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Old 11-22-2007, 10:26 PM   #1
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Rockdocking Tools of the Trail

I hope I had defined my newly made up words, Rockdocking, Rockdocker and Dingo in earlier threads. Those who have followed some of the discussions of the past, I welcome you to the campfire. Or in our case, the flashlight...

First of all, you will need an atlas that indicates the approximate boundaries of private, BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and National Forest property. I use the DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer with GPS grids. It is appropriate for Rockdocking, Boondocking and leisure camping at an established campsite. YOU, the citizen are a part owner of the public lands. YOU also have the responsibility to pick up after yourself and treat this land as the natural treasure that it is. Others will eventually come to share this space that you had visited and departed.

Second. A GPS of any vintage is a convenient tool. You can easily locate yourself on the map. Even though the scale is large, you can easily determine if you are within the boundary of public lands. It is also a nice reference to FIND this location a year or five years later. Even to pass the location on to a friend. I record longitude (east to west), latitude (north to south) and elevation. Maybe even some notes as to the date, weather and the kinds of biting insects in your area at that time. A 12 inch ruler to make your longitude and latitude lines helps.

Third. A Compass. It does not have to be expensive. Just work. It must be attached to you when you begin wandering into the woods, the desert or the the canyon next to your campsite. Everyone in your group should have a compass, know which way is north and keep an approximate idea of WHERE the campsite is located from your present position. Watch the sun, your shadow and use those clues to direction. Do not practice by being the next lost hiker needing rescue by the Forest Service!

Fourth. Always carry a bottle of water. A candy bar. A pack of matches in a water proof container. A small flashlight would be nice, but not necessary until you are lost in the darkness of being in nowhere. A whistle, even if you think you have a loud voice. A walking stick, about five feet long, solid, for a "nose whacker" for bear, mountain lion or an animal thinking you would make a tasty meal. (Yes I know that you should know how to retreat when you encounter a larger carnivore than yourself, but sometimes the carnivore does not understand the rules of the trail...)

Should I go on? I would like to cover the preparation into Rockdocking if there is an interest. I would actually find it rewarding. Any suggestions as to what would be of further interest? Any experiences to share in equipment that you would carry on your person for the beginner? GPS experience out there?
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Old 11-23-2007, 12:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Eklund

Fourth. Always carry a bottle of water. A candy bar. A pack of matches in a water proof container. A small flashlight would be nice, but not necessary until you are lost in the darkness of being in nowhere. A whistle, even if you think you have a loud voice. A walking stick, about five feet long, solid, for a "nose whacker" for bear, mountain lion or an animal thinking you would make a tasty meal.
Wacking a Bear on the nose will piss it off. Shooting it will piss it off unles you have a really big gun (7mm Remington Magnum comes to mind). You will only see a Mountain Lion when they want you to see them.
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Old 11-23-2007, 07:03 AM   #3
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Yo Ray- ever get your rig into a place and have trouble retreating?--Four wheel drive would be imperative no? I saw alot of interesting looking two tracks when my wife and I last visited the NF near Manistee Mi. but was leary of taking them---jim
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Old 11-23-2007, 07:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jamesardis
Yo Ray- ever get your rig into a place and have trouble retreating?--Four wheel drive would be imperative no? I saw alot of interesting looking two tracks when my wife and I last visited the NF near Manistee Mi. but was leary of taking them---jim
That's when one of these in the back of your 4x4 would come in handy! You could do a litttle reconnaissance mission to scope out that perfect spot. .......made by Honda.
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:10 AM   #5
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interesting thread

Ray...very interesting thread...I really enjoy hearing about trips into back country and what to take along...

thanks...tell us more....
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:34 AM   #6
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Ah yes the ruckus is cool!-kind of heavy though-
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:44 AM   #7
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how about this unit-
Cannondale F900-25 lbs+Golden Eagle bike motor[4-stroke] 3/4 hp.-24 lbs
=too much fun[31mph] and only 50 or so lbs!
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Old 11-23-2007, 10:08 AM   #8
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Is that a clothes dryer drive belt?

how does one engage the drive? or is a clutch like a scooter would have?

what about the throttle?

vewwy intewesting.....

jp
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Old 11-23-2007, 11:38 AM   #9
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Where NO trailer will go Rockdocking

We have considered taking the mountain bikes on all of our trips to the bush. Less the motor, as just the peddling is enough out of control for us.

