Total Chaos Fabrcation

2009 LOCOS MOCOS Nevada 1000 Adventure

The 2009 Nevada trip was the 9th annual running of this fun spring off road event planned by Troy Robinson, aka Buffet. This year there were a total of 10 “TOTAL CHAOS” equipped Toyota’s and 1 lone Jeep (the parents had nothing better to do and Short Bus is no ordinary Jeep). Each made at least a portion of the 650 mile off-road journey from Bakersfield, CA to Gardnerville, NV while criss crossing mountain ranges and the CA/NV state line.

Day 1 – Thursday afternoon, five of us assembled in Bakersfield, to start our trek over the Tehachapi’s via Rancheria road. With 25 off road miles under the belt and just 3 miles from the pavement there was a serious SNAFU up ahead. A locked gate that was impassable! Some of the group wanted to drive around the gate, via a very steep mountain, but those with rational minds and over 30 years of age vehemently opposed this risky idea. So our only option was a reroute. Looking at the GPS and several maps, we find what looks like a nice easy route to Hwy 14. In reality this was a gnarly Rubicon style downhill that dropped over 2000 feet in just under 4 miles. Talk about adventure! But wait, it wasn’t over. Lamont was the first to hit the bottom of the canyon, only to radio to the rest of the group that there’s another impassable locked gate! *&*&^%%*** What now? Well lucky for us, Lamont was only joking. Whew!

However, this two hour delay forced us to take a detour onto the pavement on Hwy 14. After a few plus miles on asphalt, it was time to hit the dirt again. This time we off road into the El Paso Mountains and visit the eclectic Bickel Camp and impressive Schmidt’s Tunnel which are both in the Last Chance Canyon. After touring here, and hitting another gnarly rode on the way out, we roll into Ridgecrest just before 9:00pm. Those on a budget elect to stay at the Motel 6. The rest head over to the Best Western. Upon hearing about a cockroach in the bathtub at the Motel 6, those of us pitching out extra money for the Best Western didn’t feel so bad!

Day 1 carnage: 1 flat tire and an overheating 4runner (not Buffet’s)

Day 2 – All 11 trucks met up at 8:00am in Ridgecrest. After trying to fix the overheating 4runner and leaving an hour off schedule (much to Buffet’s dismay), we head off to Death Valley via Goler Wash and up to Barker Ranch, the infamous Charles Manson Compound. Turns out we would be one of the last people to see the Manson’s hideout as just three days later the cabin was gutted by fire. Was that Mama’s Boy I saw smoking a cigarette? Hmmm. After a lunch stop at the ranch, we motored past Geologist Cabin, Stripped Butte and West Side Road then up to Furnace Creek for gas. A quick stop at the Rangers Station to buy the National Park Pass and we were all taken aback when one of the Rangers starts heading to the ragtag group of prerunners. Was someone speeding? Did someone throw something out the window? After some sweating, we were all relieved to find out the Ranger just wanted to get a closer look at the awesome off road vehicles. He proceeds to walk away with a TOTAL CHAOS catalog. You’re welcome Nicole & Matt! Next a short liaison to the trailhead of Titus Canyon for the 26 mile beautiful drive through the box canyon. The final destination of the day – Gold Point Ghost Town. We roll in 2 hours late at just after 7:00pm. Sheriff Stone of Gold Point hosted us with tent sites, cabin rentals, spirits, a wonderful steak dinner, and mayhap a few ghosts? To the dismay of the other women on the trip, Buffet and family get the only rental with running water!

Day 2 carnage: We continued running hot in the 4runner and a few plugged tires.

Day 3 – We awoke to a brisk, cold air greeting. We headed out of Gold Point and into Goldfield for gas. Only one problem – the one and only gas station is closed! Oops, apparently they are only closed on Saturdays, and it’s Saturday. After rounding the troops, and discussing our options, the owner of the gas station (who lives onsite) reluctantly lets all 11 prerunners fill up. It’s now 10:00am and the owner is in his bathrobe – we apparently woke him up. So after gassing up, it was time for more off-road adventures. This time we find ourselves running with a heard of wild horses! The horses and colts run up the road with us until we hit the summit. We then take a short detour to Nivloc Ghost Town for some exploring and picture taking in this abandoned mining camp. More summits and derbing as we head up the back side of the White Mountains for the final ascent to 10,000 feet. After some hill climbing (or perhaps better termed mountain climbing) we descend into Benton Hot Springs for the night. This beautiful bed and breakfast hot spring resort also has RV and tent camping with private tubs behind the main house. It was very nice and very relaxing after a rough day of off roading. Of course if you can imagine a hot spring tub full of the Locos Mocos gang – not a pretty site! Thankfully there were a few wives and children tagging along so it wasn’t too ominous.

Day 3 carnage: more plugged tires, broken muffler, carb 2wd couldn’t make the climb up White Mountain and was rerouted only to receive a speeding ticket on the highway

Day 4 – our final day and we were off for that “bad-ass road around Mono Lake” as we continued north. Stopping for lunch along the river for some fishing and snake viewing (to the excitement of my 3 year old son) we finally hit the pavement about 2:00pm. The odometer readings: off-road of 650 miles, 1000 total round trip from Sacramento.

Day 4 carnage: A broken shock mount thanks for Courtney (aka Heidi Steele).

A couple of tips for those interested in doing their own off-road trip. 1. If you get behind some scooters that are towing a trailer, PASS them. They never look in their mirrors. 2. Speed limit on dirt is 35 miles an hour even though there are no signs stating that. So if you get pulled over by the police because you have been going over 35 miles on a dirt road, and are now on the highway, don’t be surprised if you get a ticket. Apparently we have it from Minion that they might let the 80 miles an hour slide on highway, but not speeding on dirt roads. And how long have we been off roading? New to us. 3. Never promise to let your wife drive your prerunner unless you are OKAY with her breaking it! 4. Kids LOVE prerunners!!!

And on a personal note, I’d like to say goodbye to my 4runner – you gave us some good runs! And now hello to my new 2005 Tacoma fully stocked with TOTAL CHAOS. NV Trip 2010 here we come!

I had to “sit” out this years trip. Actually had to lay on my back the whole time they had fun. I wadded myself up pretty good on the dirt bike in March and broke my back. Looks like its going to be a LONG summer with no cool off road trips. Mentally its agonizing! 

TC successfully tested 2 new IFS systems this year during this adventure and will be offering these items to the public very soon. A new 84-95 2wd dual shock long travel kit with heim upper control arms, & our 96-04 Tacoma stock length dual shock system. Both systems were flawless and of course all the other rigs tackled the terrain without self inflicted damage. Jerry’s kid, whats with all the flats? Minion, speeding ticket in the dirt, thanks for taking one for the TEAM. Get a 4wd and you can go where we go . I know M-Chaos Matt had the Tacoma on 2 wheels at one point. And I heard Buffet cleared some trail in one very noticeable corner. Glad it was another success and I CANT WAIT for the 10 year trip!!! See you in the DIRT…

Buttons, Buffet & N-Chaos

Photos courtesy of /  Elliot Strickler


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