Billy Creech, Desert Explorer, joins the conversation once again to recount his recent expedition with Holman, revisiting a long-forgotten historic overland route. Meanwhile, Holman visits SEMA Garage for a measuring session, catches up with Mike Spagnola, and test-drives the new ’24 Toyota Tacoma. Proudly sponsored by Nissan, in association with Banks Power, this is The Truck Show Podcast.



The following transcription of The Truck Show Podcast was generated using a speech recognition software, and will contain errors. Please review the timestamp and listen to the corresponding audio for accuracy. 

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Jay “Lightning” Tilles (0s):

Well, Holman, I gotta say I feel a little accomplished this last week, Banks announced and I got to send press releases out. I think you called me actually the day I was fielding calls from press, we announced the Diesel hybrid Humvee that we built for the Army.

Sean P. Holman (18s):

The one that’s been sitting at Banks for a long time that I’ve walked by about 400 times and

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23s):

Couldn’t say anything about it. Couldn’t say anything about it. Yes. 18 months.

Sean P. Holman (25s):

So that’s officially official.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (27s):

It is officially official, so we cannot announce the details like range, but what is it? Power? Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (31s):

Yeah. But what is It? is It is it just a demonstration vehicle? It

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (34s):

Is a prototype. Okay. Yeah. So the, the Army is interested in could they potentially convert a portion of the a hundred thousand in service Humvees around the world to hybrid. Got it. And if they could, what would they be capable of? These are all the questions they are asking. And Banks was the first of, I think there were only one or two organizations that were asked to build a hybrid version of a Humvee ditch, the anemic 6.5 liter Diesel engine that’s been in these since the eighties. And replace it with a V six three liter turbo Diesel engine. And backed by a, a hybrid system.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 15s):

So. it can run silently, it can run just on the Diesel engine or a combination thereof. Or

Sean P. Holman (1m 22s):

Power your campsite or

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 23s):

Power a lot more than your campsite. Yes. There was a, a release that went out and we got some good coverage. Our friend Caleb over at the Drive covered it. It was Nik and a bunch of other places. So a little, little gold star for Mr. Lightning. That was kind of cool.

Sean P. Holman (1m 37s):

So now what are you on? What, what, what Can you not talk about now what

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 42s):

I can’t reveal or like the details. A lot of people want to know like, how far can it go? How much power can it export? How much horsepower does the Diesel engine put? Like, I can’t answer any of those things. Well, I just

Sean P. Holman (1m 52s):

Mean like, what’s your next project that you can’t talk about

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 56s):

The next version of this one that we’re bidding

Sean P. Holman (1m 58s):

On? Oh, there’s not like a, some cool like Banks aftermarket. Like turn your Cummins into a hybrid that’s coming out soon.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 5s):

There is something that we were asked to partner on by a company that you are very familiar with, that if it happens, it’ll be amazing. Absolutely amazing. And even you will go, that’s cool.

Sean P. Holman (2m 22s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 22s):

Even the most hardened of critics will say, I am on board. I Think this is gonna be cool.

Sean P. Holman (2m 27s):

Hardened of critics.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 29s):

Is that what it, what is it? What what, what, what would you call a the most staunch of critics?

Sean P. Holman (2m 34s):

Sure. Okay. A pundit. Yeah. I’m an automotive truck pundit. Yes

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 39s):

You are. Okay. It’s, it’s, we’re coming up on Christmas and I got a little sum, sum for Mr. Holman here. I’m gonna hand you a gift that I

Sean P. Holman (2m 44s):

Didn’t realize you’re doing a gift exchange.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 46s):

I, I just is surprised I saw this in online and I had to buy it for my man, Mr. Holman. Mm. So I wrapped this in some interesting red polka dot and put a bow on it. And did you wrap this? I I I wrap all my presents. I can tell. I do. I’m not, I’m not a bad rapper. It’s

Sean P. Holman (2m 60s):

Okay. Better than me. I mean you actually, I’m All. right? There’s symmetry in your folds, which is good. Wow. This is amazing. Nature’s dick pics. It’s literally a wonderfully IC natural rock formation calendar for 2024. Yes. It is, I think we’ll have to find a place for this inside the, inside the podcast.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 23s):

Flip it around and look at this. 12 months of phallic natural structures occurring in nature.

Sean P. Holman (3m 30s):

I, I love nature. Yeah. I’m gonna, I’m gonna enjoy this. I think we’ll enjoy this together. That doesn’t make it sound any better.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 37s):

No, that sounds weird.

Sean P. Holman (3m 38s):

We’ll find a spot. We’ll hang this up, but appreciate the nature’s dick pics 2024 calendar. That’s,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 44s):

That’s you, isn’t it? Not

Sean P. Holman (3m 45s):

I mean. I, I don’t know if it’s me, but I can appreciate it. Yeah. I mean I’m inspired now.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 52s):

Okay. All. right. So now that we’re on the, the gift giving thing, these are not to you, but these are to us. Oh, that’s not true.

Sean P. Holman (3m 58s):

That’s not true. Okay. All, right? I give

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 59s):

You this one. Really. I’m gonna read this to you. Okay. and then I and then I’m gonna hand you the gift that’s inside. Okay. Okay. There was some stuff for me and there was, there was some monster energy stuff that came to me and I will gloss past that part ’cause I’ve already taken it home. And, it says this is from Ozzy Sadik. I’ve had this jacket and shirt sitting in my office for two years waiting to send them out to you. And I’m finally tired of looking at ’em. Oh yeah.

Sean P. Holman (4m 24s):

He emailed me and said, where can I send stuff? And I said, send it to, to.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 27s):

And he and he did. I got it. I totally appreciate this. Ozzy the monster. I was way too big for me. The Monty was like a polo shirt. I gave it to Nolan. One of our mechanical engineers loves it. Thank You very much. He says, I used to work for a distributor of these brands and got these promotional items, but we’ll never use them. So I figured I’d send them to the two people who could really appreciate them. Alright, Jay, sorry about the double X shirts. I know it’s gonna look like a dress on you, but I know you like the brand. It’s not true. Sean. I think this jacket will fit you and I have a feeling you’ll enjoy it. There are also some stickers in the box from my current employer and Sean, thanks for being a supporter and advocate of the KO two tires. Let me show you the jacket. All, right?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 7s):

That he has gifted you brand new in the plastic. Yep.

2 (5m 12s):


Sean P. Holman (5m 12s):

Dr. Pepper jacket.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 13s):

A Dr. Pepper jacket by the way. Wow. This is, this is a really bitching jacket.

Sean P. Holman (5m 18s):

This is way nice.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 19s):

It’s a very, very nice jacket embroidered with the Dr. Pepper logo on the left breast pocket.

Sean P. Holman (5m 24s):

It’s a Eddie Bauer jacket.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 25s):

I know. So this is

Sean P. Holman (5m 26s):

Like one of those cold, kind of like misty, rainy day kind of jacket.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 29s):

This is something that like a Dr. Pepper rep would wear out in the field. Right? It’s, that’s just, this is cool.

2 (5m 33s):

All, right? You gotta put it on here. All. right. Take off my flannel and we’re going to swap my, my flannel for

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 42s):

Dr. Pepper jacket. This is

Sean P. Holman (5m 43s):

The one of the nicest things anybody’s ever given me.

