Scissors Crossing to Paradise Valley Cafe on the PCT

The snow has started to melt in Southern California and PCT season has begun! What better time to continue along the trail than now, along with the rest of the herd of thru-hikers?

The Mojave Road

The Mojave Road

We were pleasantly surprised with a call from Eric inviting us on an ‘overland’ trip on the famous Mojave Road. The road (originally a trail created by Mohave Native Americans) is now apparently one of the great overland trails of the USA, and travels from the Colorado River near Laughlin, Nevada, to a point on the Mojave River, near Newberry Springs, California. It’s mostly a dirt road, with ruts, washboards, some obstacles, mud, sand, one moderately challenging hill and a couple of deepish puddles. Enthusiastically we accepted the invitation, and away we went.

Yosemite Facelift

The Yosemite Climbing Association puts on a yearly event to clean up the park. We went to help pick up rubbish, and had a great time.

Marion Mountain Camping

We went on a camping trip to Idyllwild with our friends Joel, Amy and Meret. It was a blast!


Jalama Beach and SpaceX launch

We’ve been following SpaceX from home, watching their launches and landing attempts live whenever possible on the computer. They’re normally launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, so when we heard that the launch of the Jason-3, a NASA / NOAA satellite, would take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base here in California we decided to go check it out.

Freezing Thanksgiving in the Desert

We joined a convoy of Vanagons and Westys (80’s VW buses) the day after Thanksgiving and headed out to the desert. It was a really cold night, dropping to 27 degrees F. But, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with all the fixins!

Airplane Attitude Indicator for the Car

When you’re off-road it’s a good idea not to flip your car over. Apparently it’s a commonly held rule-of-thumb that when the car is more than 30 degrees tilted around the ‘roll’ axis, a rollover is imminent (or has already happened). 

Anza Borrego Abandoned Railway Station

We headed out for another quick camping trip with our off-road buds. Back to the desert, this time to the ruins of an old railway station somewhere near Ocitillo.

Weather Radio for the Car

In the USA, there’s a service provided by NOAA called Weather Radio. It is a continuous, automated voice reading weather conditions and forecasts. It sounds like this: Weather Radio Sample (from Wikipedia). In the event of weather alerts or emergencies, a special data signal is sent out which can be used to trigger alarms or other functions.

Anza-Borrego Desert – Wilson Peak and Yaqui Well

When the Land Cruiser first arrived home it wouldn’t switch in and out of 4WD, and it had failed its smog check due to a high idle and non-spec catalytic converter. We changed the 4WD vacuum solenoid valve with a random part from a 2WD pickup (cut to fit) and that problem was solved. Thanks to the forum for the suggestion to use the alternate part, which saved us around $200. We had the cat replaced by Warner’s Muffler who did a great job.

1988 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ62

On my John Muir Trail trip we were treated to some off-roading in a cool mid 80’s Toyota Land Cruiser. It was all rickety and falling to pieces, and a notable experience of the hike.

John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail

Eric picked me up dark and early in a rented yellow Kia Soul and we headed off on our journey to Yosemite to hike the John Muir Trail, roughly 210 miles from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney with ultralight gear (see my gear list here). Anticipation and excitement were thick in the air, even though I was finding it difficult to unplug from work at first. We drove to Fresno airport, returned the car and jumped on the YARTS bus from Fresno to Yosemite national park.