I am going to give up one of the nicer gateways to the Pahvant Range of Utah in the Fishlake National Forest (page 36 of Utah DeLorme Atlas- N38 degrees, 56.26', W112 degrees, 14.65' at 6627 elevation). You are going west out of Fillmore, Utah towards the Solitude Ranger Station. The black top out of town is fairly narrow and winds around the low hills below the "climb" of about 1600 feet elevation in several miles. When the asphalt road ends at the National Forest boundary, the road becomes Forest Road 100. Someone pulling a 25 foot trailer without four wheel drive should have minor trouble on the climb, although I always advise 4x4 tow vehicles for grades on non-asphalt traveling the back country.

You will pass a pullout on the west side of the road. Enough of a pullout for two, maybe three trailers and tow vehicles to park. The pullout has plenty of isolation from the main road and has a wonderful view of the valley to the west. Even the summer heat is comfortable at this elevation above the valley of 5000 feet. For hikers there are plenty of places to explore for a week. Some motorcycle trails are to be found to the north and east on the side of the mountains.

Drop the trailer off and drive about three miles east on FR100 to see the character of the road change from a Rockdocker 3 road (1 is the flat road, easiest. Rockdocker 10 is not worth the effort to even attempt.) to find yourself staring at a Forest Service sign "Road Not Maintained for Cars and Trailers Beyond This Point". I was able to turn my tow vehicle and 23 foot AS around, with some difficulty... knees shaking. It is apparent that a number of vehicles have decided not to venture any further. You can work your way around to make the 180 degree turn back towards town with a trailer still in tow. With no trailer in tow, it is an easy reversal of direction at this point.

This sign begins a Rockdocker 9 ascent, blasted into a hard rock cliff with vertical drops. Enough danger to turn your hair gray just viewing the west side drop into the canyon below. The road is wide enough for a full sized 4x4, a driver who can watch the irregular road surface and a passenger that is watching for any dust from an approaching vehicle heading towards you from the east around the corner. Always keep in mind where the LAST wide spot in the road was seen, in the event you have to back up to let a vehicle pass. I ask the other vehicle's driver if anyone else might be expected ahead... Parts of this road seen from the turn around is one lane plus 6 feet or so.

I traveled this road from West to East many years ago in a 1985 Toyota Land Cruiser that was a bit large for easy navigating this section of road and any traffic encounters on the way. Pulling a trailer IS possible, but more in the pop up camper at 8 feet. This trip is the ONLY road that I did not dare to pull my AS. More due to width than weight or length. This road was also the ONLY road in years that I actually did not want to attempt in my long Tundra double cab itself. It is not the clearance that is the difficulty. It is the chance of catching traffic coming off the mountain and needing to back up. I estimate this section of road is less than two miles to find yourself back on Rockdocker 3 travel. If you plan to try this camping spot, and take the tow vehicle up for a closer look, do it on a Monday to Thursday to avoid the local traffic.

You can also approach this area from the east for nice camp sites on top of the mountain, and keep in mind that the road will become a true test of will, courage and avoiding a blown out tire from a rock puncture through the center tread on the descent off the summit towards Fillmore, Utah! Coming from the east route, stop in Salina, Utah at Mom's Cafe for a nice lunch and scone, before you get back onto the gravel. You will need it.
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Old 11-23-2007, 12:38 PM   #10
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Rockdocking Tools of the Trail

To continue the outfitting of a Rockdocking trip.

Fifth. Food. Staying a week in the back country? Take two weeks worth.

Sixth. Water. We begin the trip with a six gallon container of water, for the two Blue Heelers on the road. Travel with an empty 30 gallon water tank and empty 6 gallon water heater as that reduces the weight for getting over the high mountain passes of the West. Our grey and black tanks are also empty. A gallon of water in the grey and black tanks probably is good for keeping them clean while sloshing along. That is up to your type of travel.

