Go Back   Jeep Liberty Forum - JeepKJ Country > General Forums > Serious Offroad Trips, Trail Rides, and Meets



Serious Offroad Trips, Trail Rides, and Meets

Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip


This is a discussion on Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip within the Serious Offroad Trips, Trail Rides, and Meets forums, part of the General Forums category!
Travel Day 1: Elgin, IL to Ft. Dodge, IA I didn't get out of bed incredibly early in the morning ...

Plan upcoming offroad meets, trail rides, and meet & greets.


Like Tree267Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-01-2014, 09:32 AM   #21 (permalink)
 
yellocoyote's Avatar
Administrator

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Elgin, IL
Age: 41
Posts: 7,367
Default

Travel Day 1: Elgin, IL to Ft. Dodge, IA

I didn't get out of bed incredibly early in the morning - I had plans to sleep in a little, and then have breakfast with The Boy and The Kid before heading west. So, I didn't really hit the road until about 9:30am.

This... all the way to Newport, Oregon.



I had it in my mind that I would more or less boogie right through Illinois, Iowa, and eastern Nebraska... to where the landscape became a bit less like what I see around home (you know... minus all the buildings). That's more or less how it went. I stopped a couple of times in IL - checking tire pressure, refilling my water bottle, refueling. The segment of US 20 in IL is one I'd driven many, many times... been there, done that.

I spy... this! I could have easily driven under it.
We have farm communities west of where I live, but I have yet to see this beast.



I quickly learned that driving US 20 through Iowa is very much like driving an interstate highway. It doesn't seem to route directly through the small towns like I'd hoped for, but instead it has exits. It's also a 4-lane divided highway. I initially had thoughts of getting off and finding some parallel farm roads to travel instead... for the experience. I still may do that.

Near Dyersville, IA, I saw a billboard for the "Field of Dreams" movie site, where the movie was filmed back in 1988. I made a detour off the highway to find the field. It was located a few miles out of town, but still plenty easy to find. I stopped to stretch my legs, walked the bases... and grab some photos.

"If you build it, they will come."





As the towns approached and passed, I decided that a potential evening destination would be Ft. Dodge... if for no other reason than it sounded like it could be a cool little historic place with things to see and do. I went to the Dolliver Memorial State Park, which is about 6 or 7 miles outside of Ft. Dodge. I hiked one of their short trails before heading into town. While the assumption about Ft. Dodge having cool things to do and see may have been true, I arrived in town too late to enjoy any of the museums and other historic areas the town had to offer. It seemed to be one of those large, yet, smaller towns that roll their sidewalks up early. Regardless, I stopped in for dinner, and walked the all-but-deserted downtown area for a bit before the rain chased me back inside. At that point, I chalked up to bad timing on my part and called it a night.
Dave, Luke, al7fi and 3 others like this.
__________________
Jayme
"MaK" - 2016 MK Patriot Sport 4x4
YelloCoyote Photo
yellocoyote is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2014, 10:51 AM   #22 (permalink)
 
yellocoyote's Avatar
Administrator

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Elgin, IL
Age: 41
Posts: 7,367
Default

Travel Day 2: Ft. Dodge, IA to Merriman, NE

I boon-docked in the parking lot of a Menards in Ft. Dodge last night. It stopped raining and I ended up having very nice sleeping weather. Despite all of that, I didn't sleep that well. I think it would be safe to say that I am simply not used to sleeping in the back of the KJ yet... and I'm hoping that over time, that will get better.

I stayed off of US 20 for the first 30-40 miles out of 'Dodge' this morning, opting for the farm roads that ran parallel to the highway. But those roads eventually ended, turned in the wrong direction, or got too far from the highway... so I got back on 20. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the highway did eventually become what I hoped it would... a 2-lane road going through the small towns. That was the character I was looking for, and I'm glad that it moved away from the 4-lane feel.



