Trans USA & Canada Week 19, 9/28-10/4

Day 128 (9/28): Today’s driving was very similar to yesterday. For the most part the trails were smooth and it was pretty easy to get some miles under my belt. The terrain was very similar also. You hit this small mountain range and weave on through them then there is a large flat valley until you hit the next one. As most of these ranges run north south and I was headed south I had long stretches of terrain I could cover quickly until my next winding roads. Along with this the roads that were not gravel were compacted sand with some softer parts which really helps in smoothing out the ride. The first mountain range I hit the road almost seemed to disappear between two peaks.

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Then the terrain would open up.

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I did get to make it into a decent size town today and picked up a few things to patch up my vehicle to make it legal again. I also deposited the Canadian cash I had left over into my bank account. They would not take the coins though. This is crazy considering all Canadian dollar and two dollar bills are coins so you save up a lot of money very quickly.

New temporary side mirrors until I can order new ones.

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I also picked up a new tail light.

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I found this awesome camping spot almost on a little island between two peaks.

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Day 129 (9/29): All day the terrain continued to be the same as yesterday Large flat plans between these small mountain ranges. At one point my road did turn into a goat path and I had to turn around and find a different route.

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At one point I did come across this old house or town settlement.

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The view as I approached the next mountain range.

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The one I just came from

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It almost seemed like the road disappeared right into the rock.

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About midafternoon I stopped to go to the restroom and as soon as I got out of my vehicle I could smell burning rubber. So after a little investigation I found out two things. One leaf one the trailer was completely broke. The other leaf was almost broke, along with a leaking shock on the trailer so I’m down to fifty percent over the whole unit. Also one of the broken leafs was cutting into the sidewall of the trailer tire. Good thing I carry an extra set. I think I know what is on the upgrade list for the trailer.

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After two and a half hours of work I was done. I set off and drove for another hour until I found a good campsite. Just up the road from my camp I spotted a massive bull Elk. I had no Idea they lived around here. Every time I try to go into Utah stuff starts breaking. I’m not leaving this time.

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Day 130 (9/30): Todays travel was pretty flat and I just circumnavigated around the Great Basin National Park.

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Just showing some trailer hitch flex.

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I only drove about half the day then camped out at the Great Basin National Park. It is a smaller park with some hiking trails it has a few great views and is about a half day to a full day trip.

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Then back at camp I had these visitors.

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Day 131 (10/1): Well today started off as a nice simple day. I woke up really early and headed out of The Great Basin National Park. I headed through Baker town, NV there was nothing opened so I just topped off with gas and headed back down the TAT. After a short while I came to this casino, motel, gas station and restaurant. I normally don’t eat breakfast but since I woke up so early I figured why not. It was good food and you could tell they actually made it there instead of buying it all frozen. After breakfast the route was smooth and straight for a while which was nice and I got to put on some good mileage.

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All of a sudden all the surrounding started becoming much sandier and whiter than it had been.

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Then I hit this dry lake. One GPS showed me in a lake the other showed a large sand patch. I went walking on it and the surface was extremely tough.

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Then I decided to pull out onto it quickly for a few pictures. Bad Idea, as soon as my tires started breaking that two inch tough top surface there was then about six more inches of sand then real wet nasty clay underneath that. My front tires would crack the top surface then the back tires would break it up and dig in and the trailer tires would just plow the now soft and gooey surface that was all broken up. I decided to try out my Tred4x4 plates and of course I aired down the rest of the way. Never used them before but what a better situation to break them in and give them a go. After clearing out the area in front of each tire and putting down the plates. I got in and put it into four low and locked the front and rear. After a little clutch work my tires grabbed the treds and pulled them in and the vehicle lifted out of the hole. As soon as my vehicle was off the treds it started to dig in again. So I repeated and repeated. I was making slow but steady progress three feet at a time. Soon enough though the soil was broken up so much that the tred plates would just be grabbed and pulled under the tire and shoved behind it buried in wet clay then I had to dig them out. I then decided to get out my pull pal also. Between the two I was sure I could get out. I setup the pull pal since there was no place to tie a winch line to. The best area to put the pull pall seemed to be on the other side of the grave path they call a road. I tighten up the winch line and soon the pull pal was digging itself in. But due to the shape of the road beind domed it could not dig to deep. So I got in and with some more clutch work and the pull pal worked my way slowly to the edge of the road. Once I got my passenger front tire to the road though it leaned my vehicle and no matter how many times I reset the pul pal or tred plates I just kept digging the driver side worse and worse and could not get myself over that little hill.

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I then decided to do what I should of done from the start. I disconnected the trailer and since it was acting like an anchor. The tires were so deep in the clay as soon as I got momentum they would build up enough stuff in front of them I lose it. The axle was almost touching the crust of the lake bed. After getting the trailer disconnected which was fun in itself since it was not ideal circumstances. I then without the pulpal drove up onto the tred plates and out back onto the road. I went down the road and cleaned off my tires turned around and attached my winch to the trailer. Using one of the tred plates as a ski for the front of the trailer I slowly worked it out of the lake and back onto the road.

