Saturday, December 10, 2016

NEW RIVER ROAD / TABLE MESA ROAD Jeepers Creepers run 12-8-16

In the past when I have gone on a Jeepers Creepers run I have sent out to members a report on the run and a separate blog with my pictures. With this blog, I am combining them. One difference is that in this one I will be giving the names of the members on the trip and details of the trip which will be of more interest to the members than the folks who look at the blog for the pictures. Please give me some feedback about how this works for you.

Pictures are taken  by a Canon A720 IS.

On this run we had 8 vehicles with 16 members and guests. We met at Pinnacle Peak General Store in north Scottsdale near Pima Road.




It took us an hour to get to the trailhead near Seven Springs for the coffee break and comfort stop.

Above are two well-equipped Jeeps on this run. Some of us aired down  to make the ride more comfortable.

I reduced my tire pressure from 35 # to about 20 #. We did not need to do so for more traction.




Typical of our coffee stops, we quickly set up a table or two and put out the pastries, etc. for folks to have with their coffee.




Left to right are Dick Cone, guest of the Hulchers, Austin Hulcher, Jerry Grout, Diane Olson, me and Denise Carlson.

Socializing goes on at the planned stops, so the trail leader (here me) has to urge the folks to mount up so the run can be completed in a reasonable time.




This shot shows the beauty of the high desert of the Tonto National Forest as we got under way for 29 miles on FR 41. This is near the high spot of the road at 4,300 ft. For the first several miles the road is this smooth, so good that an ordinary car would have no trouble.   But that changes – short stretches of the road to the west are rocky, requiring careful wheel placement. The rocks generally were round, so there was little risk of a sharp rock puncturing a tire. I shifted the Jeep Grand Cherokee into 4 wd low mainly for deceleration on the steeper hills.




We crossed  rolling countryside. Here some of our group are heading up to a saddle to cross a ridge. We met just 3 other vehicles on the road, all traveling alone.




Here is a close up of our group.




Our lunch stop was at the last major saddle before descending to follow the New River usually dry stream bed to I 17. There are more good lunch stops at lower elevation within the next couple of miles. It took us about 2 hours to get here from the coffee break stop.




Here the ladies on the trip gathered – Mary Ellen Hulcher, Nancy Grout, Diane Olson, Donna Hall, Heather Trovero (or do I have the names reversed?) and Denise Carlson.



And here are the guys – Marvin Hall (new member), Dick Cone, Austin Hulcher, me kneeling next to Jerry Gout, Len Trovero between us, Steve Carlson, Jay Olson, Mike Carter and Bill Carter. The last couple of miles of the run is on very smooth road beginning at the sand and gravel operation set up since the last time we ran this road 6 years ago.



Here my Jeep is getting aired up.In the background more conversations are  under way as we say “so long” until the next run.

For the information of the next trail leader to lead on this road, travel time from Pinnacle Peak General Store to the Seven Springs Trailhead was 1 hour, then to the lunch spot, 2:10, and to I 17, 45 min. The coffee stop took 1/2 hour and lunch took almost 1 hour.  The total time was about 5.5 hours from Pinnacle Peak General Store to I 17 including stops.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


On Nov 9 the Jeepers Creepers took their first run of the 2016 - 2017 season in a six vehicle caravan led by Jerry and Nancy Grout. The announced destinations were the Roosevelt Lake Overlook off the Young Road and the cave on the Malicious Gap Road in the Mogollon Rim country. The  Young Road is designated as a state highway, no. 288 . It is paved for a few miles, semi paved for more and smooth gravel for most of its length. It is a scenic road to drive if you are not in a hurry. This is the third time the group has taken this run in the 11 years I have been an active member.

The first time we visited both, the second time we visited the overlook but could not find the cave for not going far enough on Malicious Gap Road,  and this time a third of the group visited the cave.



Our coffee break was in the Miami city park. Above are Bill and Mickey Wilkinson, guests of Austin and Mary Ellen Hulcher.

Other members making the trip are shown below: first row, Jerry and Nancy Grout and Jay Olson, with Diane Olson behind him in white;

second row – the Hulcher group and Denise Carlson; and third row,  Steve Carlson, Bill and Mike Carter.






We crossed the Salt River as it empties into Lake Roosevelt. This view is upstream.




Here is the entrance to the Lake Roosevelt overlook, FR 488. We passed it so we could have more time looking for the cave.




We passed the rugged Sierra Ancha mountain wilderness area.




If we looked over our shoulders on the way up, we would have seen the light brown  overlook area in the middle distance.




Continuing, we had a traffic delay for work being done on the road, apparently to remove landslide material over the road. The backhoe loaded two large trucks with loose material while vehicles waited, so the delay was considerable.




After we turned left on the Malicious Gap road, FR 609, Jerry found a great spot for lunch. Here we are packing up after lunch and patrolling our area to leave it pristine for the next visitors.



After the group broke up, Austin Hulcher was the one who found the X on the ponderosa to mark the short trail to the cave. The X was augmented here with paper to make it more noticeable.  The landmark is 10.5 miles from the intersection of the Malicious Gap and Young roads.



Here is the proof that I hiked down to the entrance to the cave. At the upper right is the edge of the  flat area where the marker tree is located.

The group split up near here – the Grouts, Carlsons and Olsons found a good road (FR 416) to descend to Lake Roosevelt and exit the area through Punkin Center,  the Hulchers and Carters continued to Young and had dinner in Payson, and I returned the way we had come.


Late in October a  group of 15 of us from Mesa drove to the Mayan Palace resort at Puerto Penasco Mexico, better known as Rocky Point to us gringos.  It is a 5 hour drive from the Mesa area. When driving into Mexico,  getting Mexican automobile  liability insurance for the period of the visit  is a good idea.

Next to the original buildings of the Mayan Palace resort is a new 5 story building, part of which is developed as a companion upscale resort, Mayan Grand. One of its amenities is the Lazy River, a circular canal –  shaped swimming pool where pumps keep the water circulating so that guests on large inner tubes can float around the circle. It is open only to guests at Mayan Grand and those who have listened to a timeshare pitch there.




Mike and Barbara Williams in Lazy River.




Puerto Penasco  was a sleepy fishing village on the Gulf of California which became a popular resort area. The beaches are quite wide, particularly at low tide. Above in the distance is Bird Island where tour boats take gringos for bird watching and snorkeling.




Left to right, Laura,  Arla, Barbara behind post, Mike and Jo at a palapa on the beach. I had fun flying a traditional  kite there.




Here we are gathering our strength after downtown shopping  on a warm afternoon.




Above and below are views of the main souvenir shopping area taken from a second story balcony.





Next was dinner at the Point restaurant  built on pilings in the  downtown area.

Left to right around the table – Tom and Elsie Holz, Arla Olson, Barbara and Mike Williams, Jeff Clyde and Jo Strong.




Five of us rode in our Prius one afternoon to town (20 miles) to shop and have dinner. Above far left is the main old shopping street extending toward the port  with the seafood markets at the far end.




These shrimp for sale are over 3” long.  




Here we are at dinner at the Lighthouse restaurant on a high bluff near downtown.. Here are Arla Olson Jeff Clyde, Jo and me.  The restaurant specializes in sea  food, and three of us had shrimp prepared in various ways with spices.



Back at the resort, we had some beautiful sunsets.