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Old 09-16-2016, 12:38 AM #1
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Adventures of Megaweapon!

Here's my thread for Megaweapon's adventures and mods.



Above: Most recent photo of Megaweapon, taken 1/4/17.


History:
I had owned Isuzu Troopers for nearly 30 years before getting the 4Runner. My last Trooper was a 2001, and after 15 years of hard use it was getting pretty old and experiencing increasing failures, complicated by difficulty of getting parts. I donated it to the Salvation Army.


February 5, 2016: Purchased 4Runner Trail w/KDSS, with 1 mile on the odometer!

Build Details:

May 21, 2016: Upgraded the lift hatch struts in anticipation of putting on a Gobi ladder.
July 1, 2016: Added BudBuilt “rock sliders”.
July 8, 2016: Swapped out the stock tires for BFG KO2 all-terrain tires.
July 29, 2016: Removed stock rack and installed Gobi “no-rise” Stealth roof rack and ladder.
January 3, 2017: Added MetalTech front bumper; King coil over shocks; stronger rear springs; about 2” lift.
February 10, 2017: Replaced stock skids with RCI skids, including gas tank.
April 27, 2017: Finally had a filler plate made to fit between the bumper and front skid.
August 2, 2018: Added a 31" LED light bar to the front of the roof rack, and one 7" light bar on each side of the rack.
May 3, 2019: Replaced interior lights, license plate lights, and backup lights with brighter LEDs.



Trip Reports:

March 2016 Anza-Borrego Desert trip:
March 2016 Anza-Borrego Trip
My first off-road trip in the 4Runner -- two days and nights in the desert.


August 2016 Nevada/Mojave ghost town trip:
2016 Nevada-Mojave Trip


These are the places I visited on the 2016 trip:

Jasper Queen Mine, CA
Corona Mine, CA
Minnietta-Keystone Mine, CA
Lookout Mine, NV
Black Butte Mine, NV
Nevada Rand Mine, NV
Nevada Scheelite Mine, NV
Red Top Mine, NV
Nevada Quicksilver Mine, NV
Pershing Mine, NV
Beacon Hill Mine, NV
Boyer Ranch, NV
Chalk Mountain Mines, NV
Westgate Mill, NV
Ellsworth, NV
Vindicator Mine, NV
Ames Camp, NV
Cloverdale, NV
Goldfield, NV
Gold Point, NV
Minnietta, CA
Lead (aka Hughes) Mine, CA
Lookout City, CA
Ballarat, CA
Goler Canyon and Newman's Cabin, CA
Lotus Mine, CA

In addition to all these historic places, I also photographed some wildlife including hawks, antelope, burros, and a Great Basin rattlesnake (got some video of the snake).

Enjoy!

--------------

My July 2017 Nevada and Mojave trip, with pics and video:

2017 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Here's a list of the ghost towns, mines, and scenic places I visited in 2017:

Osdick Road Mines, CA
Osborne Camp, CA
Rainbow Hills, NV
Fish Lake Valley, NV
Sawtooth Ridge, NV
Gabbs, NV
Downeyville, NV
Hess Ranch, NV
Petersons Mill, NV
New Pass Mine and Mill, NV
McCoy Mine - Wild Horse District, NV
Home Station Well, NV
Dome Butte, NV
Stokes Castle - Austin, NV
Ruby Hill, NV
Belmont Mine, NV
Belmont Mill, NV
Hamilton, NV
Nevada Northern Railway Museum - Ely, NV
Taylor Mine, NV
Lake Valley Marsh, NV
Ely Valley Mine, NV
Pioche, NV - Mines
East Belmont, NV
Clayton Valley, NV - Lithium works
Bar Double 9 Ranch, NV
Mill Site Well, CA
Crater Sulfur Mine, CA
Cinder Mines, CA
Boulder Pass, CA
Castle Mine, CA


---------------------------------

Here's my 2018 Nevada and Mojave trip report with photos and videos:

2018 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Sites I visited on this trip include:

