Category: Off-Road

White Mountain (3N17) Redux

Last year I went through the White Mountain trail in its entirety with a large group as a passenger. It really was nice to just sit back, relax, and take some photos. I knew that one day I had to take my own truck out on this remote and fairly empty trail. You don’t have to be worried about running into a bunch of dirt bikes or ATVs out on this trail, just other full-size vehicles. Turn-around and passing points are few and far between on this trail though so you might have to prepare to back up a fair distance. I highly recommend that you take some time to head up to this wonderful trail. Look here for the rest of the photos and videos. Enjoy!

Today’s Truck Tires

I’m not even certain how this video popped up in my recommendations, but I sat through the whole thing and just had to share it. It really is astounding what is asked of modern technology and equipment. We expect so much life, load capacity, durability, and zero defects (an impossibility) from something like a modern tire (that spins from ~470750 RPM at highway speeds depending upon the tire size) and don’t even really give it a second thought. Even if we are just talking about auto and pickup tires it is amazing that there aren’t more tire failures. How many men run bald tires? How many drivers never check their inflation pressure? Just to clarify, when I say “truck” tires I mean medium and heavy duty commercial trucks (Class 6-8 vehicles, with GVWR of ≥ 26,000 lbs) and not some dude-bro with a dumb smokestack his pickup bed.

Here’s another video on how to retread a truck tire. If you ever wonder why it seems like lots of trucks have blowouts, it is because truck tires are frequently regroovable and/or retreadable. The tires that are re-used in such a manner would be properly inspected if serviced by a reputable company, but it is still more likely to fail in the second life.

The more I watch some of these informational/infomercial videos the deeper the rabbit hole gets. One place I worked at for only a month had several trucks on the road that really should have been out of service. The worst one I drove actually had a different set of tires on one side of the rear axle; one side was new and the other was old and the sets had very different tread patterns. The tires were clearly not the same size and did not have the same traction. Even just differences caused by tread wear make a big difference over time.

Holcomb Valley Road (3N16), Spring Run

Several months ago I traversed Holcomb Valley Road in its entirety right after a winter storm and greatly enjoyed my trip. The cold weather and snow/ice present during the previous trip seemed to keep the dirt bikes and ATVs away and made the trail much emptier but it was not to be so this trip. I opted to head through this trail again during warmer months with a small group of friends on the way to the moderately difficult trail of White Mountain (photos/videos coming soon). This is an easy trail that any vehicle with some ground clearance could drive through. Look here for the full page with all of the photos and videos. Enjoy!

Here lies an abandoned Toyota 4Runner. I don’t know if the accident or rollover occurred near here or if the vehicle was simply dumped:

Here a few less somber photos:

Pepperwood Trail

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There is still much more I have to explore along this trail but the Pepperwood Trail winds through an amazing area of land in the McCain Valley. I happened to take two sets of photos on different days near the end of a very wet spring and winter which offered a large array of plant life and flowers for the area. The contrast between the Laguna Mountains to the west and Colorado Desert to the east is stunning and I really need to stop being lazy and take this trail all the way down Canebrake Canyon. I started off near the Cottonwood Campground which is a very fine year-round campground with vault toilets and firepits. The Pepperwood Trail is easily accessible from McCain Valley Road and is a short drive from I-8. I will traverse more of this fine trail soon but for now, enjoy the photos and look for the rest of them here on the full page!

Cottonwood Campground location:

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BLM campground information and BLM Routes of Travel for Eastern San Diego County Map (PDF)

Rodriguez Canyon Redux

Several years ago I wrote a post about Rodriguez Canyon, an easy trail in eastern San Diego County just south of Banner Grade along CA-78. I recently went back again and recorded some much better video along with going out after a very wet Winter and Spring for San Diego. Snow had recently fallen on the mountains just to the west of Rodriguez Canyon and the trail was wet without dust clouds forming as I passed along. Any 2WD truck with decent ground clearance will normally be able to make it through this trail. Enjoy the photos and videos and find all of them here on the dedicated page!

