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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

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Looking forward to following along!

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Day 2: My daughter went off to class in the morning, and I loaded what little bit of stuff I took out of the Mustang the night before and tanked it up with gas. Ani got out of class earlier than expected, so I told her to get her gear organized while I went to wash the car. After I got back to her place, she had a back pack, a lap top, and various other electronic devices for the road, and we took off.

Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Land vehicle


Rant On - while I was gearing up at home for this trip, I couldn't find the hand pump for our two air mattresses. Yes, I sleep on an air mattress now because if I sleep on the ground, my hips start killing me, no matter what position I get in. An air mattress is a must. Anyways, I called Ani to find out where it was because she went camping with some friends before school started. She left the pump at her mom's house but knew where it was. I told her that her mom probably moved it by now and won't be able to find it. Called Ani the next day about the pump...mom moved it and couldn't find it. One of the many reasons why she's now my ex-wife.

Ani and I stopped at the Wal-Mart in Flagstaff but couldn't find a hand pump. Lots of electric ones, but they wouldn't do us any good. We got some supplies and headed north out of Flagstaff up towards the Vermillion Cliffs, the Colorado River, Utah, and then Nevada.

A view looking north on Highway 89 just past Sunset Crater National Monument:

Cloud Sky Plant Vehicle Hood


Some of the formations on the Navajo Nation on Highway 89:

Cloud Sky Atmosphere Ecoregion Plant


Vermillion Cliffs and the Colorado River coming up! By this time, Ani is driving.

Cloud Sky Plant Car Grille


Some more of the stark landscape along Highway 89A.

Cloud Sky Plant Plant community Highland


Ani got to drive across the Navajo Bridge over the Colorado River. We were following a group of European motocycle riders on approach to the bridge. We had seen this group a couple times already on our way north. Here's a short video of us coming up to the bridge and going across before making the right into the parking lot.


Here's a view of the two bridges. The on the right is the highway bridge, and the left one is the pedestrian bridge.

Sky Cloud Nature Natural landscape Landscape


Looking east from the bridge.

Cloud Sky Water Ecoregion Natural landscape


Me styling in my Hawaiian shirts and gray shorts. Ani putting up with my fashion.

Cloud Sky People in nature Flash photography Tree


To be continued...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Day 2 continued with us driving along the Vermillion Cliffs, through some forested land around Jacob's Lake, and across the Arizona Strip through the towns of Fredonia and Colorado City. We crossed into Utah at Colorado City and then into the town of Hurricane for some dinner. We ate at the Rooster Diner, or something like that, and then tried the local Wal-Mart to find and hand pump...no luck.

We followed the road until we got to I-15 and took it into St. George, Utah until we found Highway 18 headed north. By this time it was getting dark and lots of signs warning drivers of deer, elk, and cattle. Some of the deer crossing signs were lit up with LED's...I guess that means they're serious.

At one point, we drove past the site of the Mountain Meadow Massacre. That was a bit eerie in the dark. More info on the Mountain Meadow Massacre if you're interested in a bit of history:


Driving these unfamiliar two lane roads at night is always a bit nerve-wracking for me. I've hit two deer in my lifetime of driving, and it's not a nice outcome. I had Ani pay attention as a second pair of eyes for any critters in or along the road way. We saw three deer earlier in the road during the daylight in Arizona and I only saw one deer on the side of the road after dark.

By 10:30pm, we were tired and sore after driving for nearly 10 hours. We finally got to Ely by then, got to our hotel, and they left an envelope with my name on it, and my room keys and a note to stop by in the morning to finish everything up for check in. It was nice not having to wake someone up to get us our room. We got out our overnight gear, took showers, and hit the bed. It was a long day!

During our drive, we went through Arizona, the southwest corner of Utah, and northwards on the east side of Nevada. We saw green forests, open range, grasslands waving in the winds looking like the ocean, spectacular rock formations, ridges and cliffs, canyons carved by rivers and streams, towns that looked like they've been forgotten over time, and we had a sense of feeling very small in such a large place. I do love living and exploring out West!

Saw this sign in the bathroom at the Navajo Bridge. Is it necessary now to tell people not to do their business on the floor?

Font Gas Signage Sign Number


Two views from the Mustang of the road crossing the Arizona Strip. I had never been out here before, and have a group of friends that like to do dispersed camping. There are places out here that are forested and provide access to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Cloud Sky Water resources Hood Vehicle


Cloud Sky Plant Hood Automotive tire
 

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All I've gotta say is... HELL. YES!!

So excited to see the rest of your posts. And glad you guys made it there and back safely! That region is my favorite to drive through, out of all the places I've driven in the States.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
All I've gotta say is... HELL. YES!!