2 (5m 47s):

Oh, look at that.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 48s):

Oh dude. That fits you well.

Sean P. Holman (5m 50s):


2 (5m 51s):

It got, I got room in it too. Like, it’s not tight.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 54s):

It’s got zippers everywhere. He, oh, you don’t know this. Coleman loves himself some zippers. Oh,

Sean P. Holman (5m 58s):

There we go. Yeah. And it’s, it’s long enough where it’ll cover when I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 2s):

Bend over. so we don’t see crack.

Sean P. Holman (6m 4s):

No, not, I wasn’t thinking about that, but okay. I’m sure that’s probably true. Yeah. This is great.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 9s):

That’s a nice jacket, dude. I gotta say this is a nice jacket. Ozzy coming through. All, right? One more thing, there’s more. This is a box that showed, this is not from Ozzy, this is from someone else. Okay. And I will read the note first before I reveal what’s inside. Okay. This is a handwritten letter, much like Ozzie’s was typed here we, it’s a little longer. I’m gonna get through this as fast as I can. Lightning and Holman. First off, I’m a huge fan of the slightly above average show. Take that

Sean P. Holman (6m 33s):

As compliment.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 34s):

Thank you. Been a listener since the very beginning. And I’ve even called in with a few off the wall questions that y’all have so graciously answered. Currently hanging out in my office is a 100% authentic note that accompanied my TSP shirt. That’s a rarity. Okay. Can’t wait for my kids to ask what the heck It is and why it’s next to a picture of their mother. Wanted to send you all an appreciation gift this Christmas season. Even in my late twenties, I still enjoy all things Hot Wheels and Matchbox cards.

Sean P. Holman (7m 6s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 6s):

Figured you all might like these as well. Included some of my personal favorite truck castings along with a few others. I think you’ll get a kick outta these. There’s enough for both of you. So play nice. Hope you both have a wonderful Christmas and continue to lower the Suckage going into 2024. It’s not possible. Sorry. We’re gonna disappoint you in advance. Give me a shout if you ever want to talk. Die cast cars. God bless. Grant Greens. Vague. I think I’m pronouncing that right. Or brands. Green Greens Reg. Yep. The Orange Track Farmer from Charles City, Iowa. ia. Iowa. No. What’s ia?

Sean P. Holman (7m 41s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 41s):

Iowa. I was right. Okay, so I’m gonna pull out this box. Look at these beautifully packaged, look at all these Hot Wheels cars.

Sean P. Holman (7m 51s):

Oh, got the electric Hummer.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 52s):

Yep. A Hummer. A brand new Hummer. So

Sean P. Holman (7m 54s):

What does, he just does? What? How does he have so many?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 57s):

I don’t know why he has so many. Oh

Sean P. Holman (7m 59s):

Dude. Slam C 10 Square body.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 1s):

That’s so cool. Cool. That’s cool. Look, It is, oh, Bronco. Okay.

Sean P. Holman (8m 5s):

Ooh, a Lightning. So this must be for you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 7s):

That’s gotta be

Sean P. Holman (8m 8s):

Me. It’s a new Lightning, not a cool

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 10s):

Old one. Now I wanted to see how you felt about

Sean P. Holman (8m 12s):

Rivian. R one T. That’s cool. Okay. Okay. Oh, look at that. Nice four runner. I know somebody who bought this exact four runner last week.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 21s):

Monster Truck. That’s probably me. Boy. There’s a combination of Matchbox.

Sean P. Holman (8m 27s):

Ah, check it out. Low rider.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 29s):

Oh that’s bitching. What is that? That’s

Sean P. Holman (8m 31s):

A fist ride. Chevy. Okay. It’s like a 47. Look

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 34s):

At this Ram 1500 Coast Patrol. 1980 El Camino slammed.

Sean P. Holman (8m 40s):

Yeah. That

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 41s):

Is so cool. Dude. This is the gift that keeps

Sean P. Holman (8m 44s):

Giving. Dude. BFG. Oh dude. This was Baja Blazers collection. The E seven Dodge D 100. I think that’s like a Walker Evans or something like that. I think it might even been Rod Hall by the way back then. Oh,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 56s):

This one’s for me. Look at this. Read that

Sean P. Holman (8m 59s):

Mini Cooper S Challenge

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 2s):

Grant, you have made these two boys Christmas very bright. Thank you

Sean P. Holman (9m 8s):

So much. I have an idea, you don’t know this. Alright.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 9s):


Sean P. Holman (9m 10s):

Abby has this cool Hot Wheels play set that has like the loop And it, the track

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 15s):


Sean P. Holman (9m 16s):

Cars track. Yeah. We should find the ones that aren’t like collectible and then pull ’em out and then race each other.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 21s):

I’m all about it.

Sean P. Holman (9m 22s):

All, right? You guys are gonna be pretty excited because one of the guests that you keep asking for is Billy Creech

3 (9m 28s):

Desert Explorer.

Sean P. Holman (9m 29s):

He’ll be gracing our presence here on the show to talk about a trip we recently took to help reopen a historic route. so we pretty excited to talk about that. And then also, I just got back yesterday from SEMA Garage measuring session and I caught up with our friend Mike Spagnola, the Ill PTE of SEMA. We talked about the measuring sessions. And I finally got to drive a truck I haven’t been in yet. So all that more coming up on this episode of The Truck. Show Podcast. But first we have the thank Nissan, our presenting sponsor. Thank you Nissan for supporting The Truck. Show Podcast. If you are looking for a new truck, head on down to your local Nissan dealer where you can check out the mid-size frontier or the half Ton Titan or Titan xd.

Sean P. Holman (10m 11s):

The Titans have the industry’s best five year, 100,000 mile warranty. And whether you choose a Titan or a frontier, you’ll get a quiet, durable, reliable truck that has all the creature comforts and all the ruggedness that you need in your next pickup. Head over to Nissan where you can build and price your Nissan truck today

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (10m 30s):

And earlier today, Holman on the Ford tremor form. It’s a forum and a Facebook group run by the same guy, Dan. And he’s amazing. He informed me that there, he’s like, Hey Jay. He sent me a a, a message over Facebook. He’s like, Hey, check this out. There was a big debate going on Edge CTS screen, like a five inch diagonal flat screen versus the bank’s eye dash. Okay. And a lot of the Banks guys were saying, This is the way to go. And some of the older edge guys that have had it since the, you know, the mid two thousands and like their old Derm Max l MLS and stuff like that, they’re like, Oh, no, it’s better. And then the guys who had the Eyed Dashs were questioning, Hey, how often does your Edge CTS firmware freeze up and the screen just freeze?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 10s):

They’re like, well, occasionally, but it’s not a big deal. Like our eye dashs never freeze. ’cause they’re solid state. There’s no like software running in the background. It’s all firmware baked into the chips, right? And they go like, okay, well does how, how fast does the CTS boot up? Like, well, it takes like 10, 12 seconds And. it goes, Nope, two seconds for the eyed dash And. it was So. They were having this debate online, which is better. And they’re like, okay, well does it calculate horsepower in real time? Is it like a mobile? So basically

Sean P. Holman (11m 36s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 36s):

It’s like a It is like a di Dyno on wheels. You built

Sean P. Holman (11m 38s):

Up a community that has your back. ’cause they love the product so much. They do. Exactly.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 42s):

So listen, if you’re looking for data that your dashboard doesn’t display, there is no more powerful compact gauge than the bank’s ID dash. The data monster or the bank’s ID dash super gauge. Go to Banks Power dot com type in, oh, actually no, you don’t even have to type in your, your make and model because the ID dash fits everything. You’ll find yours at Banks Power dot com,

4 (12m 4s):

The truck show. We’re gonna show you what we know. We’re gonna answer what? The truck, because truck rides with the truck show. We have the lifted, we have the lowered end. Everything in between. We’ll talk about trucks that run on Diesel and the ones that run on gasoline. The truck show. The truck show. The truck show. Whoa.

