The Dirt


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Almost all of our trips involve driving on legal roads at some time. You probably could trailer your vehicle to the start area and have somebody pick you up at the end, some will go about halfway then turn around and go back, but your kind of on your own! There fore we Highly recommend that you get your vehicle street legal that way you can make the whole trip and if something breaks down there will be somebody to help.

It almost goes with out saying that if you own a rail you know how to work on it. I have seen enough people try to go on runs without properly setting up their cars, only to stop the whole run because of a simple thing, most of the time a simple 15 minute shake down will show a lot of things that could stop your weekend. First jack up the front of the car spin both front tires, look for wobbling,and listen for any strange sounds, next wiggle both tires side to side, anything loose or clanking? Easer to check it out now verses on the side of a mountain. Go out back and do the same thing, look for things like torn CV boots, frayed clutch cable, oil leaks, coolant leaks, water cooled beasts, throttle cable, hows it shift? smooth or hard? hows the brake pedal low and soft, could be trouble. What about the clutch, adjusted all of the way out and still has a low pedal, mabey its getting ready to go. Check all of your fluid levels, and twist a few bolts to make sure everything is good and tight.  If every things ok go have fun. If not its a whole lot easer to do it in your garage than 60 miles from the nearest road.  Once you've checked out every thing, Just in case carry a tool box with the stuff you use most. I bought a little tool set from Sears and dumped it in an Army ammo box, steel and water proof, along with a couple of spares its more than payed for it's self over the years. As for spares, only you know what you break and how often. Also Don't go alone, let somebody know where you'll be and how long you'll take, and don't forget the skid plate!

Verde River Hot Springs (Almost)

Hey all! Just finished up washing all of the mud off my rail, what a fun run! There were four cars in all, a Baja and three rails. Subaru, Ford, and two VW air cooled. Saturday looked like the skys would open any minute and dround us, but it never rained on us. For the most part the dirt roads were well maintained and we were making good time.It all started to go south on FR 677 while not a paticulary rough or diffucult road, it meandered through a grassy valley with lots of Angus cattle (steak anyone?) and several gates Always leave them as you found them! It was a little rocky and muddy in a few places. As we started up the hill we saw a quad and a side by side the quad was missing a lower control arm bolt, so I opened my nut and bolt box and lo and behold I had just what he needed! Feels good to help out a fellow off roader. Higher and higher we drive, black clouds all around us but no rain! As we get to the summit the road has degraded to a boulder stewn trail covered in a thick sticky clayee mud it sticks to everything. everyone's cars are coated in this thick sticky goop! So it was decided to turn around and find a camp some where lower, as were heading back the Ford powered rail is pulled over and informed the group that he was starting to overhead, not good, upon further inspection it was discovered that a meatball sized mud clot had made it's way between the fan and radiator, burning up the fan's motor! As soon as he would get hot we would pull over and let it cool down. We finally found a really cool camp spot, started a fire and cooked our diner, the whole time everybody was telling stories talking about the days run and laughing! One by one every one peeled away from the fire to sleep and get ready for the next days run which was wide open with no agenda! After gassing up in Cordes Junction we took dirt roads to almost Black Canyon City where the Baja broke his Left spindle! Thankfully he was carreing a spare and was back moving in less than 6 beers lol I wish I was abale to take a bunch of pictures but I totally spaced it. Here is one of the Baja being repaired.


Hello Everybody;
  First off please let me apologise for getting so far off track on the web site! This Summer hit me so much harder than expected! My poor rail has just been parked out back. For over two months, my routine was to come home sit down in front of a big fan, for a while then do my chores, but what really happened was I would sit down and just crash for most of the night! I wanted to work on the rail really but when it's still 116 degrees well its hard to get motivated. But last week I helped a friend repair his Manx and as it was running I wanted to just get in my rail and just go some where. As luck would have it I would get that chance, he was driving out of my garage it dies and since his starter is an underpowered OEM VW on a 2.5 Subie we had to bump start him and since my rail was the only vehicle behind him I got the job, but it's been sitting out here for at least a couple of months I thought for sure that the battery was dead, to my surprise as I turned the key on both fuel pumps turned on and made that weird sound when they have no fuel in them and quiented down, mmm. As I turned the ignition key to the start position I was rewarded with a smooth low idle and the wonderful whirr of the straight cut timing gears it's Alive! I love fuel injection! So I quickly hopped in and pushed my buddy out of the garage, onto the street where he bump started it, and headed home, while I took a quick run around the block, man o man its a good feeling and now its starting to get cooler I am looking foward to heading out with the AVC Club! There is nothing better than offroading with a bunch of good people that share your enthusiasm for the great out doors! Hope to see you out there! Kenny  


400 Miler 2012 

Great trip!  15 cars showed up for this awesome event.   We started out at 8 a.m. to race the hill, stopping for photos and cold sodas.  The road was clean and clear and there was very little traffic to worry about.  This was the first long trip with the new car so I was driving kinda slow and careful so I would not scare Matt, Alex, or Maddy.  I found it was hard to drive with my head and not my foot (who would have thought??)  I was for the most part able to keep up … kinda!!@?? – Maybe?  We stopped in Punkin Center for fuel and then up to the 609 road for lunch.  I think lunch tastes better with a little bit of dirt on it.  From there the group stopped at the cave for a soda break and off to Young for ice cream and gas (exploring a new bar across the street—Way Cool!) and off to Haggler Creek (very very nice).  Team Baja spent the night there with the shade trees and the water of Haggler Creek nearby… I am way jealous .  Most of the drivers headed up the Control Road to find camp.  I stayed in town.The next morning we had breakfast in Strawberry and drove down the Control Road to 260 where we met up with Team Baja.   They were all smiles and looking forward to taking a swim sometime that day.  Back to Young we raced and some of us went down the Cherry Creek Road to 260 then took the A+ Road to Four Peaks and then home.  I was not willing to give up the dirt yet, so I took 88 to Apache Junction then home. We did not see any fires or any bad smoke anywhere but the fire fighters and the forest service were out in force,  enforcing the NO FIRES ban.  Something new folks… I was told that you can no longer have propane fire pits and if you are using propane for cooking it can not be on the ground or placed on a natural wood surface -- you might want to check this out before you get a fine.Just a little side note…

My hat comes off to Team Baja, Brian and Merlyn with stock Baja’s have come on many of the AVC’s runs without killing themselves or their cars and this shows that most of our runs are not hard and anyone using their head can have fun without breaking their car or killing themselves.  Just slow down take your time and enjoy the ride.  Maybe it’s more about the riders than the ride. 

Thanks for making this another great AVC event. 


AVC 400 Miler May 19-20 2012
Trail rating: 1-3
Author: Azdesertrat
Carnage: Broken Spring Plate, Broken throttle cable, 4 Inch rock in center of Tire.
 This years 400 Miler was fun, As usual me and my son camped out Friday night on Four Peaks, used to be 7-8 rails and Bajas would camp out in preparation for Saturday! Past couple of years its been just us, ok what ever. As everybody was climbing four peaks there is a hill with a road all of the way around it, this is usually our first stop to say hi and what not, later in the day we camped out in the forest, under the stars the way I like it! Then at the Strawberry Lodge had a huge breakfast yum. This year the Verde River was blocked so some of us took a different route and went on the Apache trail, which was a neat road, A good friend made a valid point if your car isn't up to the task you shouldn't be out there ! Also no crybabies on the forums, sorry. Point well taken thank you.


