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AZBillyBoy last won the day on March 6 2010

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About AZBillyBoy

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    1998 Toyota Tacoma, 2002 Nissan Xterra
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  1. Wow. This Plan C will surprise a lot of people including Fish & Game and others. I was told there were not going to be many closures in the tiny section I volunteer for. Ha! That "Motorized Trail" tag is the kiss of death for any road. My reply to their plan is as follows. If you are a big quad/ATV rider you won't like my comments and may want to skip my reply completely. ======== As I review this proposal it becomes readily obvious it is a complete disaster for Forest visitors. Working as a volunteer in the Northwest section of the Cave Creek Ranger District, I am seeing the proposed elimination of the following routes: FR 605 FR 3157 FR 557 FR 587 FR 595 FR 391 FR 610 FR 611 FR 1981 FR 585 FR 3159 FR 481 south of the Rosalie Mine Closure of part of FR 36 to the Copper Creek Guard Station, a NHR site. Technically many of these roads would be decommissioned to Motorized Trail status which would then strictly limit their use to hunters only. It would also deny access to many historic and Native sights. Effectively, unless a Forest visitor is a hunter, most of the area would become roadless under this plan. Currently all of these roads are in use and passable by any four wheel drive or high clearance two wheel drive vehicle. Of course the use of any Forest road should always be tempered by the skill of the vehicle operator. I can see no justification for closing (or downgrading) all of these routes. Forest Road 390 is listed as being proposed for declassification to Motorized use only yet that road does not even exist. I stage for volunteer work on the West end of Forest Road 44 at the "terminus" of Forest Road 390 and it isn't there! Trust me! I know what I am talking about. Forest Road 390 is scheduled for closure (downgraded) yet it is a viable and used road. As for the others: Forest Roads 610 and 611 access the Agua Fria National Monument and significant cultural sites there. Forest Road 1981 accesses Turret Peak, the location of which has been dropped from your current official Forest map. Forest Road 481 accesses Brooklyn Peak and is in need of repair South of the Rosalie Mine but it is viable (The route suffered heavy damage after the Cave Creek Fire). Other numerous roads including FR 605, 557, 585, 3159, 399 are all used by Ranchers and Fish & Game personnel. I was recently asked by Fish & Game if I had plans to debrush FR 605. The initial answer was "yes" however this proposed plan leaves that in doubt. This section of the Tonto does not see a lot of visitors or abuse by those who do travel through the area. Most of the roads that suffered significant damage from erosion after the Cave Creek fire have been repaired by the Forest Service. Only a few still need some reworking. It must also be realized that closing (or downgrading status, which has the same effect) all of these roads will severely impact access in case of fire suppression. A common meme heard in every major forest fire is officials bemoaning lack of access in time of such need. Case closed on that argument! It would make much more sense to limit OHV (quad) access to a lot of areas since this type of transport has to be the most destructive of all motorized vehicles. Likewise quad operators tend to be at the upper end of the scale when it comes to irresponsible actions including traveling cross-country. I am curious if anyone from the Tonto main office has actually inventoried (visited) all of these roads? It might be enlightening to see them first hand before making broad sweeping decisions. Finally, one point of order. The proposed plan C has added Alpha-Numeric routes to the Tonto. A bad idea. This is a significant cost increase for the Forest because now the Agency will have to stock dual lettering books (although the folks at Rock Art will love it). The prudent plan, as currently used in the sector under discussion, would be to stay with a Numeric numbering system only. Should you have any questions about the roads in this area please do not hesitate to contact me. I have been working on all of them for over 2 years and know the area (and the roads) quite well. Maybe this is the time for the Tonto to make a bigger push for volunteerism by the public. When I first applied to the Forest for this activity, the nature of my proposed volunteerism was completely unknown to the Service. Two years later I would like to think that my efforts have made the area much more amenable and visitor friendly. If this type of volunteer work were expanded across the Forest, it would leave a positive impact for the land. Thank you for your time
  2. On edit I have been looking at google earth and it looks like the current mining operation at Gilette has diverted traffic on the old AZCO road. Still passable but of course they have closed Gilette to public access. I see also the big sand and gravel operation that used to be just downstream from Gilette is also gone. Unless they are the new operators at Gilette. I have followed the road on GE to the AZCO turn off. To go to Tip Top you turn left at the corral. I know "left" isn't a direction but if anyone gets to that location they'll understand what I mean. I also see they have hauled all the mining equipment out of the AZCO sight. In 2006 I went there and it was quite a sight! Lots of current era mining gear just abandoned. The "tweakers" must have been there because all the copper wire was missing from the miles of conduits! I am now on GE to the point where the road to Tip Top splits with the side road to the top of Williams Mesa. That is one road I would LOVE to try (albeit probably in someone else's vehicle!) I plan on tracking the road down to the bottom of the canyon to see if it is still possible to go back out to the Lake entrance.
