Black Rock Desert

Styx

New member
I would agree. This time of year you are asking to lose your rig in the mud and not see it till spring.

Ah yes, I forgot to ask that. When is it generally dry enough to drive across? I guess I'd have to add a couple of weeks for how wet this year has been.

Thanks for the pics Jibs. The whole area just looks awesome. I've hunted west of there near Fox mountain, duck flat, and wall canyon just never made it over in to the black rock.

What's the best way to carry two spares on an XJ without a trailer. lol I'm starting to get the impression this is going to be a lot of stuff if I want to take my family along.


I blame all gramatical errors on Apple and the iPhone.
 

efstop22

New member
Ok, you want some info on the Blackrock, I have followed Rarecj8 several times now so if he chimes in he can confirm my stuff and probably add a lot.

There is SOME cell coverage there now near Gerlach but it is via a local switch and pricey.

As far as maps go the Benchmark book is actually pretty good, if you can get your hand on the NDOT Map Atlas thats good too. Most topos are old data and the road info is not necessarily accurate.

The Friends of the Blackrock/Highrock (FOTBR)have their Rendevous on the Memorial Day weekend and we will also be there for the Annual Homestead run (Granite Range just north of Gerlach).

Be advised that this early in a wet year the playa will be very soggy, especially at the 3 mile entrance, check-in with the locals in Gerlach as to conditions.

If you have one, an old washing machine tub makes a great fire tub just cut it in half.

As stated above take plenty of everything especially water and if possible several rigs.

HAM radio – We have been able to hit the Virginia peak repeater easily from as far north as Stevens Camp, the 2m FOTBR repeater should be online it is 145.230 PL-123 and the Gerlach 70cm is always on and is 443.450 PL-100 and 444.175 PL of 100

Be prepared for ANY kind of weather especially wind, It snowed on us last year twice, rained and the next day we were kicking up dust plumes – as you can see from the above photos it’s a really cool place.
 
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rusty_tlc

New member
Ah yes, I forgot to ask that. When is it generally dry enough to drive across? I guess I'd have to add a couple of weeks for how wet this year has been.

Thanks for the pics Jibs. The whole area just looks awesome. I've hunted west of there near Fox mountain, duck flat, and wall canyon just never made it over in to the black rock.

What's the best way to carry two spares on an XJ without a trailer. lol I'm starting to get the impression this is going to be a lot of stuff if I want to take my family along.
There is no general answer to the first question, to many variables. If you get the book I mentioned above there are guidelines that tell you how to asses the plya conditions.

I'd suggest one spare, some source of air, and a plug kit rather than two spares. The MV50 air pump they sell at PEP Boys or the similar pump they sell at Harbor freight work fine for smaller tires and don't take up much room.
 

RARECJ8

Well-known member
Ok, you want some info on the Blackrock, I have followed Rarecj8 several times now so if he chimes in he can confirm my stuff and probably add a lot.

There is SOME cell coverage there now near Gerlach but it is via a local switch and pricey.

As far as maps go the Benchmark book is actually pretty good, if you can get your hand on the NDOT Map Atlas thats good too. Most topos are old data and the road info is not necessarily accurate.

The Friends of the Blackrock/Highrock (FOTBR)have their Rendevous on the Memorial Day weekend and we will also be there for the Annual Homestead run (Granite Range just north of Gerlach).

Be advised that this early in a wet year the playa will be very soggy, especially at the 3 mile entrance, check-in with the locals in Gerlach as to conditions.

If you have one, an old washing machine tub makes a great fire tub just cut it in half.

As stated above take plenty of everything especially water and if possible several rigs.

HAM radio – We have been able to hit the Virginia peak repeater easily from as far north as Stevens Camp, the 2m FOTBR repeater should be online it is 145.230 PL-123 and the Gerlach 70cm is always on and is 441.700 PL-146.2

Be prepared for ANY kind of weather especially wind, It snowed on us last year twice, rained and the next day we were kicking up dust plumes – as you can see from the above photos it’s a really cool place.



x2 on craig's info. Memorial day w/e will be very active with many different adventurers roaming the area. The Black Rock Rendezvous will be near the Cassidy Mine and if ur up there, stop in for a beer. Good folks from all walks of life. The playa itself will be wet and can suck down a vehicle very fast. The further north you go the drier. Soldier meadows will have the usual assortment of campers and steven's camp will likely have campers. Getting thru high rock after our wet winter might be nasty.

