Bodie Gas Station

Bodie Gas Station

In June, 2012 my family took a family vacation to the Eastern Sierra area.  This was the site of many past family vacations throughout my life and I am fortunate enough to travel in this area with my entire family again.  For this trip, I am thrilled to bring my wife and son.  Although Heather visited this area a few times before, she and I had never been here together and I was really looking forward to sharing my memories of the area with her and Ryan.

After a quick drive from Las Vegas to Lone Pine via Death Valley, we met my folks and brother and sister-in-law in Lone Pine, California.  We took a few side trips including a drive up to Whitney Portal and the Alabama Hills.  The next day of the trip north on the 395 highway found us in Lee Vining, CA and prepared ourselves for Bodie, CA.

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A quick stop to air down the jeep, just off the Kelbaker Road.

After our recent trip to the center section of the Old Mojave Road, my wife Heather was really excited to run the western section and complete  the entire length of the trail.  Her idea was to drive the western section on our way to our annual trip to Big Bear, CA over the Memorial Day holiday.  I worried that such a trip during this time of year could be a rough trip due to high temperatures in the desert.  In late April we finished the center section in Baker, CA and the air temperature was only 107 degrees.  Despite my concerns, we gladly planned our trip and embraced her good idea.

As we prepared for our trip, gathered our gear, food, and checked out the mechanics of the jeep, I decide to check the local weather report.  To my surprise, weather.com predicted the temps in the mid 80s with clear sky’s and light wind.  The weather could not be any better.

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Old Mojave Road

Incinerator behind the house at Caruther’s Canyon Road

In April 23, 2012, my wife and I woke up early and packed the family into our jeep for a day of back country exploring in the Mojave desert.  On this day, our destination was the middle leg of the historic Old Mojave Road.

The Old Mojave Road was originally a series of trails used by the Native Americans of the Mojave desert to connect the Colorado River with the Pacific coast.  Native Americans developed the trail over time, which was later used by Spanish Missionary’s, U. S. Army, and stage operators.  The Mojave Road fell into disuse when the railroads came into the area in the 1880′s.  Dennis Casebier, and his Friends of the Mojave Road, ‘rediscovered’, mapped and documented the Mojave Road.  Our trip on this day, is possible due to their hard work and dedication, which follows centuries of history.

As we left Las Vegas early Sunday morning we drove past Primm, Nevada and continued into California we watched the temperature climb from 75 to 85 degrees.  We exited interstate at Nipton Road and drove East into the southern California desert.  A quick right turn at Ivanpah Road and we were on our way into the Mojave National Preserve.

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As a lifelong outdoors man, I have hiked, rafted, backpacked and camped across most of desert southwest.  As such, I have learned very well what I do and don’t need when I leave the city. I am perfectly happy finding a clearing just off a tail and setting up a campsite.  A few years ago my wife and I purchased a four door Jeep Wrangler JK which we use quite often to go on day drives.  The challenge is load and organize all of our gear and carry it in a medium size SUV.

My goal is to build a chuck box, or camp kitchen, which is a simple box to store all the kitchen supplies needed for a successful camping trip.  The chuck box needs to balance strength, weight and most importantly for me, size.  The chuck box needs to contain all of gear and would enable to set up our campsite in no time.  I am hoping to keep it small enough and lite enough that I can easily move it with no help.  The Jeep 4 door Wrangler does not have a large about of cargo space especially for a family of three and a yellow Labrador.

I have several goals:

  1. I want the chuck box to fix in the back of the jeep with the back seats usable.
  2. The box must contain all of our cooking gear,  including a stove, pots, frying pans, dutch oven, plates, utensils, cleaning supplies, etc…
  3. Everything is carried securely AND  organized in such a way that it keeps down the noise potential when driving on the back roads.
  4. The box needs to be light weight yet strong enough to survive the pounding of camping, ‘jeepin’, etc…
I will post photos of my camp kitchen when I have some time to take them.

 

 

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