We are off road enthusiasts who enjoy the great outdoors and the adventure of exploring new places.

Many things make up a great expedition. The preparations and the planning, the camping, the travel, the camaraderie, meeting new friends, challenging trails and seeing new sights around every corner are just a few reasons we enjoy it so much.

We believe that we should be good stewards of the land by following the tenets of Tread Lightly, practicing low impact camping and encouraging others to do the same.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last day of our expedition.

Traveling from Prescott, AZ. to Monument Valley and the Valley of the Gods in southern Utah proved to be one of the best days. The scenery is unbelievable. We found a camp site that was quite a ways from the highway. It was located between two towering spires. We set up our tents without the rain flies so we could see the sky and the bright stars. When the moon came up it was as if someone was shining a flashlight in your eyes.

I was correct in that the morning was fantastic. Waking up early, and along with a cup of hot coffee, it was wonderful to see the sun hit the tops of the spires and progress down until the entire valley was in the bright sun. We had neighbors to the south and we had the opportunity to meet James Downing from the east coast who, along with his wife, was exploring the US and camping along the way. Great to meet him. What a way to spend the last morning of the trip before we headed home.

After handshakes and good luck wishes that morning Matt Hunt and I began our long and non-stop drive back to Lincoln, Ne. We arrived at home about 18 hours later. Matt Hickey will head toward, Billings, MT after he and Alex explore the Combs Ridge and hike to some Anastasi Indian ruins.

This day brings to an end one of the greatest expeditions anyone could experience and not leave the borders of this country. The planning, the preparations and the trip itself have given us all memories we will never forget. The camraderie we had among team members was second to none. If you want to get to know someone better, go camping with them for a month.

We have been on the road and camping since the 26th of August and it is time to go home.

This trip tested us, it tested our equipment and it tested our vehicles. We can all be proud of the fact that we came through every trial and had a great time in doing so.

When Matt Hickey gets home and settled in, we will make a more in depth report of the expedition. We have thousands of photos to go through and will then share the best of them and more details of the expedition with all of you.

For everyone who helped make this an experience of a lifetime in ways big or small we will say a big and hearty "THANK YOU!!!!"

Monday, September 19, 2011

Today was a long one. We left camp and went back into Prescott to visit Overland Journal. Scott, Jeremy al all the others were there. Great bunch. We also visited Adventure Trailers and drooled over the ones in the process of being built.

After leaving Prescott, we drove to Mexican Hat, Utah and found a campsite in the Valley of the Gods. When the sun comes up and lights up the spires around us, it will be fantastic.

This is a special night because it is the lasrt night we will all be camping together. Tomorrow Matt Hunt and I will head for Lincoln, Ne. and Matt Hickey will drive Alex to Billings, MT.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On our way home

Making it to the Grumpy Gringo was worth every inch of traveling the divide. If there was any pressure while running the divide, it disappeared when we arrived at the Grumpy Gringo and met the owner and Matt Hickey's friend, Terry Kirkpatrick. Terry and his wife Lori showed us the utmost hospitality while allowing us to occupy the "shop" while we were there. As you can see, the Grumpy Gringo is a popular spot to come and just sit, smoke a great cigar and visit with friends.

Tubac is a town that can be called "laid back". There are many shops to see and there are also many places to get a good sandwich or about any other kind of mral you might desire.

The atmosphere at Grumpy's was relaxed and calming. We spent many a day just sitting and enjoying the great weather. Leaving there was hard to do but it is time to head home.

This has been an adventure of the highest order. I for one will nevr forget the times we had, the things we saw and the things we did. I am sure the rest of the team feels the same as I do.

We camped in the Mingus mountains above Prescott in the national forest. Great camp. Quiet and it will be cold tonight. Perfect sleeping weather.

Tomorrow we will return to Prescott and stop by the Overland Journal office and also the Adventure Trailer location nearby.

After that we will head toward southeast Utah via Flagstaff and will camp one last time somewhere in the Canyonlands Natl Park or somewhere close by. The next day we will proceed to Moab, UT were we plan to have lunch at the Moab Brewery. At that time Matt Hunt and I will head home toward Lincoln, NE. Matt Hickey will break off and head toward Billings, MT where he will drop off Alex before heading toward Lincoln himself.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Still in Tubac, AZ and healing up from the trip. We will get underway in a couple of days and head north through SE Utah and Moab. Then we will turn east and head home.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 17

We had tried to work our way west from the border to the Coronado National Forest but every gate we came to that would allow us to do that were all locked with "No Trespassing" signs posted. We ended up driving to Wilcox, AZ for the night.

