Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Mingus Mountain, Ho!

Ahhhh, now THIS is camping. Ground solar is out and to the left. (You can barely see them.)

Mingus Mountain (the name source is uncertain but is from a last name in the late 1800s) is a serious climb, with AZ 89A as its high launching point. 89A itself is a great drive from Prescott, winding and climbing with some exquisite scenery. Midway between Prescott and Cottonwood, the turnoff to FS104 is well-marked, being noted as the Mingus Mountain Recreation Area. I had expected a no-go here, since FS104 is closed a couple of miles in due to a late snow, but not before FS413 branches off to the right. To my relief, 413 has oodles of unoccupied camping sites before it dives back down to where I decided to turn around. No point in going needlessly far, although the dirt road is graded and fairly smooth. The goal is solitude after all, not four-wheeling adventure. No rain is forecast, but there’s no point in needlessly complicating the possibilities. The climb up to reach 413 is also wide and smooth, making this trek a simple drive.

I finally camped on a nice level spot where I have a pretty good shot at lighting up the solar panels, and I deployed the ground panels too, just for good measure. Most sites here offer at least Read more…

Horseless Carriage Welcomed With Open Arms…NOT!

Years ago, I was speaking with a nice lady who had no wild idea that the first automobiles were met with disdain rather than glad acceptance. Maybe you assume the same, since they are so indispensable to modern life in the U.S. I mean, who wouldn’t like the automobile, right? Most folks didn’t, and their responses ranged from disgust to anti-automobile legislation. Their reasons for their dislike came from a web of factors.

This steam-powered horseless carriage was made by John Einig of Jacksonville, Florida.

This steam-powered horseless carriage was made by John Einig of Jacksonville, Florida.

To understand where people were coming from then, you need to know that gas buggies didn’t suddenly pop out of backyard sheds, shaking noisily and making horses rear up. Steam-propelled roadgoing vehicles were chuffing about decades before Benz’s acclaimed Patent-Motorwagen of 1886. In reality, the entire second half of the 19th century was a seething cauldron of interweaving inventions.

An indicator that self-propelled vehicles were already on the roads before Benz’s effort is that the first recorded automobile fatality took place in Read more…

Action Trumps Sentiments

Last evening, I was watching Expedition Overland’s set of videos about touring down into Central America (Season 2). I had downloaded them earlier on my DSL Internet service at Rancho Begley, to watch later. This is a bunch of guys who know how to get sponsors for their overland voyages, let me tell you! They got contacts! I had seen them at Overland Expo West last year, but didn’t know much about them except that they were working hard to produce and promote videos of their travels. The first couple of episodes are little but gushing praise for the various sponsors who donated equipment and installation services, but along the way there is also some insight as to what true overlanding involves, as opposed to Campsploring, which is what I do.

At any rate, I hit Episode 6 of the series, and the tenor changed from antics and coughing up tainted food to Read more…

Air Spring Day

After an overnight stay at Escapees North Ranch in Congress, Arizona (a judicious stop to shower, do laundry, take on water and get rid of trash for $7.50), I made my way to Nichols AutoFab in Prescott to have some air springs installed on the rear suspension of the Mighty Furd. Recommended by my Four Wheel Camper dealer Adventure Trailer, AutoFab has a shop and a couple of bays packed into what is the most claustrophobic hole in the wall mixed-use shop mall I’ve ever seen. The limited parking lot for the group was claustrophobic for the Mighty Furd, anyway.

In a repair bay intended mainly for Jeeps, the Intrepid needed a cautious backing up.

Prescott is an interesting town nestled within the Prescott National Forest at an elevation of 5,600′, measured at whatever point they consider this burg’s nexus to be. The general landscape for the town is challenging, requiring either that the roads follow valleys or paths along forested hillsides, or that massive walls be built beside the newer multi-lane roads to keep back the earth and rock that they short-cut through. With a population of just 40,000 people, the terrain turns the city into a genuine sprawler, each home and business finding a Read more…

Equipment Follow-Up

The Evelo Aurora, fitted for an errand run.

