Posts tagged Untitled Offroad
UO Goes to (watch) the Races!

As a bit of a last minute Canada Day plan a few of us decided to head up to Alix and the Tail Creek Raceway to watch the Pro TCR Canada Day 100 that one of our members was driving co-pilot in. It ended up being Ryan & Julie-Anne, Leanne, Nick, Pam, and David & Elaine watching the big show. Sadly Ty's transmission had too many problems to do anything but start the race. We listened as the engine roared in first gear to take them across the start and gain their points and then we proceeded to catch the rest of the race. It was a pretty epic day. Good luck next time Ty and Rick (E-Mortal Customs)

Thanks for checking out the photos. For more on our experience at the race and more photos click HERE.

Canadian Badlands

Beautiful drive out. The weather hadn't quite turned the corner but the clouds were moving in the sky and the roads were sparsely populated. Made good time out to Drumheller. On the way stopped off at Horseshoe Canyon. I had definitely arrived before the tourist season had begun. The parking lot at Horseshoe was closed (as were the outhouses unfortunately). Parking in the overflow parking lot, Max (my tripawd blue heeler) and I went to go check out the Canyon.

Horseshoe Canyon in the Canadian Badlands just SW of Drumheller - Photo Taken with an iPhone

Horseshoe Canyon in the Canadian Badlands just SW of Drumheller - Photo Taken with an iPhone

I hadn't been out to Drum in a couple of years, but looking at that view ... I knew I had made the right choice on where to check out on my shakedown run. Explored a bit around the top of the Canyon. There are trails that descend down into the coulee but considering that the parking lot was closed, decided to check out some of the surrounding gravel roads to see if there was some other views.

Just off the gravel road on the eastern edge of Horseshoe Canyon

Just off the gravel road on the eastern edge of Horseshoe Canyon

Found a spot around the other side of the Canyon and pulled just off the road to try and get a nice poser shot of the 'Cruiser. Since there was no cattle around for Max to chase, I let her out of the truck to run around and she wanted to pose as well.

Max, our three legged blue heeler, sitting in the grass on the edge of Horseshoe Canyon

Max, our three legged blue heeler, sitting in the grass on the edge of Horseshoe Canyon

Took a couple minutes to soak up the view and let Max run around. Got back into the 'Cruiser and headed into town. I've always like the drive into Drumheller. If you've never done it before I took a video to capture it. It's just a 20 second clip but it doesn't convey the previous hour and a half of driving along the prairies and then finally dropping down into the Red River Coulee.

As this wasn't exactly a planned trip, thought I'd head over to the big dinosaur and decide where to go next. If you're not familiar with Drumheller, a little backstory might be needed. Drumheller is dinosaur country. Also Passion Play country but let's forget that for now. Back in 1884, Joe Tyrell stumbled on some dinosaur bones. The pile of bones he discovered would be later called the Albertosaurus and they ended up building a museum to hold all the fossils and dino bones collected in the area. The Royal Tyrell Museum. Sounds impressive and it is a pretty nice museum but it was closed. So I didn't head there. I went to the World's Largest Dinosaur ...

World's Largest Dinosaur - Photo Taken with an iPhone

World's Largest Dinosaur - Photo Taken with an iPhone

Fun little roadside attraction built to cash in on those summer tourist dollars. I didn't come in the summer and I realized after a closed Horseshoe Canyon that I should probably check to see what was actually open at this time of year. Turns out not much is open at the crack of spring in the Canadian Badlands. Heading north to the museum is a beautiful drive but the museum itself would be closed. Also I wasn't sure if the ferry would be open. Decided to head southeast. There are a lot of outdoor roadside style attractions that way, that even if not open might make for a pretty good chance to take a photo. So I grabbed some old liquid dinosaur bones (gasoline) as a 'souvenir' and set off.

One of the only things that was open at this time of year was the 'Last Chance Saloon' and I planned to stop in there for lunch but it didn't open that day 'till noon. Needed to kill some time and on the way was the Star Mine Suspension Bridge. Hadn't been there since grade school, so decided to check it out. Originally constructed in 1931 for the Star Mine workers, it was rebuilt in 1958 by the Alberta gov't as yet another roadside attraction. Highlights the colourful history of Alberta coal mining for the tourists such as myself.

