RENEGADE RENDEZVOUS : An Epic Exploration Trek Across Nevada

Discussion in 'Renegade Tales & Trails' started by wayoflife, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. wayoflife

    wayoflife Administrator Staff Member

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    In spite of all the exploring that Cindy and I have done over the years and all across the State of Nevada, I can honestly say that we've only scratched the surface when it comes to all the places and things we'd hope to see someday. In fact, anytime we're not on the road, I spend a lot of my free time pouring over old books and tracing my finger across historic maps and with the purpose of planning out future trips. Last week, we embarked on one such trip and as luck would have it, our good friends Tony and Stephanie were able to join us and being that they just got a brand new Jeep Renegade Latitude, we decided to rendezvous with them in our Renegade Trailhawk. The following photo essay highlights our epic thousand mile plus adventure and I hope you'll enjoy it.

    It never occurred to me that you could actually order and buy something like a Jeep Renegade without a spare tire but as we would come to find, that's how Tony and Stephanie's Latitude was delivered to them. Apparently, a spare is an option and if you don't specifically select it, you just get a tire repair kit complete with a compressor that will fill your tire with a run flat solution. Needless to say, we all agreed that it'd be better for them to have a spare on hand and being that we had 5, we decided to strap one onto our roof rack before heading out to rendezvous with them in Tonopah.
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    Stopping to stretch and play with Tessa on our way down to the rendezvous point.
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    Ah, the Mizpah! Our favorite home for the night whenever we pass through Tonopah and the location of where we'd be rendezvousing with Tony and Stephanie.
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    And here they are in their all new shiny white Jeep Renegade Latitude.
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    It's always a good time to drink whenever we're with good friends - CHEERS from the Tonopah Brewing Company!
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    After dinner, we stopped into the all new Mizpah Casino to try our luck on one of their one armed bandits.
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    Did I mention it was always a good time to drink when we're with good friends? CHEERS from the Mizpah bar and to good times ahead!
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    DAY 1 : Tonopah to Eureka
    The first official day of our very first Renegade Rendezvous was to be an epic 200+ mile trek from Tonopah to Eureka, loosely following the original stage route that connected the two towns back in the late 1800's. Along the way, we would make stops to check out geological wonders like the Lunar Crater as well as historical points of interest including charcoal kilns, petroglyphs, old stage stops and... a nuclear test site known as, Project Faultless.

    Bright and early on day one and looking back at the charming Mizpah Hotel.
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    Here's a look at some of the nearby residences of old.
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    Spare tire transferred to Tony and Steph's new Renegade and ready to roll.
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    Stopping at the local grocery store for last minute supplies. Here you can see a side by shot of a stock Renegade sitting next to one that has a Daystar lift and bigger Cooper STT Pro tires.
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  2. wayoflife

    wayoflife Administrator Staff Member

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    There's a sign at the edge of town that informs people who are ready to head east across U.S. Highway 6, also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, that the next gas is 163 miles away... ON PAVEMENT! In other words, if you plan on doing any exploring off road along the way, you really need to be in a vehicle that offers good fuel economy or carry extra gas with you or both. Fortunately, we were going to be doing this in Jeep Renegades and just to be safe, Cindy and I were carrying 4 extra gallons of gas.
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    Once we got into the Stone Cabin Valley, we left pavement and began heading north to our first destination.
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    Turning east to make our way up into the Hot Creek Range.
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    After weaving our way up a narrow canyon and through a forest of pinion pines, we arrived at our first destination of the day.
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    These are just two of the many amazing kilns that were constructed throughout the area back in the mid 1870's to provide charcoal for the smelters in the nearby mining town of Tybo. Amazingly, their brick construction has managed to stand through the test of time, the unforgiving elements and the assholes that typically come out to places like this and destroy them.
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    Tony reaching for the light inside one of the charcoal kilns.
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    Light pouring in from the top.
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    View looking up in the other charcoal kiln.
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    This time, Tony got vaporized.
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    View of the breather holes long the side of the kiln.
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    Unfortunately, the trail beyond the charcoal kilns were a bit more technical than we felt taking on in a Renegade let alone one that's totally stock and has no tow points. So, we doubled back to the highway and continued our journey to the second stop of the day - the Lunar Crater.
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    After a short off road trek, we found ourselves parked on the rim of the Lunar Crater.
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    Not to be confused with an impact crater caused by a meteorite or asteroid, the 3,150 wide and 450 ft. deep Lunar Crater was once a cinder cone and it's believed to have been created about 15,000 years ago when it fell in on itself. Can you find our Renegades in this shot?
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    Here's a slightly closer look.
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    Circling around the National Back Country Byway to see some of the other natural wonders, we decided to pull out on to the Lunar Lake bed and enjoy the vast playa surrounding us.
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  3. wayoflife

