We had a very exciting trip last Saturday. Here are a few of the highlights: John Waack, Dana Taylor from Iowa, Bob Peterson and his kids, Jeff Rill, Shawn Callahan and myself went into Chivo Falls via the "Italian Trap" trail (mile 12.6 off Redington Road). This was Shawn's first off-road trip with his recently acquired `89 Toyota extended cab, so we were breaking him in on a pretty serious trail. Fortunately his "new" truck is already lifted and wearing 31-inch tires, so he didn't have much trouble keeping up. (Translated: Shawn is now a seasoned off-road veteran.) Some minor winching assistance was required. There was enough monsoon rain water flowing in Tanque Verde creek to make us drive around the deeper holes. Much of the morning's excitement came in winching my Chevy K2500 extended cab off a boulder in the middle of the wash. (Kirk O. is sure to remember this place from a previous trip --- where there are big boulders surrounded by soft sand.) One of my frame cross-braces now has a 3-inch bow in it that wasn't there before, but it was time for some new iron under there anyhow.
After lunch and a short visit to the (crowded) Chivo Falls, Waack, Peterson, Rill and Hill set off on the "West Loop" (a.k.a. Tanque Verde Loop) trail. Shawn wisely returned to town at this point. The hill-climbing and rock steps on the "West Loop" trail were everything they were advertised to be. After we had successfully negociated the steep hills without towing or winching, John and Bob admitted that they didn't think that stock differential trucks (without lockers) would be able to make it. Score one for Chevrolet posi-traction and long wheelbases! The adventure really began at the place where we had to recross Tanque Verde Creek twice. By this time, the monsoon thunderstorms to the East were looking pretty ominous and we were hurrying to get back on the North side of the wash. The crossing happens at the place known as "The Minefield". Here you drive through the wash in about 2 feet of water, then drive about 200 yards across boulders the size of beachballs then cross the wash again in soft sand.
I was the last truck across the first crossing. Everybody else made it through and they were bouncing across the minefield, but I dropped a wheel into a hole and hung up my frame on a boulder. Let me tell you that sitting in the middle of the Tanque Verde with water lapping over your door sills and a thunderstorm upstream provides quite an adrenaline rush! I wasn't in any personal danger, but any flash flood was going to turn my truck into a home for "Tanque Verde trout". I called on the radio for some towing help, but it took John, Bob and Jeff some time (10 minutes that seemed like 30 minutes) to get back. I later learned that this was because all three of them had been stuck themselves in the soft sand/mud at the second wash crossing. We winched my truck out of the wash and into "The Minefield" by pulling on John's Suzuki which itself was strapped to a tree (otherwise my 9000# winch just drags it across the rocks). I also learned that my WARN winch is quite happy to work while it is submerged in water. Part of this extraction involved John driving in across the minefield (wish we had video). Then we re-rigged and winched me across the Minefield. There was remarkably little damage to my rocker panels considering the speed at which we were working.
After escaping from the wash, driving up "The Chute" center route for the first time in my full-size truck was fairly anti-climactic. Stay tuned for photos by D. Taylor of J. Waack on two-wheels in the western route of "The Chute". Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3
After a nice Mexican dinner at Casa Vallarta, we were all quite ready to go home. Unfortunately, my starter motor decided to freeze-up in the parking lot --- better in the parking lot than in the middle of the West Loop. So a few more hours were spent removing the starter and finding out that the truck is too new for auto parts stores to stock the starters yet. I finally had it towed to the dealer for warranty repair on Monday. Chevrolet's 1-800 Warranty Road Service Number really works. I got my truck back Monday afternoon with a new starter. No charge, no hassle.
Looking underneath the truck, I found that the rubbing noise I heard after lunch was the bent frame cross-member rubbing on the driveshaft. No damage there, but farther down the driveshaft was a big spiral gouge that was done by a rock somewhere along the way. I also made the remarkable discovery that my driveshaft is made of carbon fiber with two aluminum end caps held on with RTV. (so it's easy to hike in with a new one!)
Stay tuned for next week's adventure. Probably we'll choose a tamer trail for next Saturday. Or at least one with less flash flood risk!
The best breakage of the day wasn't in our group. But, we passed an ancient Land Rover with both rear U-bolts broken. They had it under tow with the rear axle held in place with chains.
