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Pthom
04-14-2009, 12:54 AM
I am writing a brief but crucial scene in a novel that involves (ideally) a Major in the USAF, who is flying either an F-15 or F-15E or F-16 from the Hill AFB in Utah to Mt. Home AFB in Idaho. The scene depends on him flying very low over southern Idaho, specifically in the vicinity of the ghost town of Three Creeks. He needs to spot a woman on the ground whose car has caught fire, fly vertically (show-off-like) and then somehow effect the rescue of the woman. This action on his part could be cause for disciplinary action, but that isn't required.

I have pretty much exhausted all the Wikipedia, USAF and ANG references to the airplanes and to the responsibilities of various support groups.

Any help from a vet or someone in active duty is appreciated.

Haggis
04-14-2009, 12:58 AM
Um, have you tried Jason?

jst5150
04-14-2009, 02:39 AM
Mountain Home Air Force Base (http://www.mountainhome.af.mil/), Idaho flies F-15E Strike Eagles. Two people fly them, pilot and weapons systems officer. Mountain Home also flies F-15C models, single seat. Fact sheet on all here (http://www.mountainhome.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=4370).

Hill Air Force Base (http://www.hill.af.mil), Utah, flies F-16s, single seat models. It has an active duty unit and a Reserve unit. This could factor in your pilot's motivations.

The pilot could see the burning vehicle, stop his training and radio for help in a number of ways. Most likely, he'd call back to the base. The base would, in turn, handle the rescue op, probably having the base's command post personnel call local authorites in that area to send help. The aircraft would probably loiter in that area until help arrived if it had enough fuel.

If it's the E-model, then the WSO would probably spot the vehicle. However, in any case, chance are slim unless the aircraft are ingressing (entering) the low-level zone or egressing (exiting) the low-level zone. Otherwise, they're locked into instruments and procedures. Slim, but yeah hey could still see a burning car.

A low-level training range covers hundreds if not thousands of square miles. They are usually not secret and have names. If you call the base's public affairs office, and ask them, thy will usually let you know where the ranges they train on are located as well as ingress and egress points. They do this because the base also has to handle noise complaints from nearby residents to the range. On the rare occasion, you can usually obtain a low-level range map from the base, too.

Not sure I'm giving you good info here, Peter, since there's no actual question in your statement above. :) Don't take that the wrong way. I'm just not sure what or how to answer. I'll start with this and allow you to ask more as needed.

Pthom
04-14-2009, 04:15 AM
Thanks Jason. I'll try to refine my question.

Three Creek Road parallels the Idaho/Nevada border between Rogerson (US 93) and a tiny resort called Murphy Hot Springs. The female character is traveling west on that road to hook up with some guy at the hot springs. The ghost town of Three Creek, ID, is about halfway along that road. According to NOTAM, that entire region is a part of the Jarbidge MOA (info obtained from Google Earth). Just north of there is the Saylor Range, which is the principle training range for the 366th FS (your F-15E guys).

I can envision all sorts of reasons a fighter jet such as an F-16 or F-15 might be outside the Saylor range, but I really would like to have some realistic military reason for my Major Sommers (my character) to be alone in a jet, at sunset, and following an east-to-west vector on the deck. As I said, he could be pissed off at something (need plausable reason for this) and violating protocol.

I need him to be based in Mt. Home AFB. But he could be coming home from Hill AFB, could be in transit from Anywhere AFB, USA, actually. But a line drawn from Wendover, NV (west of the Great Salt Lake and which is within the Utah Test and Training Range) to Mt. Home AFB, passes directly over both the town of Three Creek, Jarbidge MOA and Saylor Range. Air distance, about 240 statute miles.

In a companion scene the female character is watching her car burn up, wondering how the hell she's gonna get from South Nowhere, Idaho, to anywhere civilized now, and is startled by this jet that flies through the smoke rising from the fire.

Is it realistic for Maj. Sommers to be preoccupied with flying and not immediately notice the smoke, but then notice as he flies through it? There is plenty of variation of terrain there, but google earth reveals several very flat areas too. With the rank of major, can he just "check out" a war plane and fly it around? (I don't think this is true. But my late brother was a Marine pilot and he flew T-38s and so forth from base to base, or to come home on leave...and he was a captain.) Would there be some reason (such as a joint exercise) where there would be significant movement of aircraft from one base to another? From what I read, a F-16 or F-15 could easily fly from Wendover to Mt. Home in under an hour without going supersonic.

