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We joined a group of friends and some off-road racing legends for a "Raptor-ing" adventure of a lifetime. To get yourself caught up on our Raptor adventure, read


The sun already bright in the sky, our Ford Raptor group hauled suitcases down the eerie stairs of the Mizpah Hotel. Some of us had obviously slept better than others. If you had read Day 2 of this Raptor series, you would know about the Mizpah; a historic hotel on route of the BITD Vegas to Reno races that was built in 1907, located in Tonopah, CA and haunted by The Lady In Red. Several in our group were pretty unlucky to learn they were in the most haunted room of this hotel. They didn’t sleep much. Something about finding writing on their shower steamed mirror. Needless to say, the group was anxious to be wheels-up.

We lined up our trucks for a group photo in front of the Historic Tonopah Mining Park located a quarter mile behind our hotel, turned on our OnX Off-Road App and set off on the day’s adventure. We began our route by heading west immediately onto dirt toward Fish Lake Valley, Nevada.

As we winded our way alternating through washes and graded dirt roads, we climbed our way over and thru the nearby mountains between Red Mountain Peak and Rhyolite Ridge overlooking the Silver Peak Nevada Lithium Operations. Many elevation changes allowed our Raptors a chance to show their performance through these technical sections. They proved ready for any type of terrain and before we knew it, we were up and over in a flash.

As we continued west and descended upon the valley below, we were hit in the face with every color of the rainbow. Fish Lake Valley’s trail sections were fast with medium to soft lefts and rights and a few scattered full throttle jumps (a BAJA FORGED favorite!) big enough to lift all four wheels keeping the Raptors running smooth at speed and in control.

Our lunch break was nothing short of amazing. Our chase support team followed us via the highway, met us at the hot springs and were ready for our arrival. Motorhomes with snacks, restrooms, shade, tables, chairs and floaties for anyone who dared to enter the very hot springs in the triple-digit summer heat. Beware, this specific hot springs is clothing optional. Luckily for us, we were the only ones brave enough to retreat here on such a hot day.

After some grub and sunbathing, we loaded back up and hit the road connecting to US-6 towards Bodie, California. If you have never been, GO! Bodie State Historic Park will leave you with clear visions of the old west. Not too far from US-395/CA-270, head east approx. 10 miles to the end of the pavement and continue on 3 miles of rough dirt roads. Bodie offers self-guided tours of the this genuine California gold-mining ghost town. We walked the deserted streets on a town that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people. A small part of the town survives in a preserved state of “arrested decay”. Interiors can be seen with personal items and goods as they were left.

After an hour of exploring Bodie (which was not enough time), we loaded back up and headed to our hotel in June Lake, CA for some R&R and two nights in this beautiful lakeside village found in the Eastern Sierras; the mountain views welcoming the tired families and promising a cool mountain escape. Within three days we’ve seen the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, Rhyolite ghost town, China Ranch, Ash Meadows, Tonopah, Big Dune, Gold Point ghost town, Goldfield International Car Forest, Easter Sierra mountain tops, Yucca forests and hundreds of miles of dirt. So far, it has indeed been a Raptor-ing trip of a lifetime.

Stay tuned for DAY 4 & 5 in the RAPTORS HAVE ALL THE FUN series. We will explore Mono Lake and take some time to do some vehicle maintenance in June Lake with a little trout fishing in the mix. Hope you enjoy this series and that it inspires you to go out and seek adventure on paths less traveled!

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Happy Trails,

Words and Photos: Coelette Chenier

Sources: National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Wikipedia


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