What a wonderful trip this year. The weather was stellar, the people were wonderful, and when there was an issue, no matter what it was, everybody stepped up. The trip started out with 15 cars and only one needed a trailer to come and fetch it. With that being said, I think I need to explain that the car that did not make it didn't even make it to the dirt. This driver has been on this run many times and elected not to try and repair and go, but to tow home to look for a more permanent solution. There was also a point that I was planning on turning around and heading back to town and not hindering the rest of the group with my mechanical difficulties. Luckily, Craig Churchill and Alan Lay were able to combine parts to make a suitable repair that would last the rest of the run. The 400 miler is not a particularly rough run, it is just long and bumpy. I want to give special recognition to the two stock bajas that chased us for 2 days and finally caught up to us outside of Camp Verde. This was an unbelievable feat and I personally was in awe that they were able to understand the basic outline of the run and were able to find us. This year a few of the riders had recommended camping on the control road between Pine and Christopher Creek on Forest Road 440. This was an excellent choice, the weather was stellar and the folks that camped up on the rim at the usual camp spot said it was freezing. As we made our way down to the bridge at Clear Creek,after breakfast in Strawberry, there was no one there.  But it just seemed at about 10:00 a.m. someone rang the bell and the people came pouring in.  The group voted that the Verde River was just running a little too high to cross safely and we decided to take the alternate route along the Great Western Trail that parallels I-17.  Another beautiful leg of this run.  For those you that didn't make it, you missed an awesome trip, awesome fun and awesome folks.  Maybe next year.  Mike P. is going to let me know when he has all his photos up he will send me the link and I will forward it to you.


P.S. – For those that want to know the carnage: 

2 5-lug drums with the splines blown out, driver got spare parts, completed the run,unknown electrical issue, driver elected to bow out of run,failing fuel pump, intermittent failure of fuel pump, parts were supplied by other drivers, completed the run under his own power, usual tire issues, fixed, all drivers completed run under their own power

cracked weld on front trailing arm, welded in Young and then rewelded at Camp Verde, driver made it home under his own power

400 Miler May 21-22nd 2011

Trail Rating: 1-2
Author: Azdesertrat
Carnage: Splines on a rear drum, flat tire, broken front lower trailing arm, Burnt set of truck nuts, My pride with all of the one liners and puns floating over the air waves!
  Again this years 400 Miler did not disapoint! Me and my son left Friday night to go to our regular spot up on Four Peaks. In years past there was a stream near by and this year we were going to try our hand at gold panning unfortunately the stream had dried up, maybe next year we'll strike it rich!
 The next day as we were waiting for everyone I started to get dancing feet and we decided to check out some trails close to camp until I could hear everyone on the radio. There was a little hill climb that seemed easy enough to climb, I had forgot all of the weight in the rear, as I crested the top of the hill my rail suddenly caught traction and we were vertical Crap! quick clutch and brake! the front end fell back to earth but now we were in a death slide backward down the hill trying to steer the rail by alternating from steering to locking up the brakes all panicky style! Once down at the bottom I looked up at our skid marks down the hill and at the very top there was a bunch of mud from where the cooler in the back of my rail had dumped out a bunch of water, that's a wheelie. After that we were content to just park and wait for the rest of the cars to come up the hill. Thats when I heard over the radio we had our first breakdown! one of the baja's tore his splines out of the right rear drum, Dalton towed the poor guy to a flat shady area, he and another baja said they would back track until they got a cell phone signal and call a friend to bring up the new rear drum. They said if they got done in time that they would meet up at camp tonight Thats hardcore! they actually caught up with us on Sunday! wow! After we made sure that they would be ok me and Dalton made a mad scramble up and over Four Peaks. The road on Four Peaks is one of my favorites, if you have ever watched the race up Pikes Peak you know what I'm talking about. Third gear is perfect with all of the switch backs and they all have a bunch of camber built into the road so you can do lots of drifting. Once we had made it over Four Peaks we had came to a little gas station/resturant to reice the coolers, top up on gas or what ever, then it was up the road a couple of miles to a small town called Pumpkin Center, from there we started to climb the mountain and up a steep canyon to the top to have lunch, it was a lot cooler than the desert below. After lunch it was a bunch of forest service roads, until everyone got to the next town called Young. Its a really amazing town there is like four buildings and a whole forest around it. we all stopped to take an ice cream break (we're not That hard core!). I was casually looking my rail over and noticed my left front lower trailing arm was cracked at the lower coil spring mount... not good, but there was an automotive shop across the street and I knew they had a welder as they welded my cracked rim on last years run, (always me) after Young the shadows were getting longer and we really wanted to get to camp so instead of going to Kiel Springs camp site we opted for one closer. we got to camp just as the sun was setting! that is cutting it close and unfortunatly ther were no campfires allowed, so we all huddled around a coleman lantern and everybody cooked their dinners on propane grills. Most everybody went to bed early, tired from the days drive, also several of the rails opted to continue on onto Strawberry and get a hotel?! Well they did have small children with them. Sunday morning was soo cool no really probley only 63 degrees, I was in Idahoan heaven while everyone else had on jackets and sweat shirts all I had were some cargo shorts and a short sleeve tee oh ya! Once every one had broken camp and got all loaded up it was a mad bee line on into town to the Strawberry lodge for breakfast. All I can say mmm. There was a lot of talk at breakfast about the Verde river and if we could cross it. Once we all finally got down to the river most everybody voted not to cross the river and to take a alternate route back home. While every one was discussing the river I had another look see at the weld the guy made back in Young, now it was cracking in another spot,@#$%&* so I got out my battery welder and got another car to get the required 24 volts needed to weld and started slapping on welds. I'm sure that this would end my trip early and it did I was asked that when we got to Camp Verde that I should just take the freeway home I know thats the best I just was bummed about the arms there made by a local fabricator I still haven't tore it apart yet to see if I could figure out why it cracked My son says I'm too fast and hard on my rail,mmm build it bigger and stronger. Any ways I'm just putsing back keeping it about 25-30 mph when all of a sudden I see the two baja's from Saturday come up from behind Wow they found us how cool was that. So at Camp Verde I wish everyone a safe rest of the trip and head home on the freeway with my tail tucked between my legs. My rail is in my garage and its going to get a though inspection as I just spent the last three weeks working untill 9:30 every night to get it ready after ripping out my rear torsion adjuster on the Red Creek campout. Here is a link to AzBaja's forums there is a guy that got a bunch of pics just scroll down to the pics thanks       

Red Creek Campout March 19-20th
Trail Rating:1-4
Author: Azdesertrat
Carnage: One Bent Rim, Jeep Fuel Pump, VW Rear Torsion Bar Adjuster, A whole lot of 12 oz Cans!

