2014 WAYALIFE Rockin Rubicon Run

I know it’s been over 2 weeks since we did this run and for that, I must apologize for not getting pics of it up sooner. As some of you know, Cindy and I literally got home, helped get everyones tops and doors back on, wished them a safe trip home, did some laundry, washed Moby, changed his oil, mowed the lawn, caught up on some bills and then headed out for another 2,500+ journey across multiple states. After we got back last week, we headed strait up to Tahoe again and have been doing what we can to wind down. Anyway, this literally has been the first chance I’ve had to work on posting these up and I hope you enjoy them. Please note that due to the significant size of our group, I was only able to get shots of those immediately behind me and hope you can be understanding.

Having said all that, here are shots from the 2014 WAYALIFE Rockin Rubicon Run:

2014 WAYALIFE Rockin Rubicon Run

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Concrete Arrow Quest:
Search for Transcontinental Airway Beacons - Part 4

Over the weekend, Cindy and I headed back out to the Northern Nevada desert to continue our search of these historic Transcontinental Airway Beacons. However, unlike most of the ones you’d find out here that have concrete arrows pointing east to west, I recently discovered there were a handful that actually pointed west to east and these are what we were in search of. And, as luck would have it, we did in fact find four of them and for the most part, in amazing condition. Below are a few shots of what they look like today, I hope you enjoy.

Concrete Arrow Quest: Search for Transcontinental Airway Beacons - Part 4

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Death Valley Wildflowers & More Expedition 2014

A few weeks back, I had read in a local paper that there was a decent wildflower showing going on in parts of Death Valley and this in spite of the fact that California is suffering from one of the worst droughts in 15 years! Needless to say, this was something Cindy and I had to see and fortunately for us, it was something that our good friends Moochie, Doug, Joshua, Tony and Stephanie and Ray, his father and brother would all get to see with us as well.

After meeting up with everyone in Big Pine, we headed out bright and early out to the Eureka Sand Dunes where there had been reports of Dune Primrose were in full bloom along with Apricot Mallows, Desert dandelions and an assortment of other flowers as well. From there, we made our way through Steel Pass, traversed the Saline Valley, worked our way up to the Lippencott Mine, set up camp and then spent some time exploring the Race Track playa. The following morning, we made a stop over at Tea Kettle Junction, climbed to the top of Hunter Mountain, left the park through Lee Flat and then made a final stop over at China Springs before heading home. Below are some of the photos we took along the way and I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Death Valley Wildflowers & More Expedition 2014

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BASS CAMP : A Miners Life Lived Under a Rock

In a remote corner of the Northern Nevada Desert and high up on a mountain ridge, there lies a cabin built underneath an enormous rock and for those who know about it, it is known to them as Bass Camp. While there are a lot of stories regarding this amazing destination including one suggesting it was some kind of moonshine shack, the most credible information I could dig up indicates that the cabin was in fact built back in the early 1900’s by an Albert Andrew Bass and his wife Anna. The two were miners who moved into the area prospecting for gold and silver and worked the surrounding claims for about 20 years until she died in 1930 and he following her in 1934. About a year after the end of World War II, a miner by the name of Roy Ladd took over and worked the claims for about a year and from what I understand, there may have even been one other individual who worked it for a bit thereafter. Today, this cabin under a rock and adjoining structures stand as a testament to the early miners who came out west, lived in inhospitable places like this and pecked out a living digging in the ground.

For those of you who are interested in seeing this place, I am sorry to say that I will not give out directions to it. The location is purposefully kept a secret by locals to help prevent vandals from destroying it. What I can show you are photos that we took of it from a recent trip that Cindy and I made out to it and I hope you will enjoy them.

BASS CAMP : A Miners Life Lived Under a Rock

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WILD WILD WEST : The 2013 JK-Experience - Part 2

Crossing four states in just seven days and covering almost 1,000 miles of America’s wild west, the 2013 Off Road Evolution JK-Experience presented by Nitto Tire was by far one of the most demanding adventures to date. In Part 2 of WILD WILD WEST, you’ll get to follow our continuing journey across Arizona, Nevada and California. Along the way, we got to see amazing historic sites, blast through hundreds of miles of wide open desert and test out our Jeep JK Wranglers on trails such as Logandale and the famous Rubicon Trail. We hope you’ll enjoy our presentation.