Nikolaus-Eureka Mine, CA
Belleville Mine and Mill, NV
Ophir Cabins, NV
Ophir, NV
Croesus Mine, NV
Eureka Tunnel, NV
Lane City, NV
Lucky Star Mine, NV
Ida May Mine, NV
Black Prince Mine, NV
Golden Eagle Mine, NV
Caselton Heights, NV
"Williams Hill" Mine, NV
"Lincoln" Mine, NV
Mendha Mine, NV
Indian Cove, NV
Cimarron Mine, NV
San Antonio Mine, NV
Potomac, NV
Lambertucci Roma Ranch, NV


.
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2016 silver Trail Edition w/KDSS; BudBuilt sliders w/full tread plate; upgraded rear hatch lift struts;
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King coil overs, upgraded springs, ~1.5" lift; RCI skid plates.
Megaweapon's build/adventure thread

Last edited by Ray Dunakin; 06-25-2019 at 11:37 PM. Reason: Edited to add the most recent mods and newer photo
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:38 PM #2
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Cool thread Ray. I took a look at your website. Let me know if you are ever exploring closer to Los Angeles and maybe I'll join you on the trail.
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:49 PM #3
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Thanks for sharing Ray. A very well done website. I've been through it several times now. I've done all of the mine sites that you show in Nevada north of Gold field - Good memories.
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Perfect vehicle as it stands for northern Nevada terrain. Keep it stock - it'll go most anywhere as is.
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Old 09-16-2016, 11:28 PM #4
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Thanks, guys!

I didn't make it to as many sites as I'd hoped this year.

I'd like to spend more time in the Dixie Valley area. There are a lot of abandoned ranches there, especially since the Navy bought out most of the residents back in the '80s so they could do supersonic flights through the valley. (Would have been cool to see some of that action too.) There are also some old mines and stuff in the mountains on either side of the valley.

I did get buzzed by a fighter jet at low altitude when I was in Panamint Valley. Seemed like he was only about 100 feet off the ground, came from behind and went right over my 4Runner as I was going down the road. That was pretty cool.

Another cool thing I saw was near Ellsworth -- there was a hawk chasing a golden eagle through the trees. Wish I could have gotten a photo or video of that!
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2016 silver Trail Edition w/KDSS; BudBuilt sliders w/full tread plate; upgraded rear hatch lift struts;
BFG KO2 265/70/17; Gobi "no-rise" Stealth rack w/ladder; MetalTech front bumper;
King coil overs, upgraded springs, ~1.5" lift; RCI skid plates.
Megaweapon's build/adventure thread

Last edited by Ray Dunakin; 09-16-2016 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 09-17-2016, 01:30 PM #5
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Yep; most of the ranch houses are still there in Dixie Valley. The Navy has blocked a few of the access roads though.. They practice with armored personnel carriers a bit up there. Almost all of the live bombing practice is done to the south of US50 in Fairview Valley.

The best mine exploring area is in Bernice Canyon - about 20 miles of very bad sandy road north east of the Dixie Valley ranches. There are about 8 different mine site up there. The road up the canyon gets a bit challenging in several spots (my rear bumper on the Land Rover was destroyed there). I haven't tried going back in the Toyota yet. Probably about half of the mines would take a bit of hiking to get to. I was there last about eight years ago.
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Perfect vehicle as it stands for northern Nevada terrain. Keep it stock - it'll go most anywhere as is.
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Old 09-17-2016, 01:35 PM #6
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Nice trip report...thanks for sharing!
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Old 11-23-2016, 02:14 AM #7
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Today my wife and I took a drive up to the mountains east of San Diego. Mostly pavement but did manage to squeeze in a brief side trip on a rough trail, which took us to our first stop, a secluded, former mining site tucked away in a canyon. There are a lot of trees here...