  This was another Incredible run! I have never been to Red Creek, But I really want to go back, the whole trail is run in a creek bed with a little stream flowing down the middle of it. At the end of the trail it intersects with the Verde river and there is no way your going to cross it! But there is a little trail to the West that goes op a hill and if you follow it, it will take you to what looks like a run way it has a pick nick table, a horse shoe pit, a target practice area, all in all a nice place to camp. Then the next morning you just take Red Creek back up to Seven Springs Road. Fun Fun Fun, ok but my trip here went a little different. It started right at 5P.M. on Friday night, me and my son left right after I got of of work and headed for Seven Springs to camp out and get a early start on Saturday. On the way up there we stopped at Cave Creek to top up on fuel, and bought three bundles of wood. Once we were at Seven Springs all we really did was throw out the sleeping bags start a small fire and grill up some steaks that we had been marinating for about a week (mmmm!) that night the moon was so big it was almost like morning. After dinner it was only about 9:30 P.M. but I was bushed so I told my son that I was crashing early,well so was he O.K. so I stoked the fire a bit and watched the moon and drifted off to sleep.
  The next morning I was all revved up and best of all no early morning drive, did that last night, so I'm all rested and ready. and soon enough I can hear chatter on the radio, there coming up the valley so I hop in the car and wait for them and we all head out for Red Creek. As were driving I sense something is don't know yet but something isn't right soon enough I figure it out I am reclining in my car! looks like my front end is higher than the back? but how, oh wait the rear is bottoming out, quick pull over and do a walk around the car, oh Crap! broke the rear Torsion housing on my rail! I radio the group to let them know I gotta turn around I broke, Then I hear a voice on the radio to hold off until the next rest stop and every one can look and see if anything can be done. At the stop I was encouraged to limp it to camp where we could bend the adjuster back in place and weld it up with two car batteries, ok I really didnt want to go home yet anyway. So here I am driving down a rough gravel road and just about every rock is bouncing or rickechaying off my skid plate! and I haven't even gotten to Red Creek yet. Finally the road turned into a creek bed Ahh smooth gravel and a trickle of water I can deal with this! Ah but soon enough there were a few rocks in the stream bed and easily maneuvered around, but then there were boulders every where and big ones like a 4-5 in the trail scale I'm in full panic mode there going to life flite my carcass out of here! But then a strange thing happened (no not puberty,I'll never grow up!) I saw lines that I could take around the boulders, oh I still tapped my skid plate every now and then but what was extreme angziaty was now almost a game! a kinda fun game! and thats how it was all the way to camp. 
  Once at camp I was almost giggly at how I dodged the rocks, a Baja could have easily done the same only easer unless they too were running on there rear bump stops. Ok made it now lets fix it, it was just a piece of bent metal how hard could it be to bend it back and drop a couple of welds on it, very hard apparently! I had finally given up when I used a chain and bottle jack and the chain broke! BANG! Scarry so in the side that the adjuster ripped the metal I put a bolt in the crack and welded the rip shut. Contrary to popular belief you can do a very good weld with two car batteries and some welding rod, and it held most of the way back up the creek the next day . but in the mean time I made it and it was fun even if I did it on my rear bump stops! so... Beer me bro! the camp spot was as awesome as they come on top of a mesa with a 360 view and a creek on one side and a mighty river on the other. the next morning as we're all breaking camp we see a plane heading this way and he flys over really low then circled and landed on the run way! It was a Piper Super Cub a guy and girl got out he looked ...well not to happy and she looked like a blushing bride! all they did was sign a log book at the camp site and got back in the plane and left hope we didn't interrupt anything. On the way back up the creek it was even funnier as I had most of my suspension travel. Our group was two jeeps a early and late model, a pro truck,Baja style, and three desert buggies including myself. Up to this point I was the only vehicle with problems, but the early jeep started to develop fuel pump problems. and he needed to get towed home. About three quarters back there was just too much pressure and the rear adjuster busted again! Luckily the jeep guys had a couple of 4x4 blocks and I jacked up my car and cinched up my limiting straps no suspension but my rear was back up in the air, the only suspension I had was the side wall flexing on my rear tires! But I made it and am currently trying to get it fixed with a couple more upgrades  for the up coming 400 miler in May. Here are some vids of the clubs run Red Creek Red Creek

Florence/ Presidents day Campout Feb 19-21th
Trail Rating:1-3
Author: Azdesertrat
Carnage: One Garmen GPS, Contents of a Ice Chest

  Wow what a run, three whole days out at Florence Junction! There were five rails and a Polaris Ranger and I have to say I had my doubts about a side by side but he kept up with us and had no problems negotiating any of the trails that he went on.
I left almost immediately after work with my son and headed due East on the I-10 Friday night, I really don't care for the whole rail on a freeway thing as it is so noisy with the engine, tires and wind all swirling around you, but it is the quickest way to get to camp. I kept it a steady 65 mph. After about an hour and a half we finally pulled into camp and there were a bunch of people around a campfire, some I already knew, some of the people were new to me. Instead of a big dinner me and my son each had a lunchable and settled in by the campfire to say hi to our friends and meet the new people. I don't know excatly what time it was when everybody started to pull away from the camp fire and head to bed,  but I said that since it was such a beautiful night that I was just going to throw my bag on the ground and enjoy the stars.
 First light and there were people already moving around so I got up and unloaded the rail, asking when everybody wanted to head out, I was able to fix some breakfast. There are so many trails and roads out here that you could get a full days running and not venture very far from your camp site. One of the places that we went was a place called Box Canyon. I've never done anything like this before! Imagine a narrow canyon maybe ten feet wide with rock sides a hundred feet high! there are some boulders in the bottom that you have to either go around, over, or straddle. there really isn't nothing over a three or maybe a four on our scale but other people have stacked rocks at the base of most of the boulders so most of the time your driving up ramps. I was really surprised at the amount of traffic in the canyon and it makes for some really close shaves as oncoming traffic and you try to squeeze by each other. Once we all got out and was having a little break and talking about the canyon, noticed that the clouds were starting to get a little dark so it was decided to try and get back to camp before the rain came.  We almost made it to, as we were skimming the outskirts of Florence junction it hit so every one made a bee line back to camp. Once back at camp everybody headed to their RVs. Except one guy had a makeshift shelter made of tarps on back of his flatbed trailer off of the mud, out of the rain, and had a propane fire ring keeping the whole thing warm! Just might have to go check this thing out as all I had was a two person tent and a camp stove and lantern, he's got the better deal and slowly almost everybody went to hang out at the "hut" and talk about the days run. It was without surprise that everybody turned in relatively early, and as me and my son went to our tents we saw a strange site, four little streams going under his tent and one big stream coming out the other end! not to bad except that his tent is a two man Army surplus no bottom tent! Luckily a fellow railer offered up the couch in his RV for my son, next to a heater oh I'm sure he suffered that night.
  On Sunday a rail had to head home and another said probley not (still cold from the previous days run in the rain! and the Ranger also declined, So only three rails headed out on Sunday to go explore some mines and such. we decided on going to Martinez mine now this was r r r rough sucker and had to do some gnarly rock crawling with lots of tire spinning and smoking as the road/rail beater followed up a creek bed. Once at the mine there were some old buildings and as one of our group said "either that house is holding up that tree, or the tree is holding up that old house" still a cool place to poke around. We eventually made it back to camp for a late afternoon lunch and then another rail had to load up and head back home. Bummer so we helped load up the guys rail and started to make some lunch , but when I opened the Ice Chest  which was strapped to the back of my rail I saw a strange orange fluid, with a peculiar smell! Seems that the last trail that was so rough my "barley sodas" were being thrown around in the cooler, my poor babies! until several burst also crushing a box of egg beaters, and cutting the wrapper to my steak and hash browns, my steak was a funky white and the hash browns reeked of cooler water,beer and eggs! Can of soup tonight. Monday was pristine sunny, warm, perfect! By this time almost everybody had left. So the last two hardcore rails went on one last run,me sans my son and another rail. The goal was to visit the Spanish staircases then head back to camp load up and head home, with no breakdowns! We finally made it to the stair case and it was risky and steep, but with awesome traction as were going down the stair case I see two big burn spots with melted aluminum. The other rail said a side by side broke down (rental) and called the company as to where they could pick it up. As he was towing it back to the main road apparently a motor mount broke and rupchured a fuel line and had gasoline spraying on the exhaust manifold, Poof instant fire, oh wait  there on a hill so the flaming gas ran back down the hill and caught the side by side on fire also! a Sheriff's helicopter saw the "signal fire" and picked up the driver and his girlfriend, then called a guy that specialises in off road recoveries the pictures are on in the forums (Bench racing) then look for the first recovery of the new year. After the stair case we ended up at the coke ovens mon oh man would I love to camp out here, a quick lunch and back on the trail, figured a quick creek crossing and all high speed dirt load up and go home... Well there was one little teeny weeny itsy bitsy problem, the quick creek was full, cold and flowing really fast! mmm. do we back track up the Spanish stair case (very nasty going down it ) or get wet in the Tsumi? after watching three jeeps go across the river about three feet deep we knew it could be crossed and I really didn't want to risk a 930 CV throwing my self at the stair case so the other Big rail goes into the water first and the water pushes him three feet past the exit on the other side! Dang! so I start my crossing really high and as soon as I am about half way across the creek the water is hitting the side of the rail and splashing on in my cabin and it's starting to push me side ways down the creek so I punch it and hit half on and half off the exit fetch! punch it again and now am getting hit with sand and mud also but do make it out abet sideways and I still can't breath as the water was soo cold it took my breath away especilly when it tried to drown the boys>Thank goodness the rest of the way back to camp was fast and with out incident. once back at camp my son was super cool and broke down camp and had every thing ready to go! He felt his seat and expressed extreme relief of not going on this one run! So we put a blanket on the seat loaded up everything, do a walk around camp looking for trash (didn't find any) and made the Long drive back home. we're working in some more runs in the near future I just hope they have warm water BRRR.. the falls at Box canyon Box Canyon itself