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WILD WILD WEST : The 2013 JK-Experience - Part 1

Crossing four states in just seven days and covering almost 1,000 miles of America’s wild west, the 2013 Off Road Evolution JK-Experience presented by Nitto Tire was by far one of the most demanding adventures to date. In Part 1 of WILD WILD WEST, you’ll get to see all the fun we had playing out in the Sand Hollows OHV Area, our trek across the Honeymoon Trail, our breath taking visit to Toroweap and finally, our stay over at the Bar 10 dude ranch. I hope you’ll enjoy our presentation.

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Cindy’s Birthday Run 2014
Part 2 : Titus Canyon to Marietta

Part 1 of Cindy’s Birthday Run 2014 covered the first leg of our 3 day, 400+ mile adventure and highlighted our trek across the Slate Range throgh the historic and challenging Isham Canyon trail. Thank to all the trail improvements that mother nature made over the summer, the trail proved to be a ton of fun and worthy of a post all it’s own.

This second part covers the remainder of our trip and highlights our time spent in Death Valley starting with a trip down Titus Canyon, a visit to Ubehebe Crater and Crankshaft Crossing before crossing into the Nevada state line for drinks at the Goldpoint Saloon. From there, we made a stop over at a cool car forest, stayed a night at the historic and haunted Mizpah Hotel and then spent some time exploring old ghost towns such as Candelaria and Marietta before saying our goodbyes and heading home. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Cindy’s Birthday Run 2014 - Part 2 : Titus Canyon to Marietta

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Cindy’s Birthday Run 2014
Part 1 : Isham Canyon

Last weekend was Cindy’s birthday and to celebrate it, we decided to go on a 3 day, 400+ mile run starting from Trona, CA and ending near Montgomery Pass, NV. Along for the ride were our good friends Doug, Moochie, Don, Ray, Tony and Stephanie and together, we would do a run up Isham Canyon, work our way across Death Valley, cut our way down Titus Canyon, head up to Crankshaft Crossing with a quick stop over at Ubehebe Crater, have a few drinks over at Goldpoint, meander our way through a car forest, stay the night at the Historic Mizpah Hotel, explore the old ghost town of Candelaria and then finished our adventures out in the Teels Marsh and ghost town of Marietta. Of course, none of the days or miles include what it took to get to the starting point or to get back home and for that, I am grateful to all our friends for joining us just the same.

Being that we did so much and took a ton of photos, I will break this up into a two separate threads with the first of which will highlight our run up Isham Canyon. Thanks to the storms that took out many of the paved roads in and around Death Valley, the trail was considerably more challenging and because of it, worthy of it’s own thread. I hope you enjoy.

Cindy’s Birthday Run 2014 - Part 1 : Isham Canyon

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2014 WAYALIFE Kick-Off Run Highlights

There are few ways I can think of to kick off a new year than to head out into the Mojave Desert with all our good friends here on WAYALIFE! Although we did do this a week later than we had hoped, our first group run for 2014 would be one out to an area known as Crucero. This is a trip that starts off in Afton Canyon, heads east to the old town site of Crucero, turns south toward the Mesquite Hills and then crosses over the Broadwell Dry Lake before hooking back to pavement in the town of Ludlow. Along the way, we got ford two deep water crossings, took a hike up Spooky Canyon, paid our respects at a gravesite belonging to Delores Holland, attempted to decipher petroglyphs left behind by ancient inhabitants and paid a visit to the mysterious Mojave Megaphone. Click on the link below to see a few shots that we took along the way. I hope you enjoy them.

2014 WAYALIFE Kick-Off Run Highlight Photos

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Prospecting for Mojave Gold… FISH!

Last weekend, we got lucky and were able to get out to Barstow a bit earlier than we had expected and, decided to use the extra time to do a little prospecting out in the Mojave Desert. While our quest was to find gold, it would be more of the aquatic variety than precious metal that we would be looking for.

A few years back, I caught wind of an area out in the middle of the Mojave Desert where there was a small pool that held water all year long, even through the scorching triple digit heat of summer and held within it, a beautiful school of goldfish. Over the years, I would pour through my old maps and scour them for a possible location of where these elusive fish might be. During my search, I found goldfish to exist near Darwin and even out by Oatman, Arizona but, not anywhere in the Mojave. That is, not until a few weeks ago anyway. Reading through a blog, I gleaned a bit more information and even found a couple of photos and based on them, I was able to zero in on a highly probably location. Here are some photos from our quest to find Mojave Gold… FISH!

