Timing is everything in an expedition. Just two hours after Land Rover Expedition America, a 5000-mile transcontinental dirt drive across the USA, left Utah, the trail used by the Land Rover team was washed away by a swollen river running head-height and at over 20 miles an hour. The flood was the product of an intense storm that was close the expedition near Salina, UT.
“That would have been impossible to cross and we would have lost at least a day, maybe more, waiting it out,” said Expedition Leader Tom Collins after images of the flood were shown to Collins by two Nevada motorcyclists riding the Trans-America Trail, the route along which LREA is driving.
The expedition is now in Nevada and about to briefly cross into the north-easternmost corner of California before entering Oregon, the final state on this month-long odyssey. The route runs close to the Black Rock Desert location where the first supersonic Land Speed Record was set by a British team in 1997.
The trails are cloaked in a carpet of white dust, like talcum powder. Regular cleaning of the car’s air filters is an important part of the ritual to keep the Land Rover expedition vehicles running at peak efficiency. It is a harsh but beautiful land to test the vehicles and the crews. In the sagebrush undergrowth, under a 105-degree sun, rattlesnakes and desert tarantulas lurk.
In the 1800′s prospectors flocked here to make their fortune. In Eureka, Nevada, five hours north of Las Vegas, the boom of the 1800s brought a population of 10,000 and lavish luxuries such as an opera house, which still stands proudly. Renovated, this opera house does not echo to the sounds of arias very often these days. The current population of the town is just 600. But to celebrate Land Rover Expedition America, Land Rover brought Los Angeles opera singer Nicolette to town to put on an intimate concert for the town.
“I have sung at Carnegie Hall in New York, but this has to be the most unique venue I have sung at,” she said after her performance.
Pressing onwards, the convoy will continue through the remote parts of southeast Oregon and then arrive at the Pacific Ocean outside of North Bend, OR in three to four days.