As for the rescue situation. Why would the Air Force go get this gal and not send for the State Police? Might there be restricted movement in this Jarbidge MOA due to a training exercise? If there is such an exercise, are Maj. Sommers' actions plausable?

Again, Thanks in advance
Peter.

Haggis
04-14-2009, 04:49 AM
:popcorn:

xaine5150
04-14-2009, 05:00 AM
Alright, I’m in the military, and I don’t want to come across as overly caustic, but there’s no way this scenario would happen and I don’t even know where to begin explaining why.
A low altitude training flight isn’t going to happen. Every military training exercise I’ve been a part of has very restrictive emphasis on safety. In the scenario you describe this guy is out there on his own traveling at low altitude over areas that civilians have access to. Fighters aren’t like a car, you sneeze, twitch or hiccup and you can gain or lose hundreds of feet of altitude. In other words, you could find yourself finding becoming one with nature the hard way. Even if you don’t make a mistake, there’s always the risk that you may develop mechanical problems with your equipment. Traveling at low altitudes, if anything goes wrong, you’re just plain dead.
Add to that the fact that if civilians have access to your training ground, then you might wipe out into them. If there’s anything that’s worse press for the military than wiping out with a $30 million plane, it’s taking civilians with you when you do. You don’t want to survive an incident like that.
The purpose of military training is to take something that a non-military person would view as overwhelmingly exciting and boil it down to a mundane procedure. Imagine making something like flying a Fighter plane at the speed of sound being made as boring as doing math homework and that’s an ideal military training exercise. In order to accomplish this, the first step in any training exercise would be to identify and eliminate risk factors. Flying close to the ground would be avoided by establishing a ‘hard deck’ this is a set altitude that the pilot is told to treat as though it is the ground. You’d be talking 10,000 feet is the ground, fly below that and the mission is over because in the training scenario, you are dead. This policy was demonstrated in the movie Top Gun.
Additionally if this guy was really transiting from point A to point B he’d be doing it so fast that making out details at ground level would be impossible. Close to the ground the scenery would be moving by too fast around him to be able to make out any details on the ground, at higher altitudes chances are he’d see smoke, but wouldn’t be able to identify what it was coming from or anyone around the area, smoke from a single car fire, not even going to happen.
Pulling up as if he was showing off is another big flag of no here. Maybe back in WWII when military aviation was in it’s infancy, planes were cheap, and supervision was minimal a pilot could have gotten away with this behavior, but nowadays with radar, satellites , GPS tracking etc. a pilot woudn’t get away with this for a minute and his wings would be collected from him on the tarmac immediately after the premature termination of his mission. There probably isn’t a job in the military that gives you the level of independence that being a fighter pilot does, but there isn’t a position that can be taken away more swiftly should that privilege be abused. If anyone would know that, a Major would. You don’t just get handed Major in the military, you have to prove you have the maturity to do the job.
Last but not least, let’s suspend disbelief about everything above this line and say that everything happened as you suggest. If your pilot had been on a mission, transiting or training, and identified a civilian in danger (i.e. a burning car in the middle of nowhere) and deviated from his mission to provide assistance, he would be commended for it not disciplined. In our oath, military members swear to obey the constitution of the united states. The constitution identifies the authority that governs it in the opening statement of “We the people…” In other words the power of the constitution is derived by the people, so to allow a citizen of the United States to come to harm by inaction is to weaken the constitution and in doing so to violate our oath.
The U.S. Government spends thousands of dollars training military members on doing jobs like fighting fires, providing first aide, wilderness survival, and thousands of other jobs that are essential to the community. Sure they do it so that we can conduct military missions all over the world, but that training doesn’t disappear when we’re on American soil, and neither does our responsibility to use it in the best interest of our country and our people.

Pthom
04-14-2009, 06:33 AM
Mr. Clary:

Not too caustic at all. I appreciate your candor.

I spent enough time in the military to understand all of what you say. My problem is that I was in the Army, and have only cursory knowledge of the mission of the Air Force.

