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Old 07-12-2017, 11:15 PM #1
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Arizona Trip Report/Vlogs - Lake Pleasant to Sedona

DAY 1: BACK WAY TO CROWN KING

The 3 part Vlog is up on YouTube

Going through one of the hottest weeks of the year, myself and a few others thought it would be best is we left our Southern California homes for the cool 117* Arizona air for a nice Overland trip with friends. It was Friday morning and we decided to get an early start and take the day off work. Most of this day would be driving, just to get to Lake Pleasant, which lies just north of Phoenix.

Being packed up the night before, it was a few last-minute things to load before heading off at 7:30a. The first stop was to meet with Dave (IG: @Highground _Overland) out near Joshua Tree before making the long trek through the desert, avoiding I-10’s weekend traffic and construction.* We made it passed the Arizona border before finding the one shady spot in a dried-up riverbed to enjoy our lunch.* After some quick sandwiches, we were on the road with minimal stops, to meet up with the group.* As we were making this trek, Jillian (IG: @JillianRebekah) and Bryan (IG: @Bfilk) left their Southern California home, to meet us at that night’s camp site.

Dave and I pull up to the road to Lake Pleasant and air down once the tires touched dirt. A few miles up, which was enough time for Dave and I to discuss our wild Donkey encounters, we pull up to the rest of the group.* The first thing I see is Brett and Liz (IG: @OurOverlandLife) working on a Tundra that looked a different color, and more modified, than our previous trip to the Eastern Sierras. They share the story about shopping online for bumpers and came across one. This one happened to be attached to a Supercharged Double Cab with sliders, bumpers, winch and Suspension; everything they wanted for their previous Tundra.

With the group aired down, we were all ready to beat the heat and get to higher elevations. This was the start to a trail known as Backway to Crown King. Prior to this trip, I was telling Brett that I haven’t really explored Arizona and that we would have to meet up so I can see what it had to offer. Brett being one for an adventure anytime, he organized the trip to show us California folks that Arizona wasn’t just full of rocks and cacti.

The first “obstacle” of the trail was 3 guys that decided to try to Tokyo-Drift their Chevy Colorado. I am going to assume that it didn’t go according to plan, as they ended up the side of a berm. With some quick action, The tundra backed up to their bumper, hooked to a tow strap and pulled them back down from the berm. Afterwards, they were reminded of the dangers and how lucky they were that they didn’t go over. You could see their tread marks where they came across a hill a bit too fast and started to fish tale, lifted and spun up the hill. They could have just as easily rolled.

Finally, we got on our way and went up in to the hills. This trail has quite a few obstacles with the optional bypasses. Knowing I didn’t have sliders, and didn’t want any doors caved in, I picked my obstacles wisely. Yes, we travel to see new things and camp in remote places, but there is a thrill of accomplishment when you navigate your vehicle over some of these areas. Knowing I had good spotters that I trust, I wanted to tackle some. My 4runner did great until one obstacle where I thought I engaged A-Trac, but clearly did not by the amount of dust flying in the air. I was getting ahead of myself and didn’t think to take a breath and make sure A-Trac was engaged. After taking the bypass, along with buckets of sand inside my car, I was reminded. The Aftermath







Due to fading sunlight, we knew we had to push on through the trail and take the bypasses to make up time.* Usually when you say that, some bad luck happens… Jeep problems. Liz was mentioning that a previous gremlin with her Jeep, “Lana” started to come back and was losing power.* After a couple of stops, they figured out that there was a bad PCV valve.* Knowing that we couldn’t abandon the Jeep there overnight, they made a trail fix decision to pull it off and let the vacuum line pull in air. Knowing we were passing through Prescott the next morning, Liz led the pack to avoid the risk of dust getting sucked in.

