Since I've gone full-time at Tuff Writer things have not slowed down. The entire "I'll have more time" illusion has been thoroughly shattered by now. The hours are long, the pay is slim (although admittedly that's because I decided to buy a s#!t load more shop equipment including an additional CNC mill, let's call that a story for a different blog post) but the work sure is interesting and there's no shortage of it.
Fortunately, my buddy Dave22 is here to keep me from melting into the shop and becoming some sort of manufacturing monk (hey, I already have the hair for it). As a hospital neurologist he works 7 days on / 7 days off. Now, I don't mean that he has 7 works days, I mean the man actually works for 7 days straight. Thus, when he has the week off he finds that he often needs to unwind from the stress of his job ("Yeah... so that headache you've been having? Right, it's a tumor. You're not going to make it."). Needless to say, his solution is to go wheeling. It usually starts with a text asking me to find a cool trail and suggesting that we meet at the trail head at 7AM on Monday. Now, we go wheeling pretty much every other week and sometimes even again on the weekends. Hell, works for me.
Last week we hit Log Corral up north of Scottsdale past Mile Marker 212. We've been talking about making this trail for a while and I've driven part of it with Jeyr. Unfortunately (for Jeyr, anyway), the trail has a decent sized obstacle about 1/3rd of the way in and Jeyr's Taco is not really built for rock-crawling. Dave's beast of a Jeep on the other hand sure is, and mine will do in a pinch. Our friend Decho came along since we're trying to convince him to throw off the shackles that oppress his daily life, grow a pair, and buy a Jeep.
Dave's 4DR JKU the Polar Express along with my more plebeian 2DR JK:
The trail starts right off of the HWY and in true Dave fashion, he immediately got lost. I don't mean shortly after we started, I mean immediately. Within 30 seconds he made a wrong turn, lost sight of me and was lost. Thank goodness for CBs and we met back up at the air down spot within a few minutes.
The trail starts to get a little more rocky after crossing the dry creek but it really gets exciting just a bit further up.
Starting to get fun here:
An optional rock shelf is the first indication that things are going to get a little challenging. About 50 feet past that is a rock outcropping which requires careful wheel placement and decent clearance (rock sliders don't hurt either). The proof of this was laid out before us in the form of a broken down rock buggy. Think of this like an old skeleton near a watering hole indicating that caution may be advised.
Rocks and buggy:
For anyone wondering where the buggy most likely went wrong, I present to you Defense Exhibit A, marked for identification:
Things got narrower but easier once we got over and past this scene. The trees made for a nice and colorful route and we rode on like this for a few miles.
As we closed in on the actual Log Corral the route changed in character. Things opened up and red rolling dirt lined the road with deep ruts. This made for a fun little drive and we got to flex the Jeep suspensions out like giant spiders making their way through the rolling desert sands.
A short while later we made it to the actual Log Corral the trail is named after:
View of the Bartlett Lake from the corral:
We followed the dirt trail down the mountain to the beach (is in, drove like mad men who missed their chance to be rally drivers). This was fun and not nearly as bumpy as it could have been, but quite dusty.
At the bottom we searched for a way across but could not find one. While searching Dave managed to drive too close to the water in the pea gravel and almost made it into the drink! He turned into the slide hoping not to tip but that quickly took him into the water and he found that he didn't have enough traction to make it back out. He hit the brakes and stopped but the big 4DR Jeep slowly kept sliding deeper and deeper into the water. With a bit of panic in his voice Dave yelled over the CB, "Where the hell are you? Get over here and winch me out, I'm sliding into the water man!" Considering that Dave's Jeep was sporting a brand new 3.6L engine due to having blown his previous motor in an unfortunate water crossing, I could understand his apprehension. That said, I had to make it through the same pea gravel without sliding into the water otherwise we'd both be in some sad s#!t with nobody to bail us out. I quite literally had to drive at a 45 degree able as the gravel kept trying to suck the Jeep down the hill and into the water. Fortunately, after 100 of so feet I hit terra-thank-the-f#@k-firma and was able to get across the muck.
I dug in, put some rock in front of the tires and threw Dave and Decho a life-line:
Once we got clear we looked around for a place to cross but quickly gave up and decided to head back the way we came in. The trail was fun in both directions and we got some more good photos of the broken down rock buggy on the way out.
Let's Go... Rock Climbing:
We made it off the trail by 11:00AM and hit Senior Taco for some lunch. Hell, I was even in the shop and making chips by 1PM. If you ask me, there aren't too many better ways to start off the work week.
Next time... Hackberry.