Ahh, a road trip! The road trip is as American as apple pie. Heck there is no country as married to the automobile as America, that’s for sure. From the first Model Ts that rolled off ol’ Henry Ford’s assembly line to the Mother Road, Route 66, countless books and movies that surround cars and road trips, America’s romance with big, rumbling, gas eating, fire farting, smoke billowing, pillowy riding, rolling steel just says America…much like Piggy herself. Last time in Piggy the Pig Truck land we hinted at getting our ’78 J10 ready for the road…namely a road trip adventure around Arizona with a little Jp flavor. Follow along as Hazel and Simons load up in the Pig and hit the road, trail, and highway in search of fun, adventure, ghost towns, and old Jeeps. We took a ton of photos of the trip - more than we can show you all here.
Step By Step
Boo. Our first vehicular failure occurred somewhere on a dirt road west of Castle Hot Springs, Arizona. Most of Piggy’s plastic turn signal and parking light lenses have been roasted by the Arizona sun. The lens must have popped out when we were bouncing down the dirt road. Oh well. It’s all part of the adventure, and this is an easy failure to fix…someday.
That’s a funny looking horse! Most of the locals in this part of Arizona are birds, bugs, coyotes, wild burrows, javalina, cows, and reptiles. They don’t talk much. This one was horny. Be respectful of wildlife and livestock or these areas will get shut down and you’ll ruin it for everyone you poopie head.
Our first Arizona ghost town is an old mining town called Constellation. There is not much left here, just a few old mines and the remnants of a few old buildings. It’s tempting to look for and take artifacts, but please don’t. The more we visit and disturb these old records of history the more they will fall apart and disappear. To end the day we headed down the hill to Wickenburg, Arizona.
The fact is the Pig Truck can go many places, but with no overdrive, factory 4.10:1 gears, and 32-inch tires Piggy won’t go anywhere very fast. This is why we try to stick to two lane blacktop, dirt roads, or trails. These roads and trails are what the first road trippers hit way back long before center dividers, overpasses, and multi-lane highways. Yea, good roads mean you can get somewhere faster, but a bad road often means you enjoy the journey a bit more and get to see way more off-the-beaten-path stuff. Here we used some small rocks to bleed a little air out of the 32’s valve stems near Castle Hot Springs, Arizona.
This is some of the most extreme wheeling we did on our road trip. We did not even engage 4WD. Yea, we could have gone more extreme, and had planned a touch more, but dirt roads and trails can be enjoyed without huge tires, lockers, winches, and other wheeling gizmos. Some new shocks would have been nice for the bumps, though. Oops, the 32s reached out during one particularly flexy spot and grabbed Piggy’s rear fender… again, no biggie, we’ll fix that later.
Day two of our adventure began with Verne “fixing” Piggy’s fender flare with a trusty old drift and a hammer. We also aired up the tires. A little sleep and some grub got us ready for adventures to come…more than we expected for one day for sure.
Our first stop for Day Two of the Piggy adventure was to ogle some old-time farm equipment on the side of the road. This old harvester shows how ingenious America’s farmers were. Lots of the parts of the old machinery were repaired with welds and brazing. Some of the old bearings still turned freely despite time and weather. Little did we know that we would soon be surrounded by more cool old machinery from America’s past.
We next found ourselves in the little town of Hillside, Arizona. We had to stop because we noticed a nice little blue flattie in a yard where the owner was working on a chainsaw. This was a pretty clean old CJ-2A that the owner said was a ’46. We wanted the Willys in the back of the Pig, as if it would fit, but the neighbor’s dog wanted a chunk of our flesh. You can have the Jeep Fido…or is it Cujo? We are betting there are some really remote trails around Hillside. Next time.
Our next stop was the Carquest in Prescott, Arizona. We suspected one of Piggy’s V-belts was unhappy because of an intermittent burning rubber smell so we decided to pick up a set of spare belts and tossed them in the truck box incase. We also topped Piggy off with about a quart of oil. She leaks a touch and burns a little at start up… must be bad valve seals? Meh, we’ll run it till it dies. We then grabbed some burgers at Kendall’s Famous Burgers and Ice Cream. Prescott’s a pretty cool town for a visit. If you are ever nearby, check out Whisky Row.
Further up the road and just on the other side of the Prescott is the eclectic old mining town of Jerome. We already knew Jerome was cool but when we noticed this Top Truck Challenge-looking mining truck as we headed towards the back road to Williams, Arizona, we had to stop and ogle it. It’s just near the entrance of the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town that proved to be the highlight of the trip and a must-see for anyone interested in old mechanical gizmos and rigs. We found so much cool stuff that we can’t possibly show you all the photos here. Check out more photos at jpmagazine.com/piggy and check out the video of the 10,145ci hit-or-miss engine, Big Bertha, “making thunder.”
The back road between Jerome and Williams is a great drive for any Jeep in good weather. With some amazing geology and killer vistas there ain’t much to complain about. Plus, if Jerome is not the coolest weirdest town we’ve visited in Arizona, then Williams might be. Hazel aptly pointed out that Williams is maybe the closest thing to a real life Radiator Springs from the movie Cars. Lightning McPig!
Our plan was to hole-up in Williams for the night and explore Flagstaff, the Cinders Off-Road area near Flagstaff, and then the Mogolion Rim the next day, but all the hotel rooms were fully booked due to some sort of concert. We then headed for Flagstaff where Northern Arizona University’s graduation, a soccer tournament, baseball camp, and a scary clown convention was occurring. A quick internet check found that Winslow was also fully booked with scary clown overflow. Sorry folks, Northern Arizona is closed. The moose out front should have told ya. So we grabbed some grub in old-town Flagstaff and buzzed down I-17 back to Phoenix where a bed was guaranteed. Somewhere along the way we smelled burning rubber strongly so we stopped and checked. All seemed fine. Run it!