there is great ham coverage out there-- there is also an auto-patch program in place (to make telephone calls with ur ham radio, like to dial 911) an IRLP node and much more. But 5 miles north of gerlach, no cell coverage. Always be prepared and bring 3 of everything, including spare tires. That time if year always offers uncertain weather. Last memorial day w/e we were pummeled with 6" of snow-- it melted off pretty fast and the next day we got 8 more inches of the wet stuff. It too soon melted off, but the ground was really wet and muddy. The area round high rock lake and little high rock canyon is a huge mud bog and has claimed many experienced drivers. From there if no ham rtadio and assuming no one is near, its a LONG walk just out to SR 34 and then many, many miles toward gerlach. Our friends camped down the shore of the playa reported high winds, horizontal rain and cold and wet conditions. This might be a tad early for a playa jaunt and the foothills will be muddy and likely snow on the north face of the roads.

What ever you do, take a map of the area, highlight ur intended route and give itto a trusted friend. Then have a prearranged time you will call to say you're out. If you miss the call because you are stuck or ???, then the friend should use that flight plan and call the sheriff.


Chuck Dodd's black rock survival guide is mandatory reading:

http://shopblackrockdesert.org/chdogtogeari.html



good info here:

http://www.stanwhite.com/blackrock.html

JIBS, did you get a pic of the sheep herders wagon at BR? Maybe its best not to show it-- might attract vandals. Also, notice the nice new fence and signs around double hot? We did that as a FOBR event. The northern pool is where the lady died a few years back-- a couple was out there in hot dusty times and when they stopped at double hot their dogs sensed the water and just ran over and jumped in. They were instantly boiled to death. She jumped in to rescue the cooking dogs and was her self boiled alive. Her boyfriend was able to get her corpse out suffering major burns himself. The sides of the northern pool at DH are near straight up and down with nothing to use to climb out. Sad event. The pictured lower pool is from the run off and is in fact on private property, so please all that use and enjoy it, respect it even more than mere BLM land. There is good camping a short distance from that tub-- no one likes selfish campers that hog a tub and camp right next to it.


When you get to gerlach, it is always advisable if there is any doubt, stop at bruno's texaco and talk to Bill about playa conditions. He is the guy that may have to extract your vehicle. They also have a nice junk yard behind the texaco i've used for emergency parts. If he's not there, go into town to Bruno's Bar-- the bartender will have good information and if your are lucky, Bev's Miner's Club will be open-- go there if only for a coke just for the experience.


Am happy to answer any Qs anytime.


good luck
 
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PhantomRage

New member
lol, hey Mark. I cheat. I use my RR radio and call for Signal or MoW to come get me. ;) Or hop on a train and get a ride into town. Once I hike my butt to the tracks.
 

RARECJ8

Well-known member
lol, hey Mark. I cheat. I use my RR radio and call for Signal or MoW to come get me. ;) Or hop on a train and get a ride into town. Once I hike my butt to the tracks.


oh sure, play with work toys... the Trego crossing has claimed many cars and trucks. looking for pix now, but going alone has many risks when crossing the RR tracks. Is there a protocool to stop a train? Many stuck individuals with their car on the tracks do not know which way to start walking to alert an oncoming train. I've only seen it running east to west...
 

PhantomRage

New member
oh sure, play with work toys... the Trego crossing has claimed many cars and trucks. looking for pix now, but going alone has many risks when crossing the RR tracks. Is there a protocool to stop a train? Many stuck individuals with their car on the tracks do not know which way to start walking to alert an oncoming train. I've only seen it running east to west...

best bet is to short out the rails with a jumper cable. that or kiss your car/truck goodbye.

Not to be a dick, but there are plenty of places to cross the tracks. They provide this for safety. If you chose to try and cross the tracks with out using a crossing built for that purpose. You deserve to lose your rig, and give us some free entertainment at work. Point being, stay off the tracks.
 

rusty_tlc

New member
best bet is to short out the rails with a jumper cable. that or kiss your car/truck goodbye.