So, Maj. Sommers can't realistically be in an F-anything jet and do as I suggest unless it's either: A) he's gone bonkers and will, as you say, be put behind bars (or in a padded room) upon his arrival at base. Or B) something has gone seriously wrong with his aircraft and he's struggling to maintain. I'm pretty sure either of the planes I propose don't need to fly at the speed of sound, but any speed necessary to keep one of those hunks of metal aloft is very fast. Okay. Let's try putting him in something else. He's a tactical fighter pilot--might being forced to fly a [something less glamorous, powerful, respectible, etc.] jerk his chain?

I need Maj. Sommers to notice the woman, believe (if even for a brief time) that it is his fault she's stranded, and to effect her rescue. I guess he doesn't have to be in a jet.
Even a little Cessna flying at 100 feet AGL would be very startling to the woman. Problem there is that I can't imagine her not hearing it long before it arrives, which is a critical plot point--whereas a jet...

hmm...

As for the civilian access problem, the area in question is a Military Operation Area, with certain flight restrictions for civilian aircraft. As for what is allowed on the ground, apparently this Three Creek Road is open for any vehicle that can make it (appears to be gravel for 90% of the distance I'm concerned with). There's even a recreation area with campground at a reservoir at one end of the road, and the hot spring resort at the other. Obviously, civilians have access. (Why, is beyond me--that part of Idaho is little more than sage brush and lava flows.)

xaine5150
04-14-2009, 10:34 AM
Okay, I gave you a half an answer earlier because all I told you was how what you wanted to do wouldn't work, I've been stewing it over and have a couple of alternatives that you could go on. One is just a little change to your story, probably a bit less dramatic but more plausible, the second is perhaps a little more drastic a change but maintains the dramatic effect and allows for a plausible unfolding of events.

The first option is litterally more down to earth. As a by product of your characters job he'd have to have a security clearance. He's a pilot, flies in the fast planes and all of that, but he happens to get tasked with a collateral of say the officer in charge of a military convoy carrying top secret equipment. Perhaps an upgraded missile guidance system or something like that. Something that has to get from point A to point B on the route you discussed earlier.
It's less dramatic to have him come accross her this way, but if her car is on fire in the middle of nowhere, I'm sure stopping and offering her a ride would do far more to merit her fancy than some hot dog flying while she's dying of thirst on ground level.
Additionally you can still end up with him getting his throat stepped on when he completes his convoy mission and reports that they picked up a civilian, giving her potential access to the tech he was put in charge of. This would get him into enough trouble that he'd sting a little but it wouldn't be enough to end his career, or even cost him his ability to fly.

The other option is as you suggested put him into something a little slower. For instance if he were flying a combat helicopter. He could be heading out to pick up a group of grunts out on a training mission and notice the smoke, he moves in to investigate and finds the gorgeous damsel in distress. with nothing else available to him he lands the helo and welcomes her aboard. His time out of the way could delay his pick up of the grunts and carrying an unauthorized passenger definitely wouldn't go unnoticed by the command cadre, however it would be understood that he couldn't just leave her out in the desert with no transportation or survival gear. he'd get reprimanded for picking up a civilian, but it'd be a slap on the wrist because ultimately he did the right thing.
This last one is more invasive because you can't really switch between flying helos and flying combat jets. But it would be closer to what you're after.

Ultimately your point here appears to be introducing person A to person B. Don't get caught up in making the intro too dramatic. I think in a case like this it's best to remember your military abbreviations, in particular K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple Stupid) ;)

As for the Mr. title, I'm enlisted I work for a living. I'm an SK2 in the Coast Guard (I'd be a Sargent in the army) but being in a small service I probably get a greater level of involvement in operations than someone at my level in other branches. I know I get more face time with officers at any rate.

jst5150
04-14-2009, 11:24 AM
Three Creek Road parallels the Idaho/Nevada border between Rogerson (US 93) and a tiny resort called Murphy Hot Springs. The female character is traveling west on that road to hook up with some guy at the hot springs. The ghost town of Three Creek, ID, is about halfway along that road. According to NOTAM, that entire region is a part of the Jarbidge MOA (info obtained from Google Earth). Just north of there is the Saylor Range, which is the principle training range for the 366th FS (your F-15E guys).
Right. And the F-15E guys do low-level on that range regularly. That's why the range exists. It is similar to the FB-111 range that upstate New York had and several other low-level ranges used by B-1s, B-52s and others across the United States. I have flown as low as 300 feet over the water and over land (over Chile, near Santiago) in a HC-130 twice and as low as 500 feet in a B-1 over Texas. It's mostly done with a terrain-following radar. It's safe, scary and fun.

