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 > Grand Canyon - via Lancaster, CA (Lance HQ) many pix

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btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 08/04/09 05:19pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Kind of reminds me of the "went to LA, via Omaha" song...

Well, I've been reading an awful lot of great trip reports here lately, and figured I need to contribute. I apologize in advance for so many pictures. One of these days I really need to sign up for an online site to house slideshows instead of using Tinypic.

I'm going to break this into several posts as there are a lot of pictures. That's part of why I dragged my feet on this long enough - it'll take awhile to do. So come back and visit over the next few days and I'll get this completed.

The plan:
We were signed up for a Grand canyon rafting trip since last summer. As the date grew nearer I decided that it would provide a great oppurtunity to go visit Lance in Lancaster CA to get some work done. I had a couple of 'structural' issues I wanted to be looked at by the mfg rather than a dealer. One, was the flex my front jack brackets had when fully extended, especially on any side slope. The brackets actually moved a bit (you could see a gap develop in the caulk and see the camper lean) and I also had a very small crack in the corner of the opening for the slide room. Of course, if we were going to drive all the way out there, we also wanted to get some additional custom work done (3 additional windows.) By the time we got there, we had created something of a laundry list of odds and ends that we wanted to get done as well. I'll get into the list a little more when I get to those pictures.

The trip was basically driving from home (near Denver) through Vegas, to Lancaster and drop off the camper. Then back to Vegas for the start of the GC trip. After taking out, I went solo back to Lance to pick up the camper, and then drove home via the south rim to get a few "above" pictures of the canyon.

The plan came to fruition with essentially no issues at all.

The morning after night #1 along the interstate in Utah. Re-taping that darn heiki hatch I never got around to fixing. Yes, it was on the list:
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Who says you can't see beuty from an interstate:
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Dropping off the camper at Lance (and left my blocks).
We went through the whole list, and they took careful notes. We talked about how there was no way they could call me with questions, so we had to make any decisions ahead of time. Overall they did an awesome job, with one exception on my service bay door/hinge issue. I'll talk about that a little later, but they probably should have replaced more parts then they did.....though decisions like that are hard when the owner is out of contact.
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The put-in at Lee's Ferry. The trip starts in Vegas, and they bus you to the put-in....and that actually took awhile. But the bus was a nice new Prevost, and they played some videos of the history of travel through the canyon.
The entire third bay was filled with beer. [emoticon]
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Loading up:
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The old and new Navajo bridges - last road crossing before Lake Mead & dam. The old one is now a footbridge. I didn't see Sleepy drive accross - I think I missed him by a few weeks...
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Smiles all around:
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Dropping into the first real rapid:
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Video of rapid

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The boats each hold 12 passengers and a couple of crew members...they are 38' long and have motors to allow you to do the whole 288 miles or so in 8 days.
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Vasey's Paradise:
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Redwall cavern - huge!
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View from up near some cliff dwellings (actually, graneries where they stored food)
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The rapids are of course pretty big, but nothing like they were back before the dam at Lake Powell. I think the water flow was something like 12,000 CFS, as compared to something like 120,000 CFS back in the day. Those people like Powell that did it in small wooden boats just amaze me. With the giant boats we were in, they seemed small and not very dangerous at all.
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This trip was composed of a lot of people that are geologists (including myself) so it was a lot of fun discussing the rocks and geology of what we were seeing. This shot is of the Bright Angel shale (the banded stuff), and it is overlain by travertine sloping to the right. I was amazed of how much of the canyon walls had extensive travertine deposits or travertine cemented sediments. The travertine is much much younger (basically "recent") and was formed where water dissolved limestones/calcite from higher up, and then when the water evaporated down lower it redeposited in the form of travertine. It's essentially the same process in caves.
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We did a lot of side hikes...this is up the Little Colorado River a little ways. Notice the travertine forming here.
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We put our life preservers on like diapers to protect your but from rocks, and floated down...but it did make it hard to keep your head up:
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floating the river vid
flaoting the river vid2

OK, enough for now - I'll continue downstream tomorrow. Hope the videos work - this is a first for me....

* This post was edited 08/06/09 09:40am by btggraphix *


2006 LanceMax 1191 - loaded and well-used
2005 C4500/Kodiak 4x4, GVWR 17,500


travelinglane

NH

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Posted: 08/04/09 06:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pics and neat videos. Sure hope that video camera was waterproof, as it looked like it took a dunking in the "floating the river" video!! [emoticon]

whazoo

Idahome

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Posted: 08/04/09 07:39pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Awesome pix there BTG, I was just about to pm you & see if you were going to post or not. Your rig is MONSTER! I've seen pix of it before but in the snow. It looks larger on pavement and a go-anywhere set-up. Except under that 12 foot bridge LOL! The videos worked but not well, took a few reloads, you might try youtube for those. (I don't know if that makes a diff or not, maybe it's my connection.) You must have a waterproof camera? What kind?? VERY COOL! You and your wife look like the guides, expert, cool in the rapids and chilllaxin to the max! I'll have a rum&coke ready for the next set of rapids tomorrow. I LOVE the GC!! Thanks for the pictures, there aren't all that many to worry about...I think. I could look at em all day. C YA...





btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 08/04/09 08:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks guys - yep, the camera used for the rapids and videos (except for the one in an uypcoming episode at Lava Falls where we got in position to wait for the other raft) was my Olympus - it is a drop-proof (to 6 ft) waterproof (to 10 ft) and freezeproof (to 10 degrees or something) camera I bought in a rush on the way to a world series game in 07 (my old trusty Nikon digital had died.) It's and Olympus Stylus 790SW. It doesn't take nearly as good a picture as my new Nikon Coolpix (or my older lower res Coolpix - Nikon seems to have such good lenses...) but it takes abuse pretty well.

Watching the vid at work seemed OK, but from home it does seem a bit iffy. The thing is, youtube is blocked at work so I can't even view vids there. I think tinypic's problem is they try to show all that other stuff and ads and such at the same time - slows it down. Anyway, success I guess - at least it worked! I like the ones that show the frozen image in the post, and when you click it plays....that is pretty cool.

It's fun to look through the photos again - it was a truly memorable trip. Something everyone should do at some point. My parents did it in about 1973 - and in spite of all the travelling they did over the years, mom says it was her favorite trip of all time.

More soon - down into the inner gorge......

mranger1911

Sitka, AK

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Posted: 08/04/09 08:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I love your rig. Ive always wanted to upgrade to a Kodiak. How do you like it?


06 F-350 PSD crew cab w/ 07 AF 990

btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 08/04/09 09:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks mranger - we like it a lot. It's different and not for everyone, but we are very very happy with it....

btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 08/04/09 09:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just another comment about this photo:
Vasey's Paradise:
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I meant to add in a quote from Powell from his journals....I actually read this quote from my book to the group on my raft - I wasn't sure if I would come off corny or not, but people seemed to dig it. And what with Silver-sand/dunes and her poetry, I figured I'd add it in... Powell had an incredible way with words - if you want a book to read to get the feel of the Grand Canyon, buy his journels. The trip they took was one of the most amazing feats of exploration in history. I put it right up there with Shackelton's expedition to attempt to reach the south pole. They took off from Green River Wyoming at the train trestle across the Green River, and rafted all of the canyons including the Grand all the way to just shy of Mexico and had basically little idea of what was actually there. Anyway, I digress....

Vasey's paradise, mile 34.7:

"Riding down a short distance, a beautiful view is presented. The river turns sharply to the east, and seems inclosed by a wall set with a million brialliant gems. What can it mean? Every eye is engaged, every one wonders. On coming nearer, we find fountains bursting from the rock, high overhead, and the spray in the sunshine forms, the gems, which bedeck the wall. The rocks below the fountain are covered with mosses, and ferns, and many beautiful flowering plants. We name it Vasey's Paradise, in honor of the botanist who travelled with us last year. (Powell 1875, p. 76)

* This post was edited 08/06/09 09:45am by btggraphix *

RenoAl

Reno, NV

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Posted: 08/04/09 10:21pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BTG,

I am jealous. I look forward to the next installments. My ole 1191 is starting to exhibit wobbly front jacks but it does not have nearly the pedigree of yours. I will be interested in your observations of Lance's work and responsiveness as I expect to do something similar with my rig a few years.

Couldn't resist.

Reno Al

[image]


2005 Dodge 3500 DRW:Firestone air bags w/ in dual cab control, Rancho 9000, Helwig sway bar, 55 gal fuel tank, cold air box
2005 Lance 1191: generator, TV, A/C, solar
Bayliner 19.5 Capri & 12 ft. Gregor
1965 TBird
Rosie the dog


btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 08/04/09 10:21pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OK, had a little time this evening to add some more.

Soon after leaving the junction of the Little Colorado River and the Colorado River, you enter into the inner gorge, where the oldest/deepest rocks are found in the canyon. The rocks are around 1.5 BILLION years old....Precambrian schists and granites (there is a also short section of precambrian sediments before you hit the 'hard rock' in some places.) Because the rock tends to be a lot harder than the younger sedimentary rocks, it tends to form a tighter/steeper walled canyon. I like the way it is described in that book of mine - outside the quotes, is the text of my book, inside the quotes are Powell's words:

One cannot help but wonder of the thoughts which went through the mind's of Powell's men as they left the pleasant wide open valley and entered into what must have seemed a dark, inhospitable section of the canton on a river they did not know. "We are three quarters of a mile in the depths of the earth, and the great river shrinks into insignificance, as it dashes its angry waves against the walls and cliffs, that rise to the world above; they are but puny ripples, and we but pigmies, running up and down the sands, or lost among the boulders. We have an unknwon distance yet to run; and unknown river yet to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not. Ah well! we may conjecture many things. The men talk as cheerfully as ever; jests are bandied about freely this morning; but to me the cheer is somber and the jests are ghastly. (powell, 1875, p. 80)