Hassayampa river run Feb 6th
 Trail Rating: 1-2
Author: Azdesertrat
Carnage: One Fuel Injector

 This years run started out as usual, a big breakfast at Waffle House (lasts till lunch) then hop on the freeway and head west to Miller road. From there its a dirt road to the Hassayampa.  The freeway wasn't too bad but I felt that some thing was off, it wasn't anything that I could put my finger on, yet. As soon as we all got in the sand I realised that I didn't have the mind numbing power of my beast, so I basically just cruised down the river bottom in third gear around 2500 RPM. At the first break I started to round up the usual suspects, a plugged fuel filter, dirty air filter, fouled spark plug, all to no avail! As I was starting to have a nervous breakdown a fellow club member pointed out the fact that my #3 exhaust pipe wasn't as hot as the other ones... There I was putting the cart in front of the horse, always check the basics (thanks Mike) sure enough if you pulled the number three plug wire off, no change in RPM. I checked the spark plug and it sparked, so I put my finger over the hole while my son turned over the engine and comfirmed compression ( just a rough check) so the only thing left is the injector, checked power good, checked pulse, also good,mmm gotta be a bad injector. So I drove the rest of the run on three cylinders. It was still a blast drifting around all of those old dirt roads! Of course my son really wasn't in to going as fast after his little Evil Kinevel incident (Alamo). As we're driving through a little valley I hear talk about a boat in the desert? Ok thats a little strange but kept on driving and pushed the idea to the back of my mind out here you tend to see a whole bunch of weird.  As we're driving in this valley and coming around a bend in the road I see a pair of smoke stacks sticking about 20-30 feet in the air! huh? Looking like a 1880s paddle boat smoke stacks, were in reality a couple of mooring poles to anchor the floating gold dredge! We all played in and around this old piece of history, unfortunately no one remembered pictures. There is this other guy, Perri who owns a rail and he takes the coolest pictures! I'm going to try to take more pictures and videos. We got another run on the 19-21 will get some pictures sorry   

New Years Campout Dec 29-Jan 2
Trail Rating: 1-3
Author: Azdesertrat
Carnage: Rear Hub, Rear Brake Caliper, One Whole Car