Water can easily be found just before you are ready to turn off the asphalt. The quality of tap water can vary from one town to another. You will learn with time where the watering holes are to be found. Make a note of the water quality from experience and use this stop for topping off the fuel and water tanks on future trips in the area. Remember that you need to run the water pump and force water through the system to clear the air out of the lines, and in the process filling the hot water tank. It is sometimes a surprise to find the water tank only at 75% full on your AS system. That is because the hot water tank did not get its... six gallon fill up in the process. We do this by filling the fresh water tank until it backs out of the filler spout. The wife is running water into a container until the air is out of each system, cold and hot water lines. This accounts for the gallon or so of water in the grey and black tanks that go down the drain and not into our water bucket. We have three six gallon jugs in the back of the tow vehicle, giving us plenty of water for our style of camping. I found that the gasoline six gallon jugs are built stronger, so I use them for water hauling. When the AS is parked, the water jugs come out into the shade. Always keep six gallons as a reserve, not in the AS tank. You just never know what the future can bring.

We have never paid for water. Truck stops usually have easier access to water than a local gas station. Before I start the gasoline/diesel pump, we ask if we can fill up our water tank and jugs. If the answer is yes, we buy our fuel, ice and anything else needed on this last leg of the trip. If the answer is no, we move on... (Payson, Arizona was the toughest city to find someone willing to offer water in 2006.) We have rarely paid to use a dump for the grey water tank, and at times you can even negotiate that at a station that does charge. We do not use the black water tank. Bring a shovel.

We shower outside whenever practical or possible. We can get by with a gallon of hot water in a wash pan every few days, if we think we need a good scrubbing or not. Since we graduated from tent camping, some things just are hard to change when we are in the bush. WalMart has a nice out door shower tent for campers who are a bit more modest that works nice. We use a rubber 3 foot by 3 foot floor mat with openings next to the outside shower (if used) and it keeps your feet clean and the water drains through the open spaces in the mat.

We NEVER use stream water. Even if it is probably safe. Maybe spring water, but the flow and temperature has to be on the cool side (58 degrees or colder). If you get some bad water, you will KNOW within 24 hours...

Did I miss anything about watering up? I need to get back to my usually daily routine, if that ever existed. Happy Rockdocking until point Seven is made up.
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Old 11-23-2007, 01:05 PM   #11
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Where NO trailer will go Rockdocking

I had quoted WEST of Fillmore, Utah. Try EAST to edit my directions. Otherwise you would end up in Millard County dodging sand dunes...
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Old 11-24-2007, 12:25 AM   #12
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What map are you using for your GPS coordinates? WGS-84? How do you compare your map books with US Geological Survey topos? I used to buy them at a surveyors shop in Marysville. Now I see you can buy them online.

Has anyone have advice on trailer tires?

I used to take a CJ5 way off road in NoCal, and floated it down the Middle Fork of the American River. I bought a relatively short 25 footer AS, hoping to go where no man ever dared to take an AS before. Though surely the AS has a tighter turning radius then a 2500HD 4by burb.

This is where pairing up maybe a good idea, in case you have to de-hitch and turn the rigs around by hand.

The tires have me most concerned.

Also, give us some tips on hand tools, for digging out minerals.
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Old 11-24-2007, 03:15 PM   #13
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Mineral Collecting while Rockdocking

Jacarape- Good questions.

A 25 foot AS is the longest trailer I would recommend for the off asphalt travel into the mountains or foothills. Experience in having to back out of a tight "retreat" is just a foot here, another foot gained there, and keep working it around till you have done your 180 degree turn around. It does not happen too often, but the day will come you will have to improvise a turn around. It is not easy when you throw in some trees or sage brush. This is the reason why I would go up to a 25 foot AS myself. Not the turn around space needed, not the weight, not the clearance of the plumbing... it is the crossing of dry washes where you will drag the rear bumper skids. It can be circumvented by bringing some sturdy boards to gain some clearance. With some close calls for clearing, you will recognize when trouble is coming! Other brands of trailers can have twice the clearance, so a much longer trailer can clear these obstacles easier.