Wow....amazing words! I also ended up reading that quote as well, though after we actually hit the inner gorge - I missed the chance when we arrived here:

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We stopped at Phantom Ranch...which is very very old, and privately owned. This is a common take out point for some of the short trips. When my parents did this trip in 1973, they hiked out from here....though my mom still gripes they didn't take the burros. The ranch itself is about 1/2 mile from the river, and you can do a variety of trips including camping or staying in the cabins here. They have a payphone as well as burro-carried mail service. It was father's day...and though my dad passed away just a few years ago, I called my mom and my brother - the sibling with the kids - and sent them each a postcard via burro. It's pretty cool, you drop your mail in the saddle bag to be carried out by burro. It arrived just 3 or 4 days later. Those burros apparently made good time to Indiana!

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The foot/burro bridge at the Phantom Ranch take out:
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Dinner time. Typical dinner scene. The crew that ran the trip was amazing. We would form a fireline to unload all the gear, then would go off and find a spot for our cots and get setup. By the time we were done, they'd have appetizers going, and by the time that was done, dinner was served. We ate really really well - mostly dutch oven cooking, as well as grilled meat some nights.

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These cots were really cool. They folded up well, and had a mesh material so that sand slipped right through. Better than the army surplus cots I have used in the past:
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Very cool rafts. They had an aluminum frame. In the front were large storage bins where a lot of food and beer was stored. Under the pads seen below, were metal diamond plate plates that served as the table, and the tops of the storage. The dry bags were arranged around the edge of the deck, and could be sat upon. Behind that was a large box, and behind that more seating. The crew sat at the very back, where there was a well where the motor was. Very cool setup.
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Another short hike to Elves Chasm. You climbed into what was basically a cave, and up to where the creek flowed. You could then jump off into the pool below. You see my splash in the picture:
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Here's one of those shots that especially means a lot to geologists and others interested in the history of the earth. This is the "great unconformity" where the rocks below are about 1.5 billion years old (Precambrian), and the rocks above are less than 600 million (Cambrian) so my hand literally spans a difference of nearly a billion years of time. Pretty cool:
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Sunrise at camp:
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As much as you think of the GC as being a gnarly white water river, it is calm and quiet much of the time:
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Another side hike...this is Deer Creek Falls. We hiked up to above the level of the falls (to the height of the upper ledge in the picture), and then entered a tiny canyon well up above the water. It was so narrow you could not see the water below. After a distance, you came out on a little oasis of sorts.

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Back to the boats:
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A nice campsite called the ledges. The only drag is that above the river, on the rocks, the temperatures would stay very very warm late in the day. It was the hottest night of the trip. Fortunately, there was a good (and a little dangerous) spot to jump off and into the river. I am jumping from the same spot where our cot was setup. The current was pretty strong here, and you had to make it to the one spot in the background in the picture to climb out. If you missed it, you were in trouble. Also, if you didn't jump out far enough, you could smash your but on some undewater ledges, as at least one person found out. I am jumping from the highest of the whiter colored ledges...probably 25 fett up or so.
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This is where Havasu Creek comes in to the river. There is a traditional Havasupai settlement (called Supai) a long ways up river, that would be really cool to visit sometime.
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There is also a lot of wildlife to be seen. We saw quite a few Bighorn Sheep - though this guy looked away right as I took the photo:
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Lava Falls, mile 179. One of the most famous and biggest rapids in the river. Our boat was ahead of the other one, so we got to stop, hike to a good vantage point, and take pictures of the other group going through.
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Lava Falls video

I guess that is a good place to stop for the evening - and hope I don't loose all this text!

* This post was edited 08/06/09 11:04am by btggraphix *

btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 08/04/09 10:29pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RenoAl wrote:

BTG,

I am jealous. I look forward to the next installments. My ole 1191 is starting to exhibit wobbly front jacks but it does not have nearly the pedigree of yours. I will be interested in your observations of Lance's work and responsiveness as I expect to do something similar with my rig a few years.

Couldn't resist.

Reno Al


Oh dude - that is hysterical. My wife and I just laughed out loud for about a minute on that. I'm wondering what the GVW is on the raft. Do you think the RWP (raft weight police) will get after us? Would insurance cover me if something bad happened? Is there actually a law against this or is it only for 'commercial' rafts?

I like it...maybe the former owner, had he talked to you, could have avoided shipping the rig from Panama City to Lima, Peru...he could have floated it through the swamps!

I'll be showing pictures and commentary on Lance's work at the end - but I am very happy with what they did for the jack mounts.

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