I can envision all sorts of reasons a fighter jet such as an F-16 or F-15 might be outside the Saylor range, but I really would like to have some realistic military reason for my Major Sommers (my character) to be alone in a jet, at sunset, and following an east-to-west vector on the deck. As I said, he could be pissed off at something (need plausable reason for this) and violating protocol.
His airplane breaks. That's the easiest reason. His aircraft malfunctions and he has to leave the range because of an IFE ('in-flight emergency'). He calls it in, leaves the range and ends up where you need him to end up. He could be flying that vector to retest the system that's broken. In flight emergencies vary by degree. If the aircraft commander (i.e., the pilot) feels the aircraft is OK (Code 1, or MC, mission-capable, in AF parlance) to fly, he may still want to check out the system himself, see if it might just be a temporary glitch and try to get it restarted. Bear in mind, an IFE could be anything from an electrical system warning light to avionics boxes to hydraulics to a failed engine. So, you have a lot of room to play with.

So, there IS a plausible reason for him leaving the range. The "gone rogue" stuff is for movies and makes stories more dramatic, but the realistic solution is for the aircraft to break. And the aircraft could break as hard or soft as you want it. In any case, whatever breaks doesn't mean the flight controls don't function.

ETA: The pulls straight up thing could be done to test the broken system (vertical stabs, ailerons and so on).

I need him to be based in Mt. Home AFB. But he could be coming home from Hill AFB, could be in transit from Anywhere AFB, USA, actually. But a line drawn from Wendover, NV (west of the Great Salt Lake and which is within the Utah Test and Training Range) to Mt. Home AFB, passes directly over both the town of Three Creek, Jarbidge MOA and Saylor Range. Air distance, about 240 statute miles.
Remember, too, that even military aircraft don't fly in a straight line. They follow FAA rules in peacetime and fly the assigned routes (though there are military paths, too). Hill Air Force base is also home to a 'depot maintenance facility,' the Ogden Air Logistics Center. Depots do long term fixes on military airplanes. Hill does work on A-10s and F-16s. So, if your guy is flying an F-16, that'd be a good reason to have him at Hill. The depot for F-15s (all of them) is in Georgia

Now, with Hill being a depot, you have a few other options for plausibility to your story needs. First, pilots assigned to depots have to go test the maintenance that has been done. So, they will fly past the speed of sound and take the jet through some maneuvers to torque it. At Robins, F-15s broke the sound barrier four or five times a week. So, if you needed your guy to be doing something, it could be that, too.

Your guy could also be flying a "cross-country" mission in his aircraft. Cross-country missions are done so AF pilots can gain hours and proficiency simply flying the jet. So, they fly from one base to another. It's very feasible for an F-15E to do a 'cross country' to Hill and, on the way back, be assigned to do a low-level run over that range.

In a companion scene the female character is watching her car burn up, wondering how the hell she's gonna get from South Nowhere, Idaho, to anywhere civilized now, and is startled by this jet that flies through the smoke rising from the fire.

Is it realistic for Maj. Sommers to be preoccupied with flying and not immediately notice the smoke, but then notice as he flies through it?
Yes. As you've probably surmised, he might think it's his smoke. But he'd definitely VFR it (go see it for himself) to be sure. Once he's figured out what's happening, he'd call for help or at least tell someone to get this #$@%# car off the range. ;)

With the rank of major, can he just "check out" a war plane and fly it around? (I don't think this is true. But my late brother was a Marine pilot and he flew T-38s and so forth from base to base, or to come home on leave...and he was a captain.)
No. The cross-country mission described above would be as close as that comes. Further, if you're placing it in a time period from now back about 5-7 years, cross-country travel is extremely limited because all that money for fuel is being consumed by the war (i.e., war dollars are needed to fly real missions). The AF & DOD as a whole cut back on flying training almost 30 percent in the past two years. It's expensive.

