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OBH Arizona Tour 2005 : 4-7 April 05

Matt, Paige, Delaney & Ashlyn O'Brien  (hosts) Bruce & Lisa Stropp  (hosts)
Joey Lucas Kevin Beck
Alvin & Noreen Carleson Susie Wedlake & Emery (granddaughter)
Jennifer Baker


2 whole weeks of vacation!!  

I left town to head south on Friday, 25 April.  First stop Ashland to see a friend, then up to Medford to see family the next day.  Then on down to San Jose to see some more friends and family.  From there it was on to Sonora to see family.  Then I checked out Yosemite National Park.  Then further south via Fresno and Bakersfield, and over Tehachapi Pass to Death Valley.  From there it was south and east to Searchlight and then to Needles and down to I-10 and into Phoenix to Matt's house.  For most of the trip I tried to stay off the freeways and main highways so that I could see some of the country.  It made for a longer, but much more pleasant trip.

Matt and his wife Paige kindly offered to put up part of the group, as did Bruce and Lisa.  I rolled into Matt's late on Friday night...or more specifically very early on Saturday morning.  After all the travel of the week before I was ready for a day of downtime.  It was a nice restful day in sunny AZ.  The next afternoon the rest of the gang rolled in.  A few hours to unload and take a break and it was off to a Meet & Greet.  Lots of neat rigs and nice people.  

Monday we hit the trails (click on the trail name for the pictures), Lower & Upper Woodpecker.  Tuesday was Elvis & Box Canyon.  Wednesday was Log Corral.  Thursday was Martinez Canyon.  I really wanted one more day of wheeling, but the others wanted to hit the road on Friday afternoon for the drive home.  =(

The wheeling was most excellent, without costing us too much in damages.  However on the first day I promptly ripped out a sidewall on one of my Swampers.  I got lucky that evening and we found a local fab shop who had a 33x12.5 he was willing to sell cheap.  On top of that, later in the day my clutch pedal linkage clip snapped and my pedal was hanging there uselessly.  We finally figured out how to get it back together and zip tied it up and it worked great.  In fact, its still working great with the zip ties.  One of these days I have to go pick up the stupid plastic clip for it.  On day two Joey broke his rear axle.  We were not surprised by this, but were were surprised because this time he wasn't messing around.  It was just bad positioning in a really tight spot.  However, "someone" left his spares in his tow rig...back at Matt's place.  It turned out to be a 3 hour round trip drive for Matt and Kevin to get the spare axle and bring it back to the canyon.  However we still had a good time hanging out and talking.  They guys helped Joey pull apart his rear axle and get everything ready for the new one.  Also, Susie lost a relay for her ARB's.  Lucky for her, one of the guys that was with us that day had a spare, so it didn't take very long to get her back up and running.  Day three was a bad day for fender flares.  I crunched one up under a rock broke my side marker and tore the flare half off.  I think Joey ripped his some more also.  Oh well, no big deal.  Just get out the zip ties again.  <grin>  Day four didn't have any mechanical problems, but we did get to play in a low water ford of a creek.  The water was warm and nice, everyone got in at least ankle deep and got wet splashing around.  Emery gave us a great impression of a spawning salmon!  

The weather cooperated beautifully.  We had highs in the high 80's and low 90's the entire week.  Luckily for us it still cooled off at night.  The desert was in bloom, due to all the rains they have had.  In addition, due to those same rains all the creeks and such had water in them.  Not just a seep here and there, but some nice little creeks that were bubbling and gurgling down the hillsides.  The one day that we pulled in in the mid-afternoon I promptly hit the pool.  It was cool but oh so very refreshing!!  Most evenings by the time we got home it was starting to cool off already - meaning we got in late from the trails.

Heading home we pulled out of Matt's place at about 1:30 in the afternoon.  The others headed towards Glendale to pick up some axles and then on to LA and I-5 north to home.  I dislike the drive up the imperial valley, not to mention being on the freeway so instead of going with the group I headed northwest out of town.  First stop, Hoover Dam, just as it got dark.  Then on thru Las Vegas and north up the "Extraterrestrial Highway".  I was aiming to stop in Tonapah, NV that night, but I didn't make it.  I got too sleepy and pulled over and slept in the Jeep on the side of the road.  Man was it COLD!  Once I woke up, it was on into Tonapah for gas and then on to Austin where I stopped for breakfast.  Austin had 2-3 inches of snow at the time.  It wasn't any problem, just very interesting after a week in the heat.  From there I headed north to Winnemucca and on into Oregon, thru Burns, Bend, and north to home.  A long, long drive.  Roughly 1500+ miles in 34 hours, with just a few hours of sleep.  I don't recommend doing it that way.  I pulled in at my place in Washington at 1130 on Saturday night.  I then promptly slept for 30+ hours.  

What a trip!!  Between the digital camera and the 35mm I shot over 1000 pictures during the two weeks of travel and wheeling.  Needless to say, trimming it all down to fit the web page has been quite a chore.  I finally decided that I would not post any shots that did not have a Jeep, people or wildlife in it.  That got it down to a manageable amount of pictures for the web page.  I have tons of pictures of fantastic scenery, cactus, flowers, flowing cactus, and much much more.  This certainly has been one of the best long road trips that I have taken.  I hope to do something similar again in another year or two.

A big thanks to the O'Brien's and the Stropp's for putting us all up and making it so special, not to mention planning this trip out and showing us the sights.  Thanks also to all of the locals who came out and wheeled with us (sorry I don't recall many of the names)!!