Wednesday, April 15, 2015

On The Road - Salt River Canyon

Well, we got up early today and were on the road by 9:15AM which is good for us.  We had a long trip of about 500 miles ahead of us and wanted to get an early start.  Stopped for fuel and took on $14.00 to fill the tank and that was a good thing.  13 hours later we returned to the RV park and crashed for the night.   OK, let me explain.

A friend of ours needed a one way ride to Show Low, AZ and since we didn't have anything planned, we decided to provide transportation for him.  After all, it is only about a 200 mile drive one way and quite scenic at that.  We picked him up and headed for RT 77 to Globe, AZ and then caught RT 60 up to Show Low.  Normally this is a peaceful and uneventful drive but today was different.

As we were leaving Globe we noticed a flashing message saying the road was closed ahead due to a serious accident.  We figured it would be cleared by the time we got there and were almost correct.  This is what we came upon as we descended into Salt River Canyon about halfway down to the bottom of the canyon.

A tractor trailer truck with a load of scrap paper had caught on fire and burned to the ground on a curve.  You can see the exhaust pipe from the diesel engine sticking up and the two pipes behind it are part of the frame of the trailer.  The aluminum sides of the trailer were across the road to the right of the black SUV which was just ahead of us.  Wow, what a place to catch on fire and then to be going up a steep road with no place to go.

The fire departments had the fire under control by the time we got there and DOT personnel were directing traffic around the accident.  Luckily there wasn't a lot of traffic at the time and we only had a short wait before we passed by the accident.

We made it to Show Low around lunch time and dropped our friend off at his destination and decided to stop for a quick lunch at the local Arby's in town.  Gerry is a big fan of their roast beef sandwiches and we both enjoyed our meal.  Gerry had other plans after lunch and that included some dessert at Dairy Queen.  Thanks to Dee C we had some coupons that made the ice cream reasonable to buy.  In case you don't know it, Show Low is a resort town with resort prices.  After filling up on the dessert we began our trek back to Tucson.

I picked up a couple geocaches in the area on the way back and would have liked to spend some time finding more of them but we did have a long drive ahead of us.  

We were back in the Salt River Canyon area again and stopped to take some pictures.  I think I could spend a day exploring the area and still not have enough time to see it all.  It's a wild and rough terrain with some very steep roads.  We drove through the canyon a few years ago and smoked the front brakes on our Southwind motorhome. Nothing like that for us this time.  Hooray!

This peak looked like it was an island many years ago.

I wonder what happened to cause this big gap.

Salt River about 1,000 ft down in the canyon

Mountain top across from where the river shot was taken.

Looking across the canyon to the far side you can see 4 levels of the road going up the mountain.  It's a 7-8 % grade in spots and can be a difficult pull if you are under powered.  If you look closely you can see some vehicles on the bottom left side of the road.  One is a tanker truck from the fire department pouring water into a container that held some of the cargo from the burned out tractor trailer truck.

This pretty palm tree was alongside of a pull out area and was all by itself.  It was pretty but looked so out of place on the side of the mountain.  I wonder if it was a native plant or someone's attempt to beautify the area.

The truck wreck scene had cleared up somewhat by the time we came by a couple hours later but they were still working the scene.  The two large dumpsters were full with the bales of paper and the fireman was pouring water into the containers to put out the fire.

 The tractor and trailer remains had been loaded onto a low boy trailer and were sitting along side of the road as we drove by.  It must have been a very hot blaze to reduce the two pieces to what you see below.  I just hope the driver was able to escape the inferno and is safe.

We continued along with our drive back and took a little side trip along a gravel road along side of a nice stream.  We were just exploring and came upon the beaver dam shown below.  I can't imagine what the beavers eat out there in the desert, but sure did look like one very busy little beaver.

 The gnarly tree caught my attention and I tried to get a nice photo of it, but the sun wasn't right.  At least you get an idea what it looked like with it's reptile looking bark.  It's a tough life out there for a tree.

We finally arrived back in Globe and had to make a decision.  Do we take a left turn back to Tucson or a right turn to Mesa, AZ?  Oh, what the heck, let's go to the right through Globe, Miami, Superior and on to Mesa.  I had a reason for taking this 75 mile detour and didn't tell Gerry about it until the last minute.  She was surprised and game to spend the longer time on the road.

Since the blog is so long now, I will write more about our detour on Friday when we plan on being in Congress, AZ at the North Ranch Escapee Park.  Then again, we may change our minds and go somewhere else.  It's nice when your home is on wheels and wherever there is a road, you can travel wherever you want to.

Check in later for our fun filled evening in Mesa, AZ.

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