Sunday, April 16, 2017

VW Syncro at the Mojave Road

I liked the VW Syncro when it was available new at your local VW dealer.  I owned a VW Vanagon and loved it despite the impossibility of keeping the A/C working and the tendency of the engine to overheat if stuck in traffic in the summer.

Linked is a blog that documents a 'Syncro Safari' through the Mojave Road in 2014.

I've done the MR several times but doing it in a VW Syncro is doing it with panache!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

October trip to the hills

Near the end of October Bundu Trek joined with two other vehicles for a day trip up into the hills above the Kern area.  The weather was gorgous with moderate temperatures and sunny (at least at the beginning of the trip) with no wind and no blowing dust as we traveled.  A great change from our usual desert runs that are usually done in a more challenging environment.

After airing down our tires to lessen wheel spin and limit damage to the roads and trails, we set off to, as the Pokey Little Puppy said "to see the wide, wide, world".

Starting out on a nice and easy hard packed dirt road

A ranch we passed that was using an old railroad box car for storage.  How the heck did they get it there?

One of several ranches we passed as we climbed in altitude.  The grass and trees in the area were extremely dry from the drought.

Our first stop was a former Forest Service fire observation tower, now  an overnight stay experience.  For $40 a night you get the tower and the grounds around it.  No one was home when we arrived.

The view was spectacular!

An easy way to lift supplies up the tower!

Bundu Trek's wireless operator found a small snake which she moved out of harm's way.

Some bicylists who stopped by in the mid point of their 50 mile or so bike trek.  We shared water with them and they were very grateful!

This place had the nicest outhouse I have ever experienced!

A tarantula spider that was strolling along our trail
The higher we went the greener the vegetation became.  A nice change from the desert! 

After some miles the trail turned into a motorcycle-only trail so we unfortunately had to turn around and retrace our route.  We ended up at Lake Isabella for a tasty home style dinner and the long drive home.  A really great time was had by all!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Nice and Easy Visit to Frazier Park

Last weekend I was feeling mopey, and sick, and being sick of being mopey I accepted my friend's offer to do a quick day trip to Frazier Park, north of Los Angeles.

Because there was only the two of us and Lucy the wonder dog, we took his Jeep which has a solid top and doors and power windows.  it may not have the charm of Rough Rider, the official Bundu Trek Jeep, but it sure is more quiet and comfortable!

Let me just say I was sick that day and got even sicker the next day.  If the end of the world as we know it ever occurs yours truly will be one of the first to go from some usually benign flu bug.  

We first headed for the abandoned fire lookout station near Frazier Park.  We had visited this site sometime in the past when it was in much better shape.  I don't remember the commo array being located there and the tower was fit for walking on the extended outside platform back then but no longer. 

 We went up anyway.

A ham radio group was conducting some sort of long distance radio transmission competition when we arrived.  They weren't very friendly but they may have merely been suffering from excessive geekitis, an affliction that occurs when too many geeks are within close proximity to each other.

For comparison, this is a lookout tower on Butler peak near Fawnskin-Big Bear California.  Still in use.  Quite a view from there!

A survey marker at the foot of the tower.

What remains of the inside of the structure

Looking out as the Forest Service watchers did so many years ago.  I remember a Wonderful World of Disney show when I was a kid about life in such a tower, although more remote. It has always stuck with me.

Looking back towards my valley.

Eating is always an important part of our expeditions!

Starting down a rather steep trail to the bottom of the mountain

This area had burned sometime not too long ago

A well running stream was flowing through this area near the Miller Jeep trail.  A surprise considering the extended drought and time of year

Wide open spaces....

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Mojave Desert Trifecta

This weekend Bundu Trek accompanied  two other off road vehicles on an exploration of Last Chance canyon and the surrounding area.  Our goal was to find the Rock House, a geocache location that had been visited last year in May without the Bundu Trek crew.  Little did we know that we would visit not just one homestead ruin, but three!

The weather was sunny and warm, reaching somewhere around 90F by midday, not bad by desert standards.  We followed the number one directive in off-road desert travel, never travel alone!  Two vehicles is acceptable, three is better.

Reducing air pressure in the tires just after leaving pavement.  Lower air pressure gives a broader tire 'footprint' in loose soil and sand and better cushions the bumps and battering of off road travel.

Slow and steady and in low range for best control in these conditions

Time for lunch!

Our lunch spot near the sparse ruins of a long abandoned mining operation.  

The Bundu Trek crewman exploring the blasting magazine across the wash from the mining building pads

On the trail to the Rock house

The Rock house blending in the the boulders surrounding it.

The back of the house.  Whoever built this place had poetry in his soul.  The front of the house overlooks a vista that is breathtaking in its majesty.

The geocache. We updated the log and left something for the next visitor

The front door and window of the Rock house

Seeing this every day could never become ordinary.  From here we spied another ruined homestead on a far mountain.  We were determined to find it after we finished here.

Bundu Trek crewman with the trip mascot 'Lucy'

On the way to the other homestead we stumbled on yet another abandoned mining operation

One of several buildings on the grounds

The ruin of a substantial single room building.  It appeared to have burned long ago.

Notice board, perhaps this was the office for the operation?

Water!  green and a bit slimy but water in the desert.  A trickle was coming from the pipe into the trough.

The mine, partially collapsed.

We traveled across the valley and up a trail to the ruin that we had seen from the Rock house.  It turned out to a place we have visited a couple of years ago with a ruined shack and horizontal mine shaft.  It begged to be explored, something that is not recommended by Bundu Trek for amateurs.

The mine shaft

View from the shack

Looking back at the Rock house we noticed the glint of something shiny in the distance.  I used my 10x50 binoculars to make out a solar panel along a trail.  Very interesting and worth a visit!  It was to be our next stop.

The solar panel was powering a tectonic plate observatory that remotely sends information that reports on plate drift.  A very cool find!

From the plate observatory the ruin that we left from could be made out.  Can you see the red circled dot?  That's where we were when we saw the reflection of the solar panel!

Fellow trekkers examining some of the observatory equipment

We saw many jack rabbits on this trip and took pictures of two of them:

It was a great trip and a perfect trifecta, three homesteads finishing first, second, and third in best ruins found in the Mojave!