A camp out with Bear. Not real bears, the wild type, that could bruin a guys camping trip. No, we took our big dog Bear and our other dog Lil Anne out for a romp in the Arizona desert. We are down to just 2 dogs now, having lost 2 to old age in the last couple of years, most recently we lost Little Joe before Thanksgiving 2011. Our 4 dogs and 3 cats were the best organized posse the west has ever seen. Never any discord or falling out at the ol watering hole. Mrs. Whazoo and I know we can never duplicate the chemistry between all these animals again. We'll never try after they all go to the animal kingdom in the western sky. Somewhere up there Little Joe is chasing balls thrown by an unseen hand, and Rusty waits for me patiently to take him climbing again in new weightless bodies.
The Sonoran Desert has greened up a bit early this year due to warm temps and the small amount of precipitation it takes to make the grasses sprout with temporary joy to be alive. Heading east of the town of Florence we were following a dirt road. You know the road, it seems smooth enough, easy enough to be able to drink your coffee without spilling it on your pants, right about where your zipper is. But as we all know this road, we also know that more than likely it will degrade into something from 4wheel magazine. And it was sooner rather than later...
The trail quickly found some rocks to throw in our path as road became canyon floor.
Some road building 101 was necessary. Not so much to be able to crawl over the boulders but to keep the long wheelbase truck from going high center. And to provide entertainment to the growing number of atv riders, drinking coffee.
It was an incredibly tight squeeze yes it was, getting into those jeans I mean. I refuse to go up another size. Do you think they make my gas can look big? (That was a rhetorical question, please don't answer.)
A few truck pictures will follow. I don't want you to think, that I think, these are the 4wheel shots of the century. I know for a fact that Jeeps and other vehicles run through here like water during a monsoon, having been here before in a Jeep ourselves. But things are different in a truck camper of this size, being somewhere in between a large hard side and smaller pop-up camper with no rear overhang and less profile.
Who says a GMC can't artruckulate?
Or get a wheel up now and again?
The road soon had me by the balljoints as we tipped towards canyon walls and the occasional tree that added scratches to the side of the camper. The sound of skid plates on rock echoed through the canyon, the canyon, the canyon....
It became obvious to us that this road was a wash.
A Bear sighting..."Dad, can I stand up now?"
"Not yet Bear, one more boulder to roll over."
Back on smooth road we had tracks to cross. It was a crossing made just for the Whazoos.
The Arizona state neckwear is the bola tie, but I present my version...the cacti. Worn on blue or saguaro t-shirts you too can be the sharpest dude there never was. Speaking of t-shirts, would you buy a Whazoo Saguaro T-shirt? Whazoo's Desert Collection coming to a Nordstroms near you.
We were camping on the old townsite of Cochran, Arizona, on the banks of the Gila River and just across form the Beehive Ovens. The only remains are the few cement pads that were the foundations of buildings long ago.
Such a typical Arizona picture and what a place to have a town. I would have liked to live here with these views.
Camping on desert grass has always seemed surreal to me, out of place, but as long as I don't have to mow it I like it.
Out for an evening walk-about Mrs. Whazoo is on the right track, or is it the left?
The Gila River, pronounced with the "G" as "H". "Heela" River for you gringos out there.
What do we have here? It looks like some fruit of the vine...bo-vine that is.
Can this be the offending beeve? I think it was tracking a shipment of cattlelacs due to arrive later.
While the fruit is not edible it is fun to throw, on a cold day. You know better than to kick or throw cow pucky on a warm day yes? Don't worry, I'll clean up the mess.
There, can you see me now? (I had to use 128 colors to keep the file size down a bit, please excuse the off colored picture, pun intended)
Night brought the occasional sounds of coyotes, I wish they would go all night. Of course Lil Anne went flying into the camper post haste while the rest of us enjoyed a fire.
Morning brought a new view of the "foothills." I've often wondered why they are called that. What comes next, kneehills?
I dig the morning shadows for pictures, as I had a cup of coffee to rid the shadows of my mind from a good nights sleep in the camper.
"Aw shucks Ma, I love you too."
Saguaros come in so many shapes and sizes. It's always fun to put words in their mouths...if they had a mouth that is.
Parked on an old "pad" we could see the Beehive Coke Ovens across the Gila. The river was too deep and muddy to cross by foot this spring. And there is a 4wheel road to them but we've not made it all the way because of the brush and trees that keep taking paint samples from my rig. Built in 1882 to smelt coke I've often wondered about that. As boys we used to drink coke and burp causing the coke to bubble up through our nose, so I guess we smelt coke in a way ourselves. But this is different, of course, and the many mesquite trees in the area were cooked to produce charcoal used in processing the ore from local mines. And while coke itself is derived from coal the name has endured while actually the Beehive Ovens were charcoal kilns. Ergo charcoal burns hotter than wood and coke burns hotter than charcoal. But with no coal in the region, well, there you have it, Beehive "charcoal" Ovens.