So excited to see the rest of your posts. And glad you guys made it there and back safely! That region is my favorite to drive through, out of all the places I've driven in the States.
You're an inspiration, @Kelly_H . Not only getting out there and driving our cars, but also sharing the adventures with so many people. I'm not as eloquent as you are when it comes to writing this all down, but we all know what we mean! :)
 

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You guys are right about the beauty of the area. We recently lived in Mesquite NV for 4 years and drove many times to St. George and Hurricane UT. Truly one of the most beautiful areas for a drive.

Enjoy your journey.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Would LOVE to hear a recap from Ani on this adventure.
I would assume it would be quite interesting. She does have the same sense of humor as me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Day 3:

I got up before Ani as I had to be at a Course Worker's Orientation at 8:30 there in Ely. It's a presentation for us volunteer course workers on our responsibilities and duties while out on the course before, during, and after the runs. The venue for the orientation was about a five-minute walk from our hotel.

The hotel offered a "continental breakfast" that consisted of individually packaged doughnuts that looked like they had seen better days, packaged juice, and coffee. I decided to skip the ptomaine palace, and finish my check in for the room, but there was no one at the front desk yet. I told Ani I was going and gave her the choice to come along or stay. She chose to stay, so I left her the weapon of her choice and told her to finish the check-in if necessary.

I walked to the Bristlecone Event Center and along the way saw an pharmacy that advertised of having an old fashined soda fountain inside. I would have to check that out later!

Got to the orientation, and they did not have me assigned to an area to work. I registered and took a seat up front near the projector so I could actually hear what was going on. Why do you ask? Because I forgot my freaking hearing aid charger and they were going low. I wanted to get all the info needed so I could pass it on to Ani.

The nice thing is there was banana bread, breakfast burritos, juice, coffee, and other assorted easy snacking breakfast foods available to us for no charge. I at some banana bread and stashed a breakfast burrito for Ani when I got back to the room

The guy doing the presentation was John and he's been working for SSCC for 25 years. It's a very professional run organization with cooperation from the Nevada State Patrol, three various county sheriff jurisdictions, fire and ambulance support, and two on call air support helicopters available. We, the course volunteers, are the eyes and ears of the SSCC. I thought it was going to be just securing a gate leading onto the highway to keep folks off the course. Nope...we monitor the vehicles going by and checking them off a grid sheet, monitor radio traffic for vehicles that either didn't start, or retired somewhere on the course, report any and all hazards such as animals on the course, debris, vehicles breaking down, sudden weather changes and whatever else may occur. We are there to provide information to the checkpoints who in turn advise the Race Director. That was a bit more responsibility than just manning a gate, but I, and later Ani, were up for it.

We had to be out past the starting line in Lund, NV by 5:00am the next day on the way to our posts. We got gate number 122, which was about 15-20 miles from the finish line, in an area called "The Narrows". We were going to be at the northern end of the narrows where the vehicles have to slow down to make it through the various curves in the area. I also was asked to secure gate 121 with the provided lock and chain, but to return to gate 122 after. After the orientation, I spoke with John some more as he recently just bought a place about 22 miles from where Ilive here in AZ, so I gave him a quick rundown of living in the area. Quite the coincidence for both of us.

After the orientation, I walked back to the hotel to get ready to check out, see if we could find a hand pump for the air mattresses, go to the tech inspection/car show, and kill some time before driving out to our gate to spend the night out there.

Attached are two pictures of the area where the gate is located where Ani and I were posted. You can see the narrow canyon the cars would have to negotiate while trying to maintain their speed and adjust accordingly. The red splotch on the picture is where our gate is.

Brown Map Slope Bedrock Geological phenomenon


Map Slope Geology Soil Fault


If you want a better view, these are the coordinates on Google maps: 37.840945, -115.027455
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Part 2 of day 3 didn't work out as we planned. First order on the agenda was to get a hand pump for the air mattresses. On our way into Ely the night before, we saw a C.A.L. Ranch store and also a fairly large sporting goods/outdoor store, so those were two possibilities. First stop was the sporting goods store. Lots of camping, hunting, shooting supplies there so things were looking good. Went to where the air mattresses were shelved, and all they had were the AC powered pumps and the battery powered pumps. That's a no go. Those battery powered pumps put out just enough air to inflate the air mattress but not enough to make it firm.

Next try was the C.A.L. Ranch store. We have one of these stores in Sierra Vista, which is about 50 minutes from where I live. They have lots of outdoors and ranching supplies there, along with a pretty good camping selection. We headed over to the camping section...lots of air mattresses but not a single pump. No AC, no battery, and definitely no hand pump. Okay, this is beginning to suck big time. All this running around and no joy. The lady in the store suggested the Family Dollar down the way as they sold air mattresses there. Might as well give it a try.