Not to be a dick, but there are plenty of places to cross the tracks. They provide this for safety. If you chose to try and cross the tracks with out using a crossing built for that purpose. You deserve to lose your rig, and give us some free entertainment at work. Point being, stay off the tracks.
Do you ever get to drive one of those trucks with RR wheels? That just looks to cool.
 

PhantomRage

New member
Do you ever get to drive one of those trucks with RR wheels? That just looks to cool.

No, I am in transportation. The only think I get to Drive/Run is the train itself. They are fun to ride in. We get taken in them here and there. The ride is so much smoother then the locomotive.
 

Sasquatch

Well-known member
Premium Member
Mark: Yeah i have pics of the wagon at the Black Rock, and it's holding up fairly well. There seems to be a few less parts on it now than when I remember it as a kid, but for the most part it's still ok.

I don't remember the weather being bad at all last year memorial day weekend. (2010) It scattered rained for an hour or 2 friday, but otherwise was great. I DID dang near got stuck at Trego trying to get to the springs, but was able to back out and to safety.
 

Styx

New member
Great insight guys and thanks for the links I'll definately check them out. If the playa is still soft at the south end that time of year I might go ahead and wait until later.

It'll give me time to possibly get my HAM license too. Sounds like the way to go for communication in a pinch.

Dryer/washing machine tubs are sort of difficult to pack in a Jeep. Mark or Efstop, do you know how high a fire pan is suppose to be to be BLM compliant? I couldn't find any info on their requirements anywhere.





I blame all gramatical errors on Apple and the iPhone.
 

Bitosin

New member
best bet is to short out the rails with a jumper cable. that or kiss your car/truck goodbye.

Point being, stay off the tracks.

??? What does shorting the tracks do ??? I'm sure you have lots of cool and interesting information you could share with us about train track safety and things we should know when we encounter tracks in the middle of nowhere. Also some railroad truths and myths would be interesting too.


Mark...I think CW would only work if A: there is somebody listening to the track within a mile or two, and B: if that person knows Morse Code. Also, I don't know if the tracks have insulating separations every so far either...that would stop the CW too.
 

RARECJ8

Well-known member
Good ideas Bill, see below in CAPS in ur quote for addl comments.


??? What does shorting the tracks do ???


JASON KNOWS MORE BUT I UNDERSTAND A LOT OF INFORMATION IS SENT VIA THE RAILS WHICH ARE A LONG CONTINUOUS PIECES OF WELDED TRACK. JUMPING THE RAILS MIGHT SEND A WARNING SIGNAL TO A DISPATCH CENTER.


I'm sure you have lots of cool and interesting information you could share with us about train track safety and things we should know when we encounter tracks in the middle of nowhere. Also some railroad truths and myths would be interesting too.


Mark...I think CW would only work if A: there is somebody listening to the track within a mile or two, and
IF THE RAILS ARE ELECTRICALLY CONNECTED AN IMPULSE SHOULD TRAVEL QUITE FAR, BUT

B: if that person knows Morse Code.

THAT IS THE WILD CARD. WE ALL KNOW SOS, RIGHT?

Also, I don't know if the tracks have insulating separations every so far either...that would stop the CW too.

I once heard of laying out flares at a certain distance to alert a train, but in the extreme wide open spaces if you don;t have a route schedule, which way to you walk from your high centered truck to lay out those flares to stop a train that needs a mile or more to stop?


And yes, stay off the tracks, yet there in the black rock there is a RR line and depending where you are playing, it may be necessary to make a crossing. Best bet is plan ur trip to avoid any crossings. Gerlach or trego with care will do you. Primitive crossings usually have a trail of debris along the tracks.
 

PhantomRage

New member
You can do some google reading on placing a 'shunt' on the tracks. But it does not stop the train per say. It turns the signals RED and that tells us to stop the train.

We can stop a train under two mile at 70MPH. The signals are spaced 2 or so miles apart.

You can tell if a train is coming if you are near a signal. It will light up when the train is in that 'block'. The signals are back to back, so one faces east and one west. If the signal that faces east lights up, the train is moving west bound. If the signal is green. That train will be moving at track speed or close if it can make speed. (our 70mph trains are under powered now, and we can make 50 to 60 at best. They are trying to save on fuel cost)

If you really want to learn about signals. ( http://www.railroadsignals.us/basics/basics2.htm ) read this.

