2017 April Trip FC Roundup Research Archives

To Top

Wednesday March 29th: Ending on Top of the World

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Ann photographing the “top of the world”, at least it felt like that to us.

On Wednesday, our last day on the road this trip, we drove from Elko, Nevada, to Pasco, Washington.


Wednesday’s trip home from Elko, Nevada.

We began the day with a free breakfast courtesy of Stockmen’s Hotel and Casino. But, what I was really looking forward to was “second-breakfast” at the B. J. Bull Bakery, which specializes in pasties and pies. The Yelpers out there rated them highly and, given they sell some cold (so they can be reheated later), I figured it was an opportune time to try them, given the shop was a block away from our hotel.

On our way out of town, we pulled into the parking lot. We walked inside and found a small shop, with tables and an eating bar that allowed eating-in or taking-out. The menu was split between the pasties and the pies (which I thought would be pastie shaped, but instead were a normal pie shape).


B. J. Bull’s menu.

The menu shows several beef options, but there was a chicken & rice option and a special chile/pork one that looked delicious. All the pasties on the menu were available warm and ready to eat. There were also leftovers from the day before that were a dollar less and cooled (ideal for taking home).


Example of pastie from yelp.

I decided to get a warmed breakfast pastie and then several cold ones to try when we got home. I also purchased a small and large pie to take home. Our purchase complete, we stepped outside and wasted no time biting into the breakfast pastie … “second breakfast” never tasted so good. It was filled with scrambled eggs, potatoes, and chunks of Jimmy Dean sausage. Importantly, the mixture was just moist enough not to be dry, but not moist enough to make the dough wet, which would have quickly devolve into a mess. Continue reading

To Top

Tuesday March 28: Great Basin Cherries and Alien Cat Houses

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

2017-03-28-armagosy-aliens2On Tuesday, we drove from Pahrump to Elko, Nevada. Most of today’s trip had us driving through the Great Basin Desert, a high altitude area dotted with mountain ranges (we were at 5000 ft plus after leaving Pahrump).


The previous evening, Monday night, we were at the Golden Nugget Casino, Pahrump’s finest(?) spot for high rollers. We are not high rollers by any stretch, but they still let us stay for cheap. Frankly, the online reviews of the place were just okay, which had me a little worried, but we enjoyed ourselves (clean, quiet rooms and cheap, but good food). In fact, our room had one of the highest volume shower heads we’ve encountered on any of our travels. We felt a few pangs of guilt letting so much water pour over us as we took our showers, but it felt so good!

We woke up Tuesday morning to glorious blue skies. Knowing we’d be traveling long stretches without gas, we topped off the tank with gasoline and the cooler with some drinks, then began our trek north.

2017-03-28-pahrump-davidDriving along Highway 160, I noticed a sign for some fresh cherries at a place called the Cherry Patch. As Ann knows, I’m not one for eating cherries, but I like other kinds of fruit.

“Doesn’t that sound like a good idea, to have some fresh fruit?” I asked her.
“No, you don’t like cherries,” she said with a deadpan response.
“True,” I said, “but maybe they’ll have something else?”
“All they have are cherries and you don’t get to have any of those kinds of cherries …”

That’s when it dawned on me that those folks weren’t selling cherries or any other kind of fruit at all! Clearly, we had entered a different world.

Soon, Highway 160 gave way to US 95. We began following that until we spotted a convenience store with aliens.


Inside the store i took some photos with the locals:2017-03-28-armagosy-aliens

Next to it was another business, one that sold some kind of alien cat houses, but I didn’t look too closely as I was focused on the aliens. Yet, I wondered just how alien cat houses differed from regular cat houses. The answer was beyond me, soI decided I should investigate it, but Ann assured me that, just like the cherries at the Cherry Patch, I wasn’t going to find alien cats at the Alien Cathouse.

That’s when, upon closer inspection, I noticed the word “brothel” at the bottom. Ohhhhh.


Even stranger, right next door to the Alien businesses was the world’s largest firecracker. But, I’m pretty sure we’d seen the world’s largest firecracker in New Mexico and it was bigger than this one. Southwestern Nevada has got me confused.