Family Dollar had one air mattress on the shelf, and no pumps. Okay, we've wasted enough time on this and time's wasting. I still want to go to the park in town where the cars running tomorrow are being tech inspected and being put on display. Ani and I go back to the sporting goods store and buy the sorry DC powered pump, and a bundle of wood. This will have to do.

Off to the park we go because it's now 12:30 and it's supposed to end at 1:00. On the way there, we're seeing a lot of cars that are running the next day coming from that area with their race numbers on their cars. Not a good sign. Sure enough, we get to the park and only about 6 or 7 cars are still there. Bummer...wasted all that time for a stupid pump that I didn't need to buy if someone hadn't "misplaced" it. I wanted to get pics of the cars while they were stationary and on display, but that's over. Now what do we do?

Ani is looking online and sees there is a small history museum in town not far from where we're parked. We head over to the museum, pay our $7 to check it out. It was a pretty nice little museum all about the history of White Pine County and the surrounding area. Lots of knick knacks and artifacts on display along with some railroad cars and tools outside, a refurbished depot that was moved into the area, a one room schoolhouse made from logs and chinked with mud, an outdoor jail, and a display of a fossilized cave bear. Ani and I both love history, so it was good for us to see all this stuff.

Afterwards we went to the little family-owned pizza place next door and decided we might as well get our eating supplies and head out to our gate for the remainder of the day. This turned out to be a good decision because after grocery shopping, we drove over 100 miles to get to our gate and got there in time to setup our tent, get our sleeping areas arranged, get a fire started to roast hot dogs and marshmallows, walk across the highway to meet the folks over there who were also volunteers, and just relax until it was time to go to bed.

We sat around our fire and just marveled at the all the stars overhead. Ani is somewhat knowledgeable on constellations, so she pointed them out to me and then confirmed them with an app on her phone. We could see the Milky Way, a satellite passed overhead, and we just enjoyed our surroundings in solitude.

When it came to decide where to put up our tent, it was either downstream from a double culvert that went under the highway, or near the base of a cliff. Ani said we had the choice of drowning in a flash flood or being crushed by a boulder coming off the cliff. I chose the risk of the boulders because even though our area was nice and clear weather-wise, a storm could be brewing 50 miles away and we'd never see or hear it because of the rock formations in our immediate area. We ate, cleaned up, and went to bed because we had to be awake before 6:30 am when they started doing radio checks on everyone.

Now some pics:

Ani posing with the fossilized cave bear at the museum:
World Temple Travel Extinction Art


Ani in jail. For some reason she thinks I should be in there. Such a foolish child.
Mesh Pet supply Composite material Metal Natural material


Turning onto Nevada Highway 318 where the cars will be running the next day.
Sky Cloud Hood Road surface Asphalt


A warning sign to let folks know the road will be closed tomorrow.
Cloud Plant Sky Ecoregion Natural environment


Ani studying the fire, or just holding still while I take a photo.
Glasses Chair Vision care Flash photography Eyewear


I couldn't figure out at first what this line was across the photo until I got home and put it up on a bigger screen. We were burning pine in our fire, and it's an ember that popped out while I had the lens open.
Flash photography Guitar accessory Musician Entertainment Twig


I took pictures of our campsite the next morning because it was in shadow by the time we got there.

More to come!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
RACE DAY!

I woke up at about 6:00am and turned on the handheld radio that was issued to us. We actually had two radios...one for gate 121 and one for 122. No one had to be at gate 121, so the night before I went there and secured it with the lock and chain that was part of our gate packets. The packets included radios, DO NOT CROSS tape, a volunteer guide, two 1-liter bottles of water, locks and chains for the gates, a red flag and a yellow flag, two t-shirts, and a hat. The crew across the way was also the ham radio operator for our area, and he came by and gave us the final starting grid sheet for the day. It listed the vehicles in the order they would be starting, year/make/model/color of the car, the car number, driver/navigator names, and what class they were running. Our job was to check them off the grid sheet as they went by and to monitor the radio for any failure to start, cars breaking down along the course (retiring), and/or crashes. Luckily this day, there were no crashes.

We had a breakfast of muffins, bananas, water, and soda. Yup, breakfast of champions. We did a bit of exploring around our immediate area and I found a spot on the side of small hill nearby where it would be perfect to setup my camera and also Ani could check off the cars as they went by. I liked the hill because it put us on the same level as the highway as it was elevated about 15-20 feet above us at the gate. It was about a 2 - 3-minute walk from our campsite to our hill site, but we could monitor the highway and the gate at the same time.