We have more rules to follow then cops. But some of the basic stuff is signals. If someone is waving there arms frantically at the passing train. We need to stop. If you place a burning fusee on by the tracks. IE by the outside of the rail not in the field. We have to stop ASAP. that is also a signal for us to use. If our train is broken down, and the signals are out or we are in 'dark' territory. We place fusees to warn other trains so they do not crash into us.

CW will not work, it takes time for the old signals to change colors. They are like stage lights with color glass lens that are mounted on a swinging arm.

You can also tune your scanner into the railroad radio frequency's. Every 30 miles there are 'talking' train detectors. Or we call them 'hot box' detectors. They announce the trains, axles, speed, outside temp, etc. They also say the mile post of the detector. So if you are at MP100 and a train detector goes off at MP130. You know a train is 30 miles away. The mile post numbers count down to Oakland. So going east, they go up, west they go down.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8VHz2vgqE8 = this is what you will hear. Or at least this is what they sound like.

This is what WE DO NOT want to hear. Sucks for us. You can hear them tone up the dispatch, but can't hear the dispatch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g1PaumUzH0&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EjAEr6YTzk = some Canada crappy thing.

And yes, if you are going to show your ass at Trego hot springs. I may see you, and please. Only show tits. or nice butts. Men do not apply.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H09YJ1vcmE&feature=related

Scary, this was one of my trains. I looked up my work history, and the date. You just never know were I may be,

one more more more more thing to add.
If there is a big interest in this. I can get Operation life saver to come to Sparks.
http://oli.org/
I happen to know our state coordinator. Don't ask how.
 
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Bitosin

New member
Thanks for the information Jason...there is a lot about trains that most of us don't know.

There are many myths and false beliefs about trains, some created or promoted by Hollywood...Like :

You can lie flat between the rails as a train goes by safely.....

It is fun to stand between the tracks as two trains pass each other...

You can safely run across the top of a train, jumping from car to car...

If the engineer becomes disabled somhow, the train beomes a runaway...

Sleeping between the tracks in the desert will protect you from snakes...

You'll know when a train is coming from the rumbling of the rails...

Putting coins on the track to flatten them could derail a train...

You can air down your tires and drive on the tracks...

And I'm sure there are many others that could be discussed.
 
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PhantomRage

New member
Thanks for the information Jason...there is a lot about trains that most of us don't know.

There are many myths and false beliefs about trains, some created or promoted by Hollywood...Like :

You can lie flat between the rails as a train goes by safely.....

It is fun to stand between the tracks as two trains pass each other...

You can safely run across the top of a train, jumping from car to car...

If the engineer becomes disabled somhow, the train beomes a runaway...

Sleeping between the tracks in the desert will protect you from snakes...

You'll know when a train is coming from the rumbling of the rails...

Putting coins on the track to flatten them could derail a train...

And I'm sure there are many others that could be discussed.

I will start with the first one.
Only if you are really skinny. The snow plow has to be 2 to 3 inches from the top of the rail.

Only if you are real dumb, or work in a rail yard and do it every day. *shrug* ( but they move at 10mph )

Yes, up to a certain speed. ( they don't allow us to to this any more )

No, there is a alerter button that must be pressed every 45 to 90 seconds depending on train speed. If not pressed the alarm goes off, then the locomotive will place the train into a penalty brake application. Hence stopping the train.

Um no, and No. They like the tracks. It is warm......

maybe, maybe not. in the snow up on Donner. A train moving at 25MPH is very silent. The snow pads the sound so much, we can sneak up on you. ( it has happened )

Only a model train set.... just makes flat coins.
 

Styx

New member
Anyone consider carrying bridging "ladders" for RR crossings etc. and self extraction?

Like these:

12a2cf72.jpg






I blame all gramatical errors on Apple and the iPhone.
 

Bitosin

New member
That last one was told to me by an engineer or conductor who caught me putting coins on a track...LOL, I didn't think so.
 

Bitosin

New member
Anyone consider carrying bridging "ladders" for RR crossings etc. and self extraction?

Like these:

12a2cf72.jpg

I've seen rigs carrying "portable runway" sections like were used in WWII . About 18" wide and about 10' long with holes in them. Many would hook together to form a temporary landing strip. I don't know where you could get them tho.

Those "bridging ladders" are cool. Looks like lightweight but strong.
 
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