Reno Road Trip

Going the slow way to see the sights



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 Rain Squalls Pelt the Flanks of the Owens Valley as seen from Cerro Gordo Ghost Town.

Sony Alpha 7 Mark II, 1/250 sec, ISO 100, 29mm at f/9
All photos copyright, Bill Caid 2015. All rights reserved.

The Trip

Time never stands still and it has been ten years since our last fraternity reunion.  The group had been planning to meet in Reno, NV and we were looking forward to seeing our old buddies.  Our initial plan was to drive in my BMW M5, but after reviewing accommodations in Reno, we elected to drive Thor.  Since Thor is not a speed demon, it is better to go the slow route and enjoy the scenery.  For some stupid reason, since it has been cold and foggy in San Diego, my brain decided it would be something close to that along our travel route.  That was far from reality and the Mojave Desert can be somewhat uncomfortable in the summer, particularly in a vehicle with broken air conditioning.  But, we weathered the conditions and had a great time anyway.  Good fortune brought overcast skies and light rain making things more bearable.

Tracking Our Location Via The SPOT

Some years ago, after a scary mechanical failure in the canyons and mesas of southern Utah, we decided that we need a better way to advertise our position and call for assistance if needed.  Kathleen found out about the SPOT which is a GPS locator that transmits your coordinates via satellite so that others can see your location.  The location is plotted on Google maps and a "bread crumb" feature is available for an additional fee.  We have the enhanced service, so you can see our historical path back 50 updates or so.  See our current location plotted on Google Maps in Real-Time via SPOT satellite geo-locator device.  This page is "book-markable" and is updated approximately every 15 minutes, but may miss updates due to inability of our transmitter to reach the satellite.  The communication is "open loop" so the device never knows if it's messages are actually going anywhere, it just keeps trying until the next update is available.  If we are in a congested urban area with high buildings (like Manhattan) or in deep canyons, the position may not update.  We try to send an "OK" message once a day just to let everyone know that we are, in fact, OK. 

Connecting and Contacting Us While on the Trip

Because of internet connectivity issues on a previous trip, we purchased a MiFi cell phone modem that allows us to connect nearly anywhere there is 3G service via cell phone (which is most of the cell phone service area available today).  But, as we all know, cell phones are useful many places, but not everywhere has coverage, particularly in the remote areas of the western U.S.  Our phones and the modem are enabled daily so you may contact us, although it may take a few days for us to respond.  But, we will respond.  My email, spelled out, is "bcaid at yahoo dot com".

Trip Details

The link table below contains links to the photos and dialog for each of the days of the expedition.  This table will be updated as the trip progresses.

Links to Daily Adventures
Part Dates Adventure Locations
San Diego, CA to Trona Pinnacles
Trona Pinnacles to Cerro Gordo Ghost Town
Cerro Gordo Ghost Town to White Mountains
White Mountains to Reno
Sigma Phi Epsilon Reunion
Reno, NV to Bishop, CA
Bishop, CA to San Diego, CA


Conclusions and Advice to Travelers

The Mojave Desert is a very big place and frequently not that hospitable to travelers.  The weather can go from very hot to very cold and back in one day.  The upper reaches of the Mojave have very high peaks that approach some of the highest in North America (14,000 feet) and of course the Mojave also has Death Valley which is the lowest.  As a consequence, the range of temperatures can be extreme.  Plan accordingly and understand the expected temperatures, particularly in the summer when heat can be life-threatening.

Water is in very short supply and unless you are staying at locations that are known to have water, you will need to be self-sufficient.  Services can be few and far between, so plan ahead on fuel to insure that you are not hiking when you were expecting to be driving.  High winds and dust are common in this area and attempting to tent camp in high winds can be an exercise in futility.


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Copyright Bill Caid 2015