Our trip to the White Mountains got off to a frustrating start yesterday morning. We were up a little after 7 a.m. and on the road by 9 for what we expected to be just about a four-hour trip. But it didn’t turn out that way.
From Apache Junction, the quickest route is to take Bush Highway to the Beeline Highway (State Route 87) and then follow it 50 miles north to Payson, then take State Route 260 east across the Mogollon Rim to Show Low. I knew there was a bicycle event of some kind on Bush Highway yesterday so I checked the State Department of Transportation website, which said to expect delays and lane restrictions. No problem, we’d only be on Bush Highway for 18 miles so we could handle that. Or maybe not.
We stopped for fuel and then got on Bush Highway, but in less than a mile we hit a detour, that took us about three miles out of our way. Okay, those things happen, no big deal. But once we were back on Bush Highway again we only made it about five more miles and ran into a roadblock. The Sheriff’s Office volunteers said the road was closed for the bicycle event and we needed to make a U-turn and go back to the Loop 202 and take it to the Beeline Highway, which was about a 20 mile detour. Not to mention the fact that there was not enough room to make the U-turn, even pulling partway into the entrance to a housing development.
“You can make it, now go, you’re blocking the road,” one of the volunteers said. So I gave it a try, and sure enough, it was too tight and I ended up blocking the entrance to the development. Terry had to jump out and unhook the Explorer, which was partially jackknifed, because, even though the same volunteer was telling me to back up, I wasn’t going to damage my SUV, motorhome or tow bar for him. “I don’t know why you couldn’t make that turn,” he told me, “People with pickups towing ATVs have been doing it all morning.” I tried to explain to the idiot that my wheelbase is a lot longer than a pickup, but he couldn’t understand that. And meanwhile, traffic trying to get out of the housing development was backed up, horns honking and tempers flaring.
We finally got the hell out of there, eventually made it to the Beeline Highway, and began the climb up to Payson. The scenery as we crawled up out of the desert was dramatic, with lots of rocky hillsides and lots of saguaro cacti along the way.
And there were curves. Lots of curves.
There were a few 6% downhill grades, but our Winnebago’s exhaust brake did a good job of handling them.
Eventually we left the desert behind us and reached Payson, where we hooked up with State Route 260 and soon found ourselves surrounded by Ponderosa pines. A lot of people think that Arizona is all desert, but the high country is an entirely different world.
In 2002 the Rodeo–Chediski Fire burned 468,638 acres and burned over 425 buildings. It will take a couple of lifetimes for the forest to recover, if it ever does.
We finally got to Tiffany’s place about 3 p.m., much later than we expected, and to make things even better it was snowing! Snow! I’m sure there is a clause in my contract prohibiting that. Where’s my agent?
Tiffany and Scott just bought a 10 acre mini-ranch a few miles outside Show Low and Scott installed a 50 amp electric outlet next to the house. And there was a water bib right there too. Nice! He said by the time we come back next time, he’ll actually have a dedicated full hookup site for us. How cool is that?
Granddaughter Hailey was eager to show me around and to introduce me to a couple of new additions to the family.
This is Pal, who needs some socialization and work to make her into a decent horse.
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Thought For The Day – Drunk is when you feel sophisticated but can’t pronounce it.