Northern trail end:

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Southern trail end (The trail does continue for highway-legal vehicles to S-2 in spite of what Google Maps shows.):

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Seven Oaks Road

Seven Oaks Road is an easy trail that is made up of parts of two different forest roads (1N45/1N04) that any 2WD truck will pass through unless it is really muddy out. This trail lies just north of CA-38 and is a nice ride with access to several camps and hiking trails that is an easy-going ride. I highly recommend that you hit up this trail if you’re passing through the area. Enjoy the video and look here for all of the photos!

Seven Oaks Road location:

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Holcomb Valley Road (3N16)

The portions of Holcomb Valley Road that I drove through were of generally easy difficulty and would be easier with no mud or snow. I decided to head up to Big Bear and try some snow wheeling and was very pleasantly surprised by the Winter wonderland I saw. There was lots of fresh snow and not to many people on the trails; I guess that not many drivers were interested in taking on some moderate snowfall. I started the trail on the eastern side near the Big Bear Transfer Station (aka Dump) and head up and west from there. I continued along 3N16 until reaching the junction with Coxey Road (3N14) and headed south as the Sun fell. As I passed through the western portions of the road there was a Chevy Volt with some chains on behind me that made it through with little issue along with a diesel-powered F-250 that got out of a hole as soon as he put his transfer case in 4-LO.

There is a trail south of the route I described known as Holcomb Creek Road (3N14) which is much more difficult and would be harder to complete with a full-size truck like mine. There are numerous hiking, highway-legal 4×4 trails, and even a few OHV trails that connect to 3N16 and it’s a great way to enjoy the area and take in a whole lot at once if you only have an afternoon free and aren’t interested in any hardcore trails. I’ve embedded some map and trail information below. Enjoy the photos and videos and look for the rest of them here on the dedicated page!

Eastern starting location:

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Western ending location:

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USDA Forest Service – Holcomb Creek Information

USDA Forest Service – Holcomb Valley Road Information

Cleghorn Road Group Run

I recently went on a decently sized group run to Cleghorn Road just off of I-15. The main trail is easy and I have documented it before but I simply desired to show off some of the group photos and passing through all of the terrain without several inches of snow cover. A fun time was had by all and you may find the rest of the photos and videos here on the dedicated page. Enjoy!

 

La Sal Pass

La Sal Pass is a trail of moderate difficulty on the western portion and easy difficulty on the eastern side of the plateau. To pass through the western side of the pass you’ll need a 4×4 truck with good tires and ground clearance while the eastern slope is minivan friendly under dry conditions. There is no single hard obstacle, just lots of small shelf sections, a talus rock slope, boulders strewn about, and a few fallen trees that may get in your way. Be ready to deal with oncoming traffic on narrow sections of the trail and possibly back up in an undesirable location. Don’t go on this trail if you’re scared of heights.

The base of the trail starts at about 4,000 feet and climbs to ~10,400 feet at the highest point and will require several hours to traverse. The nearest paved road on the western edge is Pack Creek Road and for the eastern face is UT-46. My only regret on this trail is not starting it a few hours earlier in the day. You’ll find lots of trail information and photos below and the rest of the amazing photos may be found on the full page. Enjoy!

U.S. Forest Service Manti-La Sal Forest – Maps and Publications

U.S. Forest Service Manti-La Sal Forest – Road/Trail/Campground Conditions, Moab Monticello District

 

Miscellaneous Truck updates

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some progress updates on the truck build so here it goes. The following is a short list of components I’ve changed out and a few maintenance items performed:

I had approximately four quarts of automatic transmission fluid changed out and did an oil change with fine lab results.

I replaced one Blue Sea Systems fuse block with the higher capacity Safety Hub 150. The Safety Hub 150 is rated for up to 280A and allows the use of higher current/interrupt rated MIDI®/AMI® fuses in addition to smaller ATO/ATC fuses. I also finally got around to covering up the exposed “hot” points on the isolation breaker, upgraded a few ground wires and replaced the Odyssey Group 34R battery with a NorthStar 27F battery.

After giving the exhaust a few love taps on a trail recently I had a new pipe welded onto the end of the muffler. There’s so much more clearance this way…

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I replaced the Rigid LED flood lights with a Vision X Light Cannon. This light is simply amazing!

After putting enough dents into the rear bumper is was time to get a new-to-me bumper off of craigslist for $80 and replace the disgusting chrome with some satin black spray paint.

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Those are all of the updates for now, what’s your favorite truck mod?