Since it was still light when we got back around to the Chute at Three Feathers, we had the opportunity to play. "Grumpy", the trip leader, climbed the difficult stairstep on the west side of the loop. The next vehicle tried it, but decided to back down to save his paint job. It isn't really such a difficult obstacle to climb except that short wheelbase vehicles tend to wind up with at least one wheel 4 feet in the air. I decided it was time for some big Chevy iron to attempt this climb. The first thing that happened was that I put a big dent in the passenger door. As the driver, I'm claiming that this was a spotter error, but the spotter claims that this dent matches the one that I put in the rear fender previously. I don't mind the dent, but it is a bit annoying that I'd done the same climb before without getting a scratch when nobody was watching. The Jeep guys all thought I was crazy, but the big Chevy did manage to climb the obstacle with a little smoking of the BFG mud terrains. The trip leader informed me that I was crazy when I was most of the way up. One of the next vehicles was a Toyota that was not with the Rough Riders. He managed to turn at all sorts of interesting inclinations before breaking a rear axle and having to winch out.
Bob had a much more interesting adventure coming down from plowing snow on Mt. Lemmon on Sunday. "Coming down Mt. Lemmon in my Blazer the A/C clutch froze and burned up the pully bearings which also froze which burned up the fan belt which stopped the alternator, power steering, cooling, power brakes. To maintain enough battery power to operate the fuel pump, spark and injectors I had to turn off the defrosters and head lights. It was a blizzard with 6" of snow on the ground. I drove the Blazer dead stick for 20 miles, what a ride."
Last week my 3/4-ton Chevy was the smallest truck on the trip. This week my 3/4-ton Chevy weighed more than all the other vehicles put together! The other participants besides myself and Uwe Schwarzkopf in "The River" were John Waack and Rick Marsh in "Over Easy" (Samurai) and the Wood brothers in a 4-seat buggy. While both of the other vehicles are great fun, I claim that the big Chevy WITH AIR-CONDITIONING is clearly superior for these summer runs.
We headed in the trail at Three Feathers around 10 AM. We had lots of fun crawling over the boulders of the minefield in Tanque Verde Creek. It took about 5 hours to go around the Redington Loop going counterclockwise including a leisurely lunch under the cottonwoods. There were a few occurrences of wheel spinning and the occasional strategic rock placement, but nobody got actually stuck. Wildlife sightings included a few deer and a small water turtle.
With no thunderstorms in sight, we went out by going up Italian Trap. I enjoyed a tepid soak in the pool at the Trap --- the water was almost too warm, but better than the spring snowmelt.
We finally broke out the tow strap for a '67 Impala that had quit on Redington Road. We were back in town before the evening rains caught up with us.
The road in through "The Chute" and turning toward "Italian Trap" before you cross the Tanque Verde wash is signed as F.R. 4426. F.R. 4417 runs parallel to this one for a while. These roads got new signs in the Spring of 1996.
Other Redington Road turnoffs: (from Tucson Rough Riders)
Buehman Canyon (north at mile 17.8)
Chimney Rock West Entrance (north at mile 10.4)
Chimney Rock / Bullock Canyon East Entrance (north at mile 17.3)
Espiritu Canyon (south at mile 14.7)
Tequila Tank (north at mile 9.2)
Adjoining Topographic Maps
|Landmark||UTM Easting||UTM Northing||Altitude|
|ABCO at Tanque Verde Road and Catalina Highway||12 5 19 073 E||35 69 089 N||+2400|
|Redington Road: crosses Tanque Verde Wash||12 5 30 744 E||35 68 625 N||+2829|
|Redington Road: Three Feathers turnoff||12 5 34 553 E||35 71 570 N||+3980|
|Three Feathers Trail crosses Tanque Verde Wash||12 5 37 411 E||35 70 033 N||+3785|
|Redington Road: Compass Tank turnoff||12 5 37 950 E||35 73 825 N||+4200|
|Redington Road: Italian Trap turnoff||12 5 40 192 E||35 74 301 N||+4340|
|Italian Trap trail enters Tanque Verde Wash||12 5 39 389 E||35 72 781 N||+3958|
|Chivo Falls||12 5 38 095 E||35 68 927 N||+4000|
|Tanque Verde Loop trail: south entrance||12 5 37 640 E||35 69 240 N||+3940|
|Tanque Verde Loop trail: north entrance||12 5 37 250 E||35 70 250 N||+3760|
|Tanque Verde (West) Loop trail meets East Loop trail||12 5 38 220 E||35 67 760 N||+4490|
|Tanque Verde Loop trail turns west (FR ____)||12 5 38 346 E||35 67 365 N||+4580|
|Tanque Verde Loop trail: western limit||12 5 33 886 E||35 67 896 N||+3530|
|Tanque Verde Loop trail: Minefield wash crossing||12 5 34 000 E||35 69 250 N||+4490|
|East Loop trail: entrance near Tanque Verde Wash||12 5 37 970 E||35 70 200 N||+3910|
Last modified: Thu Jun 25 15:56:42 2009