Well I have been back a couple of days now and am still trying to warm up! Just kidding, Seriously though it was mostly an awesome trip as they usually are. Me and my son were planning to head up to Alamo lake on Thursday, but we actually finished up early enough to head out a day early, with was a good thing as Thursday had a good chance of showers while Wednesdays was only a slight chance mmm... Well it started out as a slight sprinkling as we're heading out no problem. Well as we got more into our trip th more the rain started to come down (much to my dismay) my son was on the other hand loving the whole driving in the rain thing. If I maintained a 62 mph or higher the car formed a vacuum and literally sucked the water out of my car, this is good, But as I slowed down it would reverse and blow into the car, this is Bad!  
and so it went all the way to Wenden where we refueled and I went to the back of my rail and kept grabbing my exhaust to try and dry out my gloves. In the mean time my son all dry and warm, he really couldn't see what all of the fuss was about. From Wenden it was another short jaunt to the camp site.
  The first night was cold and kinda scary, the wind was howling so bad that my tent was bending over and hitting my face Brr... up the next day good breakfast and off we go exploring the surrounding country side to say that there are trails every where would be a understatement as the locals and fishermen use utv's to get to there favorite fishing spots by the lake or up into the mountains and tie into 100 year old mining trails. we weren't there near enough to even do a quarter of the trails around the lake or country side! Me and the other rail were out running the trails with my son we would slow down on the mud puddles while my son would nail the throttle and blast on through the wetness and mud! then back to camp to warm up by the fire and BBQ up some steaks. 
  By this time the rain had stopped and most of the water had disappeared, leaving perfect traction and zero dust. My son had been holding his own and doing a pretty good job of driving. On Friday we were out running a wash sliding around corners and generally doing the high speed thing most of the day. It was starting to get a little colder and it was late afternoon and we all decided to head back to camp. My son and I got into a impromptu drag race I got a 2110 fuel injected turbo vw and he's got 2275 with duel webers and it's fast but I still I beat him handily then pulled over to let him get into the middle of the pack and start to head back before the sun set and started to get really cold! He was quite a ways ahead of me and really couldn't see him, when all of a sudden I saw a purple thing about 12 feet in the air and off to the left of the road, Oh God I thought he's crashed his baja and is hurt! When I got there I ran over to his car and it was on its passengers side the roof was collapsed and the front window was blown out. the drivers door was jammed and I really had to reef on it to finally get it to open up! My son was in there covered in blood! I started to ask him questions and try to evaluate his condition, there wasn't anything ovisously broken ant the blood was from him hitting his forehead on the steering wheel! He was shaking and in a lot of pain, I asked him some more questions and began to cut the seat belt off and he thumped to the bottom of the car Passenger door, then proceeded to shimmy out the front window. I knew he was in a whole Lotta pain and might have internal trauma, but I really couldn't leave him here to go get help so I helped him into my rail and set off to the rangers station not knowing if it would have been better to leave him and not move him, the sun was setting and would be bitterly cold in a little while. 
The Rangers station was at the lake and they all helped us and a decision was made to air evacuate as a ambulance would take too long. Once we found out were he was going I called up his mother to meet him at the hospital turns out it was all for naught as all he got were 6 stitches and a whole lot of sore and bruised muscles. The car is a different story, he was scooting down the road and broke a tie rod and sent him off the road and straight into a dirt pile, and straight from the sheriffs report"left the ground and returned 85.6 FEET later" WOW. he broke the whole engine off the transaxle,wasted the front end, both doors aren't even close to the latch, the roof is caved in both floor boards are pushed into the interior like eight inches! I spent most of Saturday pounding out his rims to try and air them up so as to tow it back to camp. When we were finally able to tow it the wheel with the broken tie rod was twisting so we decided to just take off that tire and let the drum just skim the road, in theory that would have been great. Reality is a six headed monster! I had to steer the broken car back to camp on a 20' tow rope, the dirt around Alamo Lake is mostly sandy so my face was being sandblasted by the tow car and also from that one drum on the baja flinging up what ever it came in contact with Anything! I had my left hand holding the door closed and was steering with my right and since there was no windshield I my face was in pain from the constant bombardment of sand and road debri, I had a radio to let the tow vehicle know if he was going too fast, but couldn't reach it Oh cruel irony!
  Back at camp one of the clubbers had been smoking a turkey all day long and when dinner arrived with all the sides the trip back to camp in a broken baja wasn't so bad. After dinner we loaded my sons car onto a fellow clubbers trailer for its long ride back home. 
  The next day everybody loaded up and cleaned up the campsite then headed home. Going to be hard to beat this one! Sorry no pics no time 

Carnage: Broken oil filter bracket and rubbed through oil line
Quote of the trip: What rev limiter?

Now this was a fun weekend! Some members of the AVC were invited to the AzBajas run in the Hassayampa. First let me say what a bunch of friendly people and thier cars run the gamut from baja with street tires to a sand buggy with a stroker engine, We were quickly welcomed and invited on a run since my rail is still down I got some seat time with my son in his purple baja. I used to have a baja and boy did all of the memories come back, as Hassayampa run with the AzBaja Club Nov 6-7
Trail Rating: 1-2
Author: we're bouncing around the Hassayampa and splashing through all of the water! It was so nice to just roll the window up and not get wet. Cody, my son's driving style actually grabbed the attention of some of the AzBaja clubs members and wanted to film him splashing around in the water and mud. This he was only too happy to do, there was another baja splashing around the mud with Cody and everybody else was driving on the side filming the whole thing. Can't wait to see it on youtube! We got back to camp around sundown and was dry that's a neat trick to show a rail guy, we started a fire and proceeded to cook some steaks on the Mesquite fire mmm. After wards I noticed that we were running a little low on fire wood (AVC standards) and took my truck and trusty chainsaw and proceeded to fill the back if my truck with fire wood, good thing to as it was a little chilly out there Sat night. Around the campfire there was all kinds of conversations about offroading, car mods and a whole bunch of other things, Even a couple of Karaoke songs, it was so much fun can't wait to go out again with those guys, hope I have my tranny rebuilt by then (gotta show my son how to play in the mud) Azdesertrat  check out their pictures at  

Crown King Oct 16th 2010                                                                                                                                                                                   
Author: Dalton                                                                                                                                                          Carnage: two flats, stripped gear, and my horn broke!!                                                                             Quote of the trip: “The trail was not as bad as I remember it.”  WOW!!!  What an event!!  I am not sure where to start??..  We had 11 vehicles bent on making it up the back way to Crown King thru Orabel and 2 came up the front way just to camp with us.  We had the AZ Baja Club come out to play with us, plus some new members of the AVC.  I just want to start by saying what a great bunch of guys from the AZ Baja Club; they were fun to ride and camp with.  The Cow Creek Road was bladed and graded and even wider in a few spots.  When we got to the Orabel Road it was smooth all the way to El Camino Hill, it was washed out in a few spots but I have seen it worse.  Someone cut a bypass around the face rock in the hill.  The trail all the way up to ¼ mile from Orabel was as always but there was a rock bed that was killing a bunch of ATC’s that had the trail blocked.  These guys broke down with only Gas and beer to get them out … NO TOOLS!  I was able to get around them by taking a UGLY..  VERY UGLY, path but most of our group got caught behind them, I was told that the only way to keep moving was to helped them walk their bikes up to Orabel – it was a traffic jam.  Once the group got by the ATC’s most of us had lunch in Crown King and then off to the lean-to’s. Some kids ran their nice jeep off the road and into a tree, they seemed to be ok.  We gave them a ride into town to give AAA a call.  I would have given money to listen in on that phone call.  There were plenty of lean-to’s open for us but most of the AVC and some of the AZ Baja Club all packed into sites 1 and 2 with tents all over the place.  We well exceeded the maximum number of people at the campsites.  Some of the AZ Baja Club came up for just the day and went back down that night.  At camp most of the kids ganged up with their flashlights and went on repeated trips into woods looking for wood, they kept the fires well stocked.  Paula’s new friend Randy impressed the whole group with her BBQ vegetables…..  OMG!  They were SOOOOO good.  Randy made sure there was plenty for everybody.  With one big grill and lots of people cooking on it, Randy was helping everybody with organizing the grill.  The next morning Randy and Paula were at my door looking for hot coffee….(GRRRRR!)  I was talking with Randy about the way I was making my coffee, Randy helped me improve my “Black Pot of Death” I was making. Plus gave me some new ideas for the next camp out.  I can’t wait to try them out.  The weather was Awesome! No rain. We packed up and stopped by Scenic Outlook #1 to say Hi to Tom and Gene, we told a few stories and went into town for breakfast and down the hill to Phoenix.  I am anxious for the next outing. Dalton  

Memorial Day 2010. 
 Carnage:  Power steering pump and belt.