Star Mine Suspension Bridge - Photo via Wikipedia

Star Mine Suspension Bridge - Photo via Wikipedia

Max came with me across the bridge ... well until about the half way point at which time I realized what a shit dog owner I am. The bridge consists of metal grating and my pup being the stubborn and stoic dog that she is walked out without a whimper or complaint. However, when I looked down at my poor three legged dog, realized I probably shouldn't subject her to more of the bridge. Did get a nice iphone photo of her though.

From the deck of the Star Mine Suspension Bridge looking across the Red Deer River to the North side. Maxine is being chill. - Photo Taken with an iPhone

From the deck of the Star Mine Suspension Bridge looking across the Red Deer River to the North side. Maxine is being chill. - Photo Taken with an iPhone

So after trying to torture my dog, headed to the "ghost town" of Wayne. Getting to Wayne is a nice drive over a bunch of single lane bridges over the meandering Rosebud River. Didn't count them as I went but they call it the '11 Bridges to Wayne' so I'm guessing there are at least that many. Wayne used to be a bustling community of miners but in the early 20th century the coal started runnin' out in the valley and the town shrunk to almost nothing. Feel like "ghost town" isn't entirely accurate, it seems like a very nice hamlet or collection of cottages. Now amalgamated into the City of Drumheller.

The historic Rosedeer Hotel and Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, AB - Photo Taken with an iPhone

The historic Rosedeer Hotel and Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, AB - Photo Taken with an iPhone

Also in Wayne is the Last Chance Saloon. Touted as the oldest bar in Alberta. Nestled into the Rosebud River Coulee it's a pretty awesome little restaurant with the friendliest people running the place. Willing to bend your ear about the history of the place. As I ate, was also given a chance to browse through a photo album with pics from back when Wayne was a mining metropolis. The food was good and the beer was cold. Perfect.

Inside the Last Chance Saloon - Photo Taken with an iPhone

Inside the Last Chance Saloon - Photo Taken with an iPhone

After eating, headed out on the road south to see the rest of the Rosebud River Valley. Unfortunately the road didn't continue much further down that way and eventually I turned around and headed back across all them bridges to the Hoodoo trail. Which, if you thought there was Hoodoos along that trail, you were right!

The Drumheller Hoodoos

The Drumheller Hoodoos

These are just off the highway. If you've never seen them before, I'd suggest giving them a look while you're in the area. Wouldn't make a trip JUST to see the hoodoos however. Fond memories as a child but after being to Moab and seeing the hoodoos and rock formations there I have to say it is a little underwhelming. Still a nice spot for a hike to check them out and they've added a bunch of interpretive stuff since the last time I had been.

Atlas Mine - Closed for the Season

Atlas Mine - Closed for the Season

Next up was Atlas Mine. They've created a museum of sorts at the abandoned mine (closed of course) and it's a pretty cool little spot to check out. The last remaining wooden coal triple in Canada is here and at 7 stories is pretty impressive. Atlas was the last of over a hundred coal mines in the area and I'll have to come back and check out the site when it's open.

The dilapidated Dorothy grain elevator - Photo taken with an iPhone

The dilapidated Dorothy grain elevator - Photo taken with an iPhone

Was winding down. Thought I'd check out the "ghost town" of Dorothy. Should've explored it more but at least I got this shot of the grain elevator there. Don't think this thing it'll be around much longer. There are a few other buildings in town including two old churches. I'll be adding this to this list of places I need to check out a little better, next time I'm through the area.

After that, called it a day and headed home. Took my time however and tried to take as many backroads as possible. This province of Alberta is pretty beautiful from end to end. From the northern forests to the arid badlands in the southeast. From the west and the eastern slope of the Canadian Rockies, across the foothills and down into the prairies of the east. Alberta is home.

Country Roads

Country Roads

Ruby Falls - December 2016

With the year coming to a close, my last trip out to Ruby not being entirely successful, and as well this being my last trip before I take off from Canada for January, Jason and myself set off to view the falls one last time this past Sunday. We both had been monitoring the ambient temperatures from Robb, which throughout the week showed a consistent temperature for Sunday as -20 C without a wind chill. Come Saturday evening, we decided it was still a go, and we would bring extra gear should we need it. 

Morning meet up was at 6 AM, and as per usual Jason was ready and waiting even earlier. I made it in to the meeting place (Tim Hortons), ordered a coffee and some food, and then we were off down the highway to Edson. Once in Edson we topped off the tanks, and set out as planned. I noted -20 C exactly all the way in and around to the air down spot, though the wind cut that down even further dramatically.

