Goat Canyon Trestle and Corrizo Gorge

I had found information online about the rail line through Corrizo Gorge and the curved wooden trestle up in Goat Canyon. It was a couple of hours drive from Imperial Dam so we set off Saturday morning with the bikes loaded on the back of the truck.

Near our destination the interstate climbs from sea level up through a pass to 3000′. Off on a smaller road I spotted what looked like a film shoot. Either that or it was an alien landing as there were two flying saucers sitting on a flat bed. No pic of that as it went by too quick to get the camera out.

We exited I8 at Jacumba and took the dirt road towards the DeAnza Spring Resort. There are a couple of small parking spots on the side of the road and we found an empty space we could back the truck into. Some hikers had parked at the gas stations and walked up the road. Others paid a 5$ parking fee at the Resort (it’s clothing optional in there by the way, we stayed out). After unloading the bike and grabbing the backpacks with water and food we headed to the rail line which parallels the road.

About a mile up the rail line we came upon the first set of rail cars. They are parked onto a siding but are derailed at one end. Lots of graffiti on them and over the years they have seen a lot of vandalization.

There is a pathway alongside the rail line and for the most part it is an easy surface for biking. A number of trestles are encounted along the way and we walked the bikes across these. The pathway is mostly on the side of the rail line with the drop off and at some points it gets narrow with larger stone on it.

There are a few tunnels along the route to ride through. A few of them are long enough that we needed to use the headlight and flashlight that we had brought with us.

There is a second set of passenger rail cars along the rail line. These also have garnered a lot of graffiti.

Over the years since the rail line was first constructed there have been attempts to repair damage caused by weather. Old rail ties, various construction materials and an old box car are scattered along the way.

As we rode along we passed bikers heading back down the trail. One couple were hiking back out after camping the night at the large trestle. We were told a few times “you’re almost there” and we came out of the last tunnel on the southern route and there it was.

Lots of people at the trestle. Some hikers and some bikers. You can see the old tunnel that was destroyed and caused the construction of the trestle. It’s in the background of the picture of me on the trestle.

It’s a long way down to the ground from on top of the trestle.

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A ballast car is sitting at the north side of the trestle on the original route past the canyon.

The trestle can be accessed from the south which is the way we came. You can also get there by following the rail line from the north with an access point somewhere south of Borrego. The trestles in the distance of these pictures is the northern route.

Another route is to climb up and over the mountains from Mortero Palms which is about 2.5mi but a serious climb according to the college students I spoke to.

After spending some time at the trestle we headed back down the rail line. Didn’t seem as long getting back but the winds seemed stronger and weren’t pushing us in the direction we wanted to go.

The trip was 6.95mi from where we parked to the trestle. It took us 2:05hr to get there and about the same coming back. With our half hour break at the trestle it was 4.5hrs total. The trip in from the north side is supposed to be about 3mi according to a person I spoke to.

There is more information about the railway atย  World’s largest wooden trestle is in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. It is old and talks about trains on the track but considering the rock slides onto the rail line that isn’t happening any time soon.

I use the MapMyHike app on my phone to track our hiking and biking trips. It doesn’t use any data or cell connection until I want to save a trip. Good thing too because between trading the stock market every day this year and uploading lots of pictures I’m getting too deep into our monthly 10gb on my phone. We just use one of our Rogers phones when in the US and it’s roams our home plan. Cheaper than getting a US plan. If mine gets to the 10gb then we’ll have to roam Jane’s phone as well to get another 10gb.

 

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Imperial Dam Part Deux

We went for a drive towards Yuma in order to stop at one of the fresh produce stands and get some fresh fruit and veggies. The first place we stopped at was listed in the booklet as having produce but had obviously determined selling antiques along with soup and sandwiches was more profitable. We continued on and found a small stand with some items. Bought a few things but the prices were nothing special. Tomatoes and cucumbers were cheaper at Walmart. Can buy cantelopes and pineapples cheaper back home but then we’ve always found that food is more expensive down here for the most part.

