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Old 05-19-2008, 04:08 AM   #1
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Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area

My friend Don and I took my van out for a drive with a local group, Pacific Northwest Backroad Adventures, through the Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area* this weekend. I've been out exploring the local forest service roads and playing in the snow since bringing the van back from Fresno in November but this was my first "hardcore" 4x4 adventure with her.

I love where I live. Washington State, and the Northwest in general, are pretty amazing. The eastern half of Washington is desert. When you cross over the Cascades heading east the terrain and environment change pretty drastically as you cross into the rain shadow. An hour and a half east of home, for me, is a very different kind of place. That's a pretty nice thing come the middle of winter.

We spent the day driving through rolling hills and mountains, through coulee's and canyon's, cactus, sagebrush and plenty of little desert flowers. We went from about 1,000 feet, near the Columbia River, to over 4,500 feet. We didn't see tons of wildlife, but I was concentrating on driving. There were some elk and wild turkey. On the drive home over Snoqualmie Pass a Harrier jet flew beside us a couple hundred feet above the water as we drove along Lake Keechelus. It was a great day with an interesting group. I'm sure I'll do more trips with them. It's always nice going someplace new with someone who knows where they're going and what they're doing. Especially when it's a 20 or 30 mile hike out if something goes wrong.

I was really impressed with how well the van did over some fairly gnarly terrain. I've been impressed with how it's handled on the road all along. I was really impressed with how she did off road. She handled everything the Jeep's and Landcruiser's did with ease. She would have done even better if I hadn't underestimated where we were going and aired down and disconnected the front sway bar. I will next time. I just wish I'd gotten pictures of the rougher parts of the drive.

There's a post of our drive with the particulars on the groups forum.

* Technically I think it's called the Whiskey Dick Road Management Area which is part of the Colockum Wildlife Area. It's east of Ellensburg, Washington. It's definitely a place worth visit if you're in the area. Google Map













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Old 05-19-2008, 09:54 PM   #2
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Nice!

It was also useful to see the link to the PNBA forum. I'll start to look at it.

I just picked up my SMB in Fresno last week so we are looking for local spots to explore.

Thanks.

-Mark
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:58 PM   #3
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Congratulations, enjoy it. There's tons of places around here to explore.

Another good group is the Northwest Overland Society.

I'd be game to go back at some point this summer if you're interested. I can send you, I think, my GPS track from the trip if you want that. It'd be good a little slower camping somewhere a long the way as well.
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Old 05-20-2008, 06:43 PM   #4
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Mark -

Looks like they have a another trip planned for June 11th to another part of the Colockum Wilderness Area. Let me know if you're interested and I can forward the e-mail. It's not on the web site, it seems.

I should point out that some of the places we went in Whiskey Dick were pretty narrow. I had to stop and take the CB antenna off the roof at one point. I ended up with lots of pin stripping down the side from brush as well. Not in the paint itself, but in the two inches of dust I collected on the side of the van.

Pete
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Old 05-21-2008, 08:06 AM   #5
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Pete,

Thanks for the offer however we have made back to back plans starting now and running through September when the kids are back in school.

This was the summer for camping and we are planning to do a dot-to-dot connection of the National parks in the West

I think our more local exploration (Washington) will come in the fall but will be shorter windows.

It may be fun to try and see if there is interest in a Washington SMB meet and greet.

Thanks again.

-Mark
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:43 AM   #6
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Pete sounds like you had a good time. I got a reply to a article I wrote about our sportsmobile's for a friends auto web site from Steve B who writes for that group and does some great photography. I was hooked on their web site and keep up to date. I'll check it out today. If Im up that way it would be nice to team up with them.

3 Responses to “Sportsmobile - Not Your Standard RV”

Steve B on August 30th, 2007 8:46 am Great write up. I recently saw one of these vehicles first hand and of course, I wish I could have one. It would take me to 90% of the places I explore in comfort. I would have to spend a few more nights away from home if I was an owner.

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Old 05-21-2008, 12:12 PM   #7
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We would be up for a Washington SMB meet and greet. We should be picking up our new SMB end of next month.

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Old 05-21-2008, 01:34 PM   #8
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A meet and greet sounds like fun. Maybe someplace like the XXX (it's root beer and burgers) in Issaquah? They should have the parking for those that want to drive their vans.

And yeah, Dave, at least 90%. The biggest problem around here are the trees. Winding between them can be a little tough for our BBV's (Big Beautiful Vans).

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Old 05-21-2008, 01:49 PM   #9
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Started a thread for a meet and greet.
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Old 05-25-2008, 07:40 AM   #10
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Thanks for the pics and the info. I This is another area I would love to explore in the van. I took my wife over there a few years ago in August. We were riding two up on our motorcycle, full gear, and 115 degrees. She still wont let me forget how uncomfortable that was.


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