The next morning we headed south toward Tombstone, AZ and stopped there for a walk around main street. There is a lot of history there but it is easy to see that it has been developed for the tourist trade.

After leaving Tombstone we drove south to Bisbee where we had lunch in the Bisbee Grill. Great place to eat. We did a walking tour of the old part of Bisbee and enjoyed the sights for a short while after lunch.

From Bisbee we traveled further south and west across Ft. Huachuca and up over the Huachuca mountains. We drove the border toward Nogales and found an old monument to Fr. Marcos De Niza who was the first European west of the Rockies on April 12, 1539. The border was onlt about 50 yards behind the monument.

The photo of the sign says it all, I suppose. The border was right behind the sign. This was on the San Rafael Ranch which was established by an old Spanish land grant. However, as we drove up and over another mountain range, we encountered no problems at all. We were on mountain roads that were rough and rocky while we were trying to outrun a storm that was brewing. We did not want to get caught on that road when it was raining. We hit pavement just as the storm hit and drove the rest of the way to Tubac in a heavy rainstorm. If we had been caught in the mountains by the storm, we would have had to stay there till the roads were passable again.

We arrived in Tubac, AZ in the afternoon and promptly went to the Grumpy Gringo where we met Matt Hickeys friend and owner of The Grumpy Gringo, Terry Kirkpatrick.

Tubac is a community of galleries and shops that will be fun to explore. I am looking forward to seeing as much of the town as I can.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 16

Leaving Cuba in he morning had us traveling across some of the most desolate country we have seen. we drove across the northern New Mexico desert after it had rained and getting across some of the arroyos was an experience we won't soon forget. One crossing looked solid but it turned to quicksand as soon as we started across, Had to keep moving or the Jeeps would sink.

This old ruin out in the middle of nowhere was a testament to how hard life was when it was built.

We drove south till we came to the Gila National Forest and made camp before it rained. The rain on the tents made sleep come easy.

In the morning as we were having our first cup of coffee, a rancher rode up on his horse and chatted a while. He asked if we knew there were wolf tracks in the mud next to our camp. Evidently, we had visitors during the night and didn't know it.

We finally broke camp and headed south on some of the worst muddy roads I have seen in my life. The clay soil made it difficult to stay on the road let alone make progress. But we did. When we got out of the forest and stopped to refuel, we had to hit the car wash to remove about 200 lbs of mud from each vehicle. We had to do this twice.

WE DID IT!!!!!!!

By evening we realized the goal of our trip. We started at the Canadian border and finally made it to the Mexican border. It was a great feeling. Both Matts, Alex and myself have had one of the greatest trips we have ever seen.

We found the roads choked with locusts and the occasional tarantula. We had wanted to head west from the border crossing but every road is closed so we had to backtrack north where we finally stopped in Wilcox, AZ for the night.

The 60 miles from Lordsburg and Hachita to the border crossing at Antelope Wells were fast. It was a good highway. WWe saw about 30+ vehicles during our trip to the border and back. Every one of them was from the Border Patrol. We had spoken with a couple of BP agents in Hachita on our way to the border and they took our names and vehicle descriptions. We found out that the Border Patrol watches the roads and trails as much as 80-100 mils from the border.
This day ended our quest to run the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. This day we crossed the divide several times and it was fitting we crossed it one last time as we got near to the US/Mexico border.

However, we are not finished with our trip. Tomorrow we will head south toward the Coronado National Forest. We plan to see some of the historical sites along the way to Bisbee, AZ and then run the border to Nogales where we will turn north toward Tubac where we will spend a couple of days fixing what needs fixed and unwind a bit from the hectic pace we have had since we left home on the 26th of August.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 15 CDR-Sept. 9

This is the sixth camp where there has been no cell or broadband service. I haven’t been able to update the blog since Sept. 3. Thanks for your patience. We are hoping to have service when we arrive in Cuba, NM. And possibly get a motel for the night. We are thinking it may be to our advantage to spend the extra time getting prepared for the long, remote and isolated treks across New Mexico. Food, fuel and water are supplies that we will most likely not be able to replenish very often in the coming days. Once we leave Cuba, it will be at least Grants. NM before we are able to re-supply.

This morning broke with rain. This is the first we have seen since we started the CDR at the Canadian border. It started at 0500 but quit by 0730. Not much came down. Just enough to get everything wet. It woke me up and I figured it was time to start the day so I made coffee in the tent and stayed in where it was dry.

