So, 6 months ago I returned from a trip to Arizona. It was a trip of a lifetime!
It was a 2 day trip from the DFW area to Sedona, where we were “Glamping” at the Hyatt Piñon Point. (We had a free 7 day stay, so yeah I was going to take advantage of that!) Prior to this trip I did some researching and more researching. I found links and video’s to some of the area’s wheeling spots, tourist spots and areas to take the wife to, so that she could enjoy the trip without having to get off the pavement. That’s right, she doesn’t like the jostling around of off road adventures...
I’m not going to bore you too much with the non-offroad details, as I did that in part 1 of this report a few months ago.
We arrived on a Saturday, got checked into a gorgeous condo and walked around to see the lay of the land. All the while I’m thinking “That’s where Schnebly Hill Road should be”, haha.
I was chomping at the bit to find and ride the trails in the area. Sunday we spent walking around the touristy areas around Sedona, including Tlaquepaque, a cleaned up version of the REAL one in Mexico.
The next day found us driving down to Phoenix to visit some family. It was actually a nice drive, as I got to see more of the state. It’s amazing how the landscape changes from the red dirt and rocks to the desert landscape of southern AZ. Driving back from Phoenix we hit some strong rain as soon as we came up into the mountains. At one point we almost pulled over but then the break in the clouds remained broken. Just overcast all the way back up to Sedona.
So, Tuesday didn’t have any major plans. My wife knew I wanted to explore in the FJ and told me to go find “That Road”. So, I grabbed my little cooler, filled it with ice and bottled water, grabbed some granola bars and drove south to the entrance of Schnebly Hill Road.
I aired down to 25psi which wasn’t enough. I think I was too excited to hit the trail. Granted, it was better than not airing down at all, but it was still a little too rough.
I practically had the road to myself until I got to the first overlook... there it was... a Pink Jeep! TOURISTS LIKE ME! YUCK!
Just kidding, I was a little glad there was someone there in case I had issues, but the more I drove up, the more I realized I wasn’t going to have issues. I haven’t really wheeled alone before and it was rather liberating.
I left my rig in 4H most of the way up, slowing down when I hit a few bumps along the way. I stopped for a few obligatory shots on the way up.
Right before I got to the top it started sprinkling.
I thought it might get gnarly but it didn’t. Next thing I know, I crested the top and there was the sign for the Schnebly Hill Vista. I pulled my FJ as close to the edge as I could.
Took a few photos then my phone blew up, I guess I got enough of a signal up there for text messages. My wife texted me she was sick nauseous. So instead of continuing out to I-17, I decided to head back down to Sedona.
Heading down was a lot of fun too. It was slightly wetter and slippery, but not so much as to be dangerous. Gravity wanted to take over, but low gears reigned supreme.
Besides, I wanted to enjoy the trip down, vomiting be damned! Just kidding, I drove steadily but swiftly in order to get back to my wife. I don’t like it when she’s sick.
I made it down with only one incident, a Pink Jeep driver noticed my plates and yelled “Cruz for President!” when I got close. He was pretty experienced driver, as he gassed himself out of the way as I aimed to push him off the edge of the road. I don’t think his passengers appreciated him putting them in danger.
So, I got back and found my wife in bad shape. I did my husbandly duties getting her soup and crackers, wet wash clothes for the forehead, constantly asking her what else she needed...
“GOD, go find another one of those trails”, she said. “Let me suffer in peace”.
SO, I jumped in the FJ and and pulled up google maps.
Soldier Pass Trail was just a few minutes away!
I found my way to the trailhead, aired down to 18psi and slowly crawled into the trail. It was definitely shorter than I expected, but it was a fun trail.
I met a Jeeper when I got there and he told me that the trail UP to teacup was tough, especially since he didn’t air down.
On the way back I saw the entrance to what he called Teacup, it was challenging but not impossible. I made it all the way up to the area that has the sink hole. After a few tries I made it up the smooth rock as far as I could go. Driving back down to the main trail was slightly more challenging, but doable. I felt pretty good for hitting some of these trails solo!
Wednesday morning found Mrs. Blind Willy feeling a little better... enough to try to tackle driving down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon!
I didn’t give her a second chance to back out, I loaded up the FJ with a cooler of water and eats, carried her out to the vehicle and cinched up her seat belt. It was a little over 2 hours to Peach Springs, AZ. We saw a bunch of those Burma Shave signs on RT 66. They were a riot!
Be forewarned, you need to purchase a pass to drive down Diamond Creek Road, as it’s on Indian land. It was about $25/person.
We stretched out legs, looked at the gift shop then headed down Diamond Creek Road.
The road to the bottom is NOT tough, it’s beautiful! I aired down so that my wife wouldn’t feel the rough road, it’s dirt and washboarded. (This was her FIRST time off pavement, I’m proud of her!) She loved it.
An hour later we made it to near the end. There was water from the creek washing down the road toward the Colorado. It was a little slushy, but nothing the FJ couldn’t handle. We found the campsite, then kept driving down to the edge of the river.
We spent some time walking around and taking photos, then it was time to head back. Another hour and we were back on pavement.
I aired up in the Lodge’s parking lot, getting weird looks from the locals. On the way home we stopped in Seligman, which looks like the town from the Disney Movie “Cars”.
Thursday right before lunch found us heading out to Jerome, thanks to advice from SOAZ Tim :)
It was a great trip and we bought some fun stuff to bring back home with us.
For those that don’t know, Jerome is an old mining town built about 7 thousand feet up the side of a mountain. It’s steep! It’s fun.
So Friday was our last full day. We took it easy in the morning and before lunch I was getting antsy. “Go ahead” she said, so I drove south to Broken Arrow Trail!
Ok, let me say that this was the funnest trail that I drove in Sedona. I got to the entrance and it was at the edge of a residential neighborhood. There were a TON of “no parking” signs, so I went back out toward the main road to air down, then drove back. Found out I could have gone a tad farther and aired down in a parking area... Oh well.
I drove down the trail to the first big clearing, found a Dodge Ram backed up over the edge of a small cliff. I’m thinking either Beer or carelessness played a part in this scenario.
Right about then, a Pink Jeep showed up, he said it had been there all morning. Had the driver been there I would have offered to pull him up, but no one was around.
I continued on the trail and found myself at Submarine Rock. Great photo opps and hiking around the area. Soon I jumped back in and kept driving.
I kept going and found a turn off that went up... The Devil’s Staircase!
Well I made it part way up and kept getting hung up on the rear tire. No one to spot me, so I figured I wouldn’t damage my rig. I backed down and kept going till I found my way up another trail.
Turns out I wound my way back up and around the trail heading toward Chicken Point. More photo ops and a little butt clenching going around the point!
What’s funny is between chicken point and heading back down the devil’s staircase was the most challenging to me. (Again, I was solo, so a little nervous). Once I got to the staircase, I had a very easy time going down it in LOW gear. Low and Slow!
After that it was just heading back to the entrance, airing up and heading back to pack up for the trip home.
I have to say that I LOVE Arizona and can’t wait to explore some more!
My next trip (assuming my better half agrees or I’m alone) is to hit the north side of the Grand Canyon in an area named Tuweep.
Thanks to those of you that waited for this trip report. My next trip is in 3 weeks and I hope to do better this time :)