Leaving the alien world, cat women and fireworks behind, we made our way north on US 95. We had decided on this trip to avoid Death Valley. We are saving it for when Scotty’s Castle gets rebuilt.

After some time, we landed in the struggling town of Toponah, probably most famous these days for it’s creepy Clown Motel.



I was quickly distracted from the motel by this early wagon, which was right next door:

2017-03-28-tonopah-wagon1 2017-03-28-tonopah-wagon2

On our way back through town, we spotted a couple neat sculptures:

2017-03-28-tonopah-scupture2 2017-03-28-tonopah-scupture2-1

And farther down:2017-03-28-tonopah-scupture1

We also ran across this Tesla refueling station. I guess it is design to fuel all the Tesla’s that drive through this remote town???

We left Tonopah, then turned north on Highway 376, a remote road that took us past a series of open pit mines in central Nevada. The scenery was stark, but beautiful. After an hour and a half, we arrived at Highway 50, considered the loneliest road in the nation.


At the intersection of 376 and 50 is a billboard claiming that the town of Austin, Nevada, was this incredible place with SO MUCH TO DO. With a sign like that, shouldn’t we give Austin a visit?
2017-03-28-austinWell, we went, we saw, and we concluded that the remote town of Austin, nestled amongst some hills, felt like a ghost town that a few people hadn’t gotten around to leaving yet.

So, we whipped around and drove east on Highway 50. Another hour and a half later, we arrived at Eureka, billed as “the friendliest town on the loneliest highway”. For me, the town has a family connection, as Eureka is where my great great grandfather, working with Otto Hahn, developed strategies for smelting lead-silver on a chemical basis, which they summarized for an 1871 paper titled “The Smelting of Argentiferous Ores”. It was a ground breaking paper in its time (In case anyone is curious, you can read it here by turning to page 91 of this document).

As we drove around Eureka, we found it a fairly vibrant town compared to others (Tonopah and Austin come to mind). There was even a new grocery store. We soon happened upon a museum. Since it was open, we went inside. The museum’s volunteer was indeed friendly and helpful.

The museum was established in a former newspaper building. When the former owners of the newspaper exited town, they left behind all the equipment inside the build! This was great for the budding museum.




Done with Eureka, we began our drive north on Highway 278, following the same valley the stage from Eureka to Palisade used to ferry people from the Transcontinental Railroad to Eureka between 1869 and 1875. I happen to have a letter written by Rossiter Raymond that explained one particularly awful stage coach ride he took with my great great grandfather. Raymond wrote on September 2nd, 1872: “We had a disagreeable ride last night—nine inside, plus a baby, and among the nine a quarrelsome man and a seasick woman. Eilers and I tried it outside half the night, but the drizzling rain drove us in. Feeling rather played out, I have resolved to go, with Eilers, to San Francisco, and take Virginia City on the way back.”

Fortunately, Ann and I had just two inside. Even better, we could travel at 70 mph rather than 10 mph (or less). What we did in an hour and a half would have taken them ten long hours at least. A grueling stage ride for sure. Yet, the landscape they covered has changed little in the last 145 years; the valley would have looked to them pretty near as it did to us. That’s how unsettled that region of the country feels.

Despite the comparatively few deprivations we endured during the day, we were still relieved when we arrived at our destination, the Stockmen’s Hotel and Casino in Elko, Nevada.


On Wednesday we’ll likely drive all the way back to Pasco.



To Top

Monday March 27th: Storage Joy

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

UPDATE: The connectivity is poor, so just a few updates today.


Just not something you see everyday, unless you go to Alien Beef Jerky in Baker, California every day!

On Monday we drove from Palm Springs, California,  to Pahrump, Nevada, via Riverside. Our goal was to save two sets of DJ front axles in the hopes that someone could use them.


On Monday we drove from Palm Springs to Pahrump via Riverside.

We started the morning in Palm Springs. The night in our Extended Stay room was cheap, but nice. The view in the morning of the Santa Rosa mountains was just stunning. It’s not hard to see why Palm Springs became a popular destination to escape the LA basin.


Panoramic photo from the Extended Stay’s grounds.

