Today I met Fudgey, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
Wow 15,000 miles in one road trip. I never could’ve dreamed. That’s a blatant lie, I dreamt it all the time, what I mean is I never could’ve imagined a reality in which….
This morning I arrived early at an ATV off-road rental company near table Mesa. I slept 20 minutes away at the sunset rest area. I had a very nice evening with some new friends and strangers, and I got caught up on some stuff. I watched the sky all night for storms. It was overcast most of the night. I was at the UTV rental shop pre-7am. We spoke on the phone yesterday, so they were prepared for me. I rented a single person UTV. Amazing. I can’t put into words the unbelievable things it was capable of. I ran through ruts and washes at 20mph, that I would barely idle over in my van. Somehow my big failure of yesterday, turns into the funnest day of my life!
At exactly 8AM I left the pavement and on table Mesa Road on the UTV. I parked the UTV at 9 AM, and started walking straight up a hill, through cactuses. It was 1 hour to walk to the old geocache. The coordinates for this cache are some of the coolest I have seen:
N 34° 00.000 W 112° 00.000
I went straight to the old one and worried about the others on the way back. I was not sure how long it was going to take, or if I would even make it. In hindsite, that is ridiculous. That UTV machine is the most impressive thing I have ever handled. I want one. I had it up to 40mph on the gravel roads. You know what else, I noticed something as I was about to leave, and drive back to the rental place. I never even put it into 4WD on the way out! I made it through the most unbelievable terrains in 2WD. I shifted into 4WD for the ride back. I did not have any problems getting there, but I DID notice a difference on the way back.
After I parked and realized where I had to walk, and how, I just followed the needle up the hill. There were times in my life that caused trouble, now it only means adventure and fun. I seem to have found a much easier way down the mountain. I would call it simple compared to the path I took up. I found the other few geocaches on the way back down. I knew I had plenty of time. The hike from where I parked was 2 hours, and 2.5 miles, and very uphill, and very bouldering, and very cactus-y. I got caught off guard by many a cactus needle. I have many still embedded in me a couple days later. Every once in a while I rub a finger at just the perfect angle….YIKES! At home I am used to being able to hike, scramble, climb and use all 4 of my limbs. I did that today but kept forgetting I can’t just grab a cactus the way I grab trees at home. On my way back to home base by 11 AM. I took my time, found a few side trails that I did not need to be one, climbed a bunch of hills for no reason, did donuts, permanently scarred a smile on my face, and constantly laughed out loud at how great this was, and how lucky I am.
With a UTV it definitely went from what would have been the most nerve-racking, butt clenching, terrifying, possibly ruin my house experience in my van Pervvie…to the most exciting, fun, experience I probably have ever had.
This road trip is so unimaginable that even my worst failure of the entire trip, I mean something that I struggled with, and was really let down that I felt like such a chicken. Even that situation led to me having the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. I just can’t lose 🙂
I cannot get over the UTV experience. I am still smiling from ear to ear. My wife and I have always said everything you do it’s all about the gear. With the proper gear anything is easy. There’s never a reason to be cold outside. There’s never a reason to carry too much weight. There’s not always a reason to drive my adventurevan to places that might hurt her. Gear, it’s all about the gear. Today’s gear was a Polaris (I assume).
Oh my. After gathering all my thoughts, and typing this all up, I just reread some stuff. I was putting together my pics for this GC log, post, blog, social, etc… when I realized something. I never even attempted to get to the Table Mesa old geocache the proper way, from Seven Springs. I only tried from I-17. I made it 4 of the 10 miles yesterday in my van and turned around. Thankfully today I had a UTV, and I made it no problem at all. I can’t believe this. I did it all wrong, I just realized it as I am typing this nonsensical drivel, and somehow it still works out amazing for me. Imaging that. Did I mention how much fun driving a UTV is? I might name my next dog UTV. There was this 1 hill that felt like I was driving straight up a wall. It was well over 45 degrees. Must be what spidermen feel like. Not that it counts for me, but that trail is a “Jeep Badge of Honor Trail”. I hear that is cool.
A nice couple I met on the off-road trail told me I should visit Payson Arizona. I’ve never heard of it, but they said it’s a fun mountain town. I guess I’ll make that my direction for now and then Albuquerque after that. On the way there I stopped to visit all things Montezuma, like any good tourist boy.
Very glad I decided to drive to the mountain town of Payson Arizona. Quite a beautiful winding uphill through the mountains desert mountain drive. Exactly the kind of stuff I’m searching for every day on this road trip. Payson is where I spent the night, after having a nice Mexican dinner. Today will be forever burned into my memory, I will think of it often. Thank you Table Mesa, thank you geocaching, thank you New River ATV Rentals, thank you earth for being so magical.
My biggest failure led to the most fun