I didn't stop many more times through the remainder of Iowa... and even the first segment of Nebraska was very non-eventful. I did run through some crazy stormy weather - interesting enough that I felt the need to listen to all the weather resources I had just in case something particularly bad was in my path. Fortunately, it was only heavy rain and wind that I encountered. When I rolled into O'Neill, I saw proof that they had also endured the rain... all of their downtown streets were nearly entirely flooded. Most vehicles were staying towards the center, but I was a little better equipped than they... so I ran the left lane without any problems.





I stopped just outside of Valentine, NE - once to visit an old steel bridge on my way into town, and again to visit the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge.



I got out and hiked a trail leading to Fort Falls... which was FAR cooler than I anticipated. I'm not sure what the overall height of the fall was, but I was pretty impressed once I got to the bottom.



Once back in the vehicle, the refuge also played host to a number of Prairie Dog towns, and it's own herd of Bison. I took my time puttering around the park, and getting some photos before I decided to move along.



Being that it was still pretty early, I chose not to stop again in Valentine (for food, fuel, or otherwise), with the intentions of stopping in one of the towns further down the road. Not too far outside of Valentine, I crossed into the Mountain time zone... and got an hour back. So I had even more time to drive.

So I thought.

Before coming into Cody, NE (dubbed "A town too tough to die"), I realized that I needed to refuel soon. Cody's one gas station was closed, so I chose to continue to the next town. Said 'next town' of Merriman (pop. 118) was quite a distance, and by the time I arrived, I had a problem. Merriman's only gas station had also closed for the day, and was not re-opening until 6am Monday morning. I did not have enough fuel to drive to the next town... and I wasn't entirely sure I could make it anywhere else for certain.

So there, I sat.

Nothing was open - not their cafe or their tavern. It was raining, so I didn't get out and wander about. Instead, I sat in the Jeep and read. And I went to bed early to try to make up for the previous night's lack of sleep.
Dave, Luke, al7fi and 4 others like this.
__________________
Jayme
"MaK" - 2016 MK Patriot Sport 4x4
YelloCoyote Photo
yellocoyote is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2014, 11:28 AM   #23 (permalink)
 
Dave's Avatar
Administrator


 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: on here
Posts: 15,750
Default

Nice pics and adventure you are having, YC.


When I was on the road I almost ran out of gas one time also, so ever since that episode I always filled the tank (even if I had half a tank or more I topped it off) before I started getting off the beaten track in some of the small towns. Some of those places only have one gas station and they are not open all the time as you discovered.


Dave
__________________
05 Black KJ.....aka "The Pig".....
Lifted, Bent Rock Rail, and "Minor Organic Trail Rash".....

Need More Stuff..

Become a Supporting Member
http://www.jeepkj.com/forum/payments.php
Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2014, 01:34 AM   #24 (permalink)
 
yellocoyote's Avatar
Administrator

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Elgin, IL
Age: 41
Posts: 7,367
Default

I've better about it today. If I get to a more major town, and I have under a half tank, I've been topping off. Seems to be working out so far.
__________________
Jayme
"MaK" - 2016 MK Patriot Sport 4x4
YelloCoyote Photo
yellocoyote is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2014, 01:38 AM   #25 (permalink)
 
yellocoyote's Avatar
Administrator

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Elgin, IL
Age: 41
Posts: 7,367
Default

Travel Day 3: Merriman, NE to Casper, WY
I slept better this night, thankfully. The town was super-quiet, and not at all busy... which I'm sure played into a more restful night for me.

I was up well before 6:00am, and was parked at the pump when the gas station attendant opened shop. I wasn't the only one - there were 2 others waiting to fill up as well, but they were locals. Seeing them, I didn't feel so bad about stalking the station. I put over 16 gallons in the tank. After arriving in Gordon, NE later this morning, I established that I would not have made it there with the fuel I had left in the tank last night. I'm very relieved I didn't take that risk.