Click on the link below to see photos from our trip:

Prospecting for Mojave Gold… FISH!

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The Arrow Quest Continues
Search for Transcontinental Airway Beacons - Part 2

A week ago, Cindy and I began a search for large concrete arrows that have been strategically placed across the Northern Nevada Desert. These arrows were constructed back between 1923 and 1933 by the United State Post Office and the Department of Commerce and were a part of the very first Transcontinental Airway Beacon System. You can read more about them and our first attempt to find the few that still remain by clicking on the link below:

Concrete Arrow Quest : Search for Transcontinental Airway Beacons - Part 1

Continuing our quest to find more of these arrows, we met up with our good friend Carl and headed back out to the Nevada Desert to pick up where we left off. As before, we found that many of the sites have long been lost to history and have little evidence that a concrete arrow or tower had ever been there before. However, we did find a few gems worth sharing and I hope you’ll enjoy seeing them now. Being that the best one was also the first one we visited, I will work backwards and save it for last.

The Arrow Quest Continues : Search for Transcontinental Airway Beacons - Part 2

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WILD WILD WEST : The 2013 JK-Experience Trailer

Starting in Hurricane, Utah, and ending up in South Lake Tahoe, California, the 2013 Off Road Evolution JK-Experience presented by Nitto Tire was designed to be one of the most demanding excursions to date. Covering almost 1,000 miles of America’s wild west, in just seven days and approximately half of them being all off road, this trip would prove to be an adventure of a lifetime that would push our components to the limit, and those of our gas tanks too. A full feature length film highlighting all the fun we had will be coming your way soon!

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Concrete Arrow Quest
A Search for Transcontinental Airway Beacons - Part 1

It’s hard to imagine there was actually a time when people flew airplanes, back before the invention of things like GPS, radar or even rudimentary radio communication to help guide them to their destinations. Back then, pilots had to rely solely on what they could see and at night or in bad weather, that wasn’t a whole lot.

A few months back, I heard a story about large concrete arrows in the ground that you can still find scattered all across the country. From what I understand, they were constructed between 1923 and 1933 by the United State Post Office and the Department of Commerce and were a part of the first Transcontinental Airway Beacon System. Essentially, they were a network of visual beacons established to help early pilots navigate their way from New York to San Francisco and eventually, built all across the United States in an effort to connect all the major cities within it. Positioned approximately 10 miles apart (some closer and others further apart depending on terrain), most of these beacons were towers built on 50 foot concrete arrows that were painted bright yellow and had a 24″ diameter rotating light mounted on top. Additional red and green lights were also used to help provide useful information in Morse Code utilizing the following letters, W, U, V, H, R, K, D, B, G or M, to represent the numbers 1-10. To help remember the sequence, pilots made the following phrase out of it, “When Undertaking Very Hard Routes Keep Directions By Good Methods.”

By 1933, there were as many as 1,500 beacons spanning 18,000 miles but, thanks to a new Low Frequency Radio Range system that was implemented in 1929 to replace the original visual system, most of the towers were shut down and dismantled as scrap metal for World War II. And, with the exception of a few that are still operating in Western Montana under the Montana Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division, the very last official tower was shut down in 1973.

Since first hearing about these mysterious concrete arrows and the fact that the Transcontinental Airway System came right through Northern Nevada, I’ve been thinking of little else than to find them. After spending countless hours doing research online, pouring over old maps and trying to verify locations using Google Earth, we loaded up our Jeep and headed out. Here are a few photos from our recent expedition and what we found. I hope you enjoy.

Follow the Concrete Arrows: A Quest to Find Transcontinental Airway Beacons

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2013 SEMA Show LIVE Coverage

Tomorrow, the worlds largest auto show dedicated to the manufacturers of specialty equipment will be taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Known as SEMA, this show really is the grand-daddy of them all and one that everyone wants to go to. Unfortunately, this show is only for vendors and those in the industry and, unless you know someone who can get you in, it’s not something that the public is allowed to attend… well, at least not physically anyway.

As always, Cindy and I will be covering the 2013 SEMA Show LIVE and invite you to attend the show virtually by following us here on WAYALIFE.com and on our WAYALIFE Facebook Page. Here, you can be sure to see recaps of each day with TONS of detailed Hi-Res photos of everything we see and on Facebook, you can see quick highlights as we make our way though the show. Of course, if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see, please let us know and we’ll keep an eye out.

