The first trip in my 1973 Chevy Blazer
April 03, 2004.
I Bought the 73’ Chevy Blazer March 23, 2004 and wanted to take it on
a trip to break it in. Ron and Lynne (who I rode along with on
previous trips) wanted to take a trip toward Caliente Nevada.
So I took my Blazer and joined them.
I left the house about 7:15 am, filled up with gas and headed out.
I met Lynne at the exit off I-15 by the speedway and we drove to
Logandale (about 50 miles) to meet Ron at his house. As we
were driving to Logandale I wondered if it was a good idea to
go, since it looked like a bad storm was setting in and
looked worse in the direction we were going. But I
put that idea aside and went on my merry way.
After we got to Ron’s house we helped him with some last minute
packing and we checked out some differences between my 73’ Blazer
and his 72’ Blazer. Ron gave Lynne and I some goop to put in
our tires if we got a flat which gave me a welcome to the club kind of
feeling. As were finishing up at Ron’s house it started
raining and we went inside for a few minutes to discuss the route we
were going to take.
The group consisted of Ron, his 2 sons Ryan and Randy,
Gage their friend), Lynne, Luke (me) and Window (my
dog). From Ron’s house we went to a gas station to top
off the tanks. It was raining pretty hard now. When I
went to fill up I discovered I had left my gas cap at the gas
station in Las Vegas! Ron noticed his breaks didn’t feel right.
We went down the road a half mile or so to an auto parts store to
look for a gas cap for me and to check out Ron’s brakes. They
had no gas cap for me so I used Duct Tape as a replacement cap for
the day. Ron found his brake fluid reservoir for his rear
brakes was empty! After buying some brake fluid Ron and Lynne
bled the brakes, while I was tucking the Duct tape into the crevice
around the hole where my gas cap used to be.
Still raining we headed back to I-15 then north about 7 miles. The rain had stopped by the time we pulled off the
freeway. We all stopped for a minute and Ron checked under his
hood for the smell that seemed to be coming from his truck on the
freeway. When he went to start his Blazer again it would not
start. Lynne gave Ron a jump start from her Toyota.
After it was started we checked the voltage output of his alternator
to determine if it was charging and indeed it was. We took a
few minutes to discuss if we should continue on this trip or not.
Between the problems with Ron’s Blazer and me loosing my gas cap it
seemed today was off to a bad start. We decided to go for it
so off we went.
We traveled along a frontage road on the north side of I-15 for
about 4 miles and turned left (north). The pavement ended a
few hundred feet after the turn and it was dirt time! The dirt
road was a fairly smooth graded road so we traveled around
50 MPH. After a short while it started getting fogy so we had
to slow down.
When the fog cleared, it did so all at once. What we saw when
we came out of the fog was beautiful. The desert was very
green with spring growth. We stopped to look around and
noticed the fog we were in was a cloud with a very defined
perimeter. Looking back the way we came from was not like
looking back into the fog where the visibility just keeps fading
away as you look further into it. It was more like looking at
a dense wall and it was moving toward us (catching up). It was going to cover us over
again if we stayed there.
Before we started driving again,
I ran across the desert to take a picture of this wall coming toward us
and the green desert landscape we were in.
Cloud wall headed toward us.
Cloud wall headed toward us.
Luke (me) and Window looking at each other by the Blazer.
Amazing how green the desert can be at the right time of year.
Ron's Blazer, Luke's Blazer, Lynne's Toyota.
While driving we enjoyed the green desert and lots of cows
along the way. After
going past a few roads that went off in different directions we
turned left (west) on a road that headed toward Lyman Crossing.Lyman Crossing is a ranch type area. Well sort of I guess.
It didn’t really look much like a ranch but that’s what I was told
it was. There were a few buildings and a few junked cars.
One of the cars Ron brought to my attention over the CB. It
was an International Scout, truck style. He pointed it out
because I used to have a 67 International Scout. From Lyman Crossing we broke off the main dirt road and
crossed some railroad tracks on a less traveled road that headed
North West. This road climbed up through a mountainous area.
We stopped at a point along the road where there was a nice view of
a gorge took some pictures and enjoyed the view.
Window, Ron and Lynne enjoying a view into the gorge.
One of the water tanks along side the road.
After looking over the gorge,
Ryan wanted to ride with me so he hopped in my Blazer and we were
all on our way again. The area we were in now was higher in
elevation and had a lot more trees. The area past
the summit of the road we were on had a few water tanks along the
side of the road. We found a set of valves along side the road
down in some concrete tubes, one of which had a dead snake in it. Looked like the snake got in but couldn’t get out. From
here we descended back to a more desert like terrain with rocky
mountains nearby, turned left (North East) onto Kane Springs Road
and headed another 5 miles toward
Nevada. The Elgin area had lots of cotton wood trees.