Our first objective was to meet Jim in Riverside to pickup a set of DJ-3A axles. My biggest worry was that they wouldn’t fit in the back of the jeep, but then serendipity in the form of Paul Dubois, an eWillys reader and a regular at the FC Roundup, came when he offered to store them if I couldn’t pick pile them into the jeep (he lives in Riverside — Thanks Paul! … Spoiler, I got them in).

We met Jim in the morning at his storage locker. As the door slid up, it was clear that DJ axles weren’t the only thing he had. After we made a deal on the axles (anyone need one??), he began picking through the parts, then held up a set of never-used Buick V6 headers. Well, I did need a set for Biscuit. He cut me a great deal at $100 — one heck of a great buy. Then I bought a couple more parts. Next thing I knew, he was tossing some free parts at me, hoping I could find them a home. So, I tossed a can Blaster Dry Lube courtesy of the Blaster Corp. (A sponsor of Alaska Or Rust). I told Jim I would do my best to find the free parts homes and I’ll list them when I get home.



Continue reading

To Top

Sunday March 26th: A Military Jeep Kinda Day

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

Climbing on Weasels at military shows is allowed, right?? But, Ann said it was a good idea!

Today was another great day of jeeps!

We began the day at Hotel Hovel (aka the Vacation Inn, a run down former Days Inn). It was neither the cleanest nor the best maintained place we’d ever stayed (peeling bathroom paint, linoleum glue stains on the walls, and caulk filling holes throughout), but, to its credit and despite our concerns, it turned out to be a very quiet place to stay. so, we weren’t sorry to say goodbye.


We began in Phoenix, drove to Mesa, then to Sun City, and finally to Palm Springs.

Our morning objective was the Southwest Military Transport show, organized by the Arizona Historical Military Transport Association. It’s President, until yesterday, was none other than our beloved Joe-in-Mesa aka Joe Snodgrass. His reign over the association came to an end in a coup or vote or something like that (or maybe he said he’d finished his term …). So, on Sunday, he had the time to show us around and meet some of the people from his friends. It was greatly appreciated!

The first thing I saw when we walked in the gate were a couple columns of military jeeps.

2017-03-26-smts1I didn’t realize just how many jeeps would be there, so that was a wonderful surprise! The earliest I saw was a slat grille.

There were MBs, GPWs, and at least one Higgins reconditioned jeep, too.


Continue reading

To Top

Saturday March 25th: 2017 FC Roundup Pics and Video

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

The 2017 FC Roundup group photo

Thanks once again to Jesse and Andrea for treating all of us to another great FC Roundup. This year the Roundup was dedicated to Dan Horenberger, who passed away last November.

The weather was a perfect 80 degrees, not too hot and not too cold. Despite the perfect day, we didn’t get going all that quickly. And, when we finally made it to the event, I realized I’d forgotten my badge, so back to the hotel I dashed. While away, I put Ann to work photographs:


“Marilyn” made her first trip to Phoenix.


Mark’s love machine seems to get the women’s attention (so he tells me). It’s his daily driver. Note the rare Husky hubs.


It’s hard not to photograph the FCs.


I’m not sure why all the red-colored FCs were in the middle.


This one polished up nicely.

Continue reading

To Top

Friday March 24th: Yep, I Know Who Wrote That

• CATEGORIES: FC150-FC170-M677 • TAGS: .



Jason’s tour jeep parked in front of the Grand Canyon University Restaurant

Our travels southward were finally rewarded yesterday with a gloriously beautiful, cloudless sky with temperatures in the high 70s. It was a perfect day for traveling from Kingman to Phoenix.

Our trip from Kingman to Phoenix with a stop in Wickenburg.

Our trip from Kingman to Phoenix with a stop in Wickenburg.

Of all the routes we’ve taken on our drives to Phoenix, one of the most obvious, Highway 93, we’d yet to undertake. I thought it would be a flat, dry, dusty drive, but it turned out to be filled with rolling hills of sage, cactus, and (due to the time of year) colorful flowers.

Our one stop of the day was in Wickenburg. I did zero research on the town, instead letting serendipity guide us. By following the signs, we quickly found ourselves in old town, a delightful place with a cowboy vibe its citizens embrace.


