Borrego New Year's Quad Camp Trip

New Years with Friends

Trip Report 20121228-20130101

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The Experience

We were invited to join our dear friends Kai and Tina at their New Year's party in the desert.  Our usual location was close to the Borrego Sink and had plenty of trails for riding our quads, motorcycles and Rzr ATVs.

The photos below are what we saw.

The week before the trip the moon was nearly full.  I had recently purchased a used 300mm Canon lens with an obsolete mounting system (FD).  I had also found an adapter to allow use the FD lenses on my Olympus camera.  Above is the result.  Not too shabby for a fully manual lens.  The photo above was shot from my side yard on a clear night.

End of the year activities always include family and Jessica came over to help Kathleen with cooking.  They look so cute in their chef's coats.  Oh, and the food was good too.

Nice sunsets are a rarity in San Diego but while the girls were cooking I happened to look outside and noticed a nice sunset in progress.

As the sun continued to set, the colors deepened to purples and blues.

We packed and left for Borrego and on our first night there the moon was full.  Using the same Canon 300mm FD lens, I got the shot above.  It is interesting to note that a partial moon usually shows more detail than the full moon due to the uniform lighting.  The detail of the craters are only visible when they are have shadows.

Next morning our buddy Mark shows up with his 1300L.  Sadly, Mark has sold this truck and was driving it for the last time on this outing.    This truck is a veteran of multiple Altar Desert and Baja trips.

The new owner of Mark's truck intends to convert it into an expedition camper.

We borrowed Dan's Polaris Rzr side-by-side buggies again.  These are fast and very fun.

Our buddy Jay Couch came to join us from Denver with his U140 camper.  The camper compartment on the back is a Unimog 404 radio box.  These enclosures are robust and are the correct size.

This mog had seen duty as a BLM brush fire rig.

The nights were cold and we had rain that turned into snow on the high peaks surrounding our camp.  Toro Peak in the Santa Rosa range is over 8,000 feet and got a nice dusting of snow.

Just to the north of our camp in the sand hills is a reminder that one must be careful when doing off-road sports.

With the exception of one person, we had the whole area to ourselves.

Kai's son Parker rides Jay's Rokon 2wd motorcycle.  This is a very odd machine.

We brought our quads on this trip but Kathleen did not ride because she was recovering from a recent surgery.

Not all of the Rzr drivers were of equal skill.  One of the guys ran this Rzr into a sand bank and de-beaded the tire.

The solution is to use the winch on the other Rzr to tip the machine to allow a tire change.

Tipping with the winch cable eliminates the need for a jack and makes for easy tire changes.

Kai and Carl easily changed the tire.  The old tire is visible on the hill with the kids.

When we showed up at the campsite there was a homeless  fellow camped close by.  He had his dog with him and since it was cold at night, he attempted to get some sleep while it was warm during the day.

He carried his stuff on a cart and constructed a fire reflector out of discarded sheet metal.

Mark heads back home through the sand hills.

Jay's U140 with radio box makes a reasonable camping rig.  The truck is very capable and will easily hold 65mph on the highway.

Jay was having fuel delivery issues so he elected to change the fuel filter.  That resolved the problem.  Like Thor (my 1017A), you have to tilt the cab to access the fuel filter.

I had recently purchased a very wide angle fish-eye lens for my little Olympus camera and tested it for the first time with a shot of the stars.  The 30 second exposure above shows not only stars, but I captured a shooting star as well.  The body at the bottom of the photo is my shadow from the campfire projected on the nearby bushes.

Pointing the camera to the north, I took a 120 second exposure and was able to see the Milky Way.  A two minute exposure shows slurring due to the motion of the stars.  This is visible in the upper right of the photo above.

A attempted to capture star trails but discovered after uploading the photos to my laptop that the remote control unit was incorrectly programmed resulting in spaces in the trails.  The bright trail at the lower right is another shooting star.  Light trails from 2 planes are also visible.  The photo above is a composite of 10 4-minute exposures superimposed using a process called "stacking".

Once I discovered the programming issue with the remote control unit, I changed the program and re-setup the camera for another exposure.  But, during the exposure sequence the clouds were starting to cover the sky and the moon had risen providing almost-daytime lighting for this stack of 15 4-minute exposures.  Note the light trail from a plane about 1/4 of the way from the left edge.

We always enjoy our camps at the Borrego Sink area.  We call the location "El Dumpo" because it is close to the Borrego landfill.  But, the good news is that the landfill is far enough away to not have a downside.  This time the weather was just OK.  We had clouds and rain on several nights and it was cold, but there was really no wind.

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Copyright Bill Caid 2012.  All rights reserved.