Beyond The Pavement- A Short Ride To Shiprock

Arizona isn’t just a big flat desert sprinkled with cactus and rattlesnakes and you don’t have to travel very far from where we are staying to see some pretty spectacular scenery.

Our last trail ride was a group ride with the local off-road club here in the park we’re staying at. Four rigs, two side-by-sides, our Jeep Wrangler and a vintage International Scout. After arriving at the trailhead parking area, while the side-by-sides unloaded off their trailers, the two of us aired down and readied for the ride.

To Tote Water Or Not

We prefer to carry a full tank of fresh water as possible as we travel and I’ll tell you why in a bit. I’m asked often do we andhow much water we carry while traveling. Every RVer has their reasons why they do or do not. I have met RV’ers who have never put water into their freshwater tank, some say its because they only travel park to park and never boondock so there is no need.

Like any mechanical device or system, if you don’t use it, it will likely fail or not work properly when you do try to use it. Think about this as it applies to when you want to trade it in or sell the unit.

Some have said they don’t want to have to deal with the sanitation process. Most report that they just don’t want to pay for the additional gas/fuel it takes to carry the weight it adds to their RV going down the road. For some, those being bumper pulled trailers it is also a matter of weight distribution. Too much weight on the hitch or too much weight aft of the axle(s) can cause control issues, the latter causing uncontrollable oscillation.

Wear Those Seat Belts!

RV Security and Safety Badge.

I know that many of you never wear and never will wear your seat belt. Are you prepared for the consequences? A pretty harsh question, but in recent weeks there have been many reports of RVers being involved in collisions resulting in being ejected from the vehicle they were riding/driving in. Some of these were motorhomes, their towed, their tow vehicles or the OHV they use for fun.

It has been decades since I took driver’s education, but I still remember the movies shown in class, such as “Room To Live,” where the host explained that by staying confined inside the vehicle even in horrific accidents, the occupants survived. I have included that video in this post and it still has relevance today.

Building “Tatanka” Our Overlanding Jeep Wrangler

Are there too many Jeep building blogs and vblogs out there? NEVER! That said, if you are a Jeep owner, you know that no two Jeeps are exactly alike, even those factory stock off the lot. Each one has its own unique quirks…after all it is a Jeep.

We purchased our 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara (JKU) used in the early summer of 2020. We had been searching a long time to find the “right” one. One that was well cared for, low mileage and equally important one that fell within our budget. Tough to do in many places of the country where Jeeps are popular daily drivers as well as off-road pleasure vehicles.

Jeep Wranglers are probably the ultimate in customizable vehicles on the road today. So many aftermarket accessories and upgrades can turn a Wrangler into anything you pretty much envision. We quickly made a list of the must have add-ons, that quickly transformed into a lengthy list.

Beyond The Pavement-Dragoon Springs Station

Back in the late 1800’s traveling in what is now known as Arizona was a difficult and dangerous journey . Not only was the terrain often inhospitable for humans, the local natives weren’t always on good terms with the people who were trying to colonizing these lands. Natives were not the only ones who attacked the outposts that sprung up to support the stage lines and those who worked or rode them. In most cases it was a fellow countrymen that attacked and killed them. Such as the massacre at the Dragoon Springs Station which sits on the western slope of the Dragoon Mountains near where Cochise hid from the US Army in what was to be called Cochise Stronghold.

Located not far off of I-10 near the town of Dragoon is the Butterfield’s Dragoon Springs Station at the base of the Dragoon Mountains.

The Dragoon Springs Station site isn’t too far from I-10 near the area known as Texas Canyon where the town of Dragoon is just a short ride from Benson, AZ. if you are thinking of visiting this site, you will first need to have an Arizona Land Trust Permit. Click this link to learn more about obtaining a Recreational Land Use Permit which runs $20 for a family or $15 for an individual.

 

 

 

 

It is just a seven mile drive from I-10 to the site. The road to the site requires going through a gate…be sure to close the gate after passing through. The road was in fairly good shape up to the turn off to the site. From that point to the site, there were some areas of water erosion, but nothing too serious to prevent even a 2WD pickup or SUV from getting through.

NOTICE: In Arizona, road and trail conditions can change rapidly during inclement weather. Be prepared to turn around to avoid flash flooding areas and heed the warnings DO NOT ENTER when water is standing or flowing across the roadway.

This site has a remarkable history which can be read about HERE. Today, while standing on the site, you are not far away from modern infrastructure such as roads, highways, homes and vehicles. On the day we visited we were accompanied by dozens of cattle that were grazing around the fenced in site. All of them had their eyes on us as we explored the former stage coach station. All one has to do is look around, across the desert and up at the mountains to have some sense of what it was like to have lived there back in the late 1800’s. It wasn’t hard to comprehend the harshness and hard life it was to live and work there. The desert can be a hostile, but beautiful place too.

 

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