   Wow what a wonderful trip.  Those of you that didn't make it missed an awesome trip.  I don't think the temperature got above 75 degrees.  At night we had to turn the heater on, believe it or not.  This first day was a little windy but it only seemed to bother you if you were out in the open.  We took Maddy out for her first off-road trip on day 14.  I don't know what it is about my driving, but she slept the whole trip.  We found ourselves having to learn on the fly how to mount the car seat securely.  Once that was accomplished, Maddy seemed to only get upset when we came to a stop.  Went right back to sleeping as soon as we took off again.  We really didn't do anything rough this trip, I was concerned because my power steering was out in the vehicle, I blew it on the first day.  It was almost chilly enough during some of the trips to turn on the heater in the car, but we resisted the urge.  Most of the roads up there were freshly graded and undamaged from use.  One thing I really noticed is how much of an impact the new OHV law has thinned out the forest.  All the roads in Williams are marked forest service roads and you must be street legal and insured to drive on them.  The sheriff and the forest service have been out in force ticketing and enforcing the new law.  There were a few upset campers when the forest service followed them back to their camp and told them that they could not take their unlicensed vehicles on any of the roads.  It seemed like the only traffic up there were licensed quads and side-by-sides.  We came in late and were able to get a prime campsite.  Throughout the entire weekend, the place never got crowded at all.  It was really nice.   Dawn, Maddy and I are planning on going back up to Williams over 4th of July weekend.  We'll probably be leaving the night of July 2 and coming back on July 5.  If you are planning on coming, please give me a call so I can let you know where base camp is going to be.  I have a few new sites depending on how many people decide on going to camp.   Dalton(602) 617-6869

400 Miler 05/22-23/10
Trail Rating 1-4
Author: Azdesertrat
The Carnage: Two Cracked Rims, Hole in a Vw valve cover, Nail in a tire
Quote of the trip: Man that wind blows cold

!Every run has a theme of sorts, Sycamore was a slow crawly laid back kind of run. Barry Goldwater was a long distance straight line run and this years 400 miler as in years past was a rally kind of run. High speed drifting, jumping, pushing your self to your limits of what you feel comfortable driving. After Boulder mountain I was finally able to finish my front end coil over conversion! 2"x4" front trailing arms, 10" Fox coil overs, and a Tatum front disk brake set up with a proportioning valve. The differences between my old Vw torsion bar setup and the coil overs is night and day! I've never driven as fast as I have this weekend and not been sore from the old suspension. coupled to my turbo I think I an zeroing on my ideal car and am hoping to maybe race in Whiplash's unlimited sportsman class! Although the run started on Saturday me and my son camped out Friday night by Four Peaks. Once we heard the buggies coming up the hill we joined the line of rails. It's a very impressive sight, especally this year, as we had eleven cars all drifting and sliding like a Pikes Peak hill climb! Once we all got over the mountain and down the other side the first town we came to was a place called Pumpkin center there you could gas up, ice up or grab an ice cream sandwich mmm. Back on the road again and now were heading up another mountain and as were driving there are a whole bunch of felled trees in the trail and there is precious little room to squeeze between them. as we near the top of one mountain the group decides to take a break by a little cave, you can't see the cave and there are no signs only a waypoint on your gps. from the road its about fifty feet to the caves entrance. Once you enter the mouth of the cave there is a definite change in tempature as were going down the cave I shine the flashlight up at the roof of the cave and am amazed, its a good thirty feet to the ceiling! and it is still going down definitely worth a more detailed exploration! once out of the cave for a bite to eat and I notice a drip or two of oil under my rail ?! thats not good under further examination a rock had punched a dime sized hole in my Right valve cover! No worries I have some JB Quick weld epoxy, 15 minutes and it will be as good as new. But I can't find it, ok back up plan whittle a piece of wood and stab it like a vampire. Another railer suggested I use a bungie cord to keep some tension on the plug so it won't fall out, thanks. That repair made it all the way to the next town we came to called Young. Thank goodness the NAPA was open and they were more than willing to sell me some JB Quickweld, sandpaper a couple of quarts of oil I started making the repair to my valve cover but couldn't fill the hole with the epoxy mmm. ok cut off a piece of cardboard from the epoxy package smear a glob of epoxy on it and press it up next to the hole! worked like a charm. As I am repairing my valve cover another railer came over to me and said "hey your tire is bubbling"  then he showed me where my rim was cracked. Ugg! there was a garage across the street and he said he had a welder and for twenty bucks I was holding air once again. As we were heading out of Young the wind started to pick up no big deal until as we got closer to camp it was really blowing hard and it was cold! One spot that we took a break there was still SNOW! my son freaked and threw a snowball at me brrr. so I returned the favor fun but cold. Once at camp everybody quickly set up thier tents and preceded to gather firewood the fire really felt good after a delicious steak dinner and some really good conversation I quickly snuggled into my bag and quickly drifted off to sleep with visions of the days events dancing in my head.The next morning it was cold as me and my son awoke he made it very clear he wasn't getting out of his bag! Until he had to go to the bathroom. We quickly restocked the fire and proceeded to break camp once everyone was loaded up we took our coolers and drained the melted ice on the fire to be sure it was out! then it was a short jaunt down the hill to our next town called Stawberry and there we ate a huge breakfast at the Strawberry Lodge. From there we went on down to Fossil creek, usually this is where we'd swim a little but it was still cold so on ward and upward over the next set of mountain ranges to another small town called Dewey from here we crossed a couple of valleys so lush with green grass, trully beautiful. As we left the lush valleys of green we approached the town of Camp Verdi  once on the other side of town the lead rail turned off to an unassuming road that lead us up through a neat little trail. This trail led us on to part of the great western trail, a series of trails and roads that run from Mexico to Canada! on this trail it led us all the way to the Seven Springs camp ground from there every body said thier goodbyes and all headed in thier own ways to go home.all said and done four hundred and twenty two miles and I'm already making plans for next years run.    A quick video of us going through a creek and hitting an underwater rock.  

Sycamore Creek/ Boulder Mountain 05/02/2010
Trail Rating 3-5
Author: Azdesertrat
The Carnage: coolant plug, left "race tie rod" sub sandwich got cooler water in it yuck! 
Quote of the trip: " Don't be a wussy old man! go faster ( son before I drenched him in icy cold water!) or chatter chatter shiver shiver

