Archives for category: – Trips: The Western US
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All photos: Gregory McDonald

This is the last post about 2015’s Overland Expo, West. If you’d like to go this year, it’s taking place in Flagstaff May 20–22.

These are some shots of last year’s obstacle course. Read the rest of this entry »

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All photos: Gregory McDonald

Overland Expo West, the rally, camping, and training experience, held every year in Flagstaff, Arizona, starts in a week.

Here are some more photos of our friend Greg’s trip there last year. Read the rest of this entry »

Oregon Dunes, WCXC
Greg out on the dunes. All photos: Nik Schulz

WCXC is back, albeit on a very limited basis while I make a living and write a book about spending a few months living on a mile-wide British island. (More on that later.) Still, adventures are being had and it’s time to get some photos up.

A few days ago, Greg, his wife, Abbey, and I, went to the Oregon Dunes in southwestern Oregon. See the photos after the jump. It was nice camping there, if a bit noisy.

Link:
Oregon Dunes

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Hollister Hills • WCXC
Photo: Nik Schulz

In early April WCXC got together for a day at Hollister Hills OHV near Gilroy, California, for a couple of days of camping and trail skills practice. It had been raining so the trails were pretty muddy. Still, we had a good time driving the obstacle courses and playing in the mud.

Given all of the rain, and that this was our first outing as a group, we decided not to head down any of the intermediate difficulty trails. After we had our fill of the two obstacle courses, and were on our way back to camp, a ranger asked us if we wouldn’t mind helping a guy out that had not been so cautious and had gotten stuck on one of the intermediate trails. We said we’d go have a look and see what we could do.

What we found was a full-size, crew-cab 4×4 pick-up on 80 psi street tires, that had slid completely off the trail, down a slope that led down to a small ravine. It had sunk into the mud up to its door sills. Mas had a winch on his truck and we offered our help. About two hours, 3 or 4 winch pulls, and a rain and hail storm later, we had the truck back on the road. As the rain picked up I got concerned that he—and we—would be able to get back out (as his truck blocked our exit). He got his truck turned around though, and we all made it out. Sheesh. It was a little more than we bargained for.

Still it was a great trip. Here are some photos from that day. Read the rest of this entry »

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A big thank you to Greg, Mas, Bryan, Ismael, Jesus, and David & Sadie, Lola, and Bee, who all came out to Hollister Hills for WCXC’s first trail day. It was great to see everyone enjoy the food, camping, and a day on the trails.

We had fun despite the rain checking out the various obstacle courses and working on our driving skills. Then, as we headed back to camp, the day took as serious turn when we learned that a man and his small boy had slid off the mud-slick trail and had gotten their full-size pick up seriously stuck. A full report soon.
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California-Nevada Border • WCXC
Photo: Nik Schulz

What’s your favorite overlanding moment? I’d love to hear about them. If you send in a brief description and some photos (1400 pixels wide), I’ll publish the best ones here on the blog.

OK, I’ll start. My favorite overlanding moment was on our Twain trip. Natalie, Greg, and I were in the Sierras, close to the California-Nevada border, about 15 miles north of Bridgeport. Maybe half an hour earlier we had been lost in open country. The map for the obscure road we were on (Forest Road 067) had an error, and we weren’t able to find our way through the mountains. Every trail we tried faded into nothing. Then someone on an ATV pointed us in the direction of a steep, rock-strewn hill, saying something like, “That’s where you need to go, if you can make it up that hill.”

It was 067, the road leading to Bridgeport, our next supply stop. It was pretty loose and fairly steep but not only did we make it to the top and now know where we were, we were rewarded with stunning views to boot. Here are some more photos.

What’s your favorite moment? Send ’em in to westcountyxclub. I’m on gmail.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Link:
Overlanding in the Land of Twain, Part 3 Read the rest of this entry »

Snow Mountain Wilderness • WCXC
Photo: Gregory MacDonald

A couple of weeks ago my friend Greg, from gadmachine, and I went on a quick trip up to the Mendocino National Forest, south of the Snow Mountain Wilderness. While there, we made some seriously good camp fires. We also set up an interesting camp, that I thought I’d share with you.

We set up two 10′ x 20′ tarps in a roughly A-frame shape. The open ends were parallel with the small valley we were in, so that the breeze could flow through. The top was open so that smoke from the fire could easily escape.  We put the tents in the eaves of the tarps so they were protected from rain. The main thing though was that the tarps reflected the heat of the fire and kept any breezes from blowing in behind us. This made for a comfortable, warm camp even with the temperature around 26˚F (-3˚C).

There was hardly any snow. There’s been precipitation since, so call the ranger’s station if you’re planning to head up there. The campsite, which Greg had scouted years earlier, was a very nice one: flat ground with trees in a nice little valley.

An image gallery and a map with our campsite near Bear Creek pinpointed, can be found after the jump.

Related Links:
Fire Skills: The Elevated Long Fire

Four Essential Campfire Tools for About $30

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In a couple of weeks we’ll be having our first West County Explorers Club Meet & Greet. Come down, meet me & Natalie. Meet each other. Hang out. Show off your truck. Have a nice time.

It’ll be Saturday, Feb. 22nd. I thought we could do a two-part deal:

Part 1: 3pm

Meet & Greet and Truck Show & Tell at Bay Area historical relic, Mare Island.
Here’s the location: 38.112815, -122.280988 (+38° 6′ 46.13″, -122° 16′ 51.56”)
Follow the green arrow if you use the link.

Part 2: 5pm

Meet & Greet and Eat & Drink at Bay Area historical bar, Warehouse Cafe in Port Costa, just over the Carquinez Bridge.
Here’s the location for that: 38.046597, -122.182931 (+38° 2′ 47.75″, -122° 10′ 58.55”)

If you can make, let me know through the About page.

See you there!

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Photo: Gregory McDonald

Read the whole post here.

Our last morning out on the CBDT found us patting ourselves on the back for finding such a great campsite. I made us a special breakfast of fresh crepes and hot Masala chai, and we soaked up the sun and the view.

While we were eating we heard some yelling from the road but thought it was hunters. Then, a few moments later, we saw a man walking through the woods towards our camp. He was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt and, when he got closer, we could see he was Latino. We called out, “Hello? Hello?” and got no response. We were a little on edge when he walked out of the woods, into our small clearing and stopped. Read the rest of this entry »

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Back on the CBDT on Forest Road 23. Photo: Nik Schulz

Read the whole post here.

After a little target shooting and a bit of breakfast we got back on Forest Road 23 and continued up the California Backcountry Discovery Trail. We weren’t sure where we would stop for the night but since we were passing by Ruth Lake again, only this time at much higher elevation on the ridge above the lake, we thought we’d find something there.

I don’t know if it had anything to do with my totem pants — a pair of white jeans I painted in the style of Pacific Northwest native art and which seem to convey good fortune on many a situation 🙂 — but we were blown away by the beautiful spot we found.

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