5 (12m 36s):

It’s the truck show with your hosts Lightning and Holman.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 43s):

I am very excited about this.

Sean P. Holman (12m 46s):

Are you though?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 47s):

I am excited to play this again.

3 (12m 50s):

Billy Creech Desert.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 51s):

I’m not

Sean P. Holman (12m 51s):

Gonna play it. He can’t do the whole thing until he

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 53s):

Is on. No, I didn’t. I stopped it. You just teased

Sean P. Holman (12m 55s):

It. I was teased it. Now people know who the guest was. Lightning. Oh,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 58s):

Do they? It’s All, right? Hold on. We said it in the description of the

Sean P. Holman (13m 1s):

Show. I know the, I just wanna throw you off.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 2s):

Okay. I’m gonna dial Mr I’m not even say his name. I’m gonna save it all.

Sean P. Holman (13m 7s):

I wonder if he’s out in the middle of the Desert somewhere. Maybe he doesn’t even have his cell signal

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 10s):

Right now. Is he exploring?

Sean P. Holman (13m 11s):

Probably All,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 12s):

Right? Let’s find out. Hello, is this Mr. Billy? Creech. Desert. Explorer.

7 (13m 26s):

Hey Lightning. How are you man?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 28s):

I am outstanding. I get to

Sean P. Holman (13m 29s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 29s):

This one

3 (13m 30s):

League. Billy Creech. Desert Explorer. Hey, who teachers what? You know, go ahead, Billy. We’re waiting. Billy.

4 (13m 42s):


Sean P. Holman (13m 44s):

Hey, come on. You’ve missed that. You’re the only guest that has their own jingle.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 49s):

No one.

Sean P. Holman (13m 49s):

Everybody shares except you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 51s):

No one has one except for you.

7 (13m 52s):

If okay, well then that makes me feel better. ’cause otherwise it just like shoots whatever credibility I have right through the heart.

Sean P. Holman (13m 57s):

No, your credibility is just fine. Fucking about. In fact, it give you more credibility. Let, let me just point out, since you came on the first time in the subsequent 72 times you’ve been on in the past few years, you have, you’ve attained rank of president of a nonprofit. You’ve gotten notoriety in the Explorers Club. You have reopened old trails. I mean what? What more do you want? We have elevated you in every facet of, of your exploring life because of this.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 27s):

I’ve heard that the, he he’s got a presidential medal of Outdoorsman shipped.

Sean P. Holman (14m 32s):

I don’t think that’s a medal. No.

7 (14m 34s):

The merit badge.

Sean P. Holman (14m 35s):

He did have a Rolex for a few days. What do

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 37s):

You mean? Oh, I want to hear about That one. It’s a very special Rolex from what I understand.

7 (14m 42s):

Yeah, that was, that was hard to send back. Let me tell you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 45s):


Sean P. Holman (14m 46s):

So I. don don’t know where you wanna start. I wanted to have you on because as most of the listeners know, we talked about it.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 51s):

Wait, who, who is he? Billy Creech. Desert Explorer.

Sean P. Holman (14m 54s):

By the way, he likes it when I do that live and in person forum. He won’t admit it. He thinks it’s funny.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 59s):

Do you get on the mic?

7 (15m 1s):

I like the Cornelius voice.

Sean P. Holman (15m 2s):

He, they That’s true. He does like my Cornelius and his name’s Cornelius. Should

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 7s):

We make you do the whole interview that

Sean P. Holman (15m 8s):

Way? No, I I mean we could. It would be, it would would be old. Very fast. So I. Don’t know where I mean. Cornelius. No, I, I don’t know where to start. Our listeners know that we went on this, this epic trip to reopen a long lost historical trail.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 23s):

Don don’t think that they know that you went with Billy Creech and we’ve talked

Sean P. Holman (15m 26s):

About it. I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 27s):

Mean a little bit, so we’ll, we’ll,

Sean P. Holman (15m 29s):

We’ll cover that. Okay. But so here’s the thing. There’s so much stuff that came in and and out of that trip that, that I really want Billy to cover. so we should start with the why. What It is the history?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 43s):

Before we do that, Holman it’s important to say why Billy Creech was included in that trip. Like what Sign significance.

Sean P. Holman (15m 52s):

It’s his trip.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 53s):

No, no. I I, I I like So. I want, but people don’t know that. That’s

Sean P. Holman (15m 56s):

What we’re getting to. Well, but

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 57s):

You were just gonna, you were gonna give No, I wanna give his credentials.

Sean P. Holman (15m 60s):

No, that’s the what and the why. Oh, and then there’s the Explorer Club. The Famous Explorers Club. As part of this trip, there’s a partnership with public land agencies to open up a trail, which doesn’t seem to happen anymore. There’s just so much epic. And then there might’ve been some major washouts where the trail was impassable, but not for the torque and horsepower of the Mighty 3 92. Oh

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 25s):

Really? Yeah. Yeah. Oh, interesting. Okay. You’re gonna tell me next that you used the, the Antigravity jump pack to save someone, aren’t

Sean P. Holman (16m 31s):

You? Yeah, we already talked about that. And yes we did.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 33s):

Billy what’s the genesis? How did this all come about?

7 (16m 36s):

Oh, years ago, 2019, right after I had remapped, the EMHT, I was sitting with Dennis Kabe and he, and we’re talking. So real quick,

Sean P. Holman (16m 50s):

We’re talking let, let’s make sure they know. EMHT is the East Mojave Heritage Trail, which is now after Billy Rema re mapped it and made it compliant with all the wilderness areas and private property and all that is now 733 miles long in four segments. It’s one of the, if not the Premier Overland Trail in the Western United States. I would put it up against the Mojave Road, which is about 138 miles long. Or any of like the, the BDR up in the Pacific Northwest or the Pony Express Trail or, or any of those awesome trails. EMHT is freaking phenomenal. So Billy mapped that. And then Dennis Case Beer, who is the, basically the father of the Mojave Road and the EMHT.

Sean P. Holman (17m 33s):

That’s where Billy and Dennis come together is when Billy asked for permission to make EMHT compliant.

7 (17m 39s):

This is a total aside, did you see the news deal that I shared on the EMHT page?

Sean P. Holman (17m 45s):

Yeah, we, a couple hours ago, in fact I Think, we talked about it on the show a few weeks ago. Lightning brought it up where Google was sending people randomly off into the middle of the Mojave Desert from the 15 And they were getting stuck. Yeah,

7 (17m 59s):

I wonder if them signed in on the mailbox.