WOW! thats the only way to describe this past weekends run. The runs leader was a guy named Perri, he runs this whole area of Sycamore Canyon and is quite versed in all of the trail locations. I have never been there and what a pleasant suprise! We all left the Dennys on Shea Boulevard around 8 A.M. and up the BeeLine Highway a few miles, no big deal went this way to Payson a bunch, then we turned off of the Highway onto a dirt road and was soon driving on top of the ridges with steep drop offs on either side. As were driving the ridges there was enough sharp turns inclines and steep climbs to keep your interest and make it fun like a roller coaster! As we're driving I noticed a wash in the bottom of the canyon and it looked like there is some water in it! So we're driving a little longer and all of a sudden the lead guy just stopped, apparently the trail dead ended with three very steep inclines and the only way out was a old washed out trail going down the side of this ridge at about a pucker factor of 12, throw into that all of the ruts, wash outs ,a s turn, all in a 60* slope or even steeper. I chose to back track down the trail. a guy in our club says to me "here take my camera" when I get down to the bottom radio up and I could film his decent, as soon as he e-mails it to me I'll post it, it was neat watching him pick all of the lines to transverse the ruts and gulleys, then the lead guy said O.K. my turn and took a different line. Straight down the ridge! The soil is mostly decomposed granite to traction is ok. After a few more hill climbs and descents we were finally in Sycamore creek! It wasn't quite 10a.m. so I really didn't want to get wet, my son on the other hand kept goating me to punch it through the water! ok there was a creek about a foot and a half deep second gear wide open and splash! we're both soaking wet and it was COLD definately cold! but way fun! As I turned to my son for a triumphant Hell Ya! all I saw was a cold shivering boy who on our next creek crossing urged me to slow down 3 mph is still too fast! heh heh heh. As we meandered through the creek it was a slow almost lazy cruise very relaxing haven't done that in a long while, usually it's putting miles under the tires, it was a refreshing change.  We had our first break down in the creek, apparently one if the water burners had a rubber plug start to leak, so we all parked and let it cool down to repair the plug when we hear a thump thump thump there in the air not more than a couple yards above us was a Black Hawk helicopter going down the wash! way cool! repaired the leaking coolant plug and refilled the radiator ( couldn't ask for a better spot) and we were off again meandering up the wash, when the lead guy got stuck on a sand bar, ok I can make it though Wrong! Instantly buried it up to the valve covers! cool I have been dying to use the winch I bought awhile ago. Got out with out any help and quite easily, the other guy who got stuck got pulled out by another rail.   Eventually the lead guy led us out of the wash and up the side of another hill and straight into one of the most washed out, 19 inch t.v. sized boulders washes I have ever seen and said this would take us to trail 160. How? simple he said just drive through the wash! and don't get stuck! He was the lead rail and made it through wow! next it was my turn and it really wasn't all that bad (coulda really used power steering!)then came the two biggest rails of the run and to watch them was fascinating transversing the different lines, power, brake, power, turn, out! these guys really know how to drive thier rails! and yes the wash did take us to trail 160 and from there we stopped and had lunch at the trail head for 160. from there it was a quick jaunt up the highway to Boulder Mountain.   right about now I'm feeling pretty indestructible! With that last wash my car was running flawlessly I was on the top of the world un- stoppable as were climbing the grade to Boulder mountain My arms were getting sore from all the strong arm steering and this trail was a lot worse! I'm un-stoppable  confinedly told myself I have a whole bunch of Race Parts on my car the guy that sold me said so! he wouldn't lie. So I start up this really steep and washed out hill my back tire spun out and I was instantly side ways!with my left front tire wedged against a large rock and as I back down for another try I watch on paralyzed amazement my tire folded under the car, disbelief no way! I have race parts! well there maybe not as race as some other parts and to make it worse the piece that broke was aluminum can't weld that up on the trail, that fact made painfully apparent by the unnatural twist if the front tire. maybe I'm not so invincible after all.   I used my jack to get myself turned around and headed back down and let the rest of the group by. I finally ended up taking the whole spindle off of the car so that the trailing arms stuck out and I could ride them like a ski of sorts a very bumpy ski. I was really kicking myself once for no spare tie rod and again thinking I was unstoppable! I was   Eventually the group went back as far as they could and started to head back towards me, when they finally caught me one of the bigger rails hooked my front bumper to his rear bumper, a whole lot faster we went like this until Mesa where a AVC club members house was and we sleeved the tie rod with a steel pipe and put some bolts to hold the sleeve and eye balled the toe, then to was a short jaunt  60 miles back to home and there was my wife just shaking her head saying that I just got it all fixed up only to bust it again ... well ya! Here's the link to some of the pics I'll post more when I get them. some of the videos and pictures have been posted on our forums AVC trail runs please check them out thanks

Barry Goldwater run April 10,11 2010
Author: Azdesertrat
The Carnage: One smoked 930 cv, Two punchers sidewalls, Broken cage mount, Various loose nuts and bolts, Fathers nerves as his son does his first long desert ride!
Quote of the trip:Way funer than a video game!

Well we finally made an overnighter at the Barry Goldwater Range. On our last trip the dark thunder clouds were too reminiscent of our Hassayampa  run so we decided too play it safe and only do a day run. This time the weather was on our side! As usual the meeting spot for the west side was the Waffle house on McDowell and 83rd Ave. After a hearty breakfast everybody loaded up and Five rails headed for the freeway around 8 A.M. After going through Gila Bend we got on the interstate 8 and was a straight shot to just before Yuma, there we met up with the sixth member of our club who was lucky enough to camp out here the previous night.Once everybody gassed up it was just a short jaunt to the first dirt road. as we approached the dirt I kept hearing a click click so I decided to pull over and check it out. I could feel the heat coming off of my left inner C.V.Boot. oh oh. Good enough place for a map check, while I repaired my C.V. as I took the clamp off of the boot and slid the boot back, a puff of pungent smoke rolled out of where the cv grease should have been! As it cooled down enough that I could handel it with a shop towel, it became apparent that the splines on the end of the axle were mushroomed and only a file was going to get the burned C.V. off. so I tapped all of the black dust out and re-packed the C.V. and hoped for the best (made the rest of the trip).   Let me just say WOW! the desert in bloom is so incredible, words can simply not describe the rich vibrant colors of all of the plants in full bloom.  I would have to say the next most amazing thing would have been the stars in the night sky, living in and around Phoenix you can almost forget how dark the night time sky is or how many stars you can count! That right there was my high light. Thank you Mike for such an amazing run!  As the morning sun began its journey to the zenith of the heavens, the whole camp was silent at first with nairily a sound then slowly one by one the camp becomes abuzz with the sounds and smells of breakfast cooking, then breaking camp and loading up.  First thing in the morning before anybody else is awake is one of my favorite times for quiet reflection.When you visit the Barry Goldwater one thing is blazing ovlious  your on your own! with miles and miles of nothing there are graves on the side of the road to accentuate this fact. I have to wonder what hardships the early pioneers faced crossing this land on foot, or other "visitors" from south of the border? Early on the second day the group decided to split up, three of us wanted to check out the "fence". I guess it was mainly designed to keep out vehicles and not much else! After that it was a mad dash to catch up with the rest of the group by an adobe shelter, even though its only April it was getting a little warm and inside the shelter it was very comfortable and on the out side it had a working wind mill! Time for a quick splash down AHHH! Off we go again and now we were treated to the desert in full bloom, every body slowed down to a crawl in amazed astonishment of all of the colors of the desert plants in full bloom. Awhile later we're at the remains of an old mine the main shaft was fenced off and a good thing to as the kiosk said it goes down 1000 feet, here to were some grave sites of some of the early miners, but beware as the sign mentioned that recent flash flooding has eroded some of the graves ewww! Off again next stop was a ranchers ranch and from there it was pretty much a straight shot to Ajo to refuel then the long drive back home, with the sights and smells of the desert still fresh in our heads. Can't wait till next year Thanks again Mike for a well planned run.