    wayoflife Administrator Staff Member

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    Moving on and now heading north up Big Sand Springs Valley, we made our way to our third stop of the day - the 1968 nuclear detonation site known as "Project Faultless".
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    On January 19, 1968, a nuclear device of less than one megaton was detonated 3,200 feet below this point. The test was done to help determine "environmental and structural" effect researchers could expect to see should they detonate subsequent devices of a higher yield in the area. Needless to say, there are warnings to let you know that it isn't such a good idea to excavate, drill or remove material from the site.
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    After taking in a healthy dose of radiation, we continued heading north until we arrived at our next destination of the day, Petroglyph Butte.
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    Unlike most of the petroglyphs that you can find out in Northern Nevada where the people who created them did so on nearly black basalt, the stunningly well preserved panels you find here have been pecked out of the face of a reddish orange patina covering what looks like pumice or other kind of igneous rock.
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    Continuing our way north, we made a stop over at an old stage stop known as Prichard Station.
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    Back between the 1870's and 1880's, Prichard Station would have been a well needed rest stop for weary travelers making their way to Eureka from Belmont or the other way around. Surprisingly, in spite of it being about 140 years old, it's still in great condition and I can only assume that part of the reason why is because it's so far out in the middle of nowhere.
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    Taking a peek inside and to a place long forgotten by time.
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    It's amazing how there's even plaster still on the walls.
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    Continuing up the original Belmont, Tybo and Eureka stage route which was essentially an overgrown trail with no tire tracks ahead, it was pretty clear that NOBODY had come up this way in a very long time.
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    While Tony and Stephanie were averaging about 25-26 MPG in their stock Jeep Renegade Latitude, Cindy and I were only getting about 20-21 MPG. Having traveled over 230 miles and a vast majority of those off road, it was starting to look like we were going to need to break out the extra gas we were carrying. But, as luck would have it, we made it to Eureka just as our gas light came on and all was good. And, to help celebrate an awesome first day out on our Renegade Rendezvous, we celebrated well with a Northern Nevada tradition over at the Owl, Picon Punch - CHEERS!!
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  4. wayoflife

    wayoflife Administrator Staff Member

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    DAY 2 : Eureka to Pioche
    The plan for the second day of our Renegade Rendezvous was to head east along the old Lincoln Highway, visit the former White Pine County seat, Hamilton and explore the mines and surrounding ghost towns before heading further east to Ely and then south to Pioche. To begin this length of our trip, here's a shot of downtown Eureka at the crack of dawn.
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    Heading off pavement to travel a length of the old Lincoln Highway and to do some rock hounding.
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    Being at a higher elevation, it was like springtime up in the White Pine Range and there were all kinds of beautiful wildflowers in bloom.
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    While we were out, we got lucky and stumbled upon an old "Right of Way" monument that was installed along this now abandoned stretch of highway. From what I understand, these concrete pillars which often have the letters "R/W" but sometimes will have the letter of the state stamped on it (as is the case of the "N" on this one), were used back in the early 20th century, installed in pairs opposite each other, typically placed at the beginning and end of a curve and with the purpose of helping to define the center of a highway and property lines. This monument was located at the beginning of a curve on the north side of the old roadway.
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    Through the brush, we were able to locate the right of way monument's twin on the opposite side of the old highway.
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    At the end of the curve, there was yet another pair of right of way monuments just as you would expect to find.
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  5. wayoflife

