Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mountain Off-Roading….with a motorhome!

Yes, you can now officially consider me crazy.  I took my View off-roading along 22 miles of a mountainous narrow dirt road known as the Apache Trail.  I didn’t mean to do it. It just happened….and although rather scary in a few spots, it was AWESOME!

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The trip started out so benign.  I had enjoyed my drive to Canyon Lake a few evenings before, and after looking at maps to plan my route to New Mexico, it sure appeared that driving further west along the Apache Trail would be the most-direct route, and it’d give me more 2-lane highway driving rather than the boring interstate.

So on Saturday morning, off we headed to the Apache Trail.  With every intersection, I kept noticing my Garmin girl trying to re-calculate me to drive south through Tucson rather than east through the Superstition mountains.  Convinced that that Garmin girl was giving me some whacky route, I continued my familiar drive along the pretty, paved 2-lane highway to Canyon Lake.

Shortly after the Tortilla Flats campground, a sign on the road warned me that the pavement was now coming to an end, and that it’d be gravel for the next 22 miles.

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But this road looked pretty wide and smooth to me (I’d driven my motorhome along plenty roads like this before with no problem), so I decided to continue eastward.  Soon, however, the road began getting more narrow—only 1 lane, with just a few small turnouts for oncoming cars to pass.  Then the road began to serpentine along the steep rock cliffs as it navigated through the mountains….ut oh!

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Obviously, I was pretty pre-occupied with keeping my white knuckles on the steering wheel most of the time, so didn’t get many pics of this drive, but I found this YouTube video from another tourist that summarizes the experience pretty well:

Fortunately, I didn’t have any oncoming traffic in the narrow portions, and all the little 1-lane bridges (that had no marked capacity ratings posted on them), managed to support my 11,000 lb motorhome just fine.

Towards the east end of the trail, the road started to widen a bit more, and thankfully, it was on this section when I finally did encounter a driver even crazier than me--- towing his big boat!
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But this was another day where I was so very grateful to be driving a SKINNY short View rather than a longer, wider Winnie!

The east end of the trail had some nice views of Apache Lake as well as the backside of Roosevelt Dam:
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As I reached the dam, the 2-lane highway pavement reappeared bringing us back to civilization.  Only took us a mere 3 hours to drive the short 22-mile Apache Trail, so I guess the darn Garmin girl was right after all…but my route was a heck of a lot more fun!

On the other side of the dam was Roosevelt Lake and a very neat suspension bridge:

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Millie had been panting in fear for her life most of the morning and was very overjoyed to see all that inviting blue water.  I found a little picnic area a few miles south that had a perfect spot for dog swimming, so all my morning tortures were now forgiven!

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6 comments:

  1. I hit 5 miles of gravel, single lane switchback between Natural Bridge Nat. Mon. and Monument Valley with the T@B in Utah last summer. I lost over 1500ft of elevation and passed only one other car, complete with hysterically screaming female passenger, that was going up. Sure is easy to find fun in the boonies!!

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  2. Roads like that make you think small IS beautiful when it comes to RVs!

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  3. YIKES. Cross the Apache Trail off the Duck's routes.

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  4. Thanks for finding my blog and becoming a follower. I read all your posts and was glad to read all the positive comments about the View. Olivia, my View, my dog, Big Guy, and I should be on the road soon. I'm waiting for warmer weather...I can be cold at home.

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  5. This story makes me think that I am more for a Class C than a Class A.

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  6. That was such an exciting road trip, Lynne! The Canyon is very picturesque, no doubt about that. But it’s rather dangerous, and you only have Millie to accompany you! It takes bravery to travel alone, but I think you won’t go astray as long as you travel with your home. :-)

    Kurt Bukowski

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