All right! So here we are on our first All-Terrain Family group tour. With 13 rigs!
The crew. Photo by Steve Hamel
Our adventure begins on the edge of Winnemucca Dry Lake in Pershing County, Nevada.
First thing was to air down the tires for the day on the dirt. This isn’t strictly necessary for this route, but it does make the going a little smoother.
We had a diverse range of vehicles in the caravan from stock and modified 4Runners to Built Jeeps and Power Wagons and even a stock Nisan Frontier. All did great on this easy dirt road tour and some enjoyed some bonus rock crawling.
The kids enjoyed a quick romp around the rocks and sage brush while tires were aired down before we moved on across the wide valley.
Another reason to air down is the sand. If you keep your speed up you should be fine, but it is definitely possible to get stuck out here.
Our first stop was the MGL Mine Mill ruin.
The group exploring MGL Mine. Photo by Steve Hamel
Every time we stopped kids swarmed out over the rocky landscape and derelict objects looking for obstacles to climb and artifacts to discover only slowing down long enough for a boost from a parent as they ascend the crumbling structures.
We were stoked that all our new friends were down with the All-Terrain Family vibe which includes leisurely exploring, Lingering over historic and natural land marks and a proper lunch. It was great to meet and get to know new friends on such a beautiful day in Nevada.
From there the road continues north around the dry lake to where it heads up onto School Bus Canyon.
We climbed out of the valley on a shelf road into the steep canyon. The caravan spread out to avoid dust and made its way up the canyon at a measured pace. Shawn brought up the rear in the white Power Wagon and kept in communication with Brent at the front to keep the group on course. I would have participated in this coordination, but there seems to be something wrong with my CB antenna… Anyway, soon after entering canyon the terrain levels out and opens up to a flat spot that is home the eponymous school busses.
photo by Mike Henderson
How these busses came to rest here I can’t tell you. There’s no plaque or trail marker or kiosk detailing the provenance of these two fading yellow leviathans. The road in might have been better in the past, but you could certainly get a bus up there still today without too much difficulty if you had a mind to.
Still, none of the kids seemed to think it was strange to find such an artifact in so lonely a place. They walked through them. Climbed atop them. Swung on them like playground equipment. It’s something more than novelty. Or maybe less. Whatever the story of these busses and how they made their way down a rough dusty road to a place that didn’t yet have a name to be abandoned and abused and slowly dismantled and broken apart by later generations doesn’t really matter. Such things are not rare. The west is rich with metal ghosts as much out of place as they are out of time. Their value, if they have any, isn’t in their history as much as their fleeting existence. They are here for us to see them now. They’ll disappear one piece at a time, or just sink into the surroundings as he kids grow up remembering something so strange it can’t have been real.
After we were done with the school busses we headed up the canyon to see where the road leads. And you can follow us up there next time, on all-terrain family.
In the mean time, if you want to know where you can find one of these cool hats that let you wear your overlanding patches somewhere besides your headliner, head over to the #Patchhat page
School Bus Canyon GPS Tracks