Day 2: Parker, AZ to Williams, AZ
How can you not love those greasy roads leaving Parker? They have to be some of the most fun and best roads to throw a race car around. I still don’t understand why there are so many and why they are kept up so well, but man I love those roads. The Raptor also seemed to love those roads. We had close to thirty miles of these roads as we headed east towards Alamo Reservoir. Again, we spent some time meddling with the driver assist stuff. What we needed was a master shut off. Even when we followed the manual and shut off everything we could, there were still other forces at work.
[singlepic id=6550 w=320 h=240 float=left]I’d never been to Alamo Reservoir, and almost everyone I talked to prior to leaving, had also not been there. It is in the middle of nowhere and it was hot. By the time we arrived, it was close to 100 degrees outside, and we were the only ones around. Shame, because it is a pretty large reservoir with lots of fish. They were jumping all over the lake. The roads were again wonderful for sliding the truck around and running it wide open. We captured some GoPro video going about 96 mph, which is all we can get out of the truck with the rear end locked up. After a quick break and some picture taking, it was time to cross the lake and continue north. Problem was……Browns Crossing(only way across the lake), or so it is called on most maps, no longer exists. From our research, no vehicle has been able to cross the reservoir in over eight years. We spent a few hours searching for a route around, but nothing panned out. We finally made our way back to Wayside, where we were able to buy some gas and get some advice on how to proceed. Gas came from a large barrel outside, and the advice came from the older fellow who runs the place.
We ended up having to take more highway than planned, but there was no other way. This took us to Bagdad, AZ. Bagdad is one of, if not, the largest mining town in Arizona. They take copper and moly from the region. We had a wonderful lunch at the Diner, and headed east towards Chino Valley. Camp Wood Road was our ticket out. This was a fairly long segment that wondered through some really pretty forests as we climbed elevation towards Williams, AZ. But before we would arrive in Williams, AZ, we would have one of our biggest challenges
[singlepic id=6548 w=320 h=240 float=right]My route had us traveling through a mining area called Drake. We passed a huge processing plant for concrete, I think, and eventually into a dead end portion of the mine. Clearly, they were taking large amounts of flagstone from this area. We did not see our way out, even though it was on our GPS. So, here we are at the bottom of a very large mining area at the end of a dead end canyon with no visible way out. This is when the rain started to come down. We could only find 2 people working in the mine. They both spoke Spanish, but we were able to deduce, that there was an old mining road on the side of the mountain that would eventually take us out of the mine, and closer to Williams. This may have been a road at one time, but it hasn’t been used in years. My co-rider, Gary, was not confident in the trail, and had to have a lot of talking to before I could convince him we could make it. The path was very narrow, completely over-grown with grass, and rocky. Oh, and also very steep. This would be the first test of the Raptor’s four-wheel-drive system. The truck made the shift quickly, and we slowly made our way up the trail. It was slow going, and definitely dicey, but we made it. Pictures don’t do it any justice. The trail itself wasn’t all that scary, but add the exposure, rain and remoteness, and the situation certainly demanded our full attention.
Once we reached the top, and climbed out of the mine, we saw a Forest Service sign saying, “14 miles to Williams.” The smooth gravel roads into the Williams Dam were a welcome change. It was awesome to see Route 66 was rocking in Williams, AZ. We had some great beers at the local brewery and a BBQ downtown.