Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Black Canyon City Overlook - 9/11

The Healing Fields - 2015
So it's 9/11.  9/11 is emotional for me, as it is for many people - particularly those of us who watched the horrific happenings unfold before our eyes - on tv, in real life, or via the radio.  I will never forget sitting on the 26th floor of my office watching the towers fall on the conference room big screen, and watching the airplanes go by our windows and wondering...and crying for my America. 

I'm dismayed by the lack of unity in America right now, which makes this 9/11 even more difficult as I see all my old posts about "let's the be America we were on 9/12."  I watch the videos, as I always do - this year Bailey came in to watch a few with me.  She almost always has done this - she understands why it is heartbreaking for me, although I don't think she feels the heartbreak - the kiddo wasn't even born then.  I asked her if her school said anything, and she mentioned that they talked about it during morning prayer and announcements.  I was pleased to hear that. Schools have been pulling back on teaching about 9/11 because the students "found it disturbing." Bailey and I usually go to the Healing Fields on 9/11 - but this year it was virtual due to COVID, so we couldn't go. So I watched the videos - and cried - like I always do...

Brandon in his Isuzu Vehicross with Nicole in front
Anyway - so it had been an emotional morning for me, and I wanted desperately to get out of the house.  It feels like it's been weeks and weeks.  I told Paul I needed to get out of the house and away from work for a bit, and he suggested we go take the 9982 route from Black Canyon City down to Table Mesa Road, then head over to the Black Canyon City overlook.  We were taking his truck (the LC - the Lewis and Clark) and I was going to drive at least the 9982 for practice.  It's a fairly mild trail - a few slightly off camber spots, but nothing I haven't done before.  We had, in fact, just done the 9982 a week or so ago with fellow off-roading buddies of Paul's - Brandon and Nicole of Arizona TREK - to try out Brandon's new-to-him Isuzu Vehicross...which did amazingly well. 

So we set off for Rock Springs, where I insisted we stop and get some pie this time at the Rock Springs Cafe - and we popped a piece of mixed berry pie and a piece of Jack Daniel's pecan pie in the ARB fridge for the stop up top at the overlook. 

And off we went - we aired down the tires and switched seats.  I adjusted the mirrors (cuz I'm short, I guess) and off we went.  The 9982 doesn't really have any good opportunities for pictures unless you head over towards Gillette, but we turned off before that.  There were a few spots where I got a little nervous - one where we were sliding down a slope in soft dirt, and two where I dropped down one side of the truck into a rut or off a rock and it felt tippy.  Every single time - "breathe baby breathe - you're fine" - and I was.  The truck did it's thing.  All I had to do was steer.  Not sure how I'd feel taking Calamity Jane - a manual transmission is just a bit different than driving an automatic, but I feel this would be a good trail for me to practice on.  So maybe in the future...

Old broken windmill on the way
to Orizaba Mine
Anyway - we turned off the 9982 and headed back towards I-17 to cross under the north and south bound lanes.  I was still driving, but was tired, and we were now on a road I'd not been on, so Paul took over driving so I could watch for all the "things."  We drove through Moore's Gulch river bottom for a bit, then over to Moore's Gulch ruins - which was overrun with cows, so we just drove through and didn't stop.  As Paul has been up here before (and broke the LC too!), we were looking for a mine on an offshoot trail - the Orizaba Mine.  It's a little jaunt off the main road (FR46) and as we traveled up the road towards the Orizaba, we stopped to look at this gorgeous windmill.  Paul followed some wires up to the top of the hill where he discovered some solar collectors (he told me all about them, but I remember nothing here...) and I took lots of pictures.  We forged onward, and found a small tunnel, which of course Paul "had" to go in to - he said it went back about 20 feet or so.  He was disappointed.  Haha. 

And then there it was.  The locked gate.  To the Orizaba Mine.  It was clearly marked Orizaba Mine, and also clearly marked no trespassing.  Sigh - always with the closed and locked gates. This gate had electric gate openers, etc., and it looked well used, so like good little off-roaders, we turned around and headed back to FR46. 

Paul at one of the Wildlife Water Catchment systems
FR46 is mostly an uneventful road - it travels along quite a few saddles, around a few mountains, then turns and starts heading back towards the I-17 up where the big flat mesas are.  Its absolutely stunning country - and it was a beautiful evening.  As we bopped along, we discovered cool little things - like a Wildlife Water Catchment system (we found two) with a huge covered water reservoir, and a "watering hole" with a sloped exit point.  It was interesting - and informational signs were posted telling us that our tax dollars had purchased the Catchment systems and to please not mess with the cameras.  The cameras were missing though. Ha...

Ninja cows on the horizon
As we left the area, we went by an old corral with a shed/covering which we could see from a distance.  We passed another watering tank, and then we drove along a ridge for most of the rest of the way.  

We passed lots of cows, and we drove and drove on a relatively easy road right up until the end...which must have been 3 or 4 miles from Black Canyon City, but overlooking the city.  Watching the lights on the freeway, and watching the sun finally set - Paul and I ate the pie we had brought along, and we watched the lights - we watched the bats start flying, and then it was pitch black - and we decided to head back.  It was a quiet night, and nothing strenuous - but it was out of the house and it was off-road with my guy.  What more could an AZBackRoadsGirl ask for?
Black Canyon City Overlook

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