The run was supposed to start at 8:00am, but the county sheriffs had to respond to some uncooperative person at one of the checkpoints. Don't know what the issue was, but we did see two sheriff SUV's go by with lights and sirens.

The first car to start was a 2007 NASCAR Cup Charger running the unlimited class. Ani and I were setup on our hill and we could hear the car coming about 30 seconds before it came into our view. I had to be quick on the camera because the cars were coming around a bend with some rock formations at the end of the bend. We would hear the cars and had just a few seconds to get the camera running. Unfortunately, my camera has about a 3 - 4 second delay before it actually turns on, and I missed a lot of cars waiting for it to power up from sleep mode. I was trying to save the battery as I only have one for the camera. Add to the list...new battery with a car charger.

Ani checked off the cars as they went by and circled the numbers of the cars we heard of the radio that either didn't start or retired. We missed a couple that we didn't hear get announced on the radio. Ani would sometimes not quite get the number of the car, and I would look on the grid sheet and tell her that last vehicle was a red Corvette and she could check it off. Definitely a two person job and I'm glad she was there.

Surprisingly, the run finished around 11:00am. There were no crashes and no major incidents. We did see a 1979 AMC Concord go by blowing a lot of blue smoke. I told Ani that wasn't a good sign because that's oil burning. Later in the day, we saw the Concord pulled into a wide spot on the side of the road about 2 or 3 miles south of where we were.

Okay, time for pictures.

Our campsite. The gate we were securing is to the left of the photo. I was using my Mustang to block the road to the gate in case anyone showed up.
Car Vehicle Wheel Tire Plant


The road leading to our gate. It curves around the rock formation on the right and stays along the edge of the ridge to the left of the photo. It eventually leads back to Highway 318 to the north of our location.
Sky Mountain Natural landscape Bedrock Plant


Obligatory shot of the Mustang in the early Nevada sunrise.
Wheel Tire Vehicle Car Sky


Another view looking north from our location.
Sky Slope Bedrock Mountain Natural landscape


The southside of the opening into "The Narrows". You can see the raised roadbed here, and the culvert coming through that Ani warned me about the night before. The ham operators are on the other side of the highway here and were our main point of communication throughout the run.
Sky Mountain Bedrock Natural landscape Plant


The beginning of "The Narrows". I'm standing in the spot where Ani and I would eventually setup to monitor the vehicles going by and to keep an eye on the gate. The caution sign on the shoulder of the road is warning the regular drivers to slow down to 60 mph because of the curves ahead.
Sky Plant community Mountain Natural landscape Bedrock


This was our view of the course from the hill we were on. You can see the raised roadbed right in front of us and gave us a perfect view to record the numbers on the cars as they went by.
Sky Natural landscape Landscape Mountain Slope


Another shot of the caution sign warning folks to slow down. To the left of the sign you can see the antennas and trailer of the ham operators who were across the road from us. Very friendly folks we talked to the night before.
Plant Plant community Ecoregion Sky Mountain


Next up, some of the cars driving by.
 

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I used to do a bit of camping so I can understand the need for an air mattress. One thing I used to carry on my camping trips was a nice little 400 watt power inverter. Plug it into the cigarette lighter and have a couple of 110 outlets for things like air pumps and camera chargers.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here's a short video of some of the cars going by as we were monitoring the race. In one scene, I forgot to pan the camera to track the car as it went by, but it gives you an idea of what little time I had to react. Also, the last one is blurry because all of a sudden, my camera didn't focus. I didn't know it until I got home. I lost about 4 or 5 more cars going by because of the blurriness. The one blurry video I included is a 2020 Shelby GT500. The cars in the order they appear in the video are:

1. 2007 NASCAR Cup Charger
2. 1982 Pontiac Trans-Am
3. 2005 Mercedes C55 AMG
4. 2014 Cadillac CTS-V (Sounds like a jet once it's out of camera view)
5. 2001 Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 SE
6. 2010 Dodge Challenger SRT
7. 1972 DeTomaso Pantera C8.1 (This was reported as retired over the radio, but was able to go ahead and finish the run)
8. 2017 Shelby GT350
9. 1955 Studebaker Commander
10. 2020 Shelby GT500

Here's the video:
 

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Quite the adventure, and great memories made with your daughter. Thanks for sharing your story and the great pictures and video. Can you see yourself volunteering again?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quite the adventure, and great memories made with your daughter. Thanks for sharing your story and the great pictures and video. Can you see yourself volunteering again?
Definitely. It was a real good time. I'll close out my adventure today with some thoughts.
 
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