (as opposed to the salt/mud flats).... some cool reeds. Pretty close to the mountains.
So I get to Fish Springs, kinda tired, lots of nice big trees, buildings, ummmm.... where's the campground? Check out the kiosk.... says there's camping on BLM lands all over the place.
So it's onward, lots of BLM lands but no side roads. Keep going and finally find one, goes down to the mud/salt flats. The other topographic type is really sharp lava fragments. No dirt. Follow the road, come across a Trail marker.
Not a decent place to camp, sharp lava or salt/mud, or mud/salt.....
Got desperate, bike on the rocks so it doesn't fall over, tent on the flats so it doesn't get cut up.
Did I mention the bugs? In one place there were a zillion dragonflies zooming around. A swarm like I've never seen. In the Utah west desert? That was really, really cool.
But at camp there were flies and skeeters, bigtime. It was a quick tent setup, don't leave the door open, etc. Hunker inside. While setting up, I was enjoying a Mike's Hard Lemonade.... nice and refreshing. Set it down, did a bunch of setup, went to take a big swig.... and there were about a dozen big flies in it. P'tooey!
One view. From inside.
Ok, so every RR needs some humor, right? So here's the other end of the tent.
That night, by flashlight, I saw the water in my (clear) bottle was cloudy. Ain't right. Fished out another. Next morning, taking a big drink, I noticed there was tons of crap floating in the water. Agh! Both probably from the spigot at Simpson Springs.
Next morning, it was west the little bit out of Utah to Nevada. Didn't look good. There was serious stuff off to the south, didn't know if I'd get past in front of it or not. Deep Creek Mountains ahead. Followed the road signs instead of my Benchmark map and my instincts, not a big problem, but an extra 15 miles or so. Still made it to Callao and turned north ahead of the storm.
Pretty warm, still on the dirt/gravel, and there are a few showers. Given the looks of the storm coming that was coming that way, I was hoping I didn't get blasted and end up on a road that turned into absolute snot when wet.
Just to make me feel better.....
The photos pretty much stop here. As it turned out, I didn't hit any nasty roads, but the rain started falling and the temperature dropped. Seriously. Quickly. Ended up blowing about 20 and raining pretty good. So I'm in the nowheres of Nevada, not a shelter in sight, no overpasses, no porches, no abandoned buildings.....not even a culvert big enough to get into. Nice warm clothes in the bags, but can ya get out of the rainsuit and put them on and put the rainsuit back on without getting soaked? Nope.
So it's shiver and grit the teeth, finally make it to Wendover, and get a motel about noon. Just to illustrate how bad this was.... a motel is my final, emergency, last resort, stay-alive shelter. For one, I'm cheap, and I just don't find them pleasant. (No offense to the folks that like 'em!
I was REALLY happy to be there!
After thawing out, and the rain stopped, I wandered down to a casino. Much to my surprise, one had this big panel out front, devoted to Landspeed Racing, and that upper right picture is my buddy(s) Jon and Nancy Wennerberg, who own Landracing.com (http://www.landracing.com
) that I do the tech work on. Great people, they've been my hosts for a few visits to Bonneville to see all the nutso stuff that goes on there.
Anyway, the next morning there was no choice but to get on the I-80 slab to Winnemucca. Geared up, this time. Showers off and on, sometimes heavy, but not for long. Cleared up by Winnemucca, when it got glorious! 70 and sunny.
North from Winnemucca on 95 to 140, which would set me free into the NV/OR empty places. Hit the great weather and the great places at the same time. Empty? Turning onto Rt. 140, here's the road and the sign. If you can't make it out, the sign says "Next Gas 179 miles". AAAAHHHH!
Lots of this country.....
Just after getting into Oregon is the Doherty hang glider launch. It's a long west-facing escarpment, looks like pretty good flying to me.
This was all sorta up on a plateau. The way down is through that notch.
Onward to 4.....