Archives for posts with tag: Montero

Photo: Nik Schulz

When Clemens arrived in Virginia City in 1862, it was a mere three years old. Its mines, however, had already produced over $400 million dollars in silver, enough to bankroll the building of San Francisco and eventually help the Union win the Civil War. The booming town was lined with businesses, restaurants, saloons, and populated with well-paid miners and dancing girls. After his own hard-scrabble mining stint, Sam Clemens, newly shaved and puffing on his ever-present cigar, must have surveyed the bustling, cosmopolitan scene and thought, “Now this is more like it.”

Here he began to thrive writing stories for the Territorial Enterprise. When the news wasn’t interesting enough for him, which it rarely was, he stretched the facts like taffy, folding and molding them until he had produced a confection that bore little resemblance to the reality from which it was derived. To these colorfully fabricated accounts, he added his colorful new pen name: Mark Twain.

I found one wagon that was going to California, and made some judicious inquiries of the proprietor. When I learned, through his short and surly answers to my cross-questioning, that he was certainly going on and would not be in the city the next day to make trouble… I took down his list of names and added his party to the killed and wounded. Having more scope here, I put this wagon through an Indian fight that to this day has no parallel in history.

My two columns were filled. When I read them over in the morning I felt that I had found my legitimate occupation at last… I felt I could take my pen and murder all the emigrants on the plains if need be, and the interests of the paper demanded it.

Mark Twain, Roughing It, Chapter 42

Our legitimate occupation involved getting to the former town of Masonic in the Bodie Hills. First though we had to follow the trail south from our Desert Creek campsite to Jackass Creek and over the Sweetwater Mountains. Read the rest of this entry »


Photo: Natalie Menacho

On August 14, 1861 an unknown, unemployed steamboat pilot, and his brother, got off a dusty stagecoach from St. Joesph, Missouri having made the 1550 mile trek west to the newly-minted town of Carson City, Nevada. On a bit of a lark, he had decided to go and assist his brother, the recently appointed Secretary of the Nevada Territory. His own career had been a casualty of the Civil War, which had broken out earlier that year halting all traffic on the Mississippi. Their three week journey cost $400, the equivalent of over $9580 dollars today. Of course, this former steamboat pilot, willing to spend hard earned money on a lark to head west was none other than Samuel Clemens.

Almost exactly 150 years later my girlfriend Natalie, our friend Greg, and I, set out for the Eastern Sierras, also on a bit of a lark, to follow in Clemens’ footsteps. We had combed guides, books, and maps, and made our plan. In early September we headed out in two Mitsubishi Monteros. Greg’s Gen1 and my Gen2.

Loading up the trucks

Monteros at the ready

Photos: Greg MacDonald

And we’re off!

Photo: Natalie Menacho

Read the rest of this entry »

My Montero gets a new set of Yokohama Geolander A/T-S tires.

I took my truck to Kahn & Keville in San Francisco today have a new set of Yokohama Geolander A/T-S tires installed.

These tires perform well on the street and yet sacrifice little off-road. I’ve taken them through mud, water, rocks, dirt, and snow, and never felt like I needed more tire. The only time I’ve noticed them lose traction is in snow deeper than a few inches, but that’s what chains are for.

If you’re looking for a versatile set of all-terrain tires, I recommend them. This is my second set. The first set lasted about 40,000 miles.

If you get new tires, don’t forget to rotate them every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. Read the rest of this entry »

My artist’s rendering of our night siting.

It was around 4am, mid-September at the South Yuba Campground northeast of Nevada City. Natalie and I were sleeping happily. Then nature called (both of us—I guess it was a conference call). As we headed out into the chilly night air to take care of business, I said, “Hey, look, there’s Jupiter.” Fairly low on the horizon, east-southeast of us floated a bright white light. “Wow, it’s really twinkling.”

“It looks green,” observed Natalie. “Yeah, I does look like it’s twinkling green,” I said, struck by the brightness of it. I can’t remember exactly how it went from here. I think Natalie said, “It looks like it’s moving.” I looked again. “Oh my God, it does. It’s totally moving.” And we watched through the trees as this blinking, twinkling thing hovered and moved, paused and moved again. Read the rest of this entry »