Monday, March 18, 2013

Whoa, What An Adventure

After saying our Good Byes we left the Hot Springs around 8am.
Heading east on I-8 went just like a charm. The wind was a tailwind and I think we made some pretty nice fuel mileage all the way to Casa Grande.
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The area between Coolidge, Casa Grande and Florence will never be what I’d call my favorite place in Arizona though. The reason: Way too much industry, people and State Prisons.
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Once we were beyond Florence and on Hwy 60 surroundings got a lot nicer. Beautiful mountain views caused aahs and ohs and I sensed Bea taking pictures in rapid order.

A Solar Power plant

Superior is a little mining town at the foot of the Pinal Mountains. We stopped at a small urban rest area to have a cup of coffee.
When entering the trailer I saw that our 32” TV had jumped off the hook and was hanging precariously in the connecting cables. It didn’t crash to the floor and didn’t even cause a mark on the surface of the cupboard underneath. But it just shows that RV-manufacturers never spend a thought about that their rigs are actually moving down many kind of highways.
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Florence State Prison

After we started up again the road climbed…and climbed and climbed----until I heard a friendly little “Ping” signal from my dashboard and a yellow light came on. Upon closer inspection I saw that the temp gauge was up in the 125C area.
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It should never go there. Because when it does, it means the engine is getting too hot. Luckily there was small pull-out coming up shortly after so we stopped. I kept the engine running and while revving it up I watched the temp come down.
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And then there was this strange smell. like burnt brakes..?!

Well it sure wasn’t our brakes. It wasn’t brakes at all.
We were still watching the temp gauge when a Highway Patrol Officer pulled in.
Me, I was jumping out to ask the officer about how much higher this highway would be going. Well, he said, it isn’t much farther, but then there is another mountain to climb over farther down towards Globe. I was thinking what I had been told about the road to Globe not being bad….
When I asked the officer about the peculiar smell he was just walking down towards the edge of a deep gorge. He pointed down there and I saw acrid smoke rising – the smell I thought was coming from hot brakes, was originating from a huge motor home, still smoldering along the steep slope of the canyon. He explained that the rig had been coming down the mountain and was already burning. They stopped a little ahead of where we had stopped, (we had seen the cones and the burnt ashes there) but then the fire had burned out the brakes and the thing had rolled down into the canyon where it caused a major fire. Looking down there I could see that the surface of the rocks were all covered in ashes. And the chassis of the rig – a pretty big Class A – was still hot.

I shuddered.

But nobody has been hurt in the accident. They all made it out safely.

Meanwhile, our engine had cooled off and we went on

to the top of the mountain. It was getting late – around 5pm – and we had lost any appetite on  going any further today. We were in the Tonto National Forest and found a primitiv campground right off the top of the road.

It’s called Oak Flats and it is a no-fee-area, which fits us just well.
Adjusting our plan, we decided to leave the trailer here and start exploring the next 16 miles of the road without it. We will drive up to Roosevelt Lake and see what it is like over there. If enough time tomorrow we will take the Apache  Trail. and make it a round trip via Apache Junction back to the campground.
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                                                 Our camp tonight


Thanks again for visiting!


  1. That doesn't sound fun at all. Do you have the mountain book? I bought one from Camping World a few years ago. It provides information on all the major mountain grades. The one by Globe is in there too. We've avoided it! Hopefully the rest of your trip will be uneventful.

  2. We have a mountain guide as well & it has helped us plan routes around known bad spots. We were up in that Globe area a few years ago with our Santa Fe car & I thought it looked pretty mountainous. Made a mental note at the time not to bring the rig into that area. Best of luck, take it slow & soon you will be up to I-40 & clear sailing.

  3. Whoa is right! Safe travels to you both!

  4. I like yo check Google earth when travelling new roads , it tells you the elevation so that we can avoid it.
    You can also keep the engine running much cooler with the air conditioning shut off and heater turned on, Not the most comfortable but helps the engine run cooler. We need to do that in gas coach sometimes.
    Safe travels.

  5. So glad you guys are okay. Now you do know don't you that the Apache Trail is also a nightmare to drive from Roosevelt Lake almost to Tortilla Flats. In some places it is one lane with really sharp curves. It is deeply rutted and will take you about 2 1/2 hours to go the 25 or so miles. We did it once in the truck and said never again. And I'm sure glad nobody was hurt in that motorhome.

  6. Glad you made it safe and sound, that bridge picture looked wild!

  7. I have nightmares about going over a cliff. Scares the heck out of me. Mountain grades are not to be taken lightly! We've already had smoking brakes on one 8% downgrade. Took 1-1/2 hours for the brakes to cool down. Luckily, the road leveled out right after the place we stopped.

  8. I can't believe you are in the same area as me back on Saturday. Take it easy out there.


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