On the way back we stopped at the military hardware display area. They were still working on the parking lot so we parked on the road. Must have been a government project. One guy running the line painter, one telling him where to paint, two supervising and one watching the paint dry.

These are pictures of the display boards that were setup.

One of the tanks had some battle damage.

These are the rest of what was on display. Tanks, recovery vehicles, howitzers and missiles and a launcher.

 

Imperial Dam

Jan 8-11, 2018

We left Organ Pipe NM and headed off towards Yuma on Jan 8. The sites and access lanes at Organ Pipe are quite tight when hauling a 40′ fifth wheel. The sites are well spaced and very nice though. I ended up having to back out of the site even though it is a pull through as there wasn’t enough room at the front of the site to make the turn onto the laneway between site rows.

Not far north of OP we came across another Border Patrol check station. Looked like the agents were having a good time when we pulled through. They did do a full walk around of the trailer and looked into the truck. When we told them where we were coming from the agents comment was “You’re brave staying there. That’s one of our big hot spots for border activity”. Well thanks, glad Jane didn’t know that going in.

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We drove up through Ajo, AZ. A nice looking little town with lots of interesting buildings. We didn’t stop anywhere and just snapped some pictures as we drove through.

With a fuel stop at the Love’s Truck Stop in Gila Bend we headed off west on I8 towards Yuma. Here’s a picture of the Edge CTS2 I use to monitor the engine while we are hauling. Lets me watch EGT’s and more and show when it enters a DPF burn which kills the fuel mileage while it’s happening.

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After leaving I8 we found our way onto Hwy 95 and followed another RV into the Imperial Dam area. The entrance off Hwy 95 is pretty clearly marked by a couple of very large guns. There is also a display of military hardware just off the highway but the parking area was being paved so we couldn’t stop there. Will have to get some pictures of it all when they are done with the paving. Did see a helicopter mounted on a post at the main Army base gate. Looks to be a Huey Cobra.

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The Imperial Dam LTVA entrance was staffed with a Canadian couple originally from England. We took on some fresh water and headed out to find a site. Found a nice location with a view of the water (if we look carefully in the right direction). Someone has created a guitar with stones on the ground here.

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After setting up we took a drive around the North Shore of Senator Wash. Friends had stayed there last year down by the water. There was no way I’d be taking our trailer down that route but if you have a smaller and lighter RV it would be a nice area to spend time. It’s a different fee area for camping in.

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I got my drone out to take some aerial pictures of the area and our site.

On the 9th it got windy and the dust was kicking up. Then it rained some but barely enough to dampen the ground. There was a nice double rainbow that followed when the sun came back out late in the day. Need to go over to that fifth wheel (they are from Ontario, near Toronto) and look for the pot of gold. ๐Ÿ™‚

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We took a trip into Yuma to get some supplies and stopped down in the historic district on Main St. A craft brewery called our names and we stopped in for a couple of beers and a snack.

Planning to take a drive over past El Centro on Saturday. Seems there is a clothing optional resort out that way though so I’ll have to make sure we don’t maake any wrong turns. ๐Ÿ™‚

Organ Pipe National Monument

Jan 6, 2018

We left Benson AZ on Saturday morning and headed towards Tuscon where we would exit and pick up AZ 86. It was nice to be off the interstates after driving them all the way from Ontario. Hardly any vehicles on the highway and we probably could have stopped in the road and had lunch before someone came along. There were a ton of what looked like memorials along the highway and when we got to AZ 85 we pulled over to go back and look at one. I’ll have to translate the Spanish when I get a chance as “Yo no hablo espaรฑol”.

 

 

 

 

We booked into a site for two nights here. Still have our annual National Park pass from last year so just the 16$/night for dry camping.

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Once we were setup we went across the road for the Ajo Mountain Scenic drive which was a 21mi loop along a mostly gravel road. We stopped and walked out to get some pictures of the Organ Pipe cactus (cacti?) and the mountains at various pull offs along the route. There are a couple of arches in the surrounding mountains too.