Tires. The 23 foot AS has a poor tire arrangement. The tires are 14 inch and the heaviest tire you can find in that size is a Load Range C. All AS trailers, I feel ALL Airstreams should have a minimum of a 15 inch wheel with the Load Range D... MINIMUM. I have had center tread rock punctures in two of my Goodyears, one blowout on a dirt road, one air bubble on the side wall on the fourth. I have replaced the four running tires with a set of Tow Masters Trailer (ST215/75R/14- Load Range C) from Les Schwab in Salt Lake City, Utah at a cost of $283.00, which have held out for off asphalt traveling. We never overload our trailer or tow vehicle. The Load Range C is the problem. The tire dealers will immediately say, "overloading caused the problem". In my 42 years of driving on all kinds of terrain and always keeping a large safety factor for weight, I cannot recall ever having so many tire failures... ever. Make your own conclusions, but someone is not telling the truth. On roads with gravel I do not mind having a bit less air pressure now, than I would have on the highway... My Goodrich All Terrain, Load Range D tires on my Toyota Tundra have NEVER failed or created a problem (Costco).

The US Geological Survey quadrangles are too small of a scale for my needs, unless I needed the scale for finding hiking paths in the area or finding small jeep trails. I use the large scale DeLorme Atlas maps. Some roads are not even on these maps that should... so even they missed some roads and National Forest campsites. I would say they are 80% accurate and the USGS maps are 99%+. The majority of camping spots I find are strictly visual from the road. Some times I have to pull over and we will walk the "road" to see if we need to trim some dead wood out of the way and have clearance for the axle/plumbing fixtures.

Mineral & Rock Collecting:

Gold Placers: A shovel, five gallon plastic bucket, a metal/plastic pan (black plastic is better) about the size of a 15 inch hub cap (does not have to be a store bought pan), a strong back and water. Short pants, sandals, hat and I will sometimes sit in a lawn chair in the stream while panning my concentrate for any signs of gold, heavy minerals like garnets, sapphire, magnetite, etc. It does help if gold has been found in the area, as well! Save yourself a lot of work. Metal detect for nuggets the size of rice and larger. Panning is the hardest work I have encountered for the return!

Agate & Petrified Wood: We each carry a five gallon plastic bucket to pick up weathered out nodules or chunks that have weathered out.

Minerals: A carpenter's apron works fine for picking up specimens from the tailing piles from old mining operations. Specimens can be wrapped in a paper towel, inserted into a paper sack and labeled.

Specimens can be sorted onto "beer flats" that hold four six packs with about one inch sides. Very nice for transporting small mineral specimens in the vehicle also while traveling.

My last trip to New Mexico I found a 15 gram iron/nickel meteorite. My first, ever to find myself. This was while hunting agate nodules on mesa tops. You always have to be prepared for the unexpected. Collecting or traveling off road...

Books: AbeBooks: New & Used Books, Textbooks, Rare & Out of Print Books
Use keywords such as gold, mining, fossils, agate, etc. It will turn up thousands of titles. Add your state of interest to narrow the search.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:25 PM   #14
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Fresh Spring Water Available

I discovered on my April 2008 camping trip to the Gila National Forest in New Mexico some handy information.

Many of the National Forest information centers have water available at no charge. Just stop in and ask. The water we topped off at Silver City, New Mexico was warm from the tap, but non the less, OK. But the water from the Glenwood National Forest Service office on the east edge of town, just south of the highway leaving town offered ice cold spring water. Excellent tasting to add. Maps are available for $9 of the Gila National Forest and Wilderness roads. Inquire on road conditions, as the road from Glenwood to the Ghost Town mining area Mogollon was still drifted in with snow and washed out from last Fall. We had to go to the NW to Reserve, NM for access to the area (Route 435 (paved) turns into Forest Road 141 (gravel). If you keep going east on FR141 and want to avoid the thick forest camping spots, the open areas are further ahead (about 25 miles from Reserve). Rough wild country, nice roads for any size trailer. Lots of pull outs in the woods and easy access open areas near Snow Lake on the National Forest and Wilderness boundary... for you hikers.

Along the creek flowing into Snow Lake from the north, you can find small pea to penny sized Apache Tears (obsidian) in the gravel. Hundreds of large Carp in the north end of the lake flopping around in the warm muddy parts!
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