    wayoflife Administrator Staff Member

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    Not to be confused with the former Nye County Seat and historic town of Belmont, our first destination of the day would be to explore the ruins of the Belmont Mill.
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    Built back in 1925 by the Tonopah Belmont Development Mining Company, the 4 level mill processed ore from the Belmont Mine which was located almost 2 miles away and brought it there in buckets traveling along an aerial tram.
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    In addition to impressive mill, you can still find the mill office, superintendents home still standing at this site. Unfortunately, the old boarding house that provided a home for the workers here has since collapsed.
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    The unfortunate remains of the old boarding house.
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    Taking a look inside the mill office and superintendents home.
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    Workshop behind the boarding house.
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    A look inside the workshop.
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    Heading up to the mill.
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    It's absolutely mind blowing that so much of the equipment, much of which is almost 100 years old is still in place and looks as if they're ready to process ore.
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    You can literally still smell the grease on the massive gears.
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    From what I understand, all of the equipment in this mill was powered by a steam engine and driven by a series of belts attached to a main drive shaft.
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    Back outside, and looking up toward the top of the mill. On the corrugated steel siding, you can see the words USSP San Francisco stamped on it.
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    Now this is something that's really cool. If you look on some of the corrugated steel siding, you can still make out the original rail line shipping details that was hand written onto it. This panel reads "Tonopah Belmont + Dev Co" and "East Ely Nev". Essentially, this would have been something like a UPS or FedEx tracking number.
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    Suspended by a huge chain from the upper level of the mill, you can see there is still an ENORMOUS wooden bucket still filled with tons of ore.
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  6. wayoflife

    wayoflife Administrator Staff Member

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    Around the backside of the mill, there's a rickety staircase that's missing all the lower risers but would otherwise take you to the upper levels.
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    No lie, it takes a lot of effort to get to the first riser and the whole thing wobbles like crazy but Cindy and I just had to climb up the stairs.
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    While the floor boards bow and creak with every step, climbing to the upper level of the mill gives you a good look at the aerial tram terminus and all the machinery needed to operate it and the loading buckets underneath.
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    Here is the massive bull wheel that drives the cable for the tram.
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    Guide rails for the incoming and outgoing tram cars.
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    I'm not sure who was responsible for all the work but a good deal of it was made to help keep the Belmont Mill is a perfect state of arrested decay. Here you can see where breaking beams have been reinforced.
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    View of our Renegades from the upper level of the mill.
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    Looking out toward west.
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    This is a view from the top looking north.
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    Heading up the road to check out some of the other cabins in the area, we came across several old cars that I believe are 1960's Ford Fairlanes turned upside down.
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    As you can see, they had pretty modern looking IFS.
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    Check it out, it even had coil overs inside of standard coils.
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    This one even had a triangulated 4-link rear suspension system.
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    This wagon was running coil overs WITH leaf springs.
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    Standing on the deck of a collapsed cabin.
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    And finally, a view looking back at the Belmont Mill from the deck of the cabin.
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  7. wayoflife

    wayoflife Administrator Staff Member

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    After leaving the Belmont Mill, we headed south down Shermantown Canyon and then climbed up Treasure Hill to explore the ruins of Treasure City which sits at almost 9,200 feet above sea level.
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    Originally named Tesora, Treasure City became an official town in 1868 and had a population of 6,000 people about one year after the discovery of the Hidden Treasure Mine. It's hard to imagine now but by the end of 1869, there were about 200 mines and 10 mills operating in the Treasure Hill District and during its peak, the town was home to over 40 stores, a dozen saloons and among other things, it even had its own stock exchange. In addition to protection against fires, most of the buildings in the town were made out of stone and most of this was to help shelter the occupants from the bitter cold of winter. Unfortunately, the rich silver veins turned out to be shallow and by the end of 1870, there were fewer than 500 people remaining in Treasure City. In 1874, a major fire destroyed most of the city and that pretty much sealed its fate. Today, only the foundations of a few more prominent buildings remain.
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    Here's all that's left of the most prominent building in Treasure City, the old Wells Fargo & Company bank and express office.
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    Some shots of other building in the area.
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    View looking north with the Newark Valley in the far distance.
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    On the move again, we made our way to the Treasure Hill cemetery.
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    While there are a number of graves in the cemetery, there was only one headstone still standing and that could be read. The name on it was J.T.D. No other information was left on the stone.
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    Working our way back down the Treasure Hill, we arrived at our next destination of the day, Hamilton.
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  8. wayoflife

