I was in deep. With over 100+ hours of planning, logo design, t-shirt printing, morale patch ordering, packing the Jeep, getting a new radiator, and other items, organizing our group and stopping to breathe on occasion, the day of departure was finally here. We would be embarking on TNT2020, or The Trans-Nevada Trek 2020. My love for adventure and Overland Travel started when I was in the United States Navy in the mid ‘80’s to early ‘90’s. Where I traveled all over Europe, The Middle East, North Africa and the Caribbean. After my military service, I met a few fellow adventurers in Washington state and in 2005, we started The Northwest Overland Society. A community of adventure travelers whose spirit is for the love of overlanding.
Our Campaign Decal and Morale Patch - Click On Picture For Link To Webstore For Purchasing This Patch.
What was originally supposed to be a round trip expedition to Cabo San Lucas, BCS (Baja California Sur) from Tacoma, WA. with The Northwest Overland Society, was abruptly cancelled due to COVID-19. No non-essential drivers or vehicles would be crossing the border over to Mexico, for quite a while. So with that wind taken out of our proverbial sails, we pondered; What would be the next best thing? Minus the Sea of Cortez, or Pacific Baja coastline. NEVADA’s high desert.
This trip, The Trans-Nevada Trek 2020, would take us from Bend, OR down to The Alvord Desert in Southeast, OR. From there, we would make tracks across the Nevada high desert valley’s near Ely, Nevada where we would disperse camp for one night. The next day, our goal would be to make a short drive to Great Basin National Park near the town of Baker, NV. We would spend two days GBNP, exploring the peaks and trails in the area and experience the almost 5000 year old Bristlecone Pines. From GBNP, we would make our way back West to Winnemucca for a reset night at a local hotel. Winnemucca would send us off to the town of Lovelock, then up to Tunnel Camp Ghost Town for a haunted evening, up to Black Rock Desert then home.
The Route Across Nevada
Why Nevada? Why not? I was turned on to Nevada’s vast openness on my return trip to Washington from Overland Expo in 2014. As I drove up Nevada 95, passing by Creech AFB, up into Tonopah and Walker Lake, I was enamored with the landscape. So many dirt roads leading up to, who knows where? This trip was necessary and I was bound and determined to make it happen, if not for myself, to provide my community with a new experience.
2014 - When It All Began
Fast forward to July 17th, 2020; departure day. As I left Tacoma to meet up with the first half of our convoy down to Bend, OR, I was relieved I was finally on the road. Destined for my element, where I thrive - Out there! Zack, Chris, Kitt and myself left the South Puget Sound area and were heading to Bend, OR. to meet up with the other half of our expedition. If you have never been to Bend, OR. It will remind you of Flagstaff, AZ, Durango, CO or Whitefish, MT. where there is lot’s of culture, outdoorsy things, quaint pubs, restaurants and shops and of course, many opportunities to overland travel the labyrinth of trails across Oregon’s high desert.
Camp Night - 1: Prairie Campground, La Pine, OR
The group intersected at the Prairie Campground South of Bend in La Pine. As we drove up to see the others joining us on this trip, I can see the anticipation brewing in the group. Everyone had been cooped up for months following COVID-19 and with all the social distancing and such, a much needed break was in order. My navigator and co-pilot, James, whom I have known for almost 40 years, met us at the Prairie Campground and this was his first overland trip. When I saw him and his wife drive up in their Subaru, packed with more than what my Jeep JKU could carry, we had to have a little come to Jesus and did some thinning out. Much to his chagrin, but we sorted through the wants and must haves and were able to pack The Jeep successfully.
We finally got our camp setup, got some food in our bellies, had a few beers at the community campfire then got back to our tent to get some shut eye. We had a long driving day tomorrow, so rest was vital.