Confluence 2005 Day 2: 21-1-2005

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Camp Tacos Duros to Confluence (Camp Pork Chop )

It continued to rain lightly throughout the night. The good news is that the wind was minimal.  At dawn, we could see the rain clouds to the east. So, rather than consider the situation, we elected to cook breakfast and get on the road. Below, Mike and Dan work on the sausage and potatoes while Frank watches. Kai looks like he had too much tequila, but I don't think he had any; just a beer or two or three.

The rain on the horizon looked quite formidable, so we moved out smartly with the food preparations and packing.

One of the by products of rain in the desert is that the flowers grow. While the light was dim due to the overcast, I got a few good photos. Below is one kind of flower that was in abundance in the area.

The purple flowers were also in abundance as we will see later in the day. I think this is called verbeena, but not sure.

Note the water on the petals

As we got into the high dunes from the tundra, the rain became more visible on the horizon. Indeed it drizzled all day on and off.

I failed at the first attempt on this sand ledge, but several of the others had trouble too. I did not need a strap.

Yea!! No winching here.

Kai's U900 on a downslope.

We had to help Roberto over the lip, but it was an easy pull. Alvaro captures a photo. 

Roberto descends a steep face. 

Roberto, Jose and Alvaro coming off the dune face in Roberto's 1450 DOKA.

Kai's U900 DOKA .

Rob Pickering's 1300L DOKA.

We are berating Rob about the home-made "Jed Clampett" fairlead he has on his winch.

What a real winch looks like.


Another fine example of a non-Jed Clampett winch.

Razorbacks make the best photo opportunities.

Down the face of a very scary dune. Our tires are leaving huge ruts because the sand is so soft.

Some of the team buried a geo-cache deep in the dunes at the base of a huge face.

One of the objectives of this trip was to visit the site of a plane crash. The reputed history is that this plane was used by smugglers and crashed on a run. Part of the team peer over the dune face to see the crash site from the west. Note how the sand is slipping under their weight.

Frank sets up with his snowboard to descend into the crash site bowl.

Frank's off with Jose and Alvaro watching.

Rob and group examine the engine cowling and front part of the craft. .

A view of Rob's truck in the bottom of the bowl with the wing on the slope. As you can see, it is way up the side of the dune. This was one ugly crash.

Looking to the east from the crash site. This was not a good day for whoever was in this plane. I have to assume that they died, either on impact or from dehydration from having to walk out.

Mike surveys the bowl to the north of the crash site.

Heating leftover breakfast burritos on the intake manifold.

As stated before, the sand in the Altar is very, very soft. Each of us got stuck at least once. Since Roberto did not have the wider XM47 tires, he got stuck most. Below, we are setting up to pull Roberto out of the bowl before the tow strap breaks. It flung the clevis into the back of my truck at high speed. It was a missile.

Rob, Bill and Jose examine the aftermath of the strap breaking and throwing the heavy clevis into the rear of my truck. If somebody had been nearby, it would have torn their head off, literally.

The only animal we saw on this trip. There is no water here, it is not clear what this cow lives off of or how it got here so deep in the dunes.

The group munches down on left-over breakfast burritos heated on Kai's intake manifold.

This was the top of one of the biggest dunes in the whole Altar. It must be 1,000 feet high with steep descents on the east side.

Note the size of the dunes. The farther east we went, the bigger they got.

We had light rain most of the day, coating the flowers with droplets of water. A rare sight for a place that is as dry as the Altar.

The usual ocean of sand is turned into an ocean of flowers in bloom due to the rain. I think this is purple verbeena.

Kathleen and Mike take in the views from the top of one of the big dunes. To the north is the Sierra El Rosario.

Clear understanding of the objective and it's location relative to our own. On to the confluence!!

Alvaro heads for the perfect photo with his tripod.

Down into a scary bowl with thick flowers. The sand is very, very soft, note the rut depth on the left of photo.

The huddle to determine which direction to step to get the exact reading.

We achieve the confluence. 32N 114W. Corroborated by multiple GPSes. The one on the right had local time: 6pm on 21-Jan-2005.

At the confluence. From the left: Jose, Roberto, Kai, Rob, Shane, Frank, Dan, Mike, Bill. Kathleen is taking the photo.

The sunset as seen from the Confluence. Great colors and a true treat for the eye.

Dinner was Mexicali Pork Chops, with beans, rice, corn and cheese cake for dinner. Bill and Kathleen cooked about twice as much food as the team was able to eat. I think that after a hard day of getting pounded by the tundra, the team just wanted downtime.

We had a fire, but mostly things were pretty quiet. We still had one night to go to get rowdy.

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