I've enjoyed the drive on US 20 thus far. Far more than I enjoy traveling by interstate highway. I think it's because, for the most part, the US highway routes with the contour of the land - there never seems to be a shortage of things to look at, small towns and other items of interest. Interstates cut through the landscape, eliminates the active participation with the road, deletes the smaller towns... which seems to make the travel dull. The interesting thing is that, outside of traveling within the towns, I still do the same speed on the US highway as I would on the interstate highway.

Before arriving into Chadron, I took a short detour to the south of the highway, and into the Nebraska National Forest. I could see some pretty rock formations from the main road.

Definitely not in Chicago anymore...



I stopped in Chadron for a shower and to refill my water, and then proceeded into Wyoming.

Soon after crossing the state line, I could begin to see a mountain range. I stopped in Douglas, WY to top off the tank and review my atlas for alternate route options - the mountain range was tempting, and I hoped that I could re-route in that direction. Before I left home, I had done a little research on both the Pony Express Trail and the Oregon Trail... and today, I'd hoped to find them. I found some 'unmaintained' roads (gravel/dirt) on the map, and decided that's what I'd do. I had a couple of options. I could (1) go north on the I-25 interstate from Douglas and catch a short dirt road, or I could (2) drive 15 miles south on the interstate, in the opposite direction that I had been driving, to a segment of unimproved road that would take me a lot longer to navigate. If I routed myself correctly, that road would dump me out back in Douglas... where I started from. I chose the second option.









I spent the better part of the afternoon within the Medicine Bow National Forest navigating forest service trails and 2-track ranch roads. I'd guesstimate approx. 100 miles traveled on non-paved surfaces this afternoon. Gorgeous landscape, multiple encounters with elk and free-range cattle, and just a great day to be 'lost.'

I left the dirt roads for the pavement, and rolled into Casper, Wyoming this evening. I grabbed a quick dinner, and then headed out again... this time on the road that leads to the top of Casper Mountain. I stuck around there until just after sunset before coming back down into the foothills that is Casper.



As I consider tomorrow's travel, there are a couple of things that come into mind. While I'm not one for setting a daily destination goal, I'd like to get into the neighborhood of Yellowstone by the end of the day tomorrow. That said, I'm now finding better information about the Pony Express/Oregon Trails, and I hope to find them west of Casper tomorrow. Even if I'm not successful, there are a TON of unimproved road routing options I can take in the direction of Yellowstone. I have to balance the time and distance... to experience the backcountry while still making my destination before dark.

More later!
Dave, al7fi, Snail Farmer and 4 others like this.
__________________
Jayme
"MaK" - 2016 MK Patriot Sport 4x4
YelloCoyote Photo
yellocoyote is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2014, 07:23 PM   #26 (permalink)
 
Leeann's Avatar
Member

 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Maryland
Posts: 2,925
Default

Gorgeous - you picked a great route (at least from this end ).
profdlp likes this.
__________________
2005 Jeep Liberty Renegade 4x4, Bright Silver Metallic
Leeann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2014, 08:02 PM   #27 (permalink)
 
profdlp's Avatar
Member

 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Westlake, Ohio
Age: 59
Posts: 5,453
Default

Originally Posted by Leeann View Post
Gorgeous - you picked a great route (at least from this end ).
Well, you ain't the one sleeping in the back of a Jeep next to a gas pump in Bugtussle.

(I kid - those are the things of which great memories are made!)
yellocoyote and Luke like this.
__________________
--Prof
________________________________________
Prof's 2007 Liberty Project


927/948 OME Springs*Bilstein Shocks*JBA Upper Control Arms*General Grabber AT2 255-70-16*Rage Black Widow Roof Rack*Viper 3606V Alarm System
profdlp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2014, 08:10 PM   #28 (permalink)
 
Leeann's Avatar
Member

 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Maryland
Posts: 2,925
Default

