We took a few days and just relaxed, then took care of a few maintenance issues such as replacing the black tank valve in the water bay and getting our Dish Network/Winegard Antennae properly hooked up and working.
We spent a week in Duck Creek RV Park before relocating to Echo Bay in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. We set up in the upper campground and met our supervisor Tim and co-worker Marty. We’ll be working in Lake Mead National Recreation Area until the end of March.
On Saturday we decided to take the ‘new’ jeep out for its inaugural off-road trip. Our supervisor had marked up a park map identifying some good off-road routes, so off we went. We decided to take a short 3-4 mile route down Echo Wash. Everything started out fine with some sandy and loose gravel river beds as our main track. Then the route ventured off into the desert as the wash was marked as Wilderness Area – No Motorized Vehicles. About 2 miles out we came to the first intersection and I decided to go straight rather than turn left…back to the main road. After all we were having fun! And the next thing you know it was Gilligan’s Island all over again. Yep, what started as a 3-hour tour looked as though we could be lost for an indefinite period of time.
I owned 2 jeeps in the late 70’s early 80’s. And have spent a little time off-road in Florida. Nice flat Florida. Nice flat sandy Florida. Nice flat sandy close to something no matter where you are Florida. I have not however spent any time off-roading where it’s rocky…or where it’s hilly…or where it’s desert…or where it’s miles and miles and miles to anywhere. It’s a lot different. About 10 miles in we had a chance to turn around and head back. We had passed 2 other jeeps and a motorcycle. According to the biker we had 1 spot left that was a little rocky…..then it would be smooth sailing for the remaining 10 miles….if the road hadn’t changed in the last 2 years since he had traveled it. So we decided to keep going. We found the rocky spot and after walking it decided we would give it a try. We made it with a little extra effort and locking the jeep in 4Wheel Low. By now we had been out for about 3 hours and were only a little over half way through the trail.
About an hour later we made a turn that dead-ended a mile later. We backtracked and got back on what we thought was the correct trail to what appeared to be a little used track. A few miles later we found ourselves with a steep down-hill grade with numerous solid rock outcrops. We still weren't sure if we were on the correct track at this point. We had just turned around again when a couple of ATV’s came by. They told us we were only 3 miles from the end of the trail, with only a couple of ‘iffy’ spots along the way. So on we went. Through the ‘iffy’ spots ( I was glad the ATVs’ would be coming this way just in case) and found the dirt road. 4 more miles and low and behold it was pavement….for the first time in what seemed like forever. The jeep did great. 20 miles across the desert without a hitch. I on the other hand need to be better prepared next time.
We took the road through Valley of Fire State Park and saw some great red stone mountains and formations. A quick hike to Mouse’s Tank and we even managed to see some petroglyphs. Then it was about 15 miles back home. We were both tired and hungry, so we settled in for the night. Tomorrow we’re planning a quick trip back into Vegas on the bikes to charge up the batteries.
Stay Tuned. More to Come.