  3. The Forest Service is acting in a wantonly criminal and foolish manner by closing down so many roads. I bet everyone here has heard at least one jackass from the FS say "We couldn't access the area to fight a fire because there were no roads available." DUH! wonder why?
  4. I never heard of Forest Road 9999 since that area is either private, BLM or State Land Trust. I was wondering about the correct way to get there from I-17 since the County has annexed the upper level where Table Mesa Road runs into the Lake. You used to be able to keep going on Table Mesa road (West) and skirt the edge of the Lake, up some white bluffs, then keep going until you ended up at Cow Creek Road or whatever it's called which is the back way to Crown King. Anyway, before that, where Table Mesa Road meets the Lake, there used to be a road heading north. It ran along a ridge before dropping down into "Cottonwood Canyon" (how often is that named used in this state?) That road, which crossed some little creek about five or six times, intersected with the "other" way from Table Mesa/I-17 - that being the road by Gilette. The Gilette road ran straight to the old AZCO/Mica Mule Mine site. Just before arriving at that site, there was another road that turned as it climbed around the back side of Williams Mesa. Williams Mesa is the prominent feature in that area. Kind of like Turret Peak over near Bloody Basin. One you know where it is, you always know where you are. On the summit up from AZCO, before you drop down into Cottonwood Canyon, there is another road (used to be anyway) that goes up to the top of Williams Mesa. I never had the nerve to try it but I could see others had. I imagine getting to the top of Williams Mesa would be quite a feat and the view must be awesome. Tip Top was the mine site and Gilette was the mill for that mine. I can't imagine hauling ore that far with the primitive equipment and roads they had back then. I have a 1912 map of Arizona and it shows a "highway" running from Phoenix north past Tip Top, Columbia and up to Crown King. If you have ever been out to Horsethief Basin, the top end of that road is (was) clearly visible to the South. I don't know what the Lane Fire might have done to that area. That section of the old road is now off limits to vehicles because it is in a wilderness area. If you explore around Tip Top, which was listed for sale on the internet at one time (as was Gilette) (I found this link for Tip Top. It is an older one) http://www.arizonagoldprospectors.com/invision/index.php?/topic/168433-historic-tip-top-mine-ghost-town-still-for-sale/ you will find many hidden treasures (Unless they have ben vandalized). I can't see all the pictures in this thread at work because our net filter blocks them but it looks like one is of the Beer Hall/Brewery. Unfortunately troglodytes burned the wood on the old tin roof for camp fires which has exposed the adobe to weathering. There used to be a standing building on your right when you first came into town. The same trogs knocked it down :mad: destroying an excellent example of the concrete work made with local sand and rock. Anyway, at that building site is an offshoot road that goes up a quite steep hill behind the old ruins. There may or may not be a locked gate there. The road may or may not be passable. It used to end (actually in went further but only for the daring) at a huge head frame and shaft that guys used to rappel down Also further into town are old ruins of miner's quarters. They are very easy to miss because they look a lot like old Native ruins on the Agua Fria. They are simple rock walls about 2-3' tall and no more than 3 x 6' in floor size. The miners used to sleep there. I think they used make shift canvas or wood coverings to keep the sun off. There are quite a few of them and very easy to overlook. There also used to be a huge steel wheel that was part of some of the mining machinery. The big spoke kind of wheel. I bet it weighed a lot! Buried in some ruins on the side of the road. Tip Top (and Gilette) were the first real ghost towns I ever saw, way back in the 1970s. I drove to Tip Top in a Chevy Luv 2wd the first time! Unfortunately the only thing that has changed over the intervening lustrums http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lustrum is the damage done be careless visitors. And Gilette has suffered far worse since it is easier to find. Sorry about the long post!
