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.