Saturday, February 18, 2012

A hundred thousand and counting.

Location, Indio, CA
The odometer on the truck turned over 100,000 miles on our way back from Anza Borrego State Park today while driving north on Hwy 86S just north of Salton City. It had 32,000 miles on it when we bought it in 2005.

I need to recap the last few days.

On Wednesday the jeep club at the RV Park in Benson does a 4-wheel drive trip. It was the one reason we stayed longer than planned so I could do the trip.

The group left at 9:30 AM with 7 jeeps and 13 people. The goal was to go to Chimney Rock, where ever that was. We drove west on I-10 to east Tucson then north on Houghton road to Taque Verde Road. Taque Verde climbs to the east which afforded great views of Tucson.

About mile marker 10 we turned off the road onto a rocky ledge which climbed then descended into a wash. For the next several hours we climbed ridges, dropped down into washes, road over boulders, crossed small steams, passed large water holes, and in general bounced around. At times there was snow on the ground in protected places from Tuesday’s storm. Around noon we stopped in a wash for lunch. Everyone pulled out a chair and sat in a circle while we ate and talked.

After lunch, the trip continued until my driver slid a front passenger wheel off the road which put us in a very precarious position. The jeep was sitting with 3 wheels on rocks which moved and was very close to sliding off the road into the canyon.

You can tell by the slant of our bodies how steep the slope is.

Notice the sign on the bumper. It says " What could possibly go wrong".

It pays to add some weight to the uphill side to prevent the Jeep from sliding down hill.

The jeep following had a winch so the cables was passed through a pulley to the jeep ahead and than back to our front bumper. The winch pulled us back on the road easily. Just another Jeep adventure.

We continued on to Chimney Rock which is a rock monolith sticking up from the surrounding ground. There also are lots of rocks in the area which are great for climbing with the jeeps. I wish I had taken a video of the action.

Shortly after leaving Chimney Rock we again got on the original road at mile marker 12. Our entire off road driving only gained us 2 miles along the original road.

The drive home was on a fairly good dirt road so we maintained a good speed. We got back to the RV Park about 5:30.

On Thursday we left Benson and drove to the Elks Club at Casa Grande where we have stayed for the last several years. For $5 a night, no hookups, it is a bargain. In the afternoon we drove west to Stanfield which is all very large dairy farms then north to Maricopa before returning to Casa Grande.

We visited Clyda’s cousin Rodney and wife Claralyn for a while before going to dinner at Chili’s. After dinner we returned to the RV for a piece of Claralyn’s Red Velvet Cake. While we talked, a thunderstorm moved through the area but was more sound than fury. We only had a few sprinkles.

Friday we drove to Indio, CA and pulled into the Elks Club where we have stayed before. At first glance, it looked like the camp sites were all full with large motor homes but they said there were sites available so we paid for 2 days.

The annual Date Festival is this weekend so the town is full of vehicles and pedestrians. The weather is very nice.

Today we drove south to Anza Borrego State Park. We have never been there so decided to check it out. It is about a 130 mile round trip. We drove down Hwy 86S to Salton City before turning west to the park. Along the road to the park is filled with off roaders camped for the long weekend with all there “toys”.

We stopped at the park visitor center and watched a movie and picked up a map. I decided to drive to Yaqui Wells before we had lunch. Yaqui Wells is a road junction with a campground for tenters. We ate in the truck.

After lunch we drove back on Hwy 78 to Ocotillo Wells and then back to Indio via Hwy 86S.

Before going back to the Elks Club we went to Shields Date farm for a date shake. They are very large for $3.75 but way too sweet for our tastes. I like the ones at China Ranch outside of Tecopa, NV better.