It gave a picnic on the prairie kind of look to the area. Just before
reaching the point on the map labeled Elgin, Kane Springs Road ended
at a T in the road.
Lynne on Kane Springs Road.
Turning off to the train tunnel.
We turned right (South East) at the T and drove about 4 miles
through lots of cotton wood trees. Along this drive we passed
through what some signs said were Rainbow Canyon. My mapping
software listed this area as Pennsylvania Canyon. Rainbow
Canyon on my maps is about a mile North of Elgin. Guess the
area as a whole might be known as Rainbow Canyon. That’s a
guess on my part. There was a ranch house with a sign out
front that read Rainbow Ranch. There were some buildings, farm
equipment and a dirt bike track. At the end of the 4 mile
drive from the T in the road we reached the destination. Ron
had told his kids we would stop by the train tunnel they had been to
before to put coins on the track and let the train flatten them.
The tunnel was large enough for the train track and a side area for
trucks to drive through even with the train there. We drove
from one end of the tunnel to the other and parked the trucks just
outside the other end.
Ron helping the kids to go to the top of the tunnel.
We got out to check out the entrance of the 1226’ long tunnel.
It had 1911 in the concrete at the top on the left and 1931 in the
concrete at the top on the right. I assume that is the time
required to build the tunnel but don’t know for sure what the
numbers mean. Window and I went up the side of the tunnel
entrance on the left side. I had to give Window a push to get
up there. Everyone else went up the right side of the tunnel
entrance and we all met at the top. We walked around at the
top and found a large area that seemed to be caving in although there
was no apparent damage to the tunnel on the inside. Ron
started making his way back down to the train tracks helping Randy
along the way when a train came along. I took some pictures
from the top as the train passed underneath and into the tunnel.
Then I gave Lynne the end of Window’s leash so she would not follow
and scurried down to the tracks to get a picture of the train going
into the tunnel. I just made it in time to get a picture of
the last car going into the tunnel. I went back up to get Window
and we all made our way back down to the train tracks, hung out for
a while then drove back to the other side of the tunnel and parked
A view of a train on the tracks with our trucks parked close by.
Last train car dissapearing into the tunnel.
I just had to climb it!
Ron and Randy enjoying the tracks.
Window, posing by the tunnel.
Picture of the bridge for the train, taken from the meadow.
Pretty intense laying this close to a moving train.
From where we parked it was a few hundred feet to a bridge for the
train tacks. We started walking toward the bridge and the kids
placed some coins on the tracks. We made it across the bridge
and very shortly we heard the whistle of another train. We got
off to the side of the track on a steep area of gravel. When
the train came by, Window took off down the gravel away from the
noise of the train. She was trying to get away from that train
so hard she was dragging me down the hill with her. I managed
to get her under control and took the leash to Ron so I could lay my
head near the train going by to take a picture. After the
train went by we went back across the bridge to gather the squished
While the kids finished gathering coins the meadow like
area on the other side of the tracks from where we parked caught my
eye. I took window down there with me to play around in it.
We got on a huge rock to sit for a few minutes and then headed back
to the trucks through some thick green grass.
Window, posing in the meadow.
From the Tunnel area we drove back toward the T in the road.
Just past the T was the Elgin School house and another building
next to it. These looked as though they were still kept up.
Found a reference on the internet to the school house being restored
and now open as a museum (see the link above to Elgin Nevada).
I drove over to take a couple pictures of the School House then went
back to where Ron and Lynne were looking at the map. We got
onto Highway 317 which dead ends here in Elgin and drove north about
20 miles to Caliente.
Elgin School House.
The drive to Caliente was awesomely scenic. The road winds through a
huge canyon and has houses spread out along the way. There are
more than a dozen train tunnels going through the sides of the
canyon. This area would make for some good photography if one
wanted to take the time to hang out there. One house seemed to
be on pedestals and was built in 3 sections. This is an area I
would love to have a house in just to hang out there from time to
is a small town. Not sure of the population but the town is
still very much alive, in contrast to Elgin. Highway 317 ends
at Caliente where we got on Highway 93 North bound. We drove
through and noted we would stop here on the way back for some food.
About 6 miles out of Caliente we turned right (South East) onto a
road that would take us to Beaver Dam State Park.
House built in 3 sections on pedestals.
A look down one of the main streets in Caliente Nevada.
Gage sleeping in my passenger seat.
A mile or so after turning on the road to Beaver Dam the pavement
ends and once again we are on dirt! Along the way we passed
quite a few dirt bike riders. The area had gotten some rain
recently. The road had large sections that were nothing but
mud. We had some fun in these mud patches. Ron told me
over the CB I might want to consider 4 wheel drive at this point.