Sean P. Holman (18m 2s):

Probably not.

7 (18m 4s):


Sean P. Holman (18m 5s):

How did this whole thing start

7 (18m 6s):

Talking to Dennis in 2019? After I’d done the remapped, his route, the East Mo Javi Heritage Trail, he started telling me about this other route, the Old Traction Road. And he asked if I would remap it. So I said yes, not knowing anything about it. And so we talked, I got some details and essentially it’s a route. Originally it was 110 miles long in the late 18 hundreds. Francis Borak Smith, who was the mining Magne day in the Desert area, he acquired a mine called the Lila Sea that’s just southeast of Death Valley. And he get the ore to market to the railroad sightings.

7 (18m 48s):

And the 20 mule teams were very costly, very slow. They used a ton of horses. And so he was like, Hey, we’re gonna use this new technology to revolutionize transportation. We’re gonna use this new thing called gasoline. But to do this, I have to build a road. So he commissions a guy and we, one of the other things of the expedition is we’ve now corrected the historical record on this. He commissions a road to be built, cut into the middle of the Desert through some really rugged remote, very hostile terrain to traction engine that would be gasoline powered And. it would generate electricity to power rear wheels on ore carts, which could move four times the ore at three times the speed for of the resources.

Sean P. Holman (19m 30s):

By the way, the original hybrid was back in the early freaking 19 hundreds people, you’re all complaining about the four by eight Jeeps and the Tacoma being all hybrid. This dude was trying it with or carts and, and in the Desert off-roading a century ago. Dammit. How do you feel about it? I just think it’s funny

7 (19m 51s):

Light today that technology failed and didn’t work And he ended up using a steam went old school because the, the new technology didn’t make it didn’t even make it to the start of the route. So he goes not giving up ’cause he invested three years and in today’s dollars, $3.6 million. So he gets himself a steam traction engine that does the same thing but uses steam power, ships it out there and they run this experiment. Well it made it 14 miles across the Ivan Lake bed before it blew its boiler flu. And that was it. He said, screw it, I’m gonna go build a railroad

Sean P. Holman (20m 31s):

After spending $3.6 million in today’s money gave up. Yep. He, this is what’s hilarious about this. What, what years again, what year? This? This was 1903, right? Yep. And so being part of the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association. So Billy is the president, I’m on the board of directors. We had one of our guys who’s on the board who is sort of an archivist, find newspaper clippings from that era. And if you follow the newspaper clippings, it’s freaking hilarious. It says man to obsolete burrow man building road, obsolete train man. Go. You know, and there’s all this buildup and hype and it’s like traction engine fails, man spends money and it’s like And it iss So funny

7 (21m 18s):


Sean P. Holman (21m 18s):

Yeah. Then man builds train and he built, he wanted to build, was it railroad tracks? And then connected to Vegas and the Vegas railroad said, no, you’re not gonna do that. So then he ended up making his own rail line called the, was that the Tidewater and Topa

7 (21m 32s):

To Paw Tidewater? Yeah. Topa

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (21m 34s):

Had a fortune, a absolute fortune.

7 (21m 37s):

The Borax King or, well what’s even more brazen about the guy is he actually laid in 12 miles of railroad track before he talked to the guys in Las Vegas that owned the tracks he was trying to lay into. And then when they told him no, he had to band that 12 miles also, he was really trying to push the envelope to get his stuff to the railroad sightings in the most efficient way. Right? It’s kind of the, the original, I would say really out of the box thinking in that kind of environment where he was trying to use whatever new technology he could and was willing to invest in it. So Dennis asked me to do this, it was kind of my last unticked box for him. He passed away in 2021 and he had said that he did that route back in the early two thousands.

7 (22m 23s):

Him and another guy who’s now passed away, John Ickworth, they did it in a way they shouldn’t have done it because they followed the original route. ’cause he had the map of it and ’cause it used to be on. So I’m gonna do a quick aside here. This was such a big deal so much in the news as Sean referenced with it being in the newspapers all the time because it was revolutionizing the industry that the USGS put it on their maps as a road based on his planned route. So they put it on there because they’re like, this guy’s gonna succeed, he’s gonna do this. And then after it failed, they let it sit for a little bit and then after 1912 they removed it from the maps.

7 (23m 3s):

So you have to go back to the, to, I had to go back to 1912 to find the route on A-U-S-G-S map. And thankfully those guys digitized all their stuff. Dennis and John had done this route and they did it non compliantly and Dennis had said this was the most rugged thing he had ever done, which is saying something ’cause he’s the guy who cut in the Mojave Road and the EMHT from scratch. So that kind of told me, You know what I would be in for if I tried to do this.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 34s):

When you Billy Billy, lemme pause you for one second. What I mean? Let’s, what do you mean by non compliantly? Meaning they just, they just went over scrub brush. Like I don’t, what do you mean by that?

7 (23m 43s):

They went into restricted land that they shouldn’t have gone into

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 47s):

Like BLM or military land they were

7 (23m 49s):

Trying to do. So wilderness territory, wilderness study areas, things like that. Fragile habitat, what they were trying to do, the archive, the M-B-H-C-A archive has about 20 original historic photos from when this route was being created. They were trying to do then and now pictures a hundred years later. Exactly a hundred years later. So that they could document the terrain change. Right. How has the terrain changed over the last a hundred years? Did it recover? Did it not? So even though they shouldn’t have been there, they were trying to do it for the right reasons. You know, we got our hands on those photographs and I’m not going into a wilderness area.

7 (24m 29s):

’cause the entire point of this is to steer the route around those areas and make it a compliant route. So he had said this thing is the most rugged thing he’d ever done. And I started about two and a half years ago, started really looking at it, started really kind of laying it out, looking at the wilderness areas, looking at the existing routes, looking at what potentially could be reroutes for it, how much of the original route could we run. and then, you know, I became the president of the M-D-H-C-A and so you get busy, you start doing other things. And then BLM and I were talking ’cause we have the memorandum of understanding where we helped them with a lot of the trail assessments and the management of the trails in the area.

7 (25m 13s):

And we started talking about doing another route like we did together with the EMHD. We then said, Hey let’s do this. Well that kind of started a, well the timing’s kinda right, let’s do this now. And so in the spring I started pushing it pretty hard. Started looking at what we could be in for. We don’t know what’s out there. So, so Sean’s been out there so he knows this. But for your listeners and for you, Lightning, this area is so remote and It is so rugged that BLM is responsible for it. But there’s a lot of area out there that they have not been into. So their field scientists have not been out there.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (25m 50s):

So when you say Billy Billy, when you say rugged, do you mean like on the face of the moon? Like No, what I’m saying is like when you say the words, oh it’s rugged. Like everyone goes, I have a Jeep, I can go anywhere. Like that’s just like, I can go anywhere. I have a Jeep. What’s too rugged for a

Sean P. Holman (26m 6s):

Jeep? You could do it in a stock Jeep, but you’re gonna scrape, you’re probably gonna have a pretty bouncy ride. And there may be a little bit of body damage because,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 15s):

Because it’s so narrow that you’re gonna hit the doors and knock the mirrors off like

Sean P. Holman (26m 19s):

Me through it. Well you’re, because you’re going through massive washout areas and things like that where there’s undercuts. And so maybe on the trail, the trail is as wide as your Jeep except on the right hand side is lower than the driver’s side. The passenger side’s lower because there’s a drainage ditch that has, the water has eroded that side of the road and then it also undercut the bank. So now the only thing holding the top of that bank together, which is at your mirror level, is some scrub brush in its roots. But your Jeep is pitched toward that side. So you have to be really careful to climb high on it so you don’t slide in and get your fenders or your windows or your doors on something like that. I mean it’s, we had gone through and, and we’ll get there in a minute, but we had gone through obviously this spring and summer had some of the worst storms in the Mojave Desert in decades.

