Trails and Tents Tour 2006 Off Road Adventure Day 3

Day Three: Tuesday, Dec 6, 2006
Apache Junction, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ

Total Miles Traveled: 1039
Times Holman "Vented": Countless
Non-Camo Pants Worn by Ken: 0
Forest Fires Observed: 1
Mega Tents Dismantled: 1

Senior Editor Ken Brubaker

Today's notes:

1. Belching seems to be Holman's favorite thing in the whole wide world. It's like acid reflux gone wild. He can actually speak entire sentences while belching. I've found that this talent is rather fascinating in a train wreck sort of way. I've made a game out of it and I try to guess what he ate for his previous meal. When he's not burping he's either talking on one of his phones, typing emails on his BlackBerry, messing with the navigation system, or flipping through satellite radio channels. In one rare instance he did all at the same time. I thought he was having a seizure.

2. While at Kachina Hummer in Scottsdale, Arizona having our dearly departed Bridgestone Dueler replaced, I took the liberty of perusing their stock of Hummers. There's a cool, mildly pimped white SUT in the showroom in case you're in the market. Oh, there's also a wide variety of donuts in the waiting room and nobody's watching them.

3. The folks at Kachina Hummer asked if we wanted our H3 washed. That was funny.

4. If you get a chance to explore Schnebly Hill Road near Sedona, Arizona you won't be sorry. If you drive it late in the day like we did you'll be rewarded with killer light on killer scenery. Overall, a killer combination.

5. I saw my first forest fire today (we don't have many of those in the vicinity of the Four Wheeler Midwest Bureau in northern Illinois). It was in the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff. In one of the images you can see me staring at it dumbfounded. I quickly decided that if given a choice I'd take a Midwest tornado any day.

6. Tomorrow we explore some remote areas south of the Grand Canyon. If I can convince Holman to put some gas in the H3 we might even make it back to civilization.

Tech Editor Sean P. Holman

It is already Day 3 and I am disappointed with the small amount of bug splatter on the H3's windshield, it is nothing like the science experiment on the windshield of the H2 on our last trip. Because of this, I have learned nothing about Arizona insects, but it was fairly warm last night so at least I didn't learn about what it was like to freeze to death in Arizona.

This morning we woke up with a challenge - to find a new tire. With the mission in mind we finished our blogs and broke down camp quickly, managing to reduce the Mega Tent to a manageable size, even though it didn't quite fit in the H3 the same way as before. We were about one cubic foot away from Ken having to travel with a box or two in his lap, which would have been bad since we hadn't fed him early enough and his mood had turned for the worse.

Most people would be put off by this adjustment in demeanor, I on the other hand found it awfully amusing considering Grumpy Ken, after convincing some poor unsuspecting convenience store clerk to give up his phone book, was calling one tire dealer after another with zero success. If would have been possibly to jump through a phone and ring someone's neck, I would have witnessed it today.

With no really super special LT285/75R16 Bridgestone Dueler A/T RH-S tires in stock anywhere, our next plan revolved around finding food to transform Grumpy Ken in to Happy Ken and then to locate a nearby Hummer dealer in hopes they would stock the correct tire. We grabbed a bite at TGI Friday's (no folks, it is no Chili's), where I became Grumpy Sean when I was told I would have to settle for Mr. Pibb instead of Dr. Pepper - a poor substitue if there ever was one, but better than nothing in a pinch. As Ken's blood sugar climbed, we finally found the phone number to Kachina Cadillac and Hummer in Scottsdale, AZ and after being bounced around a few times, we made contact with the right guy who told us to come on by. Much to our amazement, the crew was expecting our arrival and had the tire ready and waiting. The entire stop was done in about half an hour and this included resetting the TPM system. So special thanks goes out to the hard working people at Kachina Cadillac and Hummer who saved our bacon and allowed us to continue on our adventure with an inflated spare tire. Go there - buy a Hummer (or a Caddy), we beg of you.

Since we had to backtrack back to Scottsdale anyway, we decided it would be best to spend the rest of the day heading north with an eventual arrival in Flagstaff, AZ. Along the way we spotted some interesting trails off Interstate 17 and headed east where Ken was both frightened and intrigued at the sight of his first forest fire. We headed straight toward a really HUGE plume of smoke, in hopes of finding ourselves in some exciting situation to share with you. However, we only trekked in far enough to get some photos of the plume, but bailed out about two miles short of the fire line for the obvious reasons that we are just dumb magazine dudes and not specially trained firefighters. Disappointed at our roadblock, we headed back to 17 where we located a really cool dirt road that cut across to Sedona through some amazing scenery.

We got some of the best shots of the day on this trail, and even handed a Four Wheeler sticker to the Pink Jeep Tour guide, Chris. As the sun set, we enjoyed the magnificent vistas of Sedona before heading on to Flagstaff for dinner and rest.

Tomorrow we'll attempt the Grand Canyon before turning west for a Los Angeles return.

Until I blog again...


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