Since northern California is an area where neither of us have spent time, and we ultimately wanted to start making our way north for the summer, we decided to spend a few weeks exploring northern California on our way to Oregon/Washington/Idaho. As always with our lifestyle, our timeline also gets dictated by work, so although we explored Mammoth, Tahoe, Sierra Buttes, Lassen National park and Sha...
We visited our friends in Phoenix in the end of January (and to pick up all our packages!) right when a cold spell came through the area, and Phoenix ended up being cold(er than normal) and rainy. We were supposed to all go on a camp trip, but instead decided to do a day trip to Payson, AZ where it was snowing in Rim Country, because they normally only get to see snow once or twice a year, and let their kids and new puppy play in the snow!
Since we hiked so much in January, and Blake’s been itching to ride his new dirt bike, we left Phoenix and spent the first week of February dirt biking in southern Nevada and St. George, Utah to make up for all the hiking! We went to meet our friend Max, who was riding out in St. George area while we were making our way through Arizona and he even got snowed on during this cold spell. So we went to camp in Nevada while the weather was still bad in Utah, and then later went back to St. George for some gloriously warm weather.
We stayed 5 nights at this spot in southern Nevada, which is the longest we’ve stayed in once place in a long time. There are user made OHV trails all over this desert area, just miles and miles of trails along the ridges, in the washes and into little canyons, with steep hill climbs up all the mountains. A lot of it was too loose of trails for me, and Blake had to ride my bike up several climbs, but mostly it was just a playground of trails that all meander through the BLM land. Just past this area is Lake Mead Recreation Area, and you can take several different washes all the way down to the Colorado River, and we passed through some of the best cholla fields I’ve seen yet, and iconic red rock walls found in this area. There’s even an old mining ghost town to explore nearby.
Next we went back to St. George to ride the trails in Werner Vally and Sand Mountain, a beautiful place we last rode in March 2020 where you can get up on top of the mesa overlooking Sand Hallow state park. We got an awesome camp spot in these rocks for two nights, but got ravaged with wind, and the rocks completely blocked all cell signal so we had to hike up a hill overlooking camp to get any signal.
In February we had two work trips to Dallas, TX, and back home to Colorado. We had all our camera gear rigged onto a UTV in Texas in pretty terrible weather, just completely drizzling and overcast, but we got out of Texas right before the freezing temperatures hit Texas and they had all the power outages and car pile ups from the freezing rain. We still ended up in Denver during negative degree temperatures, but the goal was to film during snow conditions for Blake’s brother’s snow removal company, so it ended up working out. We got a few days to hang with family in Denver, and we got to eat some great brisket in Texas (Terry Black’s Barbecue is our favorite!)
We had flown out of Vegas, but had some work in Los Angeles when we got back, so made the drive over to LA and stayed a few days to get some dirt bike maintenance done at a shop, then drove back towards Nevada.
On the way back to Nevada we stopped in the Mojave National Desert Preserve and rode our dirt bikes to a lava tube hike that I’d always wanted to check out, but is 25 miles off the highway, 5 of which being sandy dirt road that we probably would never take our camper on. So we camped up against some rocks in the desert 13 miles into Kelbaker Road (from Baker, CA), and then road our dirt bikes the rest of the way. We put the saddle bags on the bikes and brought tennis shoes for hiking around, but the hike is so short we didn’t both to change from our boots. You just hike a couple hundred feet to the entrance to the lava tubes, hike down a ladder, and then you can explore about a hundred feet in one direction. It is a very low tunnel that is completely dark, but opens up to a big room made of lava, and the coolest part about these lava tubes is that there are openings at the top, so light leaks in and you can see the light rays if you go at midday. We timed it perfectly and had excellent light rays. If you kick up some dust you can get really fun photos.
We planned to dirt bike to another longer hike in the area, but we forgot our bike locks, so instead we ended up just dirt biking some of the sandy backroads in the preserve. There are cinder cones and the abandoned Aiken Cinder Mine where you can see old mining equipment. We explored the mine and rode to the top of a cinder cone. There was surprisingly more to see in the Mojave Desert than I expected, and we only saw a couple other people at the hike.
Then we went back to the same riding spot south of Las Vegas to spend a couple days in the wilderness to focus on some editing projects we had to get done. We found an awesome camp spot surrounded by these big boulders, but again, had barely any service, but at least this allowed us to focus on editing for a few days. Luckily we don’t need service for most of our work. We rode one day to take a break from working, but Blake’s bike ended up with a flat because he hadn’t installed his NitroMousse’s in his new bike yet, so we cut the day short. This area has amazing views of the Colorado River, old mining equipment to explore, and amazing cholla cactus fields.
We had one day of filming booked at Speed Vegas, a racetrack south of town, and got to camp for two nights right next to the course. Blake even got to ride in one of the trophy trucks.
We booked a spontaneous trip to Hawaii in March that we were preparing to leave for, but had a few more days of editing work, so we went and parked it at Kingman Wash by Lake Mead for a few days with no distractions. Last year we parked down by the lake, it is accessible after quite a few miles of dirt road, but gets really crowded down by the water. This time we camped at a nice overlook a mile or so before the water. People were driving by all day, but no one could camp next to us, so it was perfect for a couple days.