This Organ Pipe cactus has a deformity growing in it.

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After the trip it was back to the trailer for blackened salmon with chinoa and beans (I’m not so much a chinoa type ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Jan 7, 2018

Figured it was another good day to test the off road capabilities of the new truck and we headed off on the North Puerto Blanco Drive which then connected with the South Peurto Blanco Drive. Was a lot better than the dually I had which would have gotten fender scratches in lots of places. The route was 51mi by the time we got back to the campsite. The first part of the road was reasonably smooth and then it changed to an “unimproved” dirt road which means they graded it at one time, just not in recent memory.

We stopped at one point to hike out to Dripping Springs which was about 1mi round trip. Jane waited at the bottom while I hiked up the hillside to the actual spring. Only way I found it was listening for the occasional drip sound and it was hidden behind some bushes.

And this is the actual spring. Little bit of lunch bag let down. ๐Ÿ™‚

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We passed a few Border Patrol guys staring out at the cacti. I’m sure they were looking for something but it wasn’t us. We passed a couple of towers that had a big red button you could push if you were in need of water. It’s to the right of the truck in the picture. I didn’t test it.

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We also came across blocked off mine shafts at this location.

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We had taken a lunch with us and stopped at Bonita Well. It looked like at one time the windmill pumped water into the concrete trough and the pens were used for roundups. I got the drone out for a couple of pics too.

We continued on the road. At some points it was pretty nice and you could run 30mph, at other points it was more like 2mph. Near the end of the road we were winding our way down a sandy wash. We stopped at Quiobaquito Spring for a walk. A few waterfowl taking advantage of the pond and a Border Patrol buy eating his lunch. He waved. We waved. We must have looked okay to him.

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When we got back to the truck at the spring parking area the BP truck was gone so Jane took advantage of the fact that nobody was round. One foot in Mexico, one foot in Arizona.

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Doesn’t look like much of a wall. Maybe they haven’t started construction yet. This one looks ย it wouldn’t stop anyone. That’s Mexico Hwy 2 in the background.

Was another 15mi of winding desert road and we were back on AZ 85 and headed north to the park. We did take a short detour south to check out the Lukeville border crossing first but decided we’d just stay in the USA.

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Benson, AZ

Jan 1, 2018

I had done this post the other day but I have no idea where it went after it published so I’ll try again.

We went for a drive down to Bisbee, AZ from the SKP Saguaro park we are in for a week. We were down there a couple of years ago but it’s a great place to visit whenever we are in the area.

Passed a Volkswagen Beetle that looks like it won’t be on the road anytime soon. Can’t tell if it is trying to escape the hole or sinking into one.

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We parked at the bottom end of Bisbee and walked up the hill through town. Lots of art galleries and vintage stores to wander through. Probably something for everyone here no matter what kind of bric-a-brac you like to collect. Jane found herself a pair of glittery silver shoes for 4$. Seems she is attracted to the clothing from the 80’s and makes a beeline for those racks in each store.

A small parade was winding it’s way through town with an odd assortment of musical instruments, many looked like they were home made. There was even a bicycle converted to a musical cart of sorts.

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A trip to Bisbee isn’t complete without a stop at the Old Bisbee Brewing Company. Jane had the Copper Ale with a bratwurst and I had the Double Hopped IPA with a bowl of chili. Both great beers.

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From Bisbee we looped west to Sierra Vista which is quite a large city with all the big box stores and a mall. I stopped in at the Harbor Freight to see what was on sale. If I had the space I could load up on a number of tools I’d like for the shop back home. Before the end of the winter I’m planning to pick up one of their TiG welders. Maybe it’ll go on sale before the end of April.

After leaving Sierra Vista we drove east on Hwy 82 and stopped at the old town site of Fairbank. Looks like it was quite the going concern back in the day when the railroad was coming through town and the silver mining was active. Pretty quiet there today as it was New years Day.