Would there be some reason (such as a joint exercise) where there would be significant movement of aircraft from one base to another? From what I read, a F-16 or F-15 could easily fly from Wendover to Mt. Home in under an hour without going supersonic.
Answer: yes. Easily. And Mountain Home participates regularly in joint exercises like Red Flag at Nellis and other exercises across the US and around the globe. Red Flag is probably the best example. And the F-16s at Hill -- the largest concentration in one spot -- are deployed to war often. ETA: Mountain Home is also home to the F-15E air demonstration team, which travels regularly across the US and around the globe (GREAT guys, too).

As for the rescue situation. Why would the Air Force go get this gal and not send for the State Police? Might there be restricted movement in this Jarbidge MOA due to a training exercise? If there is such an exercise, are Maj. Sommers' actions plausable?
Safety is the number one obligation during peacetime. He's a federal official and a commissioned officer. If he sees someone in that much distress, esp. with the smoke and such, he'd be obligated to "knock it off' and call for help, esp. if it is on federal land.

Example: a boy got kidnapped on Tyndall AFB, Fla., in 1996. The boy, Adam, was taken from his on-base home. Since the kidnapping took place on federal land, 2000 Airmen were marshalled into service to search for him. There were 24-hour operations. MC-130s using classified sensing equipment, Pave Hawk and Pave Low helicopters; Army Rangers and special forces people ALL camd to the base and helped looked for the boy.

However, the Air Force wouldn't go get her, but it would, as mentioned, have the Command Post call authorities and dispatch help for her (probably a sheriff). VERY feasible and I've heard it done before. If she were stuck on the side of a mountain, then we'd radio local search and rescue. All varies by degrees.

BTW, public roads do cross training ranges; they do NOT cross BOMBING ranges -- two entirely separate things. Bombing ranges (Avon Park in Florida; Nellis) are regulated differently than low-level flying ranges. Houses can be on low-level training ranges. People usually built their dream summer or winter homes AFTER realizing they were on a low-level training ranges. And they still bitch when the aircraft roars overhead at 200 feet. I've taken at least 700 calls in my 21-year career from people like this. They love and hate it the jets and the Air Force at the same time. Answer's always "You knew the range was there, so why'd you build?"

Pthom
04-14-2009, 11:46 AM
Jason, you just made my day. Thanks heaps. :D

jst5150
04-14-2009, 11:47 AM
Thanks, Peter. If you're willing, I'd love to read the scene when its done. :)

Pthom
04-14-2009, 12:01 PM
It's a deal.

But you might have to beta read the whole damn novel (heh heh heh).

jst5150
04-14-2009, 12:06 PM
It's a deal.

But you might have to beta read the whole damn novel (heh heh heh).
I'm in. It's obvious you're doing your homework, as Aaron Sorkin does when he does military stuff.

So, count me as a beta guy when you're ready. ;)

Noah Body
04-14-2009, 04:33 PM
A low altitude training flight isnít going to happen. Every military training exercise Iíve been a part of has very restrictive emphasis on safety. In the scenario you describe this guy is out there on his own traveling at low altitude over areas that civilians have access to. Fighters arenít like a car, you sneeze, twitch or hiccup and you can gain or lose hundreds of feet of altitude. In other words, you could find yourself finding becoming one with nature the hard way. Even if you donít make a mistake, thereís always the risk that you may develop mechanical problems with your equipment. Traveling at low altitudes, if anything goes wrong, youíre just plain dead.

Well, with the exception of helicopters, of course. ;)

Rabe
04-15-2009, 12:07 AM
Mr. Clary:
I need Maj. Sommers to notice the woman, believe (if even for a brief time) that it is his fault she's stranded, and to effect her rescue. I guess he doesn't have to be in a jet.
Even a little Cessna flying at 100 feet AGL would be very startling to the woman. Problem there is that I can't imagine her not hearing it long before it arrives, which is a critical plot point--whereas a jet...

Would it be possible that your Major would just be flying a - what the deuce are they called? Small personal planes? There is an airport in Jackpot, Nevada that is well known and apparently well liked by light aircraft people. Jackpot is along Hwy 93 and right at the Nevada/Idaho border. It's 17 miles south of Rogerson, Idaho.

And as such, that may also play havoc with your jet flying through the area at low level.

So, instead of flying a military jet - which seems to be causing all sorts of logistical problems. Your Major could be an enthusiast and have his own small aircraft. He is flying it from Boise to Hill over this area where he sees the woman in distress. He lands in Jackpot and gets a hold of one of the local deputies (from Elko County) who then goes with him to see about taking care of the gal.