Barry Goldwater West


Author – The Bent Wheel


Carnage – Nothing


This was the big kahuna.  This time we ran El Camino Del Diablo or the Devil’s Highway all the way from Yuma to Ajo.  I haven’t done the full run in years.  The weather was perfect, the cars ran great, and came home with film to spare.  After making camp, Kenny broke in his new cooking grill which everybody shared.  I had found that I did not have two steaks, but one big steak.  Thick steaks are not very good for campfire cooking.  They take way too long.  In the middle of the night the wind picked up as it usually does and most of us found ourselves removing the rain guard from the tents to keep them from blowing away.  After that some of us veered off and headed for the border fence.  Judging by the tire tracks there was a lot of activity on the USA side but none could be found on the Mexico side.  We made our way across the desert to Tule Wells.  For some snacks and a break and then headed Pápago Wells and then to Bates Well Ranch for some drinks and some photos, then off to Ajo.  Mike and I discussed which part of the Devil’s Highway was the prettiest with all the flowers and cacti blooming.  I think both of us found both areas extremely beautiful this time of year.  We stopped in Ajo for gas and air our tires up and started the sad journey home.  I hope the pictures that we have taken and posted give you a small glimpse of the beauty of this part of Arizona.  And I just have to say that Mike you nailed it this time.
 Awsome Pics of Barry Goldwater Run some cool pictures of the run! from the big orange fast truggy      A quick movie my son driving for the first time! 

Barry Goldwater Run Area B March 6, 2010
Author: The Bent Wheel
The carnage: None
Quote of the trip: "It is so beautiful out here." - Everyone
OMG!!!  What a beautiful run.  This was supposed to be an overnighter but due to the possibility of rain on Sunday we changed into a day run.  The weather was right on the money, the wind was just enough to keep the dust off the road and the scenery was a postcard at every turn.  We all left with the anticipation of the beauty that we would see with all the rain that we had been getting.  This trip was well worth it, but I believe in another 2-3 weeks everything will be in full bloom.  We were still able to find large patches of the yellow mexican poppy blooming everywhere.  The ocotillas were budding but had not bloomed yet.  Due to the remoteness of the Barry Goldwater Range and the need to have a Barry Goldwater Range permit for every person, this area is a prime example of pristine Arizona desert.  I hope you enjoy the photos, I'm not sure that they give the area the justice that is deserves.  I look forward to any future trips to the Barry Goldwater Bombing Range and hope that I can go out sometime before the area is closed due to heat and nesting.  THis is the first time that I have tried using picasaweb to post photos so I am sorry for not doing a better job of editing the photos that I have posted.  Please if you attended this event post your photos and send our webmaster the link.

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Last Trail Run:

Hassayampa Run 2010

Author:  The Bent Wheel

Quote of the trip: by the rear steer rail – “God I love the smell of fresh rain in the desert.”

The Carnage:  one missing nut and bolt off a front beam bracket and a loose upper shock mount and one exploded fuel filter

WOW!!!  What a beautiful day, what a beautiful run.  This is coming from the guy at 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning watching the rain flood his backyard saying I ain’t going.  Despite the possibility of being the only one at the Waffle House the skies cleared to the West and I went to the meeting spot.  What a turnout.  For such a rainy morning.  I did not expect to see 7 cars ready to hit the wash.  As we started up the wash this was the first time that I have ever driven the run without having some sort of tire marks to follow.  It made it difficult because I needed to pay attention so that I did not end up leaving the wash or that an area that I could not get back to the main wash.  You would think that there would be mud, you would think that there would be lots of water, wasn’t much of either.  The sand seemed to have sucked up all the water and the fast moving current from earlier rainfalls moved all the mud elsewhere.  When I had gotten home surprisingly it only took about an hour to clean my car.  If you were thinking about going and didn’t you really missed out on an awesome run.  There wasn’t any breakdowns, there wasn’t any real rain, and there were a few areas that did have mud north of Wickenburg.  But we just slowed down and took our time and enjoyed the beautiful day.  I have to agree with Rear Steer the smell of the fresh rain in the desert was overpowering and moving.  We set off to find new trails north of Wickenburg, after agreeing on a route somehow we missed the turn and got all twisted up.  There was talk of turning around and trying to find the correct turn, but the trail that we were on seemed to be heading in the direction that we wanted to go so we pushed forward.  I have to hand it to the side-by-side or rhino looking off roaders, it seems that they are not tearing up the desert as you would think and with their responsible off-roading, we were able to find our way out of the maze of trails that we had found by following their tire tracks.  We ended up bout 2 miles off course from where we wanted to come out.  But once again, we had found a new area to go explore.  Old mines and fast washes. We plain to go back before it gets too hot this year. Over all the one thing that keeps standing out in my mind is how white the smiles looked on my fellow off-roader faces that were dotted with splashes of desert as we parted ways to head back home.  It seemed like the longest miles I drove on this trip were the ones that I drove home.  Until next time…

Well the New Years run is over and everybody made it home safe once again! Wow what a run, there was every thing from slippery graded fire roads to gnarly rocky hill climbs with every thing in between, even a little rock crawling! With all of the extreme terrain came our fair share of carnage. Two type two cv's grenaded, and two Porsche 930's, all by three different cars! We almost had a alternator fall off (new car teething) and sheared the mounting bolts off an "indestructible" steering gear box. Two shocks were broken in two, two flat tires and Lordy no! a dead battery on an RV. I my self went over 263 miles on my GPS in the Five days that I was there and logged a whole bunch of really neat trails, Plus we found a bunch more to try at a later date!
 The Pot luck dinner on New Years day was superb and every night there was a blazing campfire to ward off the night chill while recollecting the days events. We even had a "Blue Moon" as I am told is a rare event as the last one was in 2004, again as I am told. As a passenger in one of the rails was heard to exclaim " You were going 70 MPH in that wash, you can't feel the bumps at 70 MPH!" Hope to see you at the Hassayampa super bowl weekend.  P.S. On a side note, my limiting straps actually stretched, sending my cv angle from 23* to over 25.5* and over extending the workable angle of my cv's, the result was a multi piece cv cage. I am in the process of installing adjustable limiting straps of a higher quality! What a trip, can't wait for next years! Azdesertrat

New Year’s at the Jeep Club


December 29, 2009 – January 3, 2010


Author:  The Bent Wheel


Carnage:  4 CVs, 2 broken shocks, 2 sheared bolts that hold the steering box on, 2 tires (1 repairable), 1 lost beam bolt that holds the front beam together, one bolt that holds the alternator on, one UHF antenna, and 1 set of underwear (don't know if this happened on the trail or not)


Quote of the Trip:  “You don’t feel much at 70 m.p.h.” – Donnie


Well this trip, knowing the skill levels of the drivers involved, we chose not to take the same trails that we have always taken in the past.  We had set out looking for trails that no one had experienced yet.  Some of these trails may not have seen traffic in decades.  We found two new ways into Copperopolis from the north, many new, unexplored abandoned mine camps and several new and exciting areas to explore.  Next year or sometime in the near future we all agreed that going to the west of the Constellation Road would prove to have many new trails to explore.  The early setting of the sun each night allowed for long campfires.  I’m sure on the last night that we were there our fire could be seen from space.  We had all found ourselves about 20 feet from the fire due to the heat and the need to not leave any wood that we had brought.  Only one vehicle did not make it back to camp under its own power due to lack of a spare part.  Paul and Louise once again outdid themselves with the smoker.  We had Cornish game hens, ham, turkey breast with all the trimmings, even fire cooked corn on the cob “mmmmm.”  It was nice to see everyone come together for one big meal.  I think I will try to incorporate the potluck into other events, no one left hungry that night.  As always, this event brought the best out in everybody.  Thanks once again for all who attended. 

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