Having made the drive by Jeep in the past, the "ovens" are a sight to see and to know they are over a hundred years old.
Just north of the old townsite we followed the road until we were stopped by the "Short Forest" of mesquite trees.
As we walked I kept an eye out for the toads of the Short Forest, or a newt from Idaho...a la Frank Zappa.
And what have we here? Excuse me, I didn't know we were in a public restroom. Glad I wasn't barefoot!
Leaving Cochran we drove past a very strange looking saguaro.
Then the "scarecrow" saguaro...
Yes, Whazoo travels to the beat of a different drum. Now I ask, who would leave a brake drum behind as they drove away?
We stopped by the Ray Mine, one of the largest open pit copper mines in the world, to take a few pictures.
Looking closer we could see the huge size of Steve the Steamshovel compared to a front loader.
Just north of Florence Junction we took a road to more great views, would I post any other?
Bear has finally passed out from all the doggone fun of bouncing around in the back seat.
Yet the smell of ground beef browning for the chili is enough to resuscitate him.
Me too as I enjoyed the aerial view of what I'll call "Steve's Smooth Chili" named after my friend who gave me both the dutch oven and the chili recipe. I have to say, camp food never tasted so good. "Give me liberty, to camp and cook, or give me death!"
It was mentioned on the last trip report that I find a dutch oven recipe for my trip donuts. Problem solved. Funny though, they look just like my Entenmanns!
Chili has been eaten, an episode of "Dexter" watched, and it's time for a last picture before bed. Now I don't really know the constellation I was looking at, but it looked like the Big Bopper to me. Wait, could that be Orion"s belt?
Morning brings different views...
We were camped in a saguaro forest with them all standing, watching, waiting as if for a hundred years. And truly it has been, with saguaros living to be around two hundred years old. They will have lived to see you and I come and go, and then some
Going outside to shake the dew off the cactus lilly, I noticed a reflection in the dew.
And thought to take a picture or two ...of dew. (No photoshop here, plain ol macro)
So with those pictures I will bid you...adew.
Thanks for reading,
Dave and Lynn Rogers with Bear and Lil Anne
* This post was
edited 02/22/12 09:56pm by whazoo *
You're certifiably NUTS! Although I've never been ----faced before, I've heard about the condition. Well, actually, I don't remember ever having been "faced", but somehow feel, although I'm not sure why, that I can relate.
Great post as always! Thank you.
So long for now,
This is without a doubt the #1 most enjoyable post I have ever read (viewed) in this forum! That looks ilk a fantastic trip... makes me wish I had a smaller TC so I could get to the places you went.
Thank you Dave & Lynn for sharing your images and good spirit with us!
Great, great trip report. I had visions of heading down your way but my wife decided to come out of her less than a year retirement and become a hired gun, err hired trouble shooter. Next year I guess. I know I am boring but jeeze, I bored her right out of retirement.
Yes, I agree totally with the others, a very neat trip report & I enjoyed the pics. Thanks!
DesertHawk- Las Cruces, NM USA
*2015 Lance 1985~Casita de Campo~23' 4" Tongue to Bumper, Dinette Slide
160 watt Solar Panel/GoPower! Solar Controller
*2009 White Ford F-150 Reg. Cab
Long Bed with A.R.E. Molded Fiberglass Topper
*Previously~ 2005 16' Scamp
You STUD! I can't believe you went over those rocks with your camper! I don't know if I would do that!!! Really love the pic with the camper in the dew drop. You really have an eye to see what there is to see. Great trip report.
PS... you have an interesting rear ladder. It looks like it articulates over the can. Is that an Outfitter or custom job? Thx.
Ok. You're AZ pictures and report make MINE look like a 2 year old's!!! I am so jealous of your adventures in your rig and your pictures and descriptions just make me want to scream.....................and trade my rig in for a 4x4 with low profile pop up camper like yours. But alas, I am not that hearty! Thank you for allow us to vicariously live through your travels!
2007 Lance 1055 and Calvin, the 1996 creampuff Chev Silverado 3500 extended cab dually
Escapee member #224325-Since 1992
Little late night insomnia so decide to check out the forum which I haven't been able to do for the last several weeks due to work load. Guess my subconscience could tell there was another great Whazoo trip that needed to be read.
Great eye for detail spotting the reflection in the dew drop. Most folks wouldn't have even noticed the dew.