Clay4 & whtwolfden’s ET Highway Info
Thank you for your interest in our ET Highway series. We have had a lot of positive response to the ET Highway PT (power trail) as well as a lot of questions. It seemed that we were getting the same questions over and over, so we thought it would be more beneficial to everyone to write a blanket response to all the questions we have been asked and put them in one area so everyone can get all the info you need to have a fun and safe experience, and we might cover something you didn’t think of. We want everyone's quest to do the series to be a positive one and have little to no DNF’s. We each have our own Geocaching accounts (Clay4 and whtwolfden) but created an ET account (Clay4&whtwoflden) and email (ETHighway1000@gmail.com) to help combat the thousands and thousands of emails the trail generates each week. We each monitor the caches and the emails, so if you email us, one of us will respond, hopefully sooner than later. So with that, here is everything you need to know about Clay4 & whtwolfden’s ET Highway Mega Trail Series.
How the ET Highway came about: Gus (whtwolfden) and I came up with the idea when we took a trip to Salt Lake City back in October of 2009 for Geocoin Fest. We did a power trail that was near the event, which at the time, was about 140 caches located just west of Provo Utah (my bookmark list to this PT). We had so much fun with this PT, we started planning our own. It was all we talked about on the 8 hour drive back home. One Thousand was the goal....but where could we put 1000 caches and make it a true power trail?? E.T. Highway just happened to be 98 miles long and an interesting place to visit plus it was an area almost everyone has heard of and knows something about it. Several months later, after countless trips to all our local film processing counters, and making countless log sheets, we started placing caches. We put the caches down in a series of trips, placing anywhere from 150 to 350 a trip, and putting down about 40 caches an hour. 8-9 trips later, we had the whole trail and the Alien Head caches on the ground. We spend countless hours inputting all the cords and getting the pages ready.
The Demise of the first ET Highway PT: Unfortunately a few bad apples can spoil the bunch. NDOT (Nevada Department of Transportation) was having issue with the safety of people driving, geocachers, and the NDOT workers. Here is a list of the concerns that were brought up.
It is of our opinion the ET trail was archived due to a breakdown in communication between us, groundspeak and NDOT. We thought we had everything taken care of. There was a stretch of highway that went through a pass that didn’t have a long clear view of the road ahead. When we placed the caches in this area, we were careful to make sure cachers could safely pull off the road and not to put caches on blind corners. This was fine in the summer, however; in the winter, this is a much different story. Due to the elevation, highway 375 gets snow. The snow along with guardrails, windy roads, made a small stretch reason for concern. There was an incident where a cacher’s vehicle and a snow plow had a close call in this area. I received a call from the supervisor of NDOT telling me of the incident. We archived the caches in that area within hours of the notification. However, the supervisor also notified Groundspeak that day or the next...The day after I got the phone call, caches were being archived. I believe the NDOT supervisor just wanted the “stretch” of caches in the pass taken down...I believe Groundspeak took the word “stretch” to mean the whole stretch of highway? Once again this is just my opinion as I saw it.
The NEW ET Highway MEGA trail!!!: We have talked to many parties about the ET Highway PT, to include County Commissioners, NDOT & Groundspeak. We have gotten guidelines from NDOT and what they feel meets their safety concerns and have repopulated the area with all new cache hides (not the old hides unarchived). These caches won’t be along the mile markers like before but a safe 50+ feet off the highway, in areas where there is plenty of room to pull completely off the road. NO chance of meeting up with a snow plow!!! With all parties now on the same page...perhaps this trail will have some staying power! We are shooting for a 96% bigger trail than before, raising the cache total from 1021 to 2000 (ish)!!!!
This is what you’ll see for miles!
How to get to the Power Trail: The ET cache series runs along Highway 375 and is 98 miles long. To get to 375 from Las Vegas, Take I-15 North to US-93 about 15 miles north of Las Vegas city limits. There is a “Love’s” Truck Stop there on the left; they have pretty cheap gas (much cheaper than any other gas you will find out there). This would be a good place to top off the tank, get some snacks and such. I think they sell gas cans and ice chests there too. Take that North (only way you can go) for about 75 miles to Alamo or about 80 miles to Ash Springs. ET Highway 375 is just a few miles further up the road on the left.
Alamo and Ash Springs both have a gas station and a little convenience store (Alamo’s is bigger, almost a grocery store). They both serve breakfast and lunch type items and have booths to sit and eat if you want. Gas prices out there are about .20 per gallon higher than in Las Vegas (which is kind of high if you are from back east). This is where you will want to fill up and keep filling up while you’re out on the 375, the next closest gas stations you will find will be in Tonopah (about 148 miles from Ash Springs). Alamo, Ash Springs and Tonopah, all have 24 hour gas pumps that take debit cards.