BTW...if the police are called, it won't be state police going out there. It'll either be a Twin Falls County deputy or an Elko County deputy. Depending on who is more available.


(Why, is beyond me--that part of Idaho is little more than sage brush and lava flows.)

This is the problem with Google earth and people who can only see one type of beauty. Living in the area you describe, I can tell you thousands of reasons why people would want to go there - least of all being the resort at Murphys. But there is also a rugged, wild and desperate beauty out in the high desert. Most people just drive through it as fast as they can and never stop to appreciate it.

Such as taking about a six mile walk from my house into a hidden creek flowing from a pond like spring. Pretty much keeps the area green and thriving all year long. Along the way I get to see animals that people in cities only hear about.

Rabe...

Pthom
04-15-2009, 04:55 AM
Thanks Rabe.

Heh. My comment about southern Idaho was intended to be sarcastic. (Shows why I am astute in not having attempted a career in humor.) I live in central Oregon, on the edge of similar terrain as that in question. I've also ventured into southern Idaho, northern Nevada, eastern Oregon, so I'm not depending on Google Earth for a sense of the region between I-80, I-84 and US 93. Although I haven't been to Three Creek Road, I just might do, one day, especially if I can arrange it while the USAF is holding exercises at Saylor. I can understand why someone might want to tromp around there a lot. Tromping in the desert is fun. And there's a singular beauty to it. But I like to garden and it's difficult enough here on the Deschutes river to do that. :)

Appreciate your suggestion for my dilemma. I found Jackpot airfield (and one in the Saylor range, which, judging by the rectangular "improvements" around it, I take to be a restricted military strip). The problem I see with anyone flying a private craft over Three Creek Road is that it's in the Jarbidge Military Operation Area which NOTAM (notice to airmen) flags as restricted. The other problem I have with a small private craft (and I can surely see Maj. Sommers as owning one--but he has a hot BMW instead ;) ) is that it would be difficult for him to surprise the woman on the road.

But since you DO hang out in that part of the great Pacific Northwest, have you driven this Three Creek Road from Rogerson to Murphy Hot Springs? Can you give me some idea of its condition, etc?

Rabe
04-15-2009, 10:33 AM
Thanks Rabe.

But since you DO hang out in that part of the great Pacific Northwest, have you driven this Three Creek Road from Rogerson to Murphy Hot Springs? Can you give me some idea of its condition, etc?

Uhm...

If the Three Creek Road is the one that I think it is...the one leading out of Rogerson and is also listed alternatively as Jarbidge Road and Clover Creek Road, then I may be seeing a flaw in your story idea.

I don't have Google Earth on this machine so I can't immediately verify it for you, but when I drove that road to get out to Jarbidge, it was pretty well paved until just above Murphy Hot Springs (the 'town' area of it). At that point, just above the hill...so as I'm looking at the google map and switch it to 'satellite' you can see how Murphys is at the bottom of a canyon/ravine.

At about that point, where you start to descend into that Canyon is where the road goes from paved to dirt. You descend down a barely two lane, well graveled dirt road into Murphys. Then you can continue on that road into Jarbidge (which I always want to spell/say as JarBRIDGE so pardon if I mess that up) it's all dirt. Now this is coming in from Rogerson.

When I went to Jarbidge in mid-February this year, that road from Murphys to Jarbidge was open. Very wet, very muddy (VERY BEAUTIFUL) and with some snow in places. I kept it in 4wheel the entire time. But was passable at that time.

However, the area has had some pretty good snow storms since then. I imagine the road may be open again. The north from Rogerson route is one they try to keep open. Going from Jarbidge down to the Elko area...that road was completely snowed under. I didn't see any evidence of vehicles on it up to a mile out of Jarbidge. I'm told that road is usually closed.

Going south out of Murphys on 3 Creek was also closed off due to mud/snow. So, as of at least mid-February the only way to get to Murphys and Jarbidge, that I found, was through Rogerson.

As for the road to there...I was pleasently surprised driving it. Seemed little traveled (at that time) and like it would make a good road to take a road bike out on. At least until you got to the Salmon Creek Dam. Then I could turn around. That dam is small, one lane and very nervous making. But again, beautiful country.

