Trucks & SUVs

Going To This Lakebed? Bring A Raptor Not Tacoma

The Ford guys and gals are going to love this story. This Toyota Tacoma owner thought it would be a good idea to drive through Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. It’s where the Burning Man festival takes place. But not in March. That’s when the rains turn the dry, barren landscape into an otherworldly goo. You should also be reminded that any place that required an off-road rescue in the identical spot back in December should be avoided. That one involved pulling a Toyota 4Runner out of the wet muck. The two involving variations of a Toyota Tacoma should also be a warning that if you are going to this lakebed you should not bring a Tacoma.

The Tacoma made it almost through the goo before getting stuck

Tacoma rescue Black Rock desert | Jeffery Hannah-
Tacoma rescue Black Rock desert | Jeffery Hannah

That said, this Colorado adventurer drove her Tacoma to Cali to do some surfing and social networking. The owner for whatever reason decided to travel through Black Rock in an area known as the “playa.” A little over 25 miles long, she made it 24.5 miles before the sticky slime stopped her cold. She was stranded there for six days before being rescued. 

Raptor owner Jeffery Hannah saw posts on Facebook from the Tacoma according to The Drive. He headed out to try and rescue the Tacoma about 2 a.m. He was also involved in the previous 4Runner rescue just a few months ago. Four hours later he could see the Tacoma.

The previous week’s rain had made the lakebed undrivable

Tacoma rescue Black Rock desert | Jeffery Hannah-
Tacoma rescue Black Rock desert | Jeffery Hannah

He could also see that the previous week’s worth of rain had made the lakebed virtually undrivable. The Burning Man Festival takes place here every September. That’s when the dry desert floor has been baked for several months leading up to the gathering. But winter and early spring are not the time to be trying cheating Mother Nature.

Another truck with a 300 ft winch attached to Hannah’s Raptor followed just in case. Before he made it out to the Tacoma his Raptor got stuck. He was able to winch over to the Tacoma to pull it out. Then, he went back to rescue his Raptor.

Tacoma rescue Black Rock desert | Jeffery Hannah-
Tacoma rescue Black Rock desert | Jeffery Hannah

Once at the truck a combination of a floor jack, a set of recovery boards, and wooden blocks helped Hannah’s Raptor pull out the Tacoma. But not before breaking the winch. After that, they were able to navigate the final half-mile out of the Playa’s sticky ick. The owner of the Tacoma bought lunch for everyone and that was that.

The previous rescue in the same spot happened in December

The previous rescue in December was much more involved as numerous rescuers also got stuck. So Hannah was quite busy at that time. Needless to say, unless you are sure of the conditions you expect to travel through it is best to take more mundane roads. 

Tacoma rescue Black Rock desert | Jeffery Hannah-
Tacoma rescue Black Rock desert | Jeffery Hannah

And as for the Black Rock Desert and its surroundings now you know to avoid the area during the winter and spring months. Besides the rains that can drive through the area, flash floods are common. Actually, flash foods are common throughout the desert. Keep in mind that the desert, as predictable as it may seem, can be unpredictably dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing or where you are in it.