Sean P. Holman (27m 6s):

And there was a incredible amount of damage out there. And on the roads that we were on, some of them hadn’t been traveled in, in literally decades. There was some crazy erosion Billy will, will remember we crossed this wash up near Pahrump and you’re looking across the wash And the wash is probably, let’s call it 250 feet wide, maybe 300 feet wide with like, let’s say 15 foot Banks on either side. Holy mackerel. On top of the Banks So. it was like a river point. Well Hold on, on top of the Banks, all the brush was laying on its side. That means the water was above the top of the river Banks ’cause it flattened out all of the bushes and things like that.

Sean P. Holman (27m 48s):

That’s wow how much water was going through there. And you can only imagine the damage the, because the water flow was perpendicular to the direction of travel on the trail. And so you’re constantly, not only are we trying to find the route that’s been washed away or find any kind of semblance of a road in there, or sometimes there were times you had to stand on the front bumper and look way down ahead because you could barely make, there’s so much brush in the way. You could barely make out the faint one. The, the brush in the middle was just slightly smaller than the ones around it or slightly less dense.

7 (28m 23s):

Well, and there’s a lot of area where there was no brush at all. And so you’re we’re following the digital line and making our own tracks where the route was supposed to be.

Sean P. Holman (28m 34s):

And we got lucky. ’cause a few times we backtracked or, or we ended up crossing whatever the obstacle, maybe it was a mile across some moonscape. And then boom, we found the trail on the other side of the bank. What did the trail look like

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (28m 48s):

A hundred years ago?

7 (28m 49s):

So they cut in a road I mean they cut in eight feet wide and, and leveled it where they could ’cause this, this engine needed to be relatively level travel. They graded this thing down. It took ’em three years of manual labor to do it. There was a and six, 10 miles,

Sean P. Holman (29m 4s):

I was gonna say there’s a section of road where they actually crushed the gravel from the rocks and made like a Desert cobble where it’s little tiny, like maybe quarter to half dollar size crushed rock all in the middle. And then there was a berm on either side where they had graded it, And it pushed it up. But they had done that over a hundred years ago. And that portion of the road, no tire tracks brush growing up through the middle of it. But because you could see the grading on either side that the bulldozer had left when the, you know, when it went through, you could tell that you were still in between the guardrails, if you will, on that road. And sometimes all you could do, you couldn’t even see a head you were looking at, I’m following this, this six inch ridge of rocks on my side or this, I’m on top of this Desert cobble and like, oops, now I’m not.

Sean P. Holman (29m 51s):

Is it because the road changed? Is it because the ge the geology changed, which happened quite a bit on that road. It was, it was pretty incredible. The

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (29m 58s):

Two questions. How fast were you traveling? like a half a mile, an hour. Like walking speed

7 (30m 4s):

So. it depended on where we were for the whole trip. We averaged three miles an hour over three days. You know, I think it was the first full day Sean. Right? We did 24 miles in two hours and then it took us 10 hours to go the next 10 miles.

Sean P. Holman (30m 21s):

Yeah, it was, that was, that was rough.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (30m 25s):

When you were on, for example, the crushed rock portion that was had the most semblance of a road, did you ever get out and just have that moment of awe? Like did you, could you soak it though? Could had to

7 (30m 38s):

Get out with my pick.

Sean P. Holman (30m 40s):

Yeah. Well yeah, exactly. So,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (30m 41s):

I get outta pick. But like to me it seems like when you would stand on the hill go like no one has been on this trail in Yes, we,

Sean P. Holman (30m 48s):

We did and we, and we had that discussion. There were times when we stopped and kind of all soaked in. But the reality is we were on a mission. We had a certain amount of days to make this done. During that time. Government shutdown was narrowly averted And. it would’ve happened in the middle of our trip. If it had happened in the middle of our trip. Our people from the BLM would’ve had to go back to the headquarters ’cause they couldn’t have been out there. so we were on this compressed time schedule. So there was a mission to accomplish in X amount of time to map this trail. And there were times where we would get up to a six foot drop, like straight down. I’m like, well nobody’s doing that. So out came the shovels and, and pick axes and you know, we, we broke down the Banks and dropped down and all that.

Sean P. Holman (31m 28s):

And then other times I, you know, for the most part Billy was tail gunner. I was leading and there was times where I would lose the trail and I’d just tell everybody on the radio stop Hold on. I would go searching for the trail, I’d go on foot or I’d get to someplace high So I could see it and go, oh, I found it. It’s this way. 98% of the time, believe it or not, it was on the digital line. I couldn’t, I I was blown away. There’s lots of times we had to deviate from that because we’d have to go around a washout or we’d have to go around something really dangerous. like a, a mine shaft that was nearby or, or some sort of were

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (32m 2s):

Were there a lot of those?

Sean P. Holman (32m 3s):

Oh yeah. Oh yeah. We

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (32m 4s):

Straight down. Yeah. Well there’s nothing covering it up. Yeah, no, no, no.

Sean P. Holman (32m 7s):

Just debris. Like it collapsed and there was things Yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (32m 10s):

Yeah. That could be scary.

Sean P. Holman (32m 11s):

So what is funny, what Billy and I did was he told me, Hey, this 1912 map is the last one that has this road on it. and I went, oh I Wonder if I can find it. So I found it. USC actually digitizes US geological survey maps in high resolution. I found the three or four maps I needed. I went to OnX and I plotted out the course and I told Billy, I said, okay, here’s the course that I found of the original route. Now here’s what I Think we can do. And Billy goes, oh, I didn’t send you mine. He sent me his, he did the exact same thing and our routes were about 95% identical. No

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (32m 47s):

Kidding. so

Sean P. Holman (32m 47s):

We were able to merge those. There’s only a couple places where mine differed than his.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (32m 51s):

Did you overlay them? Is that how you know, like, like Yeah. So two

Sean P. Holman (32m 54s):

Pieces of Vem? No, no, you just added to Onyx with a different color on it. so we had the original trace and one color my trace in another and Billy’s trace in another and we could see where we differed. So then he and I got on the phone and said, okay, I Think we can go through here and it’s public land. I Think, this is not private property. I think this trail is compliant. And we verified it with the BLM LA maps. And then Onyx uses BLM base maps. so we were able to say, yeah. And then we built out a a thing. I just thought it was So amazing how accurate OnX was. And yes, they’ve sponsored the show and stuff before, but the product is fantastic. We, we mapped this entire trip using OnX and Billy and I collaborated on building out the actual driving route through OnX and then shared it with each other. That technology is, is really amazing. And then we all have the same map on everybody’s vehicle on the trip.

