Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Wickenburg Trail

This tire highlights the value of having true all-terrain tires. The trip started with clean tires which quickly got an even coat of dust. Then rocks on the trail removed some of it.

Well, I left Wickenburg to stage in Congress for a quick trip to Scottsdale to see a good friend of mine.  The best part is that I suckered him into paying for lunch. The second-best part is that I managed to capture some usable video on the way out of camp. I lost nearly all of the audio however, due to my not realizing that two devices were both inadvertently set to use the same bluetooth microphone. As far as they are concerned, this is not a cooperative venture. So you’re spared both my droning, monotone commentary and the pocketa-pock of the idling Mighty Furd for 10 minutes. That’s probably good, too. My loss is your gain.

You’ll notice a lot of turning from side to side in the footage (sorry, I’m too old-school to use the term “clip”), since much time was spent dodging either bushes or rocks. This trail is really a bit narrow for a full-size vehicle, and much of the original soundtrack consisted of wiry bushes screeching their way down the truck’s length, like nails on a chalkboard. Made me wince each time I played it back. I aired down the tires for this trail so that the ride would smooth out some. In its current state, the trail is passable by anything having decent ground clearance with not a lot of overhang.

The Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx tires offer pretty good shoulder protection, and this feature got a commendable workout, especially since airing down exposes more of the sidewall to rocks. I had aired down using my Coyote Deflators, which are set to 25 PSI, the lowest “safe” pressure for E-rated tires on this particular vehicle. This was done “hot” after a highway run however, which means that once the tires cooled down, pressure was actually 20 PSI cold. That risks breaking the bead loose and having the tire self-dismount off the rim, but there’s nothing on this trail that encourages that – as long as some minimal care is used.

You may also notice the very slow pace, more a product of the filming process than the Ford’s stiff suspension. Since I’m new to this game, my thoughts were more on what camera should be mounted where and when than on getting out of there at a reasonable pace. Since I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, I had to think “live” and improvise instead of follow some pre-planned setup sequence. Maybe I’ll get more used to that. Maybe.

Oddly, the dip where I figured there was a real danger of grounding out the cargo box frame on solid rock went swimmingly, while the loose dip I had little concern about contacted both the frame and the hanging camera! That’s impressive, because the camera was only a tad lower than the hitch itself, at center. You’ll notice that contact in the video. Everything was pre-set to automatic stabilization, which does much to make the landscape jump around less than it actually does. Tied securely to the Furdster, auto-stabilization seems to find some common ground in there, somehow making both the vehicle and the landscape move. Someday, I’ll switch that feature off just to see what I get.

Airing back up just before hitting the pavement again took about 45 minutes, 35 being more typical. Considering that 10 minutes of idling (to power the air pump) is what Ford considers the outside limit per hour of runtime for the Navistar 6.4L diesel, I figured a little highway action would be needed to try to clear the diesel particulate filter, part of the emissions system. After all, I’d idled it all the back up the trail as well. More recent firmware from Ford signals only the start of a high-temperature regeneration mode, and then disappears in a few seconds. So I was surprised to see the dashboard readout immediately announce “RUN TO CLEAN EXHAUST SYSTEM” and stay there for the next 20 minutes while I cruised at 65 on the two-lane out of town and back again, until the message went out.

At any rate, though I’ve cut down the 1-1/2 hours of raw footage to about 10-1/2 minutes, a real editor would go to town on it again, chopping it in half and interlacing the different camera views into one delightful and captivating brief interlude. I don’t have the time or determination that would take, and I see myself as most fortunate to have taken it as far as I did. As this is my first effort to go beyond a dashcam setup, my main interest on this has been to simply find out what my chosen equipment allows me to explore. So I’m finding out what effort it takes to stop and change vantage points while trying to actually get somewhere in a timely way, as well as discovering how much effort it takes to edit the footage down to some semi-digestible mix. Ugh. This not being a paying job, at some point, you just have to let it go. I’m also making rudimentary efforts to “find my style” instead of trying to duplicate what’s already out there. That’s going to be a slow-go. Photography is so much simpler! Anyway, see what you think about it. Got 10 minutes of your life to waste? …Well, then what on earth are you doing here?

Unfortunately, I can’t view my own videos once they are embedded (in order to confirm functionality), so if you can’t view this, comment to let me know, and I’ll change a setting or two.

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2 thoughts on “Wickenburg Trail

  1. Linda Sand on said:

    Since I am subject to motion sickness, I decided not to try watching your video. I hope someone else will give you feedback on it.

    • Ha! Then I’ll take that as a “Well done, Doug!” Actually, this is a very tame trail, especially compared to the one I’m on now at Woodchute Trailhead east of Prescott. Should I make a video on that one, ignore it.

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