I would imagine, though, in the spring/summer that the roads are a lot more traveled.

I'm hoping to go out of town this weekend to get together with a group of friends...and hoping to go back to work a week from tomorrow. But, if I'm not able to make that gathering of friends this weekend, or my next weekend off, if I can remember, I'd be more than happy to take another drive out there and see what I can see for you. Maybe even see if some pictures can be taken.

But, as for 'little used' and 'way out in the middle of nowhere'. Not exactly.

Unless you start talking about some of the 'NDF trails'. Or maybe even the road between Jarbidge and Murphys. But as that's one huge canyon, I'm not sure about the feasibility of landing a plane there. Especially a jet. (Unless it has hover capability and I'm not up to date on my military jets).

Right now, though, I'm a bit more familiar with the surrounding Jackpot area.

BUT!! An idea just struck me as one reason why your gal could be one a little known road out there in the middle of nowhere. Geocaching!
Have you heard of that? I think some of this area could be good for a hidden, out of the way, barely used geocache that only the diehards would go to.

Of course there is always hunting, fishing, hiking, looking for artifacts (I guess there's an not too far from Jackpot, in the old area known on Google Earth as Idvada (or something like that) that is rich in arrowheads). She could also be working for wildlife or something like that.

Sorry...I'm rambling much.

Rabe...

kikilynn
04-15-2009, 10:45 AM
HA HA HA, My ex is stationed at Mountain Home (A place I didn't think people knew existed) and Im near Hill. (Just thought I'd slip it in here. Kind of amusing.)

Pthom
04-15-2009, 12:53 PM
Rabe, Google Earth must have OLD photos then, because despite the lousy resolution, I can make out what sure looks like gravel washboard from a point just west of the Salmon creek reservoir all the way to Murphy Hot Springs.

So. Looks like there are some ranch-type buildings in the vicinity of Cedar Creek Reservoir, too, but just north of that is um, the Jarbidge MOA facility... And THAT looks really cool (but nor for my story) ... like some kind of bunker arrangement, very X-files looking. But between the Cedar Creek area and the little ghost town of Three Creek, there appears to be nothing much at all, building wise.

I thought maybe my gal could get lost somehow, but if the road is paved, as you say, then that's not realistic.

I don't need the Major to land--just to see her and the car. Search and rescue get her after he calls it in. He wouldn't likely see her down in that Jarbidge river canyon--she has to be up on top, where it's flat and desolate.

The female character is a graduate anthropologist, is told by the guy she is supposed to be meeting that there is a dig up in the Jarbidge mountains (south, across the Nev. border), but it's also in March so it's snowed in, she can't go. She also isn't the type to do that on her own.

I guess if you do happen to drive out that way, maybe you could ID some side road that would put my gal out in the middle of "South Nowhere, Idaho" (a term she uses--she's from Topeka) that would entice her to leave the pavement. She isn't a risk taker, but she is curious, and not terribly practical. (Her idea of good clothing for this venture--mid March in the desert--is a brand new set of Levi's jeans and jacket.)

Also, I don't really need to mention any road by name, but her venture should read as believable by those who care (such as yourself) yet not be TMI for those who don't.

Thanks again, Rabe. Have a great time--wish I was along.

Rabe
04-16-2009, 08:30 PM
Rabe, Google Earth must have OLD photos then, because despite the lousy resolution, I can make out what sure looks like gravel washboard from a point just west of the Salmon creek reservoir all the way to Murphy Hot Springs.

We may be looking at separate roads. But all the information you've given indicates, to me, that it is the main road in. Which is paved all the way to just above Murphys.

HOWEVER...if the road doesn't need to be specific and all you're looking for is the gal to be stranded on some out of the way, flat(ish) dirt track of a road...the you're good for that area. There are roads and tracks that crisscross the whole area. Necessary as there are a lot of hidden 'hot spots' to get to, ranchers running cattle, people 'boonie stomping' (not really sure what that it but it seems to involve mud and out of the way desert roads), hikers and people just wanting to make roads for no other reason than there is a big expanse of 'nothing' and they want to drive to the middle of it.

So...you're pretty good with that plot element even if that particular road doesn't work for you. Just put her on a numbered 'trail' and you're good to go.

Rabe...