We hope you’ll mark your calendars and join us at the 2013 SEMA Show. All you have to do is click on the link below!!

2013 SEMA Show LIVE Coverage

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Snake Lake & Sierra Buttes Run July 2013

So I was going through our photo gallery today and just realized that I never made a post regarding a trip we did earlier this summer. Back in July, some friends of ours came up to visit us in Tahoe and to do a little exploring in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. For one of our trips, Cindy and I decided to take them up north to the Lakes Basin so that they could run the Snake Lake trail and climb to the top of an ancient volcanic peak know as the Sierra Buttes. In any case, I figure, better late then never and so, here are some pics that highlight our trip. I hope you enjoy.

Snake Lake & Sierra Buttes Run July 2013

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Diggin-In at the 72nd Annual Gem-O-Rama

About 5 years ago, Cindy and I were watching a show on the Discovery Channel called Dirty Jobs and, in one particular episode, the host Mike Rowe went out to Trona, CA to help setup the annual Gem-O-Rama show put on by the Searles Lake Gem and Mineral Society. Since that time, we’ve always wanted to get out there and participate in the event but was never able to find the time, or at least, not up until now. Thanks to our good friends Tony and Stephanie for reminding us about it this year, we finally got a chance to get out in the muck and dig us some real gems. Click on the link below to see photos from our trip:

Diggin-In at the 72nd Annual Gem-O-Rama

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Back Way to Crown King

After finishing up the Ultra 4 Championship Race out in Congress, AZ, Mel asked Greg, Cindy and I to join he and his family on a run up to Crown King. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this famous off road destination, Crown King is an old mining town located up in the Bradshaw Mountains just northwest of Phoenix. The first recorded gold claim was back in 1875 and in its heyday, had 500 buildings, including company stores, boarding houses, two Chinese restaurants, a railroad and a post office. By the time active mining ceased in the 1950’s, over $2 million in gold would have been extracted from the surrounding area. Today, the town is still very much alive and kicking and finds most of it’s gold from tourists.

While you can visit this remote mountain town from the east off of Interstate 17, most Jeepers make their way up from the south near Lake Pleasant. This route is considered the “back way” to Crown King and what we decided to run. For the most part, the trail is easy with great views but, there are also optional side routes with obstacles you can challenge yourself on along the way as well. Click on the link below to see pics from our trip.

Back Way to Crown King Photos

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Check Engine Code P06dd

Since getting our first JK almost 7 years ago, I have seen a lot of different check engine codes. Typically, they would start off with the capital letter “P” and then followed with a series of 4 numerical digits. For instance, if you had an exhaust leak, you would get a code that looked like this, P0430. Or, if you had a cylinder 6 misfire, you would get a code that looked like this, P0306. Well, over the weekend, I finally got a code that kind of surprised me being that it contained 2 of what looked like the lower case letter “d”. Specifically, the code I got was P06dd and it was triggered soon after I experienced a sudden inability to accelerate above 3,000-3,500 RPM’s. When I first experienced this problem, I was just trying to get on the interstate and get up to highway speeds quickly. When my transmission dropped a gear to get there, the RPM’s went up and just as I got to about 3,500, power from the motor simply cut out. If you’ve ever driven a manual transmission and accidentally tried shifting from 6th gear doing 75 MPH into 1st, that’s exactly what it felt like. It was as if a governor kicked in and while I was still moving forward, kind of, the motor was unwilling to give me anything more. Not sure what was going on, I pulled over to the side of the road, turned off the engine, turned it back on and then started on our way again. For a brief period of time, things were back to normal and stayed that way until I tried passing a truck on a hill. When I did that, the same thing happened again. Still not sure what was going on, it did become clear that so long as I kept the motor from running up and above 3,500 RPM’s, everything worked okay. And, being that you really don’t need to get up into the higher RPM range to drive from point A to point B, I decided to just keep moving on but at a much more conservative pace.