The trunk road was in great condition, and we managed a decent time down it to the trail head. The trail head showed a couple of older tracks from a quad or two, but that was it. Snow was enough to cover everything, but only around a foot deep overall. The river was fairly frozen, though a couple of open water spots were visible which was crazy as the area has seen the same deep freeze we've been experiencing for quite some time.

Noel Jones 4runner - Photo by Noel

Noel Jones 4runner - Photo by Noel

Going along the river sections proved to be a challenge as I was running off memory as I still have not got around to logging a GPS map for the main trail. Add in the fact that we were ,making fresh tracks, on an all white canvas, with no references, it was easy to end up going along the wrong way up the (frozen) river only to discover the proper route later on. Some of the established crossings even had to be "bypassed" as there was open water on them resulting in large (tall) ice shelves that I did not feel like breaking into. I tested most questionable crossings on foot, just to be sure. This area is typically muskeg and deep to the left, with a relatively shallow and easy path where I'm walking. The yellow spots were slushy, with everything else frozen solid around them. No breakthroughs here.

Checking the Depth - Photo by Jason

Checking the Depth - Photo by Jason

The weather changed from cloudy, to light snow, to sun peaking through the clouds throughout the trip up. With all the white and grey, pictures were unfortunately a little boring overall. Still, there were some that ended up alright.

Jason's Tacoma on the Way to Ruby Falls - Photo by Noel

Jason's Tacoma on the Way to Ruby Falls - Photo by Noel

Kings of the Hill - Photo by Noel

Kings of the Hill - Photo by Noel

Things were going really well, and after driving over one of the few deeper river crossings (headlight level on a 33" tire 2-3" lift Tacoma), I kept pushing forwards over the last one. right at this point I was telling my passenger how I had slightly sunk ion this exact spot a few summers earlier, resulting in me having to strip the interior of the truck and air it all out. And how it was nice that everything was frozen and I wouldn't have to worry about mud getting everywhere etc. And literally as I finished the sentence, at 3/4 of the way across, the front end drops through the ice and I'm stuck spinning all 4 wheels. 

Breaking Through - Photo by Jason

Breaking Through - Photo by Jason

Dipping the Toes In - Photo by Jason

Dipping the Toes In - Photo by Jason

Fairly minor, as I know this hole is a lot deeper than what I am experiencing. But I was mostly upset that my front end was now about to become a muddy ball of ice. And later on mud. Boooooooo! A quick pull with a kinetic rope (Bubba) coupled to a heavier tow strap to create some distance to avoid 2 trucks being on the ice, and I was out and lining up through the bypass.

Getting Strapped Up - Photo by Jason

Getting Strapped Up - Photo by Jason

A quick blast through the bypass (which is getting pretty aggressive as time goes on) and we were at the falls. Parking is where the tables are, you need to walk the remaining distance to keep the area nice (though I've noticed less ATV's are doing this). The walk is less than 2 minutes.

In the Shadows - Photo by Noel

In the Shadows - Photo by Noel

The falls look amazing frozen. I prefer seeing them like this myself.

Ruby Falls - Photo by Noel

Ruby Falls - Photo by Noel

Trail Dog Loving the Snow - Photo by Noel

Trail Dog Loving the Snow - Photo by Noel

Ruby Falls - Photo by Noel

Ruby Falls - Photo by Noel

The drive home was pretty uneventful, no surprises! Except one small one. On a few of the high speed straights I was bottoming out hard on some really small bumps! This was odd as coming in they were really smooth. A quick inspection revealed that I ad ice buildup on my frame that resulted in my bump stops being a 1/2" from the frame! Pretty much zero up travel. I had a pry bar that I chipped the ice off with, and all was well again.

Round trip was exactly 12 hrs from my doorstep, including fuel etc. Not bad time at all, especially in comparison to my last outing which was 18 hrs and not making it to the falls.

by Noel Jones - UO Contributor

New Forum Background

Our forum users have probably noticed our new forum background by now. If you haven't, what are you waiting for? Click Here (or on the Forum menu item). What you may not know is a little of the history behind both our forum background and the new picture we're using.

The forum started in late 2014 as a soft launch or beta and officially launched on January 1st of 2015. We wanted to give our site a distinctive look and we did that with a very epic picture of some BC mountains by Addison Rickaby.