The sun began to set and the valleys started to glow as we looked down from up on the ridge.* Most importantly, the weather decided to cool off as we gained these higher elevations.* Light bars light up the sky as we made way in to the dark, pulling up on a busy camp spot as we came upon Senators Highway.* Making the turn on to Senator Highway, we drove the final hour getting to our camp spot for the night.* As we arrive, we tried to scout out some clearings to fit the 9 rigs.* Debating whether one clearing was big enough, Dave gets a phone call from Jillian who was set up just a few hundred feet down in a wide open clearing.* After about 9 hours of moving time, I was ready to set up my tent, enjoy a few drinks and stories of the day as we prepare for day 2 towards Flagstaff!

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Old 07-12-2017, 11:15 PM #2
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DAY 2: UP TO FLAGSTAFF

After a hearty breakfast cooked by “Camp Dad” Jeremy (IG: @SeanRubiconnery), we slowly picked up and made our way down to Prescott on Senator Highway. Hitting pavement again near town, we took a few minutes to air back up and plan who was going where. We split off in to 3 group and would meet back at a Chevron in town to fuel up and make some Jeep repairs as we prepare for day 2!

One group split off to get a new PCV Valve and hose, another to a welding supply store for more CO2 and then the last went straight to the gas station. We took over the parking lot in back like it was a Overland car show; made the repairs to the Jeep, refueled and those with coolers replenished their ice. There is a trail from Prescott to Jerome that was a nice dirt bypass, but due to leaving camp that morning a bit later than anticipated, we decided it was best to hit highway to Jerome and eat lunch there.

Jerome was an artsy town that would be great to spend the afternoon walking around, checking out shops and getting some delicious food. As we were leaving, I smelled amazing BBQ that I’d love to go back for! With miles of dirt ahead of us, our pack ventured on and aired back down just after passing the nearby ghost town out side Jerome.





It was hot again at this lower elevation, but the views that we had made up for it. Brett couldn’t help but call this “the spot” for the group shot, and I strongly agree. These hilltop views didn’t last much longer as we slowly dropped down in to trees with open fields of green. This was a surprise to me as my original expectations of Arizona was desert surroundings. We found a great field that we decided to take a break and stretch. During this time, we had the pleasure of a training session with “Tactical Dave” on what to do if you encounter a threat, while wearing something fantastic. Very informative as you can see

After more laughs and smiles than I was prepared for, we decided to keep moving, which was a good decision due to what was waiting for us up ahead. Dust, lots and lots of dust. These were normally fast forest roads, but when you combine that with 9 vehicles and dirt/silty roads, visibility gets impaired. We had to take many sections a lot slower, sometimes even to a complete stop until the dust settled.





With the long day of driving, many of us were on edge and just ready to camp. Brett is one to say, “Never stop at the first camp site” and we were glad that he stood by his motto. Pulling up from our last silty road, we were blessed with an amazing view overlooking Sedona from up in the mountains above. I would classify this as one of my top camp sites.

Unfortunately for me, my night made a slight turn. There was a rock look out that was in the shape of a chimney. The view looked great, but I knew it would be better from over there. Nicole (IG: @nmehaffey) and Mary (IG: @mariika.mariika) were both out there telling me which way they went, in this small hole between a bush and a rock. I didn’t see where they were suggesting and decided to go up and over the rock. Jumping down from there, I knew instantly that I hurt my right foot. To be fair, they asked me not to jump and that I cant hurt my driving foot. Lesson learned after I jumped and hurt my driving foot! In the end, I hobbled out and was able to enjoy one of the best views of my life, and my foot ended up being sprained.

Climbing back up to our camp, I pulled out a chair and enjoyed some drinks and good company on our last night of the journey, trying to keep off my foot. I was worried that my last day in to Sedona would be cut short because of my foot and having to drive about 500 miles home.

That view though... yes please! -B- (Additional Photo by @OurOverlandLife)

Just a little more night time epicness from a time so long ago! Jillian and Dave throwing camp out in the best kind of way! -B- (Additional Photo by @OurOverlandLife)
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:16 PM #3
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DAY 3: DOWN TO SEDONA

[video=youtube;SK7It8Hr58g]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK7It8Hr58g[/video]

I woke up to the sound of rain bouncing off my tent, thinking how happy I was that I kept my rainfly on my Tepui. As I started to get up to look out the window, I was quickly reminded how bad my foot was hurting. I examined my foot and noticed it was swollen, but not bruised. I was happy about that and made sure to put on a taller hiking boot if I wanted a chance at being able to drive. I was looking forward to driving Broken Arrow Trail, as that’s been one on my bucket list and I would have been sad if I couldn’t run it with my friends that day.