Before heading back for home, Cindy started to do some research and found that a P06dd is a code that is thrown when your oil pressure is too low. Of course, this seemed odd to me be being that I had just done an oil change a few weeks back and even if it were true, I would have thought that an idiot light would have come on to let me know as much. Still, it was all I had to go on and so I decided to start with the obvious - check the oil. And, after pulling out the dip stick, it became clear, that was low… VERY LOW. When all was said and done, I ended up pouring about 4 quarts back in!! While I was glad to know that my engine is smart enough to try and preserve itself, I have to say that it frustrates me to no end that the idiot light never came on. I mean, does it only go off when it’s too late? Seriously, if Cindy and I didn’t have the means and the know how to look up codes, nothing short of a trip to the dealership would have gotten this easy to fix and critical problem solved.

Long story short, if you’re planning on doing a ton of hard and fast driving in the desert for weeks on end, do yourself a favor and keep an eye on your fluids. And, if you ever get a check engine P06dd code, you’ll now know what it is and what you’ll need to do.

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Do Yourself a Favor and Regear Your
2012-Up Jeep JK Wrangler

When we bought our 2012 Jeep JK Wrangler, we had always planned to upgrade it’s axles to a set of Dynatrac ProRock 60’s. Of course, being that money doesn’t grow on trees, we decided to use the time until we could afford the upgrade to extensively test just how well a set of 37″ tires would do with the new 3.6L Pentastar motor running factory 4.10 gears. For almost 2 years, we took our Jeep just about everywhere we could, driving it to and from the trail, on the highway and around town, up and over mountains, hard and fast through the Mojave Desert, up and over steep ledges in Moab and, crawling it over big rocks on trails like the Rubicon. And, after racking up over 45,000 miles on the odometer, what I can tell you is this… it can be done and it does work surprisingly, okay. For someone who’s never driven a re-geared equivalent, they may not even know what they’re missing.

Having said all that, recent circumstances forced us to upgrade our front axle sooner than we had planned for and, while we were at it, decided to just bite the bullet, take advantage of Off Road Evolution’s $999 special and have our Jeep re-geared with a set of 5.13’s at the same time. After testing them out extensively on the 2013 JK-Experience, all I can say is - why in the hell didn’t we do this sooner!!

While the 3.6L motor has a good amount of power and will do a decent job of compensating for larger tires, it simply can’t make up enough of a difference especially in situations like on long or steep hill climbs. Here, your transmission will try to help make up the difference by dropping gears and running your RPM’s up close to 6 grand just to keep you moving. Of course, this will cause your engine and transmission to run really hot and in some cases, cause your Jeep to go into limp mode - ask me how I know. With a set of 5.13’s, this will no longer be an issue as you’ll have plenty of power to do the same job in a higher gear and running at a lower RPM. Of course, this is to say nothing about the fact that on the rocks, a set of 5.13’s will also significantly improve your crawl ratio - running 37″ tires on 4:10 gears, you’ll go from a 3.36:1 to a full 4.21:1! Of course, for those would might complain about the increase in RPM at highway speeds, what I can tell you is that it’s really insignificant. In fact, the difference you’ll see when compared to a stock Rubicon running 32″ tires and 4.10 gears is only about 200 RPM as you can see in the calculators below:

Trust me, if you’re planning on running 35″, 37″ or bigger tires on your 2012-Up JK, you really will be doing yourself a BIG favor to get it re-geared at the same time. If you live in the SoCal area, be sure to take advantage of Off Road Evolutions $999 special too as it really is a deal that is hard to beat.

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WAYALIFE Rubicon Run 2013

The Rubicon is a trail that Cindy and I typically run several times a year starting from the end of June and ending as late as October and, we typically try to keep our group size to about 10 rigs or fewer. Unfortunately, our first run out for this year just happened last week and, because of the delay, found ourselves with as many as 23 rigs along for the ride. Included in our group were a total of 8 rigs from Canada, 1 from Reno and the rest from SoCal and with vehicles ranging from JK’s to LJ’s and even an XJ. And, while there was a concern expressed regarding our ability to move this many people through the trail and do so in a timely manner, I’m happy to say that everything went smoothly and without too much fuss. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the amazing help of our friends, Doug, Carl, Tony, Brian, Don and Ray who were interspersed within the lineup, providing eyes on the ground and moving things along. Anyway, here are a few pics that we were able to take from our trip. Unfortunately, we were only able to capture what was immediately around us. It is my hope that others who joined us for this run will chime in with theirs as well so that you can all see more. Enjoy.

WAYALIFE Rubicon Run 2013 Photo Gallery

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