Archives for category: – Trips: The Western US


I went on a nice little solo trip up to the Sierra Nevada this past summer, found some great back country camp sites, and thought I’d share them with you. Keep these in mind for next summer when the snow clears.

See the map at the end of the post for exact locations. Read the rest of this entry »


Photo: Natalie Menacho

On the homeward leg of our Southwest Trip we made a quick stop in the Santa Ynez Mountains, which were pretty pleasant. We didn’t have time to hit the trails but if you’re looking for an interesting road in that area, my maps (and Google) show about 10 miles of dirt that run along the spine of the mountains northwest of Santa Barbara. The road is called West Camino Cielo (Forest Route 5N12). There’s also Arroyo Burro Road (Forest Route 5N20) directly north of Santa Barbara and east of Hwy. 154.

Towards the end of Gibraltar Road, before the reservoir, there’s a nice little swimming hole. See map for location. We weren’t the first ones to discover it. It’s a popular spot in the summer so unfortunately you’ll have to watch out for glass and bottle caps. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s some video of our drive through Joshua Tree. At one point I took a bad line and impacted the bottom of the truck, which was less than ideal. The drive was beautiful though.


Photo: Nik Schulz

After leaving the deserts of Arizona we crossed over into the deserts of California. We’d initially planned to camp at Joshua Tree’s south entrance off of the 10 freeway, but we completely missed the exit and ended up in Indio (in the Palm Springs/Coachella area). By the time we got there it was well past sundown and the wind was blowing an absolute gale. We shelved our camping plan and headed to a hotel.

After a hot shower and a good night of sleep we ready to head into Joshua Tree and found what was probably a more interesting way in.

Read the rest of this entry »

As part of our Southwest Trip this summer, we drove through the Prescott National Forest. We shot video of the most remote part of that drive, Forest Road 82A through Crooks Canyon.

Here’s the blog post about this part of the trip: Southwest Trip, Part 4: Prescott, AZ.


Photo: Nik Schulz
.

After heading out of Sedona we made our way over to Prescott for some more backcountry exploration and to say hello the team at Overland Journal.

A quick note: if you find yourself on Highway 89A about 20 miles northeast of Prescott, you’ll be within spitting distance of Jerome, AZ. Do yourself a favor and stop. Jerome is an old mining town that’s half deserted, half lived-in and 100% amazing. I’d tell you more but unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop. Word had it there was a BBQ on at the Overland Journal.

Update: Here’s a quick video of the trip.
Read the rest of this entry »


I realized I hadn’t written anything about our Southwest trip for awhile and, since we’re heading out on another trip soon, I thought I’d better get cracking. So here it is: Part 3.

After Canyon de Chelly we headed to Sedona, AZ. I’ll tell you right off the bat, it’s not much to see. It is beautifully situated, I’ll give it that. Towering walls of red rock surround it in dramatic fashion, but the town itself looked upscale suburban. We couldn’t even find a historic downtown, just a retail strip.

The road getting there was pretty good though. We came in on Schnebly Hill Road off of Highway 17. (See map below). Read the rest of this entry »


Photo: Greg MacDonald

A few weeks ago my friend Greg and I headed up to the Mendocino National Forest for a couple of nights of camping, off-roading, and target shooting in Deer Valley and French Ridge. We, well I, saw a fat rattlesnake crossing the road and then Greg managed to startle me pretty well with Hubert, the rubber rattlesnake that lives in his truck. He left it under some bags and when I went to throw away a beer can, I almost jumped out of my boots.

Heading out on Sunday, we explored one more trail and ended up at the High Glade fire lookout. Annelle, the friendly ranger on duty there, was kind enough to invite us up for a visit. It was really interesting to see how the lookout station worked and, of course, the views were amazing. Check out the gallery. Read the rest of this entry »

I cut together this quick video from our trip to Canyon de Chelly in northeastern Arizona. Apologies for the wind noise.

Here’s the blog post about the trip. It includes a map, resources on guides and camping, and a bunch of photos.

Spiderwoman Rock, Canyon de Chelly. Photo: Nik Schulz


After leaving Taos we headed northwest across New Mexico toward Arizona. About 200 miles into that day’s drive, something loomed up over the edge of the horizon. It was Shiprock, the massive remains of an ancient volcano’s innards that rise 1,500 feet above the high desert plain. It was an otherworldly sentinel marking our entrance into the Navajo Nation.

Update: Here’s a quick video of the trip.

Shiprock looms ahead. Photo: Natalie Menacho

Read the rest of this entry »