Climbing up a ladder on the back of your 4Runner, while trying to put away a roof top tent when its hard to walk, is quite the challenge. With my boots, filled with Tylenol and Ibuprofen, and way more caffeine then any one man should consume, I was ready to attempt the drive! I knew right away, when I started to drive, whether I would be able to continue with the group or not. Luckily, the pressing and rotating from gas to brake felt ok and I was excited that I would be able to make it. We cut back through the Coconino National Forest, back to the highway, where we were able to enjoy the shaded drive of beautiful Oak Creek Canyon.

I was enjoying the drive with the trees shadowing the highway, until we were reminded of the conditions of where we were going. The trees thinned out, the temperature was rising and we started seeing backed up cars for people wanting to cool off at Slide Rock State Park. I remember going there when I was little, but looking at it that day, I wanted nothing more than to keep driving to avoid crowds like that.

Sedona was our next stop where we fueled back up and said goodbye to John (IG: @AZCodeMonkey), who had to depart early. We made sure to pick up a patch to remember our trip through Arizona before heading down to Broken Arrow Trail. As much as I wanted to circle the roundabouts multiple time, I assumed the rest of the group wanted to keep a move on.

Our first area, just off trail, was a nice gap we could all flex our rigs and get some pictures. What surprised me was how capable Bryans stock FJ Cruiser was able to handle, not only the gap, but the entire trail. They only thing he has aftermarket was Falken tires and Demello Offroad sliders. Not one tire came off the ground as he crossed, unlike my 3-wheeling 5th Gen 4Runner that really needs quick disconnects for the sway bar.





We continued on, passing Pink Jeep after Pink Jeep. Another quick obstacle was heading up to Submarine Rock. This was not, unfortunately, a petrified submarine, but was a great spot for us to take a group photo. We laugh because of how well we all got along and enjoyed our time together, and most of us have only been together for 2 weekend trips. Most of us met on our Eastern Sierras trip.

After enjoying some time out of the vehicles to enjoy some of the look out points, we went one by one down the trail before approaching the final obstacle of Broken Arrow Trail, Devil’s Staircase. From my past desert racing days, I imagined flying down those as the travel soaked it up. I then remembered that my 2” Fox coil overs and blown Bilstein 5100’s in the rear would not appreciate that. Slow and steady down the staircase kept my teeth from rattling.* No scraping for me, but I cant say that about some of the others. As I got out to take photos and video, you hear exactly why the devil owns these stairs.















As the vehicles all made it down, and the Pink Jeeps approaching, we continued back on to the main parking area at the trailhead for some much needed lunch and to say our goodbyes to the group. Jillian, Bryan and myself had some long miles before getting back home to California. The other half of the group decided to do one more trail before heading back home themselves.

After saying our goodbyes, it was quickly followed with “When is the next one?”. Luckily I will be seeing some of them at the “Fuel the Vets” event at Toyota of Huntington Beach
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Old 07-16-2017, 06:08 PM #4
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Nice write-up and trip..AZ is very diverse
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:11 PM #5
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Mogollon Rim! Great trip report. I visited Mogollon Rim as a kid and have been wanting to go back every since. Now, with kids of my own, and a 4Runner, I'm planning a camp trip. That area of Arizona is incredible.

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Old 09-13-2017, 09:54 AM #6
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Great write up for sure! I use to ride the back way to Crown King routinely when we lived in North Phoenix, and have even driven it in my stock 2000 Tacoma. It wasnt as rough back in 2000 as it is now. We have a primitive camp spot just past Knoll Lake on the Rim that we use to go to every summer to escape the heat, how I do miss AZ sometimes.
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