    wayoflife Administrator Staff Member

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    Named after one of three men who laid out the town site, Hamilton quickly grew from just a handful of people in 1867 to well over 12,000 in just two short years following the discovery of silver on top of Treasure Hill. In its heyday, Hamilton boasted over 100 saloons, 60 general stores, several breweries, theaters, dance halls and even a skating rink. By March of 1869, Hamilton was selected to be the county seat for the newly organized White Pine County. Unfortunately, the population disappeared about as quickly as it came as uncertainty grew regarding the true potential of the mines. A fire that consumed most of the business district on June 27, 1873 left the town with over $600,000 in damage and after a second fire on January 5, 1885 destroyed the courthouse and all it's records, the county seat was finally moved to Ely in 1887. Today, very little remains of this once bustling and prosperous town.
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    Before leaving Hamilton, we decided to make a stop over at the cemetery to visit some of the residents who once populated the town.
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    So many of the people laying to rest here were also very young. Here is Arthur Timson and he was only 25 years old.
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    This is Mary Casey, a native of Cambridge, MA and was only 19 years old when she died in 1870.
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    Of course, many still were just children or newborn babies like William John Paul who died a little after a month of being born in 1890.
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    And then there was his brother, Charles Henry Paul who died less than a month after being born in 1894.
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    Leaving the White Pine Range, we made our way out to Ely where we tried our luck at finding some gems up on Garnett Hill and then turned south until we arrived at our new home for the night in Pioche - The historic Overland Hotel.
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    To yet another OUTSTANDING day exploring and having fun off road - CHEERS!
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    DAY 3 : The Journey Home
    When it comes to rough and tumble gun slinging old western town, names like Tombstone and Dodge City come to mind but back in the 1860's, there was no town more lawless and ruthless than Pioche, Nevada. In fact, no less than 72 men were killed in gunfights in this mining town before a single person would be known to have died from "natural" causes and in 1873, the Nevada State Mineralogist filed a report with the State Legislature that "About one-half of the community are thieves, scoundrels and murderers and then we have some of the best folks in the world, and I don't know but our lives and property are just as safe as with you. You can go uptown and get shot very easily if you choose, or you can live peacefully. I will send you a paper with an account of the last fight...I was in hopes eight or ten would have been killed at least, as these fights are a pest in the community. Peaceful! Sure, if you stayed out of the way of the bullets."

    When Pioche became the county seat for Lincoln County back in 1871, the founding fathers decided to a courthouse should be built and a budget for $26,400 was approved for the project. When the courthouse was finally paid off 66 years later and two years after it was condemned, the final cost topped off at over $800,000. Because of this, the Lion County Courthouse was forever known as, "The Million Dollar Courthouse".
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    Immediately adjacent to the courthouse is the historic Mountain View Hotel. Built in 1895 to provide lodging for dignitaries who came to do business at the courthouse, it lays claim to of had prominent guests such as President Herbert Hoover to have once stayed here.
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    Topping off before heading out for our last adventure before making our way home.
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    Heading west on U.S. Highway 93, we made our final Renegade Rendezvous stop just past Oak Springs Summit so that we could dig for Trilobite fossils - aquatic creatures that lived in a shallow sea about 500-524 million years ago and as the BLM states, "belong to the Olenellidae family having a shell like a horseshoe crab, jointed legs, compound eyes and the ability to curl into a ball like today’s sow bug."
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    After parting ways with Tony and Stephanie, Cindy and I began our trek across Highway 375 - also known as, the "Extraterrestrial Highway" due to its close proximity to the infamous Area-51. As a tradition of many travelers before us, I am sticking an obligatory WAYALIFE decal on the sign.
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    Unfortunately, they were closed but we still made a stop to pose for a pic in front of the Alien Research Center.
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    Being lead across the Extraterrestrial Highway by bird like clouds.
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    Finally, making a stop to have some lunch at the Little A-LE-INN in Rachel, NV before heading off to home.
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    I hope you've enjoyed following our first ever Renegade Rendezvous. I really need to give a BIG THANKS to Tony and Stephanie for joining us on this trip. In addition to having safety in numbers when venturing across the vast Nevada desert, we really had a great time with the two of you. Until next time :cool:
     