A little bit about the caches: The ET caches are all in film canisters; the logs are about 1 inch wide by 11 inches long and are usually 2-4 pages deep (more about the logs and links to print them further down under “DNF’s and Log / Container Replacement Policy”). The caches are from 50-150 feet from a paved road and can be accessed by any rental car with NO problem (of course in the snow covered times of the year that can change). All the ET caches have a “scuba” attribute to help associate them with the power trail.
The Head Alien <<< (Link) caches are in pre-form containers which are resting in PVC pipes, the pipes have reflective tape on them to make them visible at night (however you can do them in the day time with no problems). Alien Head caches are 51 caches that are meant to be WALKED, YOU SHOULD NOT DRIVE TO THEM. There is a huge dirt road that is wider than the highway, called Gunderson Road, there are no concerns about this road, and any rental car will work. This is where you will start the Head. To complete the Head, you will have to walk about 7 miles give or take. I would recommend starting at #18 and walking towards the top of the head. If you get tired or want to stop, you can take the trail of the top or bottom of the eyes back to where you started, or you can continue on. You can do the eyes in a figure-8 style and then drive down a little farther and walk to the mouth. We are getting reports that people have driven this series. This is not our land, if people can’t cache responsibly, we will be forced to take them down and possible the whole ET series if the local ranchers start complaining. Please don’t ruin it for everyone else.
Also be sure to check out the new UFO Geo-Art directly east of the Head Alien series!
Cell service is very limited. AT&T is sketchy along I-93 and is pretty much gone a few miles up 375. Verizon fairs much better but it is far from good. Make sure someone knows where you’re going and check in with them when you can.
Stamps are HIGHLY recommended (please don’t use stickers, and especially don’t make little cut out names to drop in caches….these end up falling out and littering the area, stickers gum up the logs). Stamps cost about $15 give or take a few bucks, can be custom ordered, delivered in a few days, and WELL worth it…trust us on this one. Stamps can be ordered from Office Depot, Staples, OfficeMax or from various web sites. A couple of web sites we have used and were happy with are:
RubberStamps.net ( http://www.rubberstamps.net/preinked_stamps.aspx ) I-Stamp-30, I-Stamp-32 or I-Stamp-34. Just use the center line with a 8-12 sized font
A+ Discount Stamps ( http://www.aplusdiscountstamps.com/MaxlightStamps.aspx ) MaxLight 75 Pre-Inked Stamp with a 8-12 sized font
We don’t mind cut and paste logs, we expect them. We each have (as well as many other cachers) 0001-E.T., Head Alien #01 and UFO #1 on our watchlist. So if you’re going to write something or post pictures you want us or everyone else to see, please use those caches. We also don’t mind using those caches for writing notes, saying when you will be coming or are looking for other cachers to team up with. We do get all DNF’s and all NOTES on each and every cache; however, we have a filter set up so we don’t get Found logs from every cache…otherwise we would be getting 6000+ emails every week :)
Lodging Accommodations: These places range from quaint to very nice. Don’t expect too much from the cheaper ones, but they do have a bed and a shower. The cheaper places go for around $45 a night in Rachel and Alamo when we used them. Alamo has its advantages because it is close to the gas stations. Rachel’s advantage is it is at about the ⅓ the way down highway 375 and about ⅕ the way done with the overall trail. You will probably end up in Tonopah when you’re done. Now that we have added the extra 500 caches in that area...Tonopah would be a smart place to say the second day of the trip. I have added all the places I could find in Tonopah. I haven’t checked them all nor do I know what they are like and they are in no certain order. Tonopah is a nice town to visit, very quaint and quite a few caches there. WATCH FOR COPS, Tonopah is a speed trap town, also watch your speed in Alamo, and Ash Springs, they have vigilant speed enforcement there too.
Little Ale’Inn (website)
Rooms start at $39
(WiFi in restaurant only, cost $5 a day)
RV and Tent camping
are also available here
Windmill Ridge Restaurant and Lodging (website)
Rooms (cabins) start at $89 weekdays /Weekends $99
US Highway 93,
Alamo, NV 89001
A room for 2 w/2 beds starts around $51
367 N Us Highway 93
Alamo, NV 89001
Sunset View Inn
Rooms start at ???
