American Safari AKA April 2009 Road Trip

Duke and I decided to go on a ten day road trip as soon as tax season was over. We left April 17 and spent 10 days exploring northwestern Nevada and southeastern Oregon.  The area is a combination of mountains and deserts. There are lots of wide open spaces, big sky and very few people.

After we left paved roads on Friday at the town of Nixon east of Reno we didn't see another person until Saturday morning. We saw less than 10 people Saturday and Sunday until we surfaced in southern Oregon Sunday afternoon. We had a wonderful time camping. On BLM land you can camp almost anywhere  you want.

This is our Friday night camp site.


And here is our Saturday night camp site at the north end of the Jackson Mountains Wilderness at the top of the pass. We could see forever.


On Sunday night we had a beautiful spot right by a road surrounded by huge boulders. There were wonderful echoes. Since there were no other people we built our camp fire right in the middle of the road. Duke dug a hole, put the fire in it, and then buried the ashes the next morning. We left no trace!  The steam in the picture is from our camping pressure cooker that Duke used to cook the jambalaya for dinner.


Once we reached Oregon we stayed in hotels and at a field station. We explored the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and the areas around it.


In the picture below you can see Duke clearing a tree off a forest service road we were exploring. Eventually on this road there was too much snow so we had to turn around.


For our last two day we headed back into Nevada. We spent two nights in a wonderful cabin at the Old Yella Dog Ranch. It was snowing when we arrived but by Sunday when we left the weather was beautiful.

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It struck me that this trip was like a safari within a few miles of home. We saw lots of animals. Hundreds of pronghorn antelope, wild horses, wild burros, coyotes, cattle, and sheep. We also saw an amazing variety of birds. Sandhill crane, Great blue herons, egrets, coots, cinnamon teals, avocet, ducks, chickens, geese, Northern Harrier and Ibis.


The weather really worked with us. It had snowed less than a week before we left so there wasn't much dust and we only had problems with muddy or snowy roads a couple of times. When we were camping the weather was warm and when we had the cozy cabin at the Ranch it was cold. The pictures will give you a better sense of some of our adventures. They are available on Flickr here.


It was a wonderful adventure. We are ready to go again!

Author: marionvermazen

I am a traveler, hiker, avid reader, Sun alumnus, computer geek, Spanish and French language student, knitter and genealogist. I am retired after working for almost 30 years in the Computer Industry. I live in Reno, Nevada with my husband Duke.

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