The Arizona Strip, May 9-15 2009
There have been many trip articles written on the Arizona Strip, but invariably they describe trips into one area and for maybe one or two nights of camping. We wanted to do something more. We wanted to go from the Oak Grove area on the west end to the Kanab Creek Canyon on the east end. Our main criteria was staying as far south as possible and camping at a different Point each night. So in the fall of 2008 I started mapping a route using NatGeo’s TOPO mapping software. There are hundreds of roads in the Strip, so plotting a specific route was essential. Using BLM’s Arizona Strip map as a guide, mapping the route took a couple of months, working in the evenings. The finale route was close to 500 miles. Once our route was established, we really had no idea how long the trip would take so I took a full week’s vacation time.
Prior to this trip I had an auxiliary gas tank installed on my FJ that effectively doubled my travel distance between fuel stops. Even in the wide open areas of southern Nevada, eastern California, i.e. Death Valley and the Mojave Preserve we could not find an off pavement route to truly test the ultimate distance we could go on full tanks. There were always pavement in the way. I wanted a true test. The Arizona Strip provided that test. We did pack 10 extra gallons of fuel on the roof so that we could completely drain our tanks on the dirt and have enough fuel to get out of the Strip.
Our main goal was to visit all of the overlooks to the west of Kanab Creek Canyon. We were hoping to reach, west to east, Twin Points, Kelly Point, Whitmore Rapids overlook, Toroweep, SB Point and Kanab Point.
We invited four other rigs for the expedition, all with the same long range capacity that we had, wanting to keep the group small. In the end only one other vehicle, Bruce and friend, could make it, and they ended leaving us after three days.
After many months, departure day was upon us, Saturday, May 9, 2009. We met up in Las Vegas to travel to Mesquite NV as this was our jumping off point. After fueling and about two miles of pavement driving, we were off pavement, not to see it again until 436 miles later.
Here is the actual route we took:
Saturday, May 9th. 80 miles for the day:
For the first leg to Twin Points, which both Bruce and I had pre-ran late in 2008, we knew what was coming. From Mesquite, there are multiple roads leading down into where we were heading so at each “T” , “Y” or intersection we decided right then and there which way to go. We got as far as Oak Grove that day, as we left late that Saturday. 80 miles the first day. Camp was in a grove of beautiful pine trees, with a bed of pine needles to sleep on. I say this because it is rare for us desert campers to have such a good campsite. We are used to sand or rocks for camping.
A sense of the country heading south from Mesquite:
And our campsite:
And our view the next morning out the top of our tent:
For the entire trip we did not put on our rain fly which gave us outstanding views of the night sky.
It is legal to camp anywhere on BLM land and to have open fires. Oak Grove is a designated campsite with multiple fire rings and is very flat. I am sure it is used mainly as hunting camp in the fall. We had a very relaxing and restful night here.
Last edited by xpdishn; 03-22-2010 at 01:33 AM.
07 FJ Cruiser set up for the long haul
"No matter where you go, there you are" - Buckeroo Banzai