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This picture does not show it justice but here are the three trails of the pulpal which tore up the road pretty well.

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The left over track marks on the “dry” lake bed.

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Moral of the story just because you can stand on it and it feels solid does not mean there is a disaster of a mess beneath your feet that will cause you to dig and winch for over four hours. As soon as I got across the dry lake bed I approached these wonderful mountains and this valley I later found out was called “Death Canyon”.

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The dry lake bed behind me.

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The mouth of the canyon.

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As soon as I started entering the canyon I started seeing these old rock walls that were built. They were no longer connected but after all the work digging and winching I could not imagine the man power it took to build all these walls.

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All the way through Death Canyon are amazing rock cliffs that surrounded me. The canyon was not very long but every corner turned up another one.

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As soon as I was out of the Canyon I noticed this group of wild horses, there are 4 of them hiding behind the tree.

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I then soon got a very long and smooth gravel road and made up some time then I hit my intersection to start heading south which was paved so I aired up all my tires again and started making my way south to the Grand Canyon. I found this nice little camping site near a lake. But after today I decided to park a little ways away.

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Day 132 (10/2): This morning’s drive was all highway and freeway down to Las Vegas. As I got closer to Vegas I was shocked at the canyons that we drove through on the interstate. Too bad these roads don’t have a safe place to turn off and take pictures. Here are some I got before I got to the large canyons.

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I then drove right through Vegas and headed to the Hover Damn. I did not realize how much even the top of the hover damn was recessed into the canyon. They could of built it bigger.

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One of the very dry spillways.

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As you can tell the water level is low and has been and keeps on getting lower. Soon they might actually have to turn off the turbines’ as there will not be enough pressure.

Downstream side.

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After the hover damn I drove out to take a look at lake Mead itself. I’m supposed to be on the edge of a large bay of the lake. Does anyone see any water in this 360 shot.

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I decided to camp on the beautiful shores of lake Mead as you see above.

Day 133 (10/3): After waking up nice and early this morning I headed back to civilization and filled up with fuel. I then headed to the Sky Walk. I know I know it is a tourist trap. But the views I got to see on the way there made the trip worthwhile.

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Once I got to the sky walk I came to quickly realize this is not a self guided tour of the grand canyon. You park your vehicle and pay price ticket which I thought was worth it. Then you get on a tour bus or Helicopter to go on your tour. I did the tour bus. The first stop is the this very catchy old western town. I think it would have been fun with young kids or with a group of friends to joke around with.

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The buses run every fifteen minutes so the wait is not bad. I quickly moved onto the next stop which is the sky walk. There is an area next to the sky walk which you can take pictures on the edge of the canyon but no phones or cameras are allowed on the skywalk since they want to sell you photos.

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After the sky walk is you’re your last stop where you get to walk out onto this peninsula and take amazing photos of the grand canyon. There is a old elevator there from a mine in the bottom of the canyon.

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After this I headed back towards civilization to pick up a spare leaf for my trailer and some more fuel. I then headed north about eighty miles to where I was going to take back gravel roads over towards the grand canyon south national park. Once I reached the backroads I was notified with a sign that the road is closed and it is private property. So then it being late in the evening I head back south and then east to take the more civilized route. I finally stopped at a camp ground late at night. One positive thing about having to camp at a campground is that I got to take a shower. But I am dead tired and the only reason I pushed so hard is I’m supposed to meet up with my parents tomorrow.

Day 134 (10/4): Well today was all about the Grand Canyon. I woke up early after a messily five hours of sleep again. I’m getting way to use to this little sleep. And I hit the road north to the South Grand Canyon. Once I reached the South Grand Canyon I quickly came to realize this is another bus tour that drops you off at certain places for viewing and then you just catch the next bus. The main loop is eighty minutes without getting of the bus so you can easily spend the whole day here. I’m only going to end up putting up a fraction of the pictures I took since it would just be so much data.

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I actually ended up walking most of the seven plus mile route since it was faster and there were views between the bus stops I wanted to get.

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The Colorado river looked so small from so far away. But these are actually class IV or V rapids.

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I then left the South Rim and Headed to the North Rim where my parents were waiting for me. There were so many beautiful pictures to be taken in between but it was starting to get to midafternoon and this is quite the drive. I wish I had the time to stop. I saw some many crazy Mesa walls and crossed over the Colorado River. This is the only photo I snagged while waiting for construction. It also started to rain on and off again the whole drive there.

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Once I got to the North rim it was starting to become the evening so I did not get to venture around much but at least the rain had stopped.

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I did not stay for the sunset as I did not want to go through the pain of finding a campsite at night again. Another Day another adventure I will get one over the Grand Canyon.