Sean P. Holman (33m 36s):

Which was, which

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (33m 37s):

Is stellar. Did you bring it up on CarPlay? So you’ve got it all the full screen.

Sean P. Holman (33m 39s):

I I just use my iPad minis on a mount that way I have the full use of, of the app.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (33m 44s):

Did, did Billy Creech bring it up on his AM radio that he has in his avalanche?

7 (33m 50s):

Yeah, pretty much.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (33m 52s):

When, so when you’re looking down at Onyx maps, you’re, ’cause you had to go through these washe that were 10, 15 feet deep with like, basically cliffs. Could you see any of that with Onyx looking or is it because you’re looking straight down at earth from a satellite that you couldn’t see those hills and valleys and, and such?

Sean P. Holman (34m 9s):

We knew it was bad or we knew what the flow patterns were. Onyx allows you to look at a, a newer less detailed resolution satellite or an older, more detailed resolution. We also looked on Google Earth. We also looked on Apple maps and looked at the same area. so we had a pretty good idea like what the area would be like. But until you’re there in it, immersed in it, you have no idea how deep It is. Or you just know this is a wash and it’s gonna be difficult to find the trail through here.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (34m 39s):

And were there washes back then when he, when the original, when he was trying to, when he made this road? Like was he going through washes or is that new in the last a hundred years?

7 (34m 49s):

Yeah, the Desert right? I mean it’s, the weather out there is is it’s hot and it’s, you get the heavy duty monsoon, you know, monsoonal flows and storms So it. That’s always been the same. But they just, they did it. And, and honestly, you know, when, when we ran this route, it kept going through my head. What were they thinking? This had no chance of success. There’s no way

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (35m 13s):

Serious just because it was gonna be washed away Billy. But like what it was. Well so

Sean P. Holman (35m 17s):

Like imagine a traction engine. So anybody who’s ever been to Death Valley and you’ve been to Furnace Creech outside the visitor center is one of these old steam traction engines, which looks like kind of like a, a small locomotive steam tank that instead of having wheels for Rails has big massive steel wheels with spikes on them. Well what they’re not good at is going uphill. And this whole route is basically uphill. And you’re thinking we had three stock BLM Jeeps or four, we had my 3 92 that had all the AV stuff on it. Billy’s highly modified avalanche. And Chris caller, our photojournalist friend who has a, an older first gen Tacoma with I think 30 ones on it and Bill Stein’s and all the vehicles were able to make it.

Sean P. Holman (36m 1s):

But you’re thinking like these are all really good off-road vehicles. You, you know, I maybe Chris has 30 threes, but there’s they were the small on the smaller. Yeah, smaller side. So anything smaller than a 33, you are gonna have a lot of trouble. And anything that doesn’t have a mono tube shock on It is going to be overheat. Well all of it. Kidney busting rides gonna degrade I mean there were times where it was Yeah, miles upon miles and we were going so slow. It was hours of just being punished because the terrain was So bad. I couldn’t even imagine being So it

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (36m 36s):

Another Jeep So it ats three miles an hour. It is still just so rutted and rocky.

Sean P. Holman (36m 39s):

Yeah. You’re just dropping tires and you know, the body swaying back and forth. And I couldn’t imagine if I was in something like, let’s say I had to trade my 3 92 Jeep that’s modified for this exact thing. Which by the way, I’d gotten my shocks all dialed in before then. Rev revolved And. it was phenomenal. Phenomenal. Let’s say somebody said, Hey, here’s a new Chevy heavy duty. Go do that same road. I would’ve been like, oh dude, I’m gonna, my kidneys are gonna be gone by the time this and I’ll be two inches shorter

7 (37m 7s):

And your truck is not gonna look the same and your

Sean P. Holman (37m 9s):

Truck is not gonna look

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (37m 10s):

The same. Thank God you had expelled that

7 (37m 13s):

Whatever that stuff is called that you have on your Jeep is amazing. ’cause it looks brand new And, it had stripes everywhere on it. And it cleaned right up.

Sean P. Holman (37m 21s):

Oh, we were dragging it through trails where the distance between the edges of the bushes were maybe two or three feet and the road’s right in the middle and you’re going, well It is what It is.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (37m 33s):

There were

7 (37m 33s):

A couple that were about three inches narrower than my truck. ’cause I lost one body panel.

Sean P. Holman (37m 40s):

That’s true. He, he did lose some, some of the plastic avalanche Avalanche cladding decided to take a leave of absence without letting Billy know

7 (37m 48s):

You know what I have spare clips. That went right back on me.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (37m 51s):

What happened? It just got grabbed by a branch and ripped off.

7 (37m 54s):

It got grabbed by a embankment.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (37m 57s):

Okay. Tell me about a section guys where you thought, well this is just straight impassable and then you had to go around and take half a day to get around of it.

Sean P. Holman (38m 6s):

Well that, that’s, that’s easy.

7 (38m 7s):

Well we’re we’re both gonna say the same thing. Yeah. But before we do that, I want to talk about the Beyond team a little bit. Right? so we put this team together. So Lightning not knowing what we would run into, right. So I put on the team. Right. I handpicked the skillset that I wanted. so we had a field archeologist, a field geologist, a field biologist and botanist and medical specialist we had, right? We had all these things because not only was it the prudent thing to do ’cause we don’t know what we’re gonna find and thankfully we had everybody, ’cause every single skill set on this team came into play. But part of the Explorers Club flag application is I had to do things like plan helicopter evacuations, plan for inve.

7 (38m 50s):

Right. Where are the nearest inve anti VE centers? So what

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (38m 54s):

You, you got a snake bite? Is that what you’re talking

Sean P. Holman (38m 56s):

About? Yeah. Mojave Green is yes. The most poisonous venomous steak in North America. And that place, SCORP a ripe with them. Yeah. Scorpions. Yes. Tarantulas. Billy got a great picture of a tarantula crawling on him.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (39m 6s):

No way. Yeah. Oh no way. So,

7 (39m 9s):

Oh, you haven’t seen That one?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (39m 10s):

No, I haven’t

Sean P. Holman (39m 11s):

Off to show

7 (39m 12s):

’em that picture. The Explorers Club used it as their global face of exploration for Halloween. It was their happy Halloween picture to everybody.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (39m 18s):

Was it really? Lemme see that

Sean P. Holman (39m 20s):

All. right? I’ll, I’ll while,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (39m 21s):

While you’re looking for that. Okay. I think I don’t understand how you assembled this crew and what is this Global Exploration Club? Well,

Sean P. Holman (39m 30s):

The Explorers Club. So yeah. Before, before we go into Explorers Club. Yeah. Before we get into kind of the, the trip and the impasse, which is actually a great part of the story. Explain Billy the Explorers Club and your involvement with it and sort of the whole thing from the flag to the watch and what it means to the Explorer community because that’s another great part of the story where when, when you figure out who was paying attention to this and the eyes and the weight of the Explorers Club, it becomes even, even bigger than what this podcast is, is talking to you about. It’s crazy.