  5. Did you go by Gilette to get there or down to the Lake and in that way? There used to be those two ways to get to Tip Top but I heard the Lake access was fenced off. I also heard there was some hassles going down the old (standard) Mica Mule Mine/AZCO road by Gilette. Someone was mining there and playing "king of the hill" by closing the road.
  6. I had a magnetic one once and "buffing" is an understatement. More like down to bare nekkid steel!
  7. You make a lot of good points in your post. I think the big problem is there is a inherent sense of (false) security with all the techno baubles people have today. Cell phones are very unreliable in the outback. Even if there IS service, "who you gonna call?" GPS? I have seen so many people blindly following their GPS and going completely in the wrong direction! Or like the Fed Ex dual trailer drivers who tried to follow the "Old Stage Road" along I-17 when the freeway was closed during an accident. "It's on my map!" the driver said as he tried to turn around on a road barely wide enough for a Jeep or standard sized pickup. That "road" was a goat trail; fodder for people like us but hardly suitable for an eighteen wheeler. Yet because it showed up on a driver's GPS, he blindly followed it !!!! The complexity of today's vehicles don't make problematic situations any friendlier. Beyond changing a tire or belt (and even those can be pretty tough), most vehicle repairs are out of the realm of most people. That aside, there is the issue of common sense. It seems to be an unused extra add-on option for most people. Bad drivers on pavement are bad drivers X10000 off road. Charging into a rock face to climb over it, or getting a running start to pull someone out of a mud hole are some of the many recipes for disaster. Going with a group is nice but not always an option. In the end a good set of hiking boots is probably the most important item to carry off road.
  8. Since I am always in places that would really be bad if my truck broke down I have tried to come up with a plan for that and so far it has eluded me. Cell phone service is spotty and if I see one or two people in a day that's really a big deal. Once there was a Chevy that had broken down on Bloody Basin Road just inside the Tonto. It was a pretty nice truck, had out of state plates, and it sat there for weeks before it finally disappeared. I wondered what my Insurance company would do. They obviously would have an interest in recovering a broken down vehicle otherwise they would have to pay out for total loss. Anyone ever try going that route for vehicle recovery? Or have an offroad recovery service haul your rig out and then send the Insurance company the bill? Until I come up with a plan, I'll just keep my fingers crossed. Oh yeah last year I was working on 44 (I may have told this before) and a couple came by in their Jeep. I was using a power tool and let it idle while I was talking. I explained to them that sometimes it was hard to (or would not) restart so that's why I left it running. They told me they had the same problem and the look on my face must have been priceless. They told me that sometimes when they shut the vehicle off, it would not restart (this was a very new rig!). Of course my first thought was WTF are you out HERE? It gets even better. They weren't leaving on 44; they were going down to explore Bishop Creek. How exactly they were going to do that I did not ask.... Did they let their Jeep idle while they went poking around? About three hours later they came back and waved at me as they passed on by. I know if my truck even burped in town, I would have someone working on it before I took a trip 75 miles out to the middle of nowhere. Maybe we could start a thread about the stupid things you have seen people do while four wheeling. I don't mean bad driving or showing off for the Darwin Awards. I mean things like taking the back road to CK with no spare tire. Oh boy I know two really good stories there! Or being out at Tip Top in the summer with water pouring our of the radiator ("It always does that!") etc.....
