Archives for posts with tag: blog

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.


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 »

In 1955, six Oxford and Cambridge students set out to travel overland from London to Singapore. The 18,000 mile journey would be the first of its kind. Never before had such a long and difficult route been driven to completion. Men had attempted the London to Singapore route before, making it as far as the middle eastern deserts or the Indian plains, but the mountainous jungles of Assam and Burma had previously thwarted all efforts. In fact, the route was thought to be impassable. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

On the road again heading through Arizona.

Photo: Natalie Menacho

In the first half of June Natalie and I got on the road again for our first big trip of the year. We were headed to the Southwest, land of painted deserts and amazing canyons. Our plan was to get to Taos, New Mexico, as quickly as possible, then head slowly back to Sonoma County and see what we could along the way. On our first night we made it to Barstow. We asked the woman at the motel what drove the Barstow economy. She said, “People trying to get to somewhere else.”

The next morning, on our way to do just that, I didn’t fill up the tank, thinking gas would be cheaper on the highway. I was wrong. It kept getting more expensive the further into the desert we got. And then, after a while, there simply weren’t any more gas stations. Just as I was about to reduce our speed to make the most of our dwindling fuel, a gas station appeared like an oasis — I think it was even called Desert Oasis. Saved! Except that gas was $5.00 a gallon. OK, half a tank then. $50 later, we were back on the road. In Needles, California, right on the Arizona border, I filled up the rest of the tank at something like $4.89/gallon. As soon as we crossed into Arizona it was something like $3.89. D’oh. Read the rest of this entry »


For our first camping trip of the season together, my girlfriend, Natalie, and I took the canoe up to Lake Sonoma for some boat-in camping. Lake Sonoma is a man-made reservoir just east of Cloverdale, California. There are beautiful campsites around the edge of the lake, lots of shoreline to explore, and plenty of fishing — the lake contains one of California’s only landlocked steelhead populations.

We self registered for a campsite at park headquarters at the southern end of the lake then drove up to Yorty Creek to put in. With the canoe packed up, we shoved off for the 2.7 mile paddle to our campsite. It was fairly windy but, once we left the main basin of the lake, the water was much calmer. In an hour and fifteen minutes we were at Thumb Camp, Site #2. Read the rest of this entry »


Photo: Jalopnik

I haven’t been this excited about a concept car in a long time. Scratch that. I can’t even remember the last time I was excited about a concept car. When I saw Jeep’s new Forward Control concept yesterday, however, my jaw nearly hit the floor. In an era of soul-crushing sameness and dull efficiency, Jeep’s Forward Control is a refreshing shot of “hell yeah!” steeped in just the right amount of company history. Read the rest of this entry »

There was an interesting article in the New York Times the other day reporting that Americans are keeping their vehicles longer, both for economic reasons, and because build quality has improved so much in the last couple of decades. Now well-maintained vehicles with 200,000, even 300,000 miles, still ply the nation’s roads.

My own truck has over 215,000 miles on it. I think it’s more economical to fix whatever fails, even if that’s the engine, than to replace the entire truck with a used vehicle whose service history I don’t know. This is especially true given the modifications I’ve done to the truck. Swapping the aftermarket suspension, bumper, lights, and snorkel would be both time and cost prohibitive.

Buying a new vehicle is even more so. A friend once told me that buying a new car is one of the worst investments you can make. Within five years, something like 75% of your original investment will vanish to depreciation.

I hope my old truck (and yours) run a long time.


Bring a Trailer writes that a 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280S rally car is on offer in the Bay Area. I’ve always liked the look of vintage, factory rally cars, with their stacks of big chrome driving lights. How would fun would it be to blast across the desert in this?

The seller says in his Craigslist ad that it will need a roll cage, fuel cell, and fire suppression system, if you decide to take it on a sanctioned rally. It’s listed for $10,000 in Carmel, CA.