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2018 Jp Dirt ’N Drive #JPDND18 Day 2: Phoenix to Flagstaff

Hitting the Dirt

Trenton McGeeWriterTrenton McGeePhotographer

Whenever you see more than 100 Jeeps of every shape, color, and description in a single parking lot, you can be fairly certain that an adventure is about to happen. That’s exactly what took place at Fort McDowell, Arizona, this morning, as Jp Magazine’s Dirt ’N Drive kicked off bright and early.

After a quick driver’s meeting where Editor Rick Péwé outlined the day, which included the possibility of cutting the second half of the dirt sections short due to torrential downpours at higher elevations, the group set out north and east into the desert not far from Saguaro Lake and entered Sycamore Creek. Some of the group tried their hand at an obstacle called the Widow Maker, then eventually made their way to the Bush Highway towards Four Peaks and the Tonto Basin. The climb into the Tonto Basin took its toll on a few rigs, taking out a fuel pump, a transmission, and overheating a few engines despite the beautiful weather. The CartoTracks mapping system kept everybody on the right trail throughout the day, while the Rugged Radios kept everyone in touch.

After a stop in Payson for an update on road conditions further north, the group got the all-clear from Péwé to do the remainder of the dirt for the day as the roads had dried quickly from the previous rains. After turning off the pavement once again from Lake Mary Road, the track led to the famous Meteor Crater east of Flagstaff, not far from I-40, then to a seldom-used section of Route 66 to Two Guns, an abandoned RV park and gas station with photo ops galore.

Dirt ’N Drive is resting for the night at the Twin Arrows Casino outside of Flagstaff, but there’s another full day of adventure in store as Day 3 kicks off bright and early in the morning. Stay tuned to Jp’s social media outlets for up-to-the-minute updates as Dirt ’N Drive crawls its way closer to Moab!