Monday, March 14, 2011

Road Maps

I have always loved to take a desert road that heads off to some unknown destination just to see what interesting things are just over the next hill.  Nevada has thousands of miles of just such dirt roads.  Some are no more than a wash but they are still reflected as little blue dashes heading somewhere.  I love looking at the topographical map of Nevada.  You know the huge map book that has Nevada divided up into 71 or 72 separate squares.  The map that 1" equals 4 miles. This weekend was just such a Nevada adventure.

Page 65 on my map book followed state highway 375 that runs through Rachel, also know as the extraterrestrial highway and the closest public highway to the infamous area 51.  I wanted to see the site on the map called Tempiute, which I presumed was a ghost town or some past mining effort. The road that headed up into the mountains was a solid line road rather than blue dashes.  The key stated this was a MAJOR ROAD.  The only problem is that in Nevada there are very few road signs, so when I saw the mileage marker that said that the town of Rachel was 20 miles I knew I must be close to my turn off.  I use a real exact and precise measuring tool when exploring... the size of my index finger and middle finger together looks pretty close to one inch to me, so when I measured 5 of these finger lengths from the Rachel back down the line that represents highway 375, I knew that this must be the right road.  So because we are true Nevada explorers...we took it. 

It was a great road heading into the mountains.  We found great places to bring the trailer in the future and go camping.  Just shortly after we got on the road, we passed by a truck that appeared to be driven by a local rancher, complete with a cow pony tied up in the bed of his truck.  We waved as we passed by. We had a wonderful picnic lunch and so about 3:00 in the afternoon we decided to pack it up and continue on.  We headed up further into the mountains, all the time I'm following along our trail on my trusted map.  Completely isolated from anyone we are surprised to find that we are being followed by the same rancher we had passed hours earlier. 

Brad prefers technology so he always brings along some sort of electronic contraption to fight and be frustrated over. No matter what the item is, it never fits properly in the dashboard holder and is always flying out and falling on the floor at the worst moments. This time he brought his hand held Garmin GPS thing that has the 3 x 3 inch screen that I can never figure out.  As we are driving, Brad keeps mentioning that the road we are on is called the Cold Springs Road and that there is a road up a head called the Mail Summit Road..all the valley and mountain names that he keeps blurting out are no where to be found on my map.  As it gets closer to 5:00 I'm getting pretty frustrated because I'm not exactly sure where we are or where to go to get back to the highway.  True explorers would never want to turn around and travel a road they had just been over.  Where is the thrill of discovery in that?

At about 5:30 I decide to flip the page over to page 66 in my map book.  Boy was I shocked to find Cold Springs Road.  I'm so lost that I'm not even on the right page and now I can see we are heading off into the vast emptiness of the Nevada core.  Well at least now that I know what page I'm on I can develop a plan to get us back to some pavement.  We chose to take the Mail Summit Road to Highway 318 just North of Hiko.  We travel 15-20 miles when low and behold we meet a truck on a especially curvy portion of the road.  Would you believe that it is the same rancher that we had seen twice before is now traveling the opposite direction.  He has lost the horse and added a trailer.  Amazing that we would run across this man 3 times in our travels that day.

We breathed a sigh of relief when the highway came into sight.  While I don't like not knowing where I am exactly, I can't help but compare that same lost feeling to so many lives.  We had all the right tools at our disposal.  Detailed maps and electronic gadgets but we weren't using them correctly.  We have the same tool available in the Bible.  In there we have a detailed road map for our lives.  We can learn how to handle our finances, our relationships and how to live a life full of peace and joy.  It all depends on how you use the tool.  Are you guilty like I am so often of just picking it up on my way out the door to go to church or do you really depend on it and study your road map?  Is it part of your life or an object taking up room on the shelf?    I'm going to commit to reading my Father's map book on a regular basis so that I won't get lost when I have a trial or a temptation come my way.  What about you?

Desert Exploring

Awesome old windmill

Nevada is OPEN RANGE country

I wanted to show you some of my own unique Nevada artwork.  Painting scenes from this wonderful state is something very special.  You can check these out in close detail along with many of my other works at my website at  Leave me a comment below to let me know what you think.

Here are just a few:

A painting  I did of a ruin at Clifford  off Highway 6 between Tonopah and Warm Springs 
This is very near one of our favorite camping spots in Nevada.  We love to exploring this area and painting the ruins and desert scenery is something I love.  Check out more information and photos of Clifford by following this link:  Clifford Ghost Town

I call this piece "Casting out the Darkeness"
 There is absolutely something special about the sunrise and sunset in the desert.  I'm not sure what it is, but they are more beautiful than almost any place I have been.  I hope I captured this sunrise with this colorful piece.

"Doorway to the Past" is a piece meant to make you consider the strength of those that tried to make Nevada home.  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nevada Exploring

After a time I find that living in Las Vegas becomes smothering and I have to get out of town. I find myself pouring over the topographical map thinking about this road, ghost town or mountain. Today is just one of those days.  When church is over, I'm packing a quick picnic lunch and we're all loading into the Ford to go exploring.  I'm hoping to get some good exercise and new material to inspire some paintings.  Maybe we can find a great camping spot for future camping trips.  I'll probably find a pretty rock and with God's protection we will come home dusty, tired and sunburnt.