From Fairbank we continued east to Hwy 80 where we stopped at our first Border Patrol of the winter. The first time we lined up for one outside of El Paso they closed up shop before we got to the head of the line and everyone was just directed past it. This time the officer looked at our passports and commented about the weather back home in Ontario being much colder than here in Arizona. We agreed with him and were on our way back to Benson.

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For Kelly of The Bayfield Bunch this is Jane’s 4$ shoe purchase. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Winter 2018

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We moved the truck and trailer out onto the road on Boxing Day afternoon so that we were ready to go on Wednesday.

Rolled out Wednesday morning at 7:05AM. Roads were a mixed of center bare and packed snow for the first hour and a half. Headed for Windsor to cross the border. Had considered going under the lake but Erie PA got a snow dump. Going through Sarnia meant risking lake effect snow off Huron so Windsor it was. Border was packed with cars but RV’s go through the truck lanes which was reasonably quick. The border agent spent quite a while typing on his computer while we waited. He might have been messaging his wife. Can’t see him spending that much time researching us.

First night was a FlyingJ south of Dayton OH. It was pretty cold so we were bundled up in the trailer to sleep. We had planned on making Nashville but stopped early.

Early start the next day, think it was 5:00AM. Headed further south and then west and stopped for the night in Texarkana AR. Another FlyingJ night and a horrible Denny’s dinner.

Friday morning we aimed for Dallas and beyond. The truck nav argued but we persevered and took the southern bypass route. Traffic wasn’t too bad and temperatures were getting better. We spent the night at another FlyingJ in Sparks TX, just short of El Paso.

Next morning we were off just before daylight and planning to use the bypass route detailed on RV Dreams and also on The Bayfield Bunch and with those instructions we easily skipped the I10 route through El Paso. Easy peasy.

We aimed for Benson and about noon rolled into SKP Saguaro park where we are staying for a week. Current plans after here is Yuma area.

Rolling for Wasaga

After leaving Holbrook we had planned to go up to Canyon de Chelly for a few days on our route home. As we headed across I40 towards Chambers where we planned to turn north we drove into a snow storm. After a short discussion we decided to just stay on I40 and head for home as it would be colder up at Chinle.

Our destination the first night was Tucumcari, NM and from there we planned to get off the interstate and head north. We spent the night at the Flying J in Tucumcari after fueling. I prefer to fuel at the truck stops and use the highway truck islands as there is no issue then with space to turn.

The next day we headed up Hwy 54 through the corner of Texas, across the Oklahoma panhandle, across Kansas (no tornados, no Dorothy) and through the north-west corner of Missouri and into Iowa. We stopped at the Pilot just north of Osceola for the final fuel stop. We had planned to overnight here but then saw the casino just up the road. We moved there and parked for the night in their parking lot. They also have an RV park which is 10$/night with full hookups.

We went into the casino for dinner. The food was great at the bar and the price was even better. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย We decided to risk a whole 5$ on the slot machines after eating. The first machine ended up paying me $34.50 for my $0.50 bet. I had no idea how that happened as I just pushed all the buttons and waited. Thought it had gone into some demo mode. In the end we won nothing else and left the casino up 10$ with dinner and slot machines paid by the casino winnings!

The next day was Sunday and we planned to get through Chicago and into Canada. After being on 54 we were spoiled by the roads. The two-lane highways are much better thn the multi-lane ones. Pretty sure I lost some fillings out of my teeth heading around Chicago. It’s getting hard to find roads I don’t mind driving on. We took this route to avoid the turnpike in OK that bounces the trailer in the air and I75 south of Detroit that just beats the whole rig to death.

At some parts I just drove in the left lane which was smoother and left it to those behind me to figure out how to get past me.

The border crossing at Sarnia was easy and fast. We had been worried about the extra booze we had on board but all they were concerned about was firearms.

Once we crossed into Ontario we were on one of the smoothest roads of the whole winter! I figured I’d drive as far as I was comfortable doing. That ended up all the way home where we arrived at about 11:30pm after leaving Osceola at 7:00am.

Another winter away in the southwest is in the books. Bring on summer and fun on the water!