  9. Dgr401

    Dgr401 Active Member

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    Looks like you had a great trip. The shiny Latitude got pretty dirty - fast. Thanks for posting. It is always fun to see other places that you may never get a chance to go to. Great photography by the way.
     
  10. carlosmoraes

    carlosmoraes Member

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    Awesome! Thanks for sharing!
     
  11. Gaelmart

    Gaelmart New Member

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    Great tour. Very interesting.
     
  12. EnderAZ

    EnderAZ Active Member

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    Awesome writeup! Looks like I missed out on a great adventure.
     
  13. JeepFan

    JeepFan Member

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    We really have to give you and Cindy a huge Thank You for putting this trip together. It's hard to believe how many cool sites we visited in just 3 days! So many amazing things to see in the vast state of Nevada. As always, we had an amazing time and can't wait to get back out there with you both to continue the adventure.
     
  14. JeepFan

    JeepFan Member

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    Lol! Dirty is an understatement! We were on some trails that hadn't been traveled on for a very long time. These trails we're partially overgrown with Sagebrush and for a time, our Renegade felt more like a riding lawnmower than a Jeep. :D

    During the cleaning process, I noticed tons of sagebrush had gotten trapped in every nook and cranny of the undercarriage. Some of it was pretty close to the exhaust too! It was a real pita to clean. During the cleaning process I half filled a 5 gallon bucket with debris. The hardest part will be removing the tar like substance from the sage that is stuck to just about everything under the Jeep.

    Im just thankful the trail wasn't muddy! ;)

    Overall, we were very impressed with the Renegade. It rode amazing on the bumpy trails and while it's no JK, the 4 wheel drive system worked well.

    Despite the dust and brush, this was an amazing adventure and we're just so grateful we got to join our great friends Eddie and Cindy on this Renegade Rendezvous!
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
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  15. Clint

    Clint New Member

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    Such a beautiful trip and write up! Thanks a lot for this!
     
  16. MLH24

    MLH24 Member

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    Awesome. Thanks for sharing. Went to the Little Aleinn a few times as a kid. Good times.
     
  17. JeepFan

    JeepFan Member

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    A picture is worth a thousand words!!
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  18. wayoflife

    wayoflife Administrator Staff Member

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    Good times right there! :)
     
  19. MyTruck-let

    MyTruck-let Member

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    @wayoflife Phenomenal post! As previously stated, your tutorials are impeccable bordering on automotive Gospel and now I believe I must concede that your travelogs are equally competent.

    I feel like you are one of those people where everything just 'clicks' for you. No?

    It would take me hours to put this together. HOURS! From choosing which photos to use, color correcting and balancing the set, to researching and summarizing points of interest - friggin hours!!

    And if it takes you hours as well...then we'll done!!! And a sincere thank you for sharing. I will return the favor sometime soon.

    Fair winds and following seas...
     
  20. wayoflife

    wayoflife Administrator Staff Member

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    LOL!! I'm truly flattered by your kind words but nothing ever just clicks. A post like this typically takes a full day or two to create.

    Thanks.
    Eddie
     
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