Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Campsites”

Cottonwood NF-493

There’s a trail route from Cottonwood to Mingus Mountain. How passable it is, is anyone’s guess. 493 turns unto 413, which eventually reaches Mingus Mountain.

Having the bug to find camping spots not on any boondocking website can be either rewarding or disappointing, depending on the results. Normally, if you want to go from Mingus Mountain or Woodchute Trailhead to Cottonwood, you’ll take route 89A through Jerome. And normally, if you look at the MVUM map of any area, you’ll see routes laid out that are approved for camping, yet be unlikely to find any usable campsites on those trails.

Cottonwood sprawls in the valley below.

That can be frustrating, because many such approved trails are quite rough, and the going for a fully-laden 3/4-ton truck can be quite slow (1-2 MPH) over distances of many miles while looking for a site – or even a place to turn around. Ah, but if you do find a campsite, it can be a very nice situation. The complication of course is that Read more…

On Tour: Woodchute to Jerome

 

A holiday snap taken by the Garmin VIRB Ultra, which inserted its own default data overlays of speed, elevation and location on a mapped track. And its own logo, of course. These are probably easy to get rid of, just as they are on video captures, but I haven’t explored that yet.

Once you get the video bug, it’s hard to stop seeing what can be done on a budget. The 16-minute video below takes the viewer from my campsite at Woodchute Trail through the eclectic town of Jerome, Arizona. If all you want is to see what driving through Jerome is like, just skip farther in. Should you be considering Woodchute as a potential camping spot, you’ll want to start at the beginning. Basically, anyone in any rig can make it up to the cattle gate, and there are plenty of pull-offs to choose from. Cell reception may be an issue there, however. In this video, you’ll eventually see some travel trailers large and small in this section.

Once past the gate however, your rig should be more compact and have good ground clearance, ’cause it can get pretty bumpy and rutted. 2WD is all that is needed in dry weather, however. The Mighty Furd’s new shocks certainly got a workout on a few parts of it, and you need to know how to pick your path to avoid dropping a wheel into something deep enough to ground out an axle. It’s not difficult at all, but it’s worth mentioning and something to avoid doing in the dark.

As for the mechanics of the video, it was all done with an action cam. Except for a view of the rear suspension taken by mounting the camera on the cargo box’s hitch stalk, all of the footage was taken Read more…

Woodchute Trailhead for Camping

I took my iPhone with me on my walk yesterday, both to track my walking distance and to take some video footage about what the trail and the campsites along it are like. Overall, this is not the place for big, fixed solar arrays, but movable ground panels will ensure the best performance in the greatest number of campsites. It’s the trees.

Again, this is a 2WD trail when dry, but high clearance is definitely needed. Approaching the one-week mark, the only campers I’ve come across are car campers/tenters. No motorhomes of any type, no other truck campers, no generic passenger cars, and no trailers of any type or size. So far. Aside from one 4WD van, all vehicles have been pickup trucks with and without bed shells, and Jeeps. That’s it. And everybody, regardless of vehicle type, goes slowly past. Apparently, no one wants to go into launch mode (including ATVs and dirtbikes), and this trail can do it.

Once again, this clip is mainly an exploration, this time to find out Read more…

Woodchute Trail 106D

Your choice: you can either drop into the trough to the left, or stay high and enjoy the mega-washboard on the high side.

First, the bad news, which is bad only from my perspective. Wickenburg Tire has gone out of business. That’s where I got my Coopers after surveying the local landscape a few years ago. Such it seems to go with all automotive places that combine low prices and good customer service. You never really know what the story is. Maybe it’s because they didn’t squirt oil on your shocks to convince you that they need replacing, or because they failed to sell you new brakes that you didn’t actually need. They seemed more interested in selling you what you came in for instead of upselling. Maybe that’s it. The first year I went there, they were bustling with a full staff. The next visit, they were operating with a skeleton crew, and the manager was badly overloaded but still functional. Now they’re gone. Wickenburg Tire, I remember ye.

Seeking relief from the comparative heat wave of Wickenburg, I decided to go for broke after carousing and filling my belly at Zipp’s Sports Grille alongside Primo Accomplice, Matt. Good food and good company make for a memorable time, and I say that only because I know he reads this blog. 🙂

Going for broke means choosing a higher elevation than the needed 5,000′. Woodchute Trail/Trailhead is located between Prescott Valley and Jerome, AZ. Campsites begin promptly after passing the trailhead and the blocked entrance to the Potato Patch Campground which opens next month, and the choice is to prioritize Read more…

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 Read more…

Wickenburg Ho!