Cris collects teddy bears and brings one with her almost everywhere she goes:






Several years ago we had a small, live Christmas tree, and after the holidays we planted it at this site. It was only 2-3 feet tall, now it's at least 30 feet tall:




Here are a few photos on the way back to the highway:










To be continued in next post…
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2016 silver Trail Edition w/KDSS; BudBuilt sliders w/full tread plate; upgraded rear hatch lift struts;
BFG KO2 265/70/17; Gobi "no-rise" Stealth rack w/ladder; MetalTech front bumper;
King coil overs, upgraded springs, ~1.5" lift; RCI skid plates.
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Old 11-23-2016, 02:21 AM #8
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Part two…

Next we headed up Sunrise Highway, towards Mt. Laguna. I stopped along the way to get a few photos:









Then we stopped in at the Mt. Laguna Lodge:








Our next stop was at a scenic viewpoint overlooking the desert to the east:






Continued in next post...
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2016 silver Trail Edition w/KDSS; BudBuilt sliders w/full tread plate; upgraded rear hatch lift struts;
BFG KO2 265/70/17; Gobi "no-rise" Stealth rack w/ladder; MetalTech front bumper;
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Old 11-23-2016, 02:37 AM #9
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Part three…

As we approached the little town of Julian, we spotted this picturesque barn just off the highway:




Julian was originally a mining town but is now mostly a tourist destination and the home of famous apple pies. There are quite a few interesting old buildings here. The "Miner's Diner" was an old-fashioned drug store, complete with soda fountain, until just a few years ago. The pharmacy is gone but the soda fountain and diner are still there:




We had hoped to get pie from the best place in town, Mom's Pies, but unfortunately there were LOTS of people picking up pies for Thanksgiving, with a long line outside the door the entire afternoon. So we just did a little shopping and then had dinner at the Julian Grill, which is a really quaint little restaurant with great food, in a former house:




We had a brief wait for a table, so we enjoyed the foliage outside:










Once inside, we were seated in the front room, with a great view:




Before we left Julian, we stopped in at the historic Julian Hotel, and booked a room for our upcoming anniversary. For years we've talked about staying here someday, but never got around to it until now, so we're really excited about it:






Then we headed home. Here are a few shots I took along the way back on Sunrise Highway:






The setting sun turned this rocky roadside cliff into a blaze of color:






That was our day!
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Old 12-08-2016, 01:36 AM #10
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On Monday Cris and I made our return trip to Julian and spent the night in the historic Julian Hotel. This is something we've always talked about doing "someday" but due to Cris' health issues we never got around to it until now. The hotel was built in 1897 and is still furnished and maintained in period condition, with just the necessary modern stuff.








We had one of the smallest rooms, on the corner of the second floor:










Once again we ate dinner at the Julian Grill:








Inside the hotel lobby:









Continued in next post…
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Old 12-08-2016, 01:39 AM #11
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The parlor/dining room:






An original gas lamp, converted to electric lighting:




Julian's Main Street, as seen from the porch of the hotel:







The hotel at twilight:








Another shot of Main Street after dark:




Tuesday morning started out foggy, then the sun began to shine through for a brief time before it became overcast for the rest of the day:






The hotel served a full breakfast which was awesome! It started with orange juice and some homemade granola, the best I've ever tasted. Next was waffles topped with baked apples, with slices of bananas, melons, and oranges on the side.


There are some interesting old homes and buildings on the back streets of Julian:






Cris was coming down with a bad cold so we headed home a little early, but otherwise we had a very good time.

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Old 01-03-2017, 11:32 PM #12
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Megaweapon has a new face! I finally got my new MetalTech bumper installed today:






Unfortunately my (stock) front skid plate was so smashed up they couldn't get it back on. But I'm going to be
upgrading the skids in a couple months anyway:




And…I also had them beef up the suspension with King coil overs and stronger springs! It's got a mild lift,
roughly 2 inches.








These were the best pics I could get tonight. I'll try to shoot some better photos tomorrow.

.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:24 AM #13
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Great pics and a nice history of the area attractions. Looks like you guys had an amazing adventure. I'm looking forward to your future journeys.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:58 AM #14
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Julian and desert mine trip

Thanks for all the photos Ray,
I liked your website shots of the mines a lot. Thanks for sharing your adventures in Julian and east San Diego County. We travel through Warner Springs at least once a year to reach Anza Borrego Desert. We'll have to go just a bit farther and see Julian next time we're out there. The hotel looks great. Lucky the teddy bear got to go along too.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:43 PM #15
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There's a mine in Julian that offers tours.

Nice write up, and nice trip.

Curious about your driving around with rockets and gasoline in the back. Did you forget gunpowder?
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