7 (40m 1s):

So I’m a member of the Explorers Club. That is an institution that was founded in 1904. It is for scientific exploration. So you cannot just join this this club. You have to be sponsored by two active members. They have to put their credentials on the line to vouch for your credentials. You have to be voted in, reviewed. And then once you pass that, then the entire membership gets a 30 day period to offer comment on you whether or not you should be in it. So it’s a, it’s a big deal. And your credentials outside of exploration do not count. Right. So, I can’t go, oh hey, I, I’m the president of this.

7 (40m 42s):

They don’t care. When Teddy Roosevelt applied for it, he put on his application president of the United States and they went, so what else

Sean P. Holman (40m 49s):

You got? Not good enough.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (40m 52s):

But when you went up and you played this bere, Desert Explorer, you are in Buddy.

Sean P. Holman (40m 57s):

He said, I’ve been on a podcast, he’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (40m 59s):


7 (40m 60s):

In fairness, I was a member before you guys did that. Oh,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (41m 3s):

They’re like, we heard you have your own intro. You’re in.

Sean P. Holman (41m 5s):

But you, you weren’t as elevated as you are now. Clearly you’ve made great strides since being on the podcast.

7 (41m 11s):

So anyway, so the Explorers Club, right, it’s, it’s, it promotes scientific exploration, conservation, preservation around the planet. And it’s, it’s got what’s called the famous first. Right? So the members were the first to the moon. Neil Armstrong carried one of the explorers Club flags inside of his spacesuit when they went to the moon. The first to the top of Everest, the first to the Mariana Trench, the first to Challenger deep, first to North Pole, the North Pole, first to the South Pole Club of heavy hitters, right? It’s some really amazing history involved with this organization. And they don’t do adventure, they don’t do travel for travel sake. Everything has to be for the good of the planet and the expansion of human knowledge, everything.

7 (41m 56s):

And, and so they have a deal what’s called the flag award, which is when you are gonna do an expedition, if it rises to a certain standard And, it’s a very rigorous standard to meet. You can apply for a flag and the Explorers Club is extremely protective of their flag. You can’t buy it, you can’t even buy a decal. That’s just the flag. It’ll have something else on it. I applied because I was like, ooh, this expedition has a lot tied to it. The M-D-H-C-A was sponsoring it. BLM was supporting it. I had this team of scientists because we’re not sure what we’re gonna run into, but we know, given the length of it, given the area, we could run into some, some really cool stuff from endangered species because that was a big part of It is protecting them and their habitat to cultural sensitive cultural sites.

7 (42m 45s):

All of this kind of stuff, geology that people haven’t seen. So that’s why I put this team together. I applied for a flag, laid out all of our objectives, laid out the history of the route, laid out what we were trying to accomplish and we were actually awarded a flag to carry on this trip. It’s flag number 2 38. And these flags, they go out in the field with expedition teams. You carry them, you photograph them, you write up your reports, you send ’em back, and then they go out with another expedition and your expedition becomes part of that flag’s history. And when it gets to a certain point of either being too tattered or hits something that makes it a theft target because it becomes so iconic, right?

7 (43m 26s):

Like the moon flag that people would try to steal it So, it goes out in the field over and over again. So you become part of the history of this flag. So the entire expedition, the entire team is named in the history of this flag now. so we had that and then there was a program that I wasn’t aware of, Rolex is, is a symbol of exploration for generations with their iconic, you know, the Explorer watch, the Explorer two and they have three Rolex watches on display in a glass pace at the Explorer Club headquarters in New York City. A submariner, a Rolex, sorry, an Explorer and an Explorer two.

7 (44m 7s):

And I didn’t really know about this program until I got contacted out of the blue saying, Hey, your flag application came to our attention and we in the Explorers Club and Rolex want you to wear one of these Rolexes on your expedition.

Sean P. Holman (44m 26s):

So Billy tell Lightning what the serial number was on our particular Yeah.

7 (44m 30s):

Watch. So this stamped on the back of this watch so that we got the Explorer. ’cause that’s the one that’s associated with Land Expeditions. We got the Explorer and It is stamped on the back. TEC for the Explorers Club. Rolex Explorer watch number one.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (44m 46s):

No, what would that

Sean P. Holman (44m 49s):

Be worth? You could look up the provenance or the provenance, if you will, of that watch and see every expedition that had it, that wore it before. And now our trip through the Mojave Desert is gonna be part of watch number one’s history for how rad is that? Right?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (45m 9s):

That is a $30 million watch. I bet

Sean P. Holman (45m 13s):

You I mean who knows. Who knows? We, we had it and it, it’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (45m 17s):

So that watch has not been to the moon or has it?

7 (45m 21s):

No, don don’t think it’s been to the moon. You know, I mean the weird thing is wearing a watch like that while you’re swinging a pick repeatedly. Did it

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (45m 30s):

Fit or did you have to pull a co a couple of links out?

Sean P. Holman (45m 33s):

No, it was too tight. Well,

7 (45m 35s):

Actually no, I, I actually got it And, it didn’t fit. I couldn’t get it over my hand.

Sean P. Holman (45m 40s):

He came to me and he goes, I got the watch. You wanna wear it? I’m like, yeah, I guess. Sorry, you can’t. And I’m like, come on, I’m on the expedition. She goes, no, literally your hands are too big. It won’t fit over your hands. I’m like, no

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (45m 49s):

Way. So what did they do they send you an extra link?

7 (45m 52s):

They did not because of timing. I literally got the watch two days before I was leaving. No. So So I went to a jewelry store and had ’em write it has a micro adjustment. So I had done the micro adjustment. It wasn’t enough. They were able to, you know, And it. I’m Rolex is like, well take a screwdriver and do this. I’m like, I am not doing that. So I took it to a jeweler, they expanded it out to where I could just get it over my wrist and like clamp it really tight. But I was like, there’s no way I’m not wearing this. So I was able to do that. And then the cool thing was, I didn’t ask if this was okay because I’m the person on the trip that’s in the Explorers Club, but I made sure that every person on the team wore the watch.

7 (46m 33s):

You know? But It is, It is a weird feeling. And I’ll tell you the cool thing to Rolex and the Explorers Club credit, right? This thing sits on display when it’s not in the field. It doesn’t have a mark on it. And I was terrified. I’m like, they’re like, no, no, no, you can’t hurt it. This is what it’s built for. This is the Rolex. It’s a functional tool. You can’t hurt it. Do whatever you wanna do. Bang it around. And

Sean P. Holman (46m 54s):

I was like, hold my beer.

7 (46m 57s):

Well, yeah. I’m like, do you know who you’re talking to right now? Do you

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (46m 60s):

Have, do you have photos of it? I I haven’t seen It. is it a black? Oh yeah,

Sean P. Holman (47m 3s):

I’ve got Ace. I will show you. Oh,

7 (47m 5s):

It’s a oyster. And to their credit, right? I banged this thing around. I did not baby it at all. I, I treated it like it was a a $20 old, you know, Chinese knockoff. It did not get a scratch on it. It had dust it had of the stuff. And I just wipe it off with my thumb And. it looked brand new. I was shocked.