This here’s a minor post on the e-bike and the printer, just to indicate how things are working out for those who might be considering adding these items to their Squandered Resources Arsenal.

The indications of a fading e-bike battery is becoming confirmed. I rode the 4 miles to town and back yesterday, although the total mileage actually expanded to over 14 miles. The principal casualty was of course my posterior, since it takes regular outings to condition same for longer rides. That hasn’t happened over the last 9 months or so. I’ve been walking. Despite the special Ergon grips, my Read more…

Hoo Boy…

Somethin’s happenin’ here. What it is ain’t exactly clear…

I just discovered that Four Wheel Campers has been sold to a San Francisco-based private equity firm, Salt Creek Capital, as of September of last year. That is ordinarily the death knell of a company where the assets are perceived as more valuable than the operating business and its potential profitability. Most such firms basically gut the company, selling off assets and laying off employees until the business is no longer viable and is forced to either close or merge with another firm that can use the name for token goodwill. It seems that Tom Hannigan, owner of Four Wheel for some 15 years, began to give some thought to retirement and, being a businessman, decided to cash out. I’d met him in May of 2016, and he struck me as a sincere and stellar individual. He as owner has been responsible for taking Four Wheel Campers from an okay Read more…

Trailmania

One of two branches of a trail heading back to where I’d originally planned to camp. Pretty nice back here. Very pleasant.

I decided to walk the same trail I’d driven last year while attempting to get back to a strange little area I’d scouted on the e-bike and hoped to camp in one day. On foot, I couldn’t get very far in because of the energy-draining meds I’m on, plus the full sun and heat.

I call these The Three Amigos, and have walked past them enough times that I now (quietly) ask, “How ya doin’, boys?” They’re about as tall as I am.

But I did make it just past what had stopped the Intrepid last year, and found another challenge to wonder about. Good thing I went when I did, though. The wind came up after Read more…

3:10 to Wickenburg

Ahead, some nice hills. Off to the right, a mild drop-off into a valley. Above, a beautiful sky.

Since the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge was going to be too hot for my tender sensibilities, I decided to stay the one night and the next morning, and then move on to my principal stop at a higher, cooler elevation. I was surprised that the overnight low at 60 degrees felt cold to me, and realized that I’d need to break out a wool blanket or two when I camped in cooler Wickenburg. The warm sweats and flannel sheet weren’t cutting it in the way I’d expected. Maybe it was just me.

I had noticed some guy in a new Toyota pickup wandering up and past my site on the trail to Queen Canyon fairly early in the morning, and was pleased to find him driving past on his return just as I was finally wheeling out in late morning. See, I knew I’d be going back down the trail much too slowly for anyone following, and areas large enough to pull the 27′ Intrepid over are far and few between on this trail. As predicted, he quickly put Read more…

Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

This is near Queen Canyon.

And so it begins. Buttoning up the Defiant TT took awhile, so by the time I finally hit the road after a replenishing trip to a supermarket in Yuma, it was 4 o’clock. I had anticipated just such a problem, and drove about an hour to turn in to Palm Canyon Road at the Kofa National Wildlife Preserve. The name Kofa was derived from King of Arizona Mine, one of the principal mines in the area. There are reputed to be bighorn sheep and a unique breed of pronghorn here, as well as one of the few groves of native palm trees. Many level campsites can be found on the right side of Palm Canyon Road, suitable for all types of rigs. The Queen Canyon side-trail is very different in character from the broad dirt road in, and it took another hour to get to my current campsite along it – almost 5 miles.

The Queen Canyon trail in from Palm Canyon Road is a rough one not suitable for Read more…

Clod on a Hot Tin Roof

Well, the sweat continues as preparation for departure approaches. Hopefully, today is the last day of the brutal stuff. Due to the unusual heat (94-98 degrees ever since my last post) not much has been accomplished. The heat also affected my route planning, since I had to start over twice as the situation changed…or didn’t. Now, it’s just plain late departure, which also dictates elevation changes. The Pima Air Museum is out now, and a more or less straight trip to trusty old Wickenburg and beyond is in. The rest will be common to many, but new to me. But that’s not the Big News! Read more…

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