Brune Family Road Trip 2015 | Sierra Club.

Follow the Brune Family Southwest road trip!

Sierra Club’s ED Michael Brune and his family are hitting the road to experience the wonders of the Southwest. Everyday is an adventure as Mike, Mary, Olivia, Sebastian, and Genevieve explore southern Utah and northern Arizona.

  1. Take a guess… in which town is this mural?
  2. Bet u can't guess (without cheating) what town this mural is in.

    Bet u can’t guess (without cheating) what town this mural is in.
  3. What’s a family adventure without a challenge and fantastic solution? After discovering all the campsites at Great Basin National Park were in use, the owners of Baker, NV’s LetroLux Cafe offered to let the Brunes camp out back. This combined with food, drink, ice cream, and music made for an all-around win.
  4. Here's how the LetroLux cafe in Baker Nevada saved my hide last night. Our plan was to drive on Rt 50, the so-called "loneliest road in America" all the way across Nevada and to camp at Great Basin National Park. Good plan, right? The only challenge is that campgrounds at the park are first come, first served. Lest you think the executive director of the Sierra Club gets any special privileges, the answer is no. So when we arrived at the park, in very, very remote eastern Nevada and all the spots at all five campgrounds were full, we were out of luck. And since I had assured Mary Brune that we'd get a site (don't worry, Mary!), it was me that was out of luck. And since, our three sweet little angels in the back seat were hungry and a just a tad, ahem, impatient, I wasn't the most popular person in the car. It was also dusk, past dinner time. Oh, and we were about to run out of gas. And then, a light in the darkness! The little town of Baker, Nevada. My new favorite little town in the west. About half the town of Baker (pop approx 100), were gathered at the LetroLux cafe for a pizza/beer/dance party that spilled into the street. We sat down, had a few drinks, and the owners invited us and some other late-night stragglers to camp out back. We hung out for a few hours, made some new friends, had some ice cream, and all was right again.

    Here’s how the LetroLux cafe in Baker Nevada saved my hide last night. Our plan was to drive on Rt 50, the so-called “loneliest road in America” all the way across Nevada and to camp at Great Basin National Park. Good plan, right? The only challenge is that campgrounds at the park are first come, first served. Lest you think the executive director of the Sierra Club gets any special privileges, the answer is no. So when we arrived at the park, in very, very remote eastern Nevada and all the spots at all five campgrounds were full, we were out of luck. And since I had assured Mary Brune that we’d get a site (don’t worry, Mary!), it was me that was out of luck. And since, our three sweet little angels in the back seat were hungry and a just a tad, ahem, impatient, I wasn’t the most popular person in the car. It was also dusk, past dinner time. Oh, and we were about to run out of gas. And then, a light in the darkness! The little town of Baker, Nevada. My new favorite little town in the west. About half the town of Baker (pop approx 100), were gathered at the LetroLux cafe for a pizza/beer/dance party that spilled into the street. We sat down, had a few drinks, and the owners invited us and some other late-night stragglers to camp out back. We hung out for a few hours, made some new friends, had some ice cream, and all was right again.
  5. Did we mention there was dancing, too?
  6. Welcome to the Valley of the Gods. How’s this for breathtaking?
  7. Moon House ruins in Cedar Mesa, UT. The Brunes were inspired by the Dine Bikeyah leaders who are working to permanently protect 1.9 million acres of these sacred lands.
  8. Moon House ruins in Cedar Mesa. We were inspired to meet with Dine Bikeyah leaders the past two days to learn about their proposal to permanently protect 1.9 million acres as part of Bears Ears National Monument. On to Moab today to learn more about how fracking and dirty fuels are scarring the beautiful red rock country here, and what we all need to do to stop it.

    Moon House ruins in Cedar Mesa. We were inspired to meet with Dine Bikeyah leaders the past two days to learn about their proposal to permanently protect 1.9 million acres as part of Bears Ears National Monument. On to Moab today to learn more about how fracking and dirty fuels are scarring the beautiful red rock country here, and what we all need to do to stop it.
  9. The Brunes visited Cedar Mesa with Willie Gray Eyes, chairman of the Utah Diné Bikéyah, and visited the ruins of an ancient hogan, as well as the medicinal uses of the juniper and pinion leaves, bark, sap and pollen. These ants, called “Stinky ants”, used to be crushed and spread on baby’s guns when teething!
  10. “Stinky ants”. Yesterday we visited Cedar Mesa with a Dine leader, Willie Gray Eyes. He showed us the ruins of an ancient hogan, as well as the medicinal uses of the juniper and pinion leaves, bark, sap and pollen. These ants used to be crushed and spread on baby’s guns when teething! All of what we visited is part of the proposed Bears Ears National Monument. See link to a Native-led coalition working to protect this area in my bio.
  11. Mike and Olivia at Cedar Mesa.
  12. Instagram photo by Michael Brune * Jun 15, 2015 at 4:20pm UTC

    Instagram photo by Michael Brune * Jun 15, 2015 at 4:20pm UTC
  13. Long day….
  14. Long day

    Long day
  15. Olivia is a soon-to-be-published blogger. Here’s a sneak peak at her adventures so far.
  16. Some of Olivia's notes from our trip thus far. Look for her upcoming debut blog on Kidzworld.com!

    Some of Olivia’s notes from our trip thus far. Look for her upcoming debut blog on Kidzworld.com!
  17. Here’s what oil and gas development looks like on our public lands. Red Rock country looks better without it.
  18. Thanks BLM! People come from all around the world to Red Rock country to see dirty oil pipelines and fracking drill sites, right? Tragic to see so much oil and gas outside Moab when clean energy is clearly our future.

    Thanks BLM! People come from all around the world to Red Rock country to see dirty oil pipelines and fracking drill sites, right? Tragic to see so much oil and gas outside Moab when clean energy is clearly our future.
  19. This kid gets it.
  20. Long drives can be a drag. Sibling feuds are definitely not fun. But what really makes Genevieve angry are ugly, dirty oil pipelines through the beautiful canyons and red rocks in Utah!

    Long drives can be a drag. Sibling feuds are definitely not fun. But what really makes Genevieve angry are ugly, dirty oil pipelines through the beautiful canyons and red rocks in Utah!
  21. Fidelity Exploration owns this oil pipeline, which runs through Big Flat adjacent to Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab. The pipeline is uncoated and unpainted, so that it will eventually rust and blend in with the red rock landscape. Sounds safe, eh?
  22. Oil pipeline through Big Flat adjacent to Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab. Owned by Fidelity Exploration. Approved by BLM and the Dept of Interior. The pipeline is uncoated and unpainted, so that it will eventually rust and blend in with the red rock landscape. Thanks! Sounds safe!

    Oil pipeline through Big Flat adjacent to Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab. Owned by Fidelity Exploration. Approved by BLM and the Dept of Interior. The pipeline is uncoated and unpainted, so that it will eventually rust and blend in with the red rock landscape. Thanks! Sounds safe!
  23. Read more about the Brune’s trip to southern Utah.