On Tuesday morning, we were all to meet at Smith’s Market in Cedar City with some time planned to meet and greet and then get on the road.
Timing can be a relative thing but we did all eventually show up and get ready.
Along for the ride were: Scott B and his navigator, Laura in the recently repowered white Ranger; Sib (Sibastian who also is Scott’s father) in his white Ranger; Gary (gwittman) in his red Ranger; Michael (mjmcdowell) in his gray Ranger; Frenchie (Frechiexj) in his white Jeep JK; Martin (martinjmpr) in his maroon 4Runner; Ace (Ace Brown) in his silver FJCruiser with Kyla the golden retriever and Keith (4x4x4doors) in the orange Colorado.
We left Cedar City on UT56 and went off pavement before we got into Nevada. We eventually got into Echo Canyon State Park and found a spot next to the reservoir for lunch.
Our next waypoint was Caliente, the first ghost town of our journey. This is probably a good spot to define exactly what is a ghost town. Many of us think of a place that is totally abandoned and derelict but Merriam-Webster includes towns whose population has significantly declined from previous levels due to the collapse of an industry or resource such as when a mine is closed. Detroit, Michigan would fit the part of the definition that includes a significant decline in population without being completely and totally abandoned. Caliente, Nevada (and several of our other stops) fit that significant decline defintion. Caliente gained its name from the nearby hot springs. The Union-Pacific Railroad came to town in 1905 and the train station, built in 1923, is built in the style of Spanish missions. Today it houses a museum and the town’s municipal offices and a library.
After passing through Calienete, we veered left into Rainbow Canyon and followed the stream and the railroad tracks for a ways.
Climbing out of the canyon, CB radio traffic tells Michael that something doesn’t look right just as he discovers that he has a blowout.
Replacing the tire turns into a group project with Scott providing his racing jack, Martin providing his four way lug wrench and various folks providing labor and advice. Ultimately, its clear the tire is toast and well-beyond repair and we’re back on our way.
We pass onto federally-owned and managed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Different rules apply to passage and camping so ownership and management of the land is significant. We ride along a ridge road and see one other vehicle. Eventually we wind down into lower ground and start looking for a place to spend the night.
This is range land and we happen upon some cattle and a stock tank and nearby clearing that had been used for camping before based on several fire rings in the clearing.
We set up camp for the night. Just before dark, we noticed four horses approaching with great interest. While they checked us out a bit, they decided to go on. Apparently our sheltered location was also used by the to bed down for the night.
As we pulled out in the morning, the cattle followed for a while. One calf showed a particular interest in Martin’s 4Runner and ran after him for possibly a mile! There’s probably an off color joke that fits but I’ll refrain.
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