An example of the western theme seen around town.

One of the first things we saw we mistook, at first, for a homeless man perched on the ground. Unsure if he was real or not, we made our way over to what was soon obviously a sculpture. It turns out that due to a lack of funds, Wickenburg didn’t have a jail during its early years, so anyone needing a jail cell found themselves chained to a tree until their sentence was complete.

2017-03-24-wickenburg3 2017-03-24-wickenburg4

There was even a audio presentation, which provided some great background on the “Jail Tree”. It’s a nicely done work.

Next we walked a block to a second sculpture that celebrated an upstanding Wickenburg citizen named Everett Bowman and recognized his mule training prowess, among other accomplishments.


With Ann slow going, we decided to skip exploring town and instead check out the downtown museum, a well regarded (on Yelp) place called the Desert Caballeros Western Museum.

The museum was $12, but active military get in free (the Air Force will never fully release her). That’s a price we could work with. Inside, there was the usual western history showing pioneer history. The two photos below were from this collection: http://www.boydranch.org/western-museum/



Naturally, of all the things that caught my eye, the mining section drew me in the most. One sign really interested me. It claimed that in 1871 a US House of Representatives report noted that Wickenburg was “the Most Important District in Arizona”.


When I saw the date, I guessed right away who wrote that phrase: my great great grandfather Anton Eilers. Because of my research on SLAG, I knew he’d been in Arizona in 1870 and published his findings in the Spring of 1871. This called for some research ….

When I returned to our hotel yesterday evening I pulled up the report he and Rossiter Raymond produced for 1870. On page 259 the first sentence jumped out:


It was very satisfying to be able to identify Anton’s handiwork. Anton later mentioned that while the mine proved important in comparison with the rest of Arizona, the territory wasn’t producing all that much gold. Conflicts with the Apaches coupled with a lack of water and no railroad retarded the development of mining in Arizona for years…..

The Desert Caballeros proved to be an interesting museum. And, I bet on a hot day, it’s a wonderfully cool retreat for a few hours. If you are nearby, check it out sometime.

With the museum completed, we ate lunch and drove to Phoenix. We soon arrived at Jesse and Andrea’s house, where we caught up with everyone. Later, we headed out to dinner at the Grand Canyon University Restaurant in a train of FCs. It was quite a site to see the FCs parked in the circle near the main doors:


That’s it for this report. Tomorrow I’ll have many more pics of the FCs.


To Top

Thursday March 23rd: Fire, Water and Santa

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Ann and I with Lake Mead behind us. It’s great to see her feeling better and traveling again.

On Tuesday, we made a long drive to Salt Lake City where we enjoyed dinner with my kids.  Unfortunately, we are so out of the practice of traveling that we forgot to take ANY photos!

On Wednesday, we made a short drive to Mesquite, Nevada, where we spent the night at a remodeled hotel called the Rising Star Sports Ranch, a place with a sports theme and without a bar or casino. it was cheap, but nice, so I was fine with that. I did NO work; instead we enjoyed an evening together. However, we did make this video which documents a robot that comes to your door to deliver food and drinks from the hotel’s concession. The delivery charge was $3, but Ann was so excited, it was worth the cost.

On Thursday, we traveled from Mesquite, Nevada, to Kingman, Arizona. We began our morning driving south on I-15. When we approached Nevada State Highway 169, we turned south.


Thursday’s drive from Mesquite to Kingman.

Highway 169 turned out to be a beautiful drive. One of the first things of interest we encountered was this Rooster themed bar in the Moapa Valley area.


Moapa Valley gave way to red rock, short grass, sage brush, and long views toward Lake Mead. We were all alone was we slowly followed the highway toward our first stop of the day: Valley of Fire State Park. I’d planned to stop in here last year as we drove south down Nevada, but we ran out of time.


You’ll note that our red jeep Henry was retired in favor of this ??? colored Jeep (we still aren’t sure what color it is — maybe purple, maybe dark blue, has some metaflakes). We call her Dolores, after the main character in Westworld (the new HBO show about robots that become sentient). Dolores is a roving hotspot, capable of sending messages to us or to her creator, the Jeep Corp. Kinda troublesome really.

Continue reading