Originally, we planned to do a low key prerun - 5 maybe 6 trucks tops. Somehow the list kept growing. Before we knew it we had 14 trucks going.
Normally not such a big deal as we’ve done runs with 20+ trucks before. The difference this time was that 60% of the route hadn’t been scouted before.
The gang met up at 8am in a Safeway parking lot on the outskirts of Reno.
Almost right off the bat we ran into issues. The GPS file wasn’t showing up on some of the newer Lowrances. We squared that away after wasting an hour.
We finally headed to the trailhead and got moving. The trail was a lot of fun right off the bat. Really worked the trucks suspension but allowed you to keep a solid pace.
Unfortunately, the trial dead-ended at a locked gate. I also noticed I had picked up a nice gash in my tire and it was now flat. Good thing I had 2 spares!
Austin would quickly follow my lead and got a flat of his own.
The gate being closed was very disappointing as it meant we just wasted an hour and would need to back track. The trail had been ran a couple years ago from the research I’d done. After we spoke with a local at a gas station, we learned BLM had sold the land just 6 months prior and the new land owners had put up fences almost immediately.
Once I got back to the trailhead, Gordon took off to find where we could meet back up with the trail. We were still waiting on 5 or so trucks to make it back to the trailhead so I sent Andrew off after Gordon with the first half to keep the group moving.
Within 15 minutes we had the rest of the group. We wouldn’t be moving for long as Austin noticed a vibration coming from his front suspension. Upon inspection, we discovered his lower control arm nut had come loose and was gone. The bolt was barely holding on by a couple threads.
Luckily we had a spare nut. However, it was in Gordon’s truck so he had to come back. Another wasted 30 minutes. While we were waiting I decided to check all the lower control arm bolts of the 7 trucks in our group. Turned out 4 of the 7 were loose! Let this be a warning – prep your truck and make sure everything is torqued down.
After we fixed Austin's truck we hopped on the freeway and drove down to meet back up with the rest of the group at the new trailhead.
Again, this section was awesome. Even opened up into two lanes of perfect whoops for the Raptors.
Next challenge of the day would be a gnarly silty hill climb. A lot of trucks had trouble keeping the revs up high enough to make the climb. It took us 45 minutes to get everyone up but we did it and everyone was excited to have tackled the obstacle. The views once we made it up were pretty neat
Jeff decided to get a nice running start for his assault on the hill.
Unfortunately, one of the trucks got in the way so he had to take evasive manuevers and almost ran into my truck...doh!
Joey taking on the hill.
Part of the group waiting for the rest to make it up.
Before we got moving again, Tommy noticed a clunk in his front end. I guess he had taken the whoops a little hard. He figured his steering rack was going out but wasn’t sure. Either way he made the smart call and decided to head to the highway and would meet back up with us in Gerlach – our destination for the day. It would turn out that he had actually completely destroyed his front shocks on the whoop section. Tommy has a pretty slick rear setup with a sprung under bed cage, king bypass shocks, and 18 inches of travel. Only problem with his setup is he has stock fox shocks up front. I guess they just couldn’t handle the whoops.
After the hill climb it felt good to get moving again.
Austin overlooking the Valley.
All was going well until Dan lost and exhaust hanger (many more of these to be lost). Not a big deal, I kicked him down a large band clamp and he began working on the repair while the rest of the group kept moving.
Not 10 minutes later we got a call over the radio that John’s break line had been taken out. Gordon hopped in his truck to go help with the repair.
Pretty slick trail repair.
Initially John thought a rock had taken out his break line but it turned out it was his exhaust. He didn’t even notice it was gone! It likely broke loose and took out the break line when it fell off.
We were a little worried that the group was getting fatigued at this point. It was 3 in the afternoon and the day had begun at 8am. We still had 120 miles to go. Since John’s truck was in no condition to continue, we asked the group if anyone wanted to call it a day and accompany John to the highway. Well, much to our surprises, everyone wanted to continue. John headed to the highway and then to Gerlach.
The group got moving again. We began making good time.
Of course things would not be trouble free. Donnie’s exhaust hangers broke too. Luckily he caught it before he lost it. He ended up removing it and throwing it in the bed of the truck. His bad luck would continue as he got a flat. Jeff & Dan would also join in on the fun and got flats.
The views were beautiful as the sun was now setting. We fired up our lights as we made our way north into Gerlach with just a little sunlight left. Tommy and John rejoined the group and we set out to find a camping spot outside of town.
We found a suitable spot and quickly set up camp.
Everyone was eager to crack some adult beverages and eat. It was around 8:30pm so it had been a long and tiring day on the trail.
After setting up my new cot tent (awesome btw – slept so good in it), I opened a beer and I fired up the gas BBQ and threw on the tri-tip steaks. Joe had been gracious/awesome enough to bring enough to pretty much feed the whole camp. It looked like he brought a whole cow haha.
We proceeded to hangout into the wee hours of the night. I crashed around midnight and I’m told the “party” continued to 2am. Crazy kids!
Andrew, Darren, and Joe having some fun with the drone and some night shots
Most of us were up by 7am the next day. The bright sun made it tough to sleep end. A majority of us looked like the walking dead.
While packing up his gear, Joe heard a rattle. He looked down and much to his surprise he saw this guy.
Good thing he didn’t step on him!
Jeff didn't want to chance a bite so he quickly climbed on top of the Smurfrunner haha.
After we packed up camp, we headed out to the Black Rock Playa for some pics before some of the group headed home. Tommy and John were in no shape to continue and a couple of the other guys had long drives home to Washington and SoCal.
We then said our goodbyes and began booking it south the trail towards Fernley.
All was going well for about an hour until Gordon noticed a problem with his breaks. Upon inspection, his driver’s side rear brake caliper had broken off!
They ladies catching some rays while we work on the truck
After finishing the trailside fix it was decided that Gordon and I should head back to Gerlach. His breaks were probably at 60% at best and it really wasn’t safe to continue. Once in Gerlach we would figure out whether or not to call for a tow or push home.
Cool shot of Gordon's truck before we headed back
Andrew, Joe, Austin, and Blake would push on to finish the run.
After Gordon and I reached Gerlach we decided to give it a shot and make the drive to Reno. Fortunately, the brakes held up and he was able to make it all the way home.
Andrew and the gang were able to finish out the run and finished around 2pm.
All in all, it was an epic adventure. Man and machine were put to the test. Our machines didn’t quite hold up but we sure did! The group was amazing and everyone came together. Definitely one of the craziest adventures I’ve been a part of.