I almost was - in PA coming back from my aunt's place the weekend before Christmas '07. In a rented Liberty (Her driveway's almost straight up, unpaved and mostly unplowed. And it was snowing when we got there). Not a single damned gas station open for miles. Had to drive 15 miles off the interstate to find the only open gas station - and then put 20.2 gals in the tank.
yellocoyote and profdlp like this.
__________________
2005 Jeep Liberty Renegade 4x4, Bright Silver Metallic
Leeann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2014, 10:20 PM   #29 (permalink)
 
yellocoyote's Avatar
Administrator

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Elgin, IL
Age: 41
Posts: 7,367
Default

These are the things good stories are made of.
__________________
Jayme
"MaK" - 2016 MK Patriot Sport 4x4
YelloCoyote Photo
yellocoyote is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2014, 10:50 PM   #30 (permalink)
 
yellocoyote's Avatar
Administrator

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Elgin, IL
Age: 41
Posts: 7,367
Default

Travel Day 4: Casper, WY to Cody, WY

Waking up from my luxurious parking spot at the Flying J in Casper, I felt pretty good overall. Most nights, I've stayed up until I've been exhausted... in hopes that I sleep better than the night before. So far, so good. I topped off the gas tank, topped off my hunger tank, and headed west out of town.

A photo I'd sent Aaron earlier this morning... I had told him that I got the motorcycle rack muddy (it's worse now).



And there it was... like a beacon... the Historic Trails Interpretive Center! Just what I needed to locate the elusive Oregon & Pony Express trails. While the folks at the center meant well, they just didn't seem to have the answers I needed. Instead, they directed me down the road to the Casper BLM office... which ended up being JUST what I was looking for. The folks at the BLM were great - they told me exactly which unmarked dirt roads I needed to take to get where I wanted to go. Part of the conversation was their inquiry as to whether or not I had functional 4-wheel drive. I do, and told them so. Their major concern wasn't so much clearance issues, but the weather. Apparently when these roads get wet, they are quite 'fun' to navigate. And there was rain in the forecast today.

So off I went, following the instructions I was given. I did get turned around a couple of times, but corrected myself in short order.

Lo and behold!


Oregon Trail to the left, Pony Express Trail to the right... and I am where they converge and travel together.




I drove this segment of the trail for approximately 50 miles before hitting pavement again. Gorgeous views, and the impending weather made for a great backdrop. Other than a few sprinkles, it didn't do anything.


Back out on the highway and down the road about 10 miles, I came to Independence Rock (I have the full image on my camera - I was just too close with the cell phone to get it all).


Leaving Independence Rock, it was already past noon and nearing to 1:00pm. I had originally wanted to hop on a few more backroad segments, but I figured it would be best to stick to the paved surfaces if I wanted to get near Yellowstone before it got too late. But even the state highways were very scenic through the mountains, prairies and deserts. I pulled off a few times for photos.









I am currently in Cody, Wyoming. I haven't been here too long yet, and I think I'm going to wander around downtown and see what I see, and find some place to sit for dinner. I'm about 50 miles outside of Yellowstone. So I think most of tomorrow (if not some of Thursday) will be dedicated to Yellowstone... and the Grand Tetons - I'm going there after Yellowstone and before driving into Idaho. I hoped to get to spend a couple of days in this area, getting my hike on and lots of photos. It seems I have made decent time and can do so.
Luke, LibertyTC, al7fi and 6 others like this.
__________________
Jayme
"MaK" - 2016 MK Patriot Sport 4x4
YelloCoyote Photo
yellocoyote is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On




GM Truck Forum
Ford Raptor Forum
Chevy Tahoe Forum
Chevy Cobalt Forum
Chevy Camaro Forum
Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
Ford Truck Forum
88-98 GM Truck Forum
73-87 Gm Truck Forum
Ford Expedition Forum
Chevy Equinox Forum
Chevy Cruze Forum
Dodge Ram Forum
Jeep Forum
Dodge Ram SRT10 Forum
Chrysler 200 Forum
Scion xD Forum
Scion xB Forum
Dodge Challenger Forum
SRT Forum
Nissan Titan Forum
Buick Enclave Forum
Cadillac Forum
Cadillac XTS Forum