Sean P. Holman (47m 25s):

I just think of all we all wore it. Me. I wasn’t able to clasp it, but I wore it. It was one of those things that you knew the gravity, how special it was that you were awarded an Explorers Club flag and the Explorers Club Rolex. Because the committees that go through all the applications felt that your expedition was worthy of that. And for this being a passion project, obviously Billy and I both love the Mojave Desert. We have a lot of fond thoughts and memories of, of Dennis and who Dennis was and what he created. And the fact that I was honored to be able to assist Billy in crossing off the last thing on the list that Dennis asked him to do before he passed away.

Sean P. Holman (48m 6s):

And then to be kind of thrust into this spotlight with the Explorers Club and the Rolex committee was just icing on the cake. I mean that’s, that’s a once in a lifetime type of a thing where your name will forever be associated with these items that, that carry weight in, in the expedition and adventure communities. Just to me, it’s, it was an honor. I mean, I I still can’t believe that we did that.

7 (48m 28s):

So this thing is, is is getting a lot of of attention. And so for, it’s the US and it’s the Southwest us and people tend to think, oh, that’s not that bad. But when you tell people the Mojave Desert is roughly the same size as the entire country of Jordan and it’s one of the top eight most hostile environments on the planet. You know, I mean the Mojave Desert is 81,000 square kilometers. It’s the only place in the United States, actually North America, where you can stand at the lowest point and physically see the highest point in the contiguous 48. ’cause it’s only 80 miles away.

Sean P. Holman (49m 6s):

So bad water and Death Valley to Mount Whitney.

7 (49m 8s):

You know. So it’s got all these things and, and you know, our expedition, we covered, you know, the new route is 125 miles. It originally was 110. And we found, you know, three previously undocumented Native American sites. You know, a spirit portal, a mountain cave complex. Wait, what

Sean P. Holman (49m 26s):

Was the first one? Wait, wait, what? What portal?

7 (49m 29s):

It’s called a spirit portal. What is it? So, so these mountains that we, that this trail runs along the peak of the mountain, the Native Americans, the name for it translates to dwelling place of evil spirits. And so we came across, you know, the archeologist, he identified it. ’cause that’s what he’s, that’s why he’s on the trip, is to look for stuff like this.

Sean P. Holman (49m 48s):

And then we look for Talkwe

7 (49m 49s):

And then you got Talkwe, right? So

Sean P. Holman (49m 53s):

Lighting’s shaking his head. I mean. ’cause there’s no, it’s basically everywhere humans are. There’s some form of Bigfoot Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasquatch in the Mojave Desert. Right. The natives called it Yucca Man, or Tawes, which was this giant, yeah. Which was this giant ape looking creature that looked with rushy like, yeah, pointy yucca. Like, you know, a fur, I guess, on it. And there’s all these stories of like military bases where these things have been seen on, you know, by the guards out there in the Mojave Desert. And the natives have stories. They’ve passed along. So we’re thinking, well, the ear evil spirit cave. I hope I don’t run into a talkwe out here. ’cause then I’d be very, very upset.

7 (50m 34s):

I, I Think we just found a great Christmas present for Lightning. Oh

Sean P. Holman (50m 37s):

Yeah. He, he might like that. What now? We’ll, yeah. I’ll, we’ll, we’ll, we should make that happen. We what? Make what happen? It’s a Christmas present. Stop. Yeah. Stop asking questions. No, no, no, no, no. It’s cool. I dressed totally cool. All. right? So the spirit cave, the sleeping circles, what were some of the other things that we came across?

7 (50m 54s):

So the portal is a cer circle of rocks with a, with a based around a center rock. And then the cave complex, which is a, a bunch of caves carved in the Southern face of a mountain. The face, that’s the warmest. And then a what looks like a sleeping circle complex out in the flat Desert, the moonscape area. So those, we also, you know, our geologist, right? She’s able to find and determine that this route, it’s probably one of the only routes in the world of this distance, 125 miles, that you’re gonna encounter both the oldest and youngest rocks on this planet in such a short period of time. Because there’s a slip system right there for the San Andreas fault that has slipped about 30 kilometers over the last 13 million years.

7 (51m 42s):

So, it exposes these rocks and it’s easier for ’em to come up. So we’ve got the oldest to the newest all in one spot.

Sean P. Holman (51m 48s):

So Billy, let’s go back to the point on the trail where we had decided that we may not be able to complete the mission.

7 (51m 58s):

And, and this is for everybody who does this kind of stuff. Anybody who researches a trip, whatever the route is, you cannot just rely on digital mapping and paper mapping. You have to physically see it when you get there. You have to be prepared because there was, we had to cross a, a road at one point, a paved road. Well, we couldn’t because there was a 12 foot wide, you know, 10 foot deep culvert that had been dug on the side of the road by either department of transportation or BLM or somebody. We came to the conclusion that that was the side from where the flooding would’ve come from. So during the severe rains, they did it to protect the highway fair.

7 (52m 38s):

They did that to save the road, but they cut off the trail access in the process. There’s all these, you know, aggregate piles and things like that. So we couldn’t see where the trail actually went to figure out how to connect to it and see if we could figure out another way around. so we were a little stymied and we’re stopped on the side of the road talking about it. It’s late afternoon, it was like four o’clock I think. And a local pulls up in his truck to see if we’re okay. And we say yeah. And he gets out and he stops. He’s the older guy And it. We start telling him, you know, where, what we’re trying to do, and does he know the interest? Well then the local knowledge kicks in. You cannot make it. It’s right there.

7 (53m 18s):

You can’t make it. You’re not gonna make it. Don’t even try it. It’s 10 foot drop offs. It’s cliffs. And the whole time, this guy’s telling me this, his pants are unzipped and he doesn’t have underwear on.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 29s):

So typical Desert dweller. So,

7 (53m 32s):

So I’m trying to keep,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 34s):

So you Can you are seen as junk no matter what, and you’re just trying to both coming and going. Oh geez, it,

7 (53m 41s):

It was, it was smiling at me.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 44s):

What was he driving? I need to know. Dodge Durango or Dakota, the older last generation of the Dodge Dakota. Now he’s explaining this to you and the life is being sucked out of you. Yes. Everything you worked towards. Oh, there is no, it just complete, your world is crashing around you right now.

7 (54m 1s):

Yes and no. It’s like, have you met me?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (54m 6s):

Desert? Explorer? Yes.

7 (54m 8s):

Yes. You know when whenever somebody tells me I can’t do something, that’s usually about the time I go do it. So he’s really adamant about this and I’m trying to stay serious with him as I’m watching Chris Callard try to take a picture of the two of us talking without getting

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (54m 26s):

Yes. Yeah. Tell me there’s photos.

7 (54m 29s):

There is a photo.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (54m 30s):

There’s a photo All right there. A

7 (54m 33s):

He is just adamant that we are not gonna make it. He’s like, you’re gonna need Jack and you’re gonna need shovels and you’re gonna need chains. And I’m sitting there going, are you looking at our vehicles right now? Because we kind of have all of that. so we decided, you know what, the sun’s going down. We don’t know what we’re in for. Let’s find a place to make camp and regroup, recharge the batteries, get some warm food in us, get some rest. And about that time, I think Sean and I, I think both of our phones went off at exactly the same time for a severe weather alert in our area.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (55m 4s):

Oh. no. And we’re like, ah, crap.