This picture served us very well and is still available to be viewed on the main site.

We've noticed over our existence that we've got some amazing photographers on the site. We wanted to give our users the chance to showcase their work somehow. What better way to have a change to the image people see most while using the forum. The forum background image. So we held a contest and after two heavy rounds of voting we picked a winner.

So without further ado, our new forum image comes to us from Matt Bayrak (or just Bayrak on the forums).

The photo was taken near the end of last summer, in September. My friend Mat Bearchell (Blue Tacoma) and I were originally doing a scouting mission for areas on the island, as many are usually gated and locked due to logging activity. The weather driving out was misty and we though we would get caught in the fog and not able to see anything except things in out immediate vicinity. We were traveling along the far west coast from Victoria to the Jordan river area ... The road was quite overgrown, and I experienced what people call BC PIn Striping for the first time. After traveling for a few hours through the thick brush and fog, we met up with a road in better condition (side brush was trimmed back) and we followed it as it started to gain elevation. As we climbed the fog began to thin. A few twists and turns later, we popped out into this cut block, above the clouds, just in time to catch the sun setting, producing this golden moment.
— Matt Bayrak

Big thanks to Matt for the use of the photo and sharing the great story that goes with it. Thanks to all who participated in our photo contest and keep your ear to the ground for the next one. 

Dangerous Recovery

During the week, another RMO member and I went out to try out his new RZR. When I pulled up to the McLean Creek Campers Centre (read - General Store), I was approached by two gentlemen that had gotten themselves stuck. They needed a recovery and they didn't have a cell phone signal and couldn't give a shout out back to town to get someone to come and help them. So they bought a tow rope from the store and waited to see if anyone drove by that could help them.

Luckily we weren't on any sort of timeline and we were able to get them unstuck pretty easily. That's not the point however. The reason for all the backstory on such a simple recovery is because it illustrates a number of problems that led these two gentlemen into their predicament.

First, they were both out in a single vehicle. Of course this breaks a pretty major rule of adventuring in the backcountry in and of itself but there are ways to minimize the risk when you're doing so.

Second, they didn't have any recovery gear or secondary communications. This is where things really broke down for them. IF you are going to go and explore the backcountry on your own, you need to be self sufficient or at the very least be able to communicate back to your home base in case you need assistance.

Third, after getting back to the camper's centre, they attempted to do the right thing and purchased themselves some "recovery" equipment. That way they could flag someone down and not have to worry if the good samaritan had their own recovery gear. Unfortunately it was a tow rope, not a recovery rope or strap. Though the strap was rated for close to the weight of the vehicle needing to be recovered, it was completely under sized for the weight of the combined vehicles and the dynamic forces that might need to be applied. Even worse than this ... the strap had metal hooks on either end. So if/when the hooks fail, a dangerous projectile gets added to the mix.

Fourth and probably most importantly, a lack of education was evident in that they did not know they had made the previous three mistakes. Don't mean to say that they were ignorant ... we all make mistakes. Just a little bit more knowledge couldn't have hurt.

As luck would have it, everything turned out okay. They didn't get stuck far from the road, they were able to catch a ride to the store, someone came along that was willing to help and that person had their own recovery gear, knew how to use it and they didn't need to use their tow rope. The point, after all that, is to say that if any one of those things had turned out differently, so too would the outcome.

Stay safe out on the trail.

The Forum got Tapatalk!

Here at Untitled Offroad, we want to make sure that everyone is able to use the community in the way that suits them best. We believe that the forum is best viewed in it's native format, on a 100" 4k UHDTV on a yacht. We realize that's not always possible and, while the main site and the forum scale pretty nicely onto all manner of other (and smaller) devices, it's nice to have options on how you view forum content.

With that in mind, we've installed Tapatalk onto the forums. Tapatalk is an app that removes almost all of the formatting from the forum and provides the forum content in a very concise manner. For some phones for instance, you might find it easier to read and post to the forum using Tapatalk than the native web browser format. Now you have the option. Try both and see which you prefer.

After installing, you'll need to start a Tapatalk account. Once you're through all that, search for Untitled Offroad. Use your forum login and you're done. Play around, try reading threads, posting new content and the let us know what ya think. If you have any insight or comments, please post / respond in the Tapatalk thread on the forum; here. If installing Tapatalk on the forum has wrecked something for you, please post / respond in the Vent.