  9. As for tires, I am a late learner on the sad reality that most of our big names have moved overseas. I guess I thought in my idealistic mind that at least one industry was still native. I work in the graphics field and even our paper is coming - more and more - from overseas. Like we have a tree shortage? As for tires, I used BFG Mudders for years. I flirted with others like the Big O Mudder - the 7,000 mile tire - and Firestone Destination Mudders - where whole blocks of tread just tear right out. Not even on particularly tough roads. I bought my first Hankooks at Purcells and I think I b!tched about that somewhere here in this forum. They beat Discount's price by a small bit but BOY do you ever pay for it after that! I wanted something that would not chunk out ( or as I have seen it called, "rock rash") so quickly. Since my Tacoma is used only for my offroad forays, any tire I use has a pretty short life. I was out working on FR 89 about five years ago and a whole gaggle (flock? herd? covey?) of trucks went by and about half of them had Hankooks. So I decided to try them out. Rather risky since they were cheaper than the BFGs and every time I have gone the cheaper route it has been a disaster. This time I "chose wisely."
  10. I have given up on trying to buy non-Chinese. I mean when I got my a/c rebuilt I got an American made compressor. Oh really? Assembled in the U.S. from components made in China! I figure if I don't die from the tainted plastic or cheap steel, the GMOs in the food, or the radioactive fish in the oceans, then I might actually die of old age!
  11. mine say KoReA. Nothing from China lasts? Really? That's pretty much anything nowadays
  12. I am familiar with the Hankooks but not in that size. I have the 31s and they are excellent. Far superior in wear and "chunking" to the BFGs and cheaper too,
  13. An update. I went out on 09/14 and was curious to see what damage the big storms from the previous week might have left. From the I-17/Bloody Basin Road (FR 269/AF 9269) eastward to the top of the beginning of the flat Agua Fria plain there was evidence of a lot of water damage from the rains. The biggest surprise was at the AF River crossing, where Old Man River left a big deposit of sand. I went over it in the darkness despite my KCs it was unnerving. Someone must have dug the passage through because the picture shows a big sand berm! The County will eventually meander out there for their Bicentennial grading and remove all the evidence! But for now it sure is an impressive display of how much water must have run through that location. It was only a trickle when I passed by! [ATTACH]1854[/ATTACH] Across the AF plain the road had been very muddy but now it was dry and returning to it's semi-concrete state, complete with a lot of new ruts. The day was pretty decent. Not a lot of clouds until around noon when things started to "pop." All of this with only a 30% chance of rain. I was out working on 44 again and I got to catch a lot of good shots of what is probably the last decent storm of the Monsoon season The best pics I think are a series charting a storm growing over Turret Peak. [ATTACH]1855[/ATTACH] [ATTACH]1856[/ATTACH][ATTACH]1857[/ATTACH][ATTACH]1858[/ATTACH][ATTACH]1859[/ATTACH][ATTACH]1860[/ATTACH] The Monsoon season is the best for really neat weather shots. I always hate to see it go. The winter storms are such a drag. Plus it's always cold !!!! and dreary! When I got back out to I-17 there was a big storm north of me dropping lots of rain and massive lightning shots in the direction of Mayer. A P.S. from earlier. The week prior I was leaving and at 4:30 found myself at the junction of FR 269 and FR 44 (East). The radio was barking about TWO traffic wrecks on I-17 so I opted to go the long way around through Seven Springs. I figured it would give me some useful info about travel times in case I ever got stuck on the wrong side of the river after a rainfall. Travel time from the above location to the beginning of permanent pavement north of Carefree: 4:30 pm to 7:00. FYI it takes about 45 mins or maybe an hour (travel times vary according to how much carnage you want to inflict on your rig) to get from FR 44 E to the Agua Fria River. If you were to make that transit time only to find out the River was not fordable, you would then have to go back the way you came (another 45 mins - 1 hour) and then add the 2.5 hours to Carefree. So it could be along day! And I went right by Humboldt Mtn. I read about it here. Looks like a big space pod. Not much time to explore because I was running against sunset.
  14. specially since the new Tacomas are SO big. How many more years until I can get one of those historic plates? Knowing DMV they probably charge more for those!
  15. Just for the record - can we use that phrase any more since records are obsolete - my "drink" was non-alcoholic!
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