The moon over Wickenburg.

The start of the tour this year is off to a bit of a rocky start, due to a heat wave. I overnighted at the Bouse RV Park, which was an oversight on my part. I had the impression that they had a section for dry camping for $8, but that was apparently one of the many other parks in town. I took advantage of their shower, which was at the far end of camp and nearly 1/4-mile away. The advertised WiFi could be logged onto, but was comatose for function, and overnighting made taking advantage of water and electrical hookups more work than it was worth. I’d have been better off backtracking to one of the many free boondocking spots along Plimosa Road. Live, and learn.

Wickenburg is about an hour away, and I was determined to horse the Mighty Furd over a somewhat challenging trail on State Trust land. This popular dry camping area is about 4 miles south of town off Vulture Mine Road at GPS: 33.912405, -112.810666. This time, I wanted to end up at Read more…

The Adventure Begins

The camping area of Adair Park.

Finally! I buttoned up the Defiant at the RV park in Wellton yesterday and took off for the grocery store in the Yuma Foothills, then headed for a trial overnight at Adair Park, a few miles north of Yuma. Trial? Yep. I’m not above knowing that I might forget to pack a thing or three, so a quick overnight at a place within striking distance of Wellton struck me as a good idea. Adair Park has half a dozen firing ranges, so I can’t recommend it as a quiet getaway, but it did the job. By morning, I had a list of 3 things that I’d missed packing. Important? Yup. Can opener, kitchen/utility shears, and Amoxicillin, something I must take just before I visit my dentist. I’d also neglected to wear a decent belt, as I had temporarily swapped in a worn, undersized one that eventually stains whatever it’s wrapped around. My only regret of that return trip was that I didn’t think to toss that bad belt in the dumpster on the way out. Why do I even have it? “Packratism” never dies, I guess. It just lies dormant, waiting.

So back to Wellton I went for these things in the morning, and then looped through Yuma Foothills to drop off a bit of waste engine oil I’d gathered in order to make room for an additive. I’d forgotten to drop off that, too. Then up to Palm Canyon in KOFA I went, where I’m now camped for a couple of days of sunshine in the low 70’s. KOFA is a wildlife preserve a few miles south of Quartzsite. After that, it gets beastly hot, and it’s time to head for the higher elevations of Wickenburg by way of Bouse.

I had intended to try my luck along King Kofa Road, further south, but the GPS coordinates Read more…

2017 in Review – Part 3

[Same old data warning. You know.]

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

Taos Junction Recreation Site, New Mexico

White Rock, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

NF 445 in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico

Joe Skeen Campground in El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

Joe Skeen Campground in El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

Joe Skeen Campground in El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

Joe Skeen Campground in El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

Joe Skeen Campground in El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

El Malpais National Conservation Area, New Mexico

Bar “S” RV Park, Grants New Mexico

Bar “S” RV Park, Grants New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

El Morro National Park, New Mexico

Bighorn Campground, Glenwood New Mexico

Southwest New Mexico

2017 In Review – Part 2

[Caution for those on data-restricted cellular accounts – BAIL OUT NOW. Don’t let this page continue to load, since it contains a hearty gob of photos.]

The return trip to Arizona begins with pulling a Captain “Wrong Way” Peachfuzz and heading northeast, then southeast.

Shelby, Michigan

Shelby, Michigan

Read more…

2017 in Review – Part 1

KOFA National Wildlife Refuge (Arizona)

[Caution for those on data-restricted cellular accounts – BAIL OUT NOW. Don’t let this page continue to load, since it contains a hearty gob of photos.]

I thought I would present here a kind of photo summary of many of the places I visited this year. Not all are represented, especially this section on the commute toward Illinois, when truck stops and rest stops were the norm in order to minimize travel time. This year’s trip eastward was unusual in that I first stalled for time waiting for the Overland Expo West in Flagstaff. Apart from locations, no explanations are provided in the photos – I don’t want to rehash what I’ve already written. You may be able to get an explanation by entering the location in this site’s search box at the upper right, but the purpose of this photo presentation is sometimes “pretty pictures”, sometimes a simple reveal of what campsites were like, and now and then, memorable moments.

Please note that you can click on any one of these photos to see its detail in a larger format.

The photos in this post are not new to this blog, but in a way, they are. First, I’ve always left my photos Read more…

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