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Old 09-22-2016, 09:00 PM   #1
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got stuck on the Black Rock Playa in October

Hi every one, I have been following this forum for years now and finally decided to be more than just a lurker, Its time to start posting some of my adventurers, and what better way to start out than with a "look how bad i got stuck post".

so here we go, Its never smart to drive on the Nevada Black Rock Playa when theirs any chance of it being wet, we went out in October "Its always wet in October" . So with a well stocked sportsmobile and good phone reception, my dog Blue and I decided to venture out onto the Playa. Our plan was to cross over to Double hot hot springs a few miles across the lake bed. On our way we noticed a few stuck vehicles and decided to go investigate, see if we could help out any fellow travelers "SportsMobile to the Rescue". And that's were everything went bad, the other trucks are stuck for a reason "its wet and its clay" all occupants were long gone, minimum 12 mile walk. As i approached the first jeep still 100 yards away We sank fast, right down to the hubs, 4X4 was engaged from the beginning, now its time to test the ARB air lockers. They worked great............ and helped dig the van down further so now the diffs are in the mud.

We are now a beached 10,000lb land yacht with no sign of going any were any time soon and miles from the nearest town. Wahoo time for a beer, Waite theirs storm clouds coming in and if it rains we will be here for a month or more. so its time to dig, jack, pull and maybe even puff up the ARB air jack that i have wanted to test out for a few years. well bummer so much for using the air jack, compressor wont come on. (Discovered a lose connection on the breaker after getting home). Time to pull out the handyman jack and hand winch backwards connected to my 36" concrete stakes hammered into the ground through some very heavy chain links. This is when Blue dog looks at me with a very disappointed face knowing that the concrete stakes were re-appropriated for target stands and are not in the van. now we have no stakes to anchor to and no air to make lifting the van easy.

Time to start digging and after 3 hours of hand shoveling i had dug an 8"-12" trenches down to dry clay between the front and back tire and then back another 6' . every shovel full must be scraped off by foot because it is so sticky and weights about 25Lbs. I then dug under each tire and hammered firewood under the tire for grip then placed several peaces of wood in each trench to make more traction. this worked perfect and i was able to back out with enough speed to almost get stuck in another spot Free at last I followed my tracks back to the main road to Solder Meadows where i sat in the hot springs for most of the night happy that i was off the playa.

I have lived in Nevada for over 20 years, this climate is unforgiving and you must be prepared for everything. It can be 100F in the day and freezing at night. I went out knowing that i would probably get stuck, so i made sure that i had good phone reception and several friends on standby so if things went bad i could call and get rescued. I wanted to test my equipment and my problem solving skills which were both tested on this trip. I had enough food and water for several weeks and a full 51 gal of fuel. yet In Hindsight it was still a very bad idea to go out on the Playa this time of yea. If i had not dug my way out the first day there would have been no way to get the van out for a week or more because it rained that night making the playa impassable for weeks. Be careful with 4x4 it is no substitution for proper planing and commonsense.

lessons learned and good advice for any off hwy trip

1. Go with other vehicles if possible.
2. Inventory all recovery equipment and test on-bored tools before departing.
3. bring redundant simple tools, have more that one option my wench is always pointing the wrong way.

4.Bring enough food and water for self and dog to last minimum 14 days ration.

5. Fire wood or propane pit for fire, theirs not much to burn in a fire pit out here.

6. Tell People were your going, even on a day trip axels can break hoses can burst s#%t happens.

7. Lots of recovery tools, pull pall, stakes, chains and straps. my favorite tool is the black rat stach-um strap, you can slingshot a full size Dodge out of the sand and not even feel anything in your vehicle, much nicer on the vehicles also

8. Take more photos

Thank you for the awesome forum and please forgive my spelling and grammar.
Attached Thumbnails
90264675-B8C5-485F-9109-10FA3B7BDE25.jpg   35C735D4-3256-47F9-A1FF-C483AB69B565.jpg   IMG_3575.jpg   Hot Sprinks.jpg   Solder M.jpg  


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Old 09-22-2016, 10:13 PM   #2
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Wonderful post, thanks for sharing.
It's been years since I've been to the Black Rock Desert, love the hot springs on the other side, you have energized my desire to return.

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Old 09-22-2016, 10:46 PM   #3
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Check out this blog post (series) of a stuck overlander on the Playa I read a while ago. It looks like it can really suck you in.

Black Rock Desert, Getting Stuck in the Playa – June 1, 2016 (Day 1) | Robinson Fuso

Glad you made it out OK.

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Old 09-22-2016, 10:47 PM   #4
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Great story!! I admire your illumination on the ~dark side ~ of Sportsmobiling

Now how about a caption contest for your doggie pics? Lol
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Old 09-23-2016, 08:07 AM   #5
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Looks like fun!

Currently vanless. Weird.
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Old 09-23-2016, 09:39 AM   #6
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How could you think of going out there without recovery ramps like Maxtraxx or Treds??
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Old 09-23-2016, 10:00 AM   #7
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Awesome getting to read a story like this, thanks for sharing!
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Old 09-23-2016, 02:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jeffrey View Post
How could you think of going out there without recovery ramps like Maxtraxx or Treds??
you are 100% correct, I now have one of the old aluminum landing strip planks that will be cut down to size and in the van by this winter. I will do some testing with it soon.
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Old 09-23-2016, 02:36 PM   #9
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That machine looks even heavier, that must have cost a fortune i am grateful that my extraction went a bit smoother. I admire peoples creativity and will to succeed, Jeffry is spot on any vehicle with our ground presser should have some form of Maxxtrax ramps and a good list of phone numbers.
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Old 09-23-2016, 05:22 PM   #10
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I know what you are talking about. I did call my support team when I did a good stuck in NV and they just asked if I had my recovery gear and then went back to the couch. Ya I was out before they would have been half way and sure could have used that hot tub after. This is not playa but blow sand over lake muck at walker lake.

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