I got my self to a solid patch of ground, got out and locked in the
hubs. Wow what a difference! The road became more and
more muddy. It was a blast getting
through this stuff! Step on the gas and start sliding around.
There were a few times I was traveling almost completely side ways
for about 30 or 40 feet. This was a blast. I found out
later that cleaning it off the underside of my Blazer is not near as
much fun. :)
We all stopped to take some pictures of a double rainbow in the
noticed that you could see the end of the rainbow across the valley.
Then we noticed that you could see the other end of the rain bow
near us. It seemed to be only a few hundred feet away. I
gave Ron my camera and told him to direct me into position where it
would look like I was
in the end of the rainbow. I took off running for my
destination. The further I ran the more the rainbow seemed to
fade. This was not surprising since a rainbow is just a
reflection so I would have to depend on Ron to direct me since only
he would be able to see what the camera could see. As I ran it started to rain. I turned to Ron
and held my hands up as if to ask which way I should go. He
pointed me in a direction and I took off. It started raining
harder and harder and the rainbow was going away even more. I
turned a second time to Ron and noticed that clouds had moved in
front of the sun. Guess that explains part of the fading
rainbow. At this point it was raining very hard and there was
no sun to make a rainbow. Ron got in my truck and drove up the
road toward me and I got in to be driven back to the other trucks.
Talk about bad timing. I ran off for a picture and came back
with no picture and looked like a soaked rat. We all laughed
about it and tried to decide if we should head back or continue to
Beaver Damn State Park. It was getting late but we decided to
continue since we were pretty close.
My Blazer with Window inside and a Double Rainbow in the background.
Here I am soaked after running after the rainbow.
The last portion of the road toward Beaver was kind of a steep, down
hill grade and was very muddy. When we got to the Beaver
Dam Camping area we stopped. All of us were expressing concern
over being able to make it back up the muddy hill. We all thought
we may not make it out. We stopped to check out some cool rock
formations to the side of the road.
I had to pee, so off I went to my own little corner to do so.
As I was pissing I turned back to yell to everyone that they had to
check out the area I was looking at when I was done. When I
turned back around I noticed Window on the other side of me and
thought to my self, “she couldn’t have made it there before I
started peeing”. As I looked at her back I had to laugh.
She had walked under my stream of urine and had a wet stripe
almost right down the center of her back. Not a pleasant sight
but very funny.
Our trucks at Beaver Dam State Park.
Cool looking rock formations at Beaver Dam State Park.
Window, exploring the rock formations.
We all hiked around the cool rocks for a few minutes then
decided to try to make it back up the muddy hill. We were all
surprised we made it with no problems. The tires did their fair
share of spinning, but no one got stuck. By this time the sun
was almost down and it was getting dark. With it being dark
and mud flying all over your windshield it was next to impossible to
see the road at times. Ron had it the worse I think.
Something about his Blazer was just slinging tons of mud all over
itself. After making it out of the muddy roads again we headed
back toward Caliente.
In Caliente we stopped to fill up with gas. While there we
used the squeegee to clean our windows. The next guy to use
this squeegee would most likely not be happy with what he found.
The water left in the squeegee bin was like very thin mud.
Then we went next door to the fast food place. We all ate and
decided on the route back home. It was getting late and I had
to work the next morning, so we
decided on a route that would get Lynne and I back to Vegas a bit
We would head back down the 317 to Kane Springs Road and stay on
that until we reached the 93. I bought some extra food for
window and gave her that along with the leftovers from the kid’s
Ron's Blazer, covered in mud while refueling.
Randy (upper left), Luke (me), Ron, Ryan, Gage, and Lynne eating in Caliente.
On our way out of Caliente we passed our turn for the 317 and stayed
n the 93. After a few miles we decided to turn around and head
back. The canyon from Caliente to Elgin along the 317 looked
almost as nice at night as it did in the day time. After
reaching the 93 we headed south and Ron turned off on the 168 to go
home (Logandale). Lynne stopped a few miles up to look for her
cell phone thinking she might have dropped it when we got out to
talk at the junction of the 93 and Kane Springs Road. I pulled
over to see what the problem was. She found it in her truck
and we went on back toward Las Vegas.
I got home that night at 11:45pm, unloaded the truck, took a shower
and was ready for bed at 12:30am. Then I remembered I had to
set my clock ahead an hour for time change, so it was now 1:30am and
I had to be up for work in the morning at 6:30am. I was going
to be tired but it was worth it. Awesome trip and although the
roads were well graded the mud made me feel like I got the Blazer
broke in right.