501 S Us Highway 93
Alamo, NV 89001
Ramada Inn (website)
Rooms start at $64.68 tax included
(Free WiFi [no log in needed] / No free breakfast)
1137 N Main St, Tonopah, NV
775-482-9777 | Fax 775-482-9782
Best Western Hi-Desert Inn (website)
Rooms start at $99
(Free WiFi / Free continental breakfast)
320 Main Street, Tonopah, Nevada 89049
Rooms start at $39
(Free WiFi / No free breakfast)
521 North Main Street, Tonopah, NV 89049
Jim Butler Inn & Suites
Room for 1 - $59.55 / Room for 2 - $68.67 tax included
(Has free WiFi & free continental breakfast)
(775) 482-3577 | (800) 635-9455
100 S Main St, Tonopah, NV 89049
National 9 Inn
Room for two adults - $49 with tax
(Has free WiFi & free continental breakfast)
720 N Main, Tonopah, NV 89049
Rooms start at $39
(Has free WiFi but signal is sketchy / NO breakfast)
826 Main Street, Tonopah, NV 89049
DNF’s and Log / Container Replacement Policy:
We get some DNF's from time to time. The caches usually don't stay gone for too long because other cachers replace them as needed. We don’t mind cachers replacing logs or containers. It is a huge undertaking to maintain 2100+ caches, not to mention the gas it takes to drive 115 to 250 miles from our house depending on which one needs maintenance. We ask cachers to please help us maintain this trail. This helps everyone out, and hopefully makes your cache run a 100% success. We recommend picking up 5- 20 film canisters or more (you can get them for free at your local Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam’s, Wal-Greens, CVS or other places that develop 35mm film). Use the links below to make some logs for them. We also recommend making an extra 5- 20 logs. That way you can replace any caches or logs that might have been abducted or mutilated. This helps everyone and you are guaranteed no DNFs.
Log Sheets: (cover plus 2 or 3 blank sheets stapled at top)
Feel free to add your name to the top of the replacement logs so you don’t have to sign them out on the trail, save some time, we don’t mind… Thanks!
Critters: We saw about 5 rattle snakes when we were putting the caches down, they were all in one area, however; we did see them two or three different times but they ended up leaving on their own. We also saw 3-5 regular non poisonous snakes on our travels. Cachers have mentioned seeing scorpions while doing the Alien Head at night. A cacher saw a badger somewhere around the 800-900’s. This highway is Open Range…this means there are cows roaming around freely without any fences. They are not dangerous to be around, however, they do cause a lot of car accidents. They are hard to see at night and there are many accidents from the cows darting in front of cars at the last minute or drivers just not seeing them. They should cause no problems while you’re caching but if you are driving at speed, slow down if you see them by the road, and be very careful at night. Also the baby cows don’t like to be far from momma, if they become separated, the baby cow will panic and make a dash for momma.
Safety: The series is designed to start in Alamo and work your way towards Rachel, from the lowest numbered caches to the highest…they are all on the North side of the road, with the exceptions of a few caches previously placed by other cachers. You should not need to cross the highway but a few times. 375 is not traveled much, you could go a couple of hours and not see anyone pass by at all. Don’t get complacent and pull out on the road without looking. Many cachers have told us that a highway patrolman stopped them while they were along the road caching. He knew what they were doing but warned them that all they need to be parked completely off the roadway. All 4 tires needed to be on the right side of the white line when stopping, you have been warned.
It also will not hurt to travel with your Hazard lights (flashers) on. It will make you more visible to any possible traffic you may encounter. Make sure you watch the water temp on the car so you don’t overheat, I haven’t heard of anyone overheating yet…but it could happen. The area is at high elevation so in the winter, freak snow storms can and do happen. Also keep a good eye on the gas gauge, you don’t want to run out of gas out there. You might want to fill a 2-5 gallon fuel container just in case. Also, it is the desert. Make sure you take lots of water and keep yourself hydrated and have snacks with you too. Pull over and sleep if you get tired… Jet lag, time changes and caching 12+ hours a day can take its toll. Don’t overdo it.
Geocoins and Pathtags:
The new E.T. Highway Geocoins are 2 inches in diameter, that’s 33% bigger than the original version.
They also have glow on both sides and are available for purchase at www.ETgeocaching.com
Nevada’s Oldest Geocache: At one point of the Mega-Trail, you will be very close to Nevada’s Oldest Geocache.
XKD-80 (GCF9) was hidden on 12/26/2000. Be sure to stop by and find it.
Weather: for the areas you’ll visit:
Some YouTube Videos of cachers doing the ET Highway PT: Send us yours and we will add it to our page!!
Blog on NGA (Nevada Geocaching Association) (http://www.nevadageocaching.com/index.php/forum/12-GamesEvents/61778-The-Return-of-the-ET-Highway-Trail#61778 )
The events we had for the original ET Highway:
The event for the NEW release of the ET Highway:
Be sure to check out our website for all things Clay4 and whtwolfden www.ETgeocaching.com
That should do it, if you find any discrepancies or if you find something we need to add or take out, please let us know.
We want this to be a good experience for all cachers. We put this series together for you! Be safe and have fun!