Today may be a short travel day as we are only about 50-60 miles away from Cuba, NM. Not certain of the travel time account the forest roads in the Santa FE Natl. Forest are not the best maintained we have seen. Most of them have to be traversed in low range 4x4 due to the rocky conditions.

When we found this campsite we needed to rebuild the fire ring and gather a lot of firewood. We try to have a nice fire every night to cook on and to sit around after supper. Of course, the dry conditions dictate how, when and where we have a fire. This hasn’t been a problem yet but we are always aware of the danger of a camp fire in the forest.

A big enjoyment during this expedition is in the evening when we all relax around the fire and talk about the day or anything else that comes up.

This may be the last day that Marcus, Rob and Ben will be with us. They must return to Lincoln for work. It has been great having them be a part of the expedition. They need a bigger tent however. :O)

The trip from this campsite toward Cuba could be called “The day in the mist”. Coming down out of the mountains of the Santa Fe National Forest was an experience few get to see.

We arrived in Cuba just a bit after lunch so we refueled, found a motel and ate at one of the best Mexican restaurants we have seen. The name is El Bruno’s Restaurante. www.elbrunos.com

If you are ever in Cuba, NM and you like Mexican food, this is the place to eat. Guacamole made right at your table, they cut the fresh avacodos and mix in the spices right in front of you, salsa that is tasty, sopapillas that are fluffy and soft and served with honey. Every meal we ordered was delicious. The staff were very attentative and excellent servers who catered to our every need. On a scale of 1 to 100 they are about a 125.

We will have time to do some sorely needed laundry and get a hot shower we all need badly.

Marcus, Rob and Ben left us today for home. It was great to have them from Rawlins, WY to Cuba, NM. We all hope they have a safe trip home.

CDR Day 14-Sept. 8

The steaks were fantastic and the bakes potatoes were yummy with all the trimmings. Beautiful night and an even more beautiful morning. This is a very isolated and quiet camp. Sleep came easy. The range cattle were a bit upset in the morning when they found us in one of their favorite meadows. Sorry, we were here first.

Last night Matt and I discussed the possibility of getting a cheap motel in Cuba, NM. We agreed that today we would make it to the mountains and old growth forest east of Cuba and then the next day get rooms and do laundry, update everything on the internet and TAKE A HOT SHOWER.

We drove from our campsite south of Del Norte CO. toward Pagosa Springs CO. all on forest roads and entered New Mexico northeast of Chama, NM. We ducked into Chama for fuel and a bit of lunch. Then it was back south on the forest roads to Los Pinos, Tres Pieadras, Petaca, El Rito and stopped for fuel in Abiquiu. From there we went back into the Santa Fe Natl Forest and continued southwest until we made camp on a high meadow north east of Cuba. We have been fortunate in that we have been able to find remote areas where we can have dispersed camp sites without neighbors. Unless you count range cows as neighbors.

I hope we have upheld the traditions of the Off Road Camping Club (ORCC) since we have certainly camped off road as much as we can.

CDR Day 13- Sept 7

Getting a good nights sleep and waking up to the sun peeking over Bennet Peak, we broke camp so we could continue south. We worked our way across country again on forest service roads toward Chama.

Entering the Carson National Forest and the San Juan Mountains, we traveled cross country to theBrazos Overlook. What a beautiful place. Getting there required some serious off road driving in low range 4x4. At the top of the mountain there was a hut built on the divide for cyclists to use in case of bad weather or just to rest. It looked like a bunch of 10 foot fence posts stacked together in the form of a teepee. Not much room inside. We wondered if it was in a good place on the top of a mountain in a clear area. A likely place for lightning to hit.

We found a camp site not too long after in a small quiet meadow at nearly 11,000 feet. New York Strip steaks and baked potatoes tonight courtesy of Matt Hunt.

We re-provisioned in Chama on the way through account the trip from here to at least Grants will be long, dusty and with no way to get supplies.

CDR Day 12-Sept 6

Still no broadband in camp tonight. From the Tincup camp we worked our way south. We found forest service roads that took us through Pitkin and on to Sargents. From there we traveled south on forest roads that allowed us t cross the divide more than once at places where the only way we knew it was the divide was to find a small (3”) placard on a tree or post. We arrived at Saguache and went west on highway 285 for just a few miles and jumped back on forest service roads that took us through the Rio Grande National Forest to La Garita and on to Del Norte. We had to do some mechanical work on one of the vehicles there and when it was fixed we proceeded south still in the Rio Grande National Forest to a camp site between Del Norte Peak, Bennet Peak and Silver Mountain