Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Last Bit of the Day... A Sedona Red Rocks Jeep Tour

 "Sit right back and I'll spin you a tale... the tale of a tiny jeep. The jeep set sail on the desert fair for a three ow-wer tour!" ;)

... sung of course to the tune of Gilligan's Island...

The carrot that teased us to listen to the Time Share spiel, (that surprised us) was a "gift".  Like I said you could choose a hundred dollar bill, or tickets to several local "venues" ... Heidi woulda taken the long green...

... proving that in truth, I might NOT be spinning tales when I say money is not what motivates me ;) I thought one of the Jeep Tours might could be fun, since that's not something we'd drop the green for on our own...

So... in the end that's what we done.

Keep in mind that motorized adventure is NOT a high selling point for Heidi...

In spite of the fact that she's rode along in the back seat of the Ol' Dodge as it scrambled over the full scale 4X4 road that climbs over the 13,000+ feet of Imogene pass in the High Rockies...

... It is definitely not what she does of free choice on a summer afternoon...

So... when the first jeep she saw in the morning was that  mud caked rig...her anticipation wasn't what you might call entirely positive.

*The Jeep we rode ~ Along the way in Sedona*

Her apprehension wasn't ever proven justified... let's just say that for town folks it was "jeeping"... but... not putting down the tour outfits here, I understand the realities of things... but using such words as "Extreme" to describe these tours is ... um... a bit extreme! ;)

That's not to say they aren't some fun. We loaded up, our driver and eight of us and headed down the two lane to access some of the back country...

*Drivers eye view - Heading out*


The driver we had, Mike, was what you might call a Sitdown Comedian... or would that be a Drive by Joker?

He kept up a running repartee of jokes and banter scattered amongst the names of rock locations, Celebrity Houses, and area history...

I know I'd not be able to do his job... No way could I remember all the bits  and jokes to fill three hours! ;)

One thing I learned early on... it's extremely difficult to do much decent photography on such a tour. You're seeing a lot of nice country passing by... but capturing it on the move is a so so proposition...


Mostly what you get is fuzzy rock spires and real blurry, close up trees...

... as the jeep passed the point you were trying to picture...

... and the shutter tripped as you rolled in front of the juniper six feet away. ;)


We did make a stop or three along the way to stretch our legs on the three hour journey and take a few steady photos, and I did manage to get one or two along the way...

But mostly I'd have to say that these back country Jeep Tours are best spent looking and seeing...

Rather than trying to make any pictures as you go.

We came onto one bit of "Federal Trivia" at one of the stops.

Mike had just asked; "What's the difference 'tween a jeep and a rental car?"

Answer; A jeep has limitations... a rental car can go anywhere! ;)

... and then we rolled around a bend in the track and there in a small forest service parking lot, complete with outhouse, sat a couple of sedans... hmmmm....

Seems you can get to the same spot by way of a graded road that a prius can run over... not so much fun ;) ... but you can get there! lol

Well, before the Jeep even rolled to a stop, Mike warned that; "through that gate there's some Indian Ruins... "

*The Indian Ruins sit in that dark cleft in the rock - left center*

" ...but if you go there I can get fined $500. We've got a permit from the Forest Service to run this Jeep Tour. I don't have a "Permit" to guide you to that ruins... so if you go there, I'm leaving you here, seriously. If I let you back on the Jeep that means I allowed you to go to the ruins..."

The thing is? Those people who drove their cars up? by another, well graded road? Were walking through the gate to the ruins. The Forest Service had built the outhouse and parking lot for Access to the site!... so those "Civilians" could go... and we could go if we drive back up in our own cars... but... because we were passengers on that Jeep... we could not...

NOW do you understand why when you hear; "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" You need to run. RUN FAST, RUN FAR!!! :)



As for the extreme part... I also discovered that it's real hard to photograph the angle of ascent or descent of a Jeep... from the inside...

What you can't see here is... that the track has dropped down in front of the jeep...

... pretty steep and rocky...

...but it's not real intimidating looking in this pic is it?



Now this is a few feet farther along...


and the nose of the rig tipped over and all you can see is the dirt in front us...

... but like I said you can't see the angle we were descending at...

Still not "extreme" in my experience ;) but it had a couple of the lil' gals squealing here and there...

I'd warned Heidi; "I don't want no bruises from you grabbin' on 'cause we hit a dang bump!"

So... this poor guy on the right of this pic?

When we Hit a bump and a lurch or two...

... squeezed in like we were... like it or not! he got a dent or two crushed into his leg.

I can't say I heard any complaints... Though those would have likely come from his wife!

The truth is... most of the mileage was more along the lines of this here...

... and then a few rocky tracks that most visitors to Sedona and the Red Rock country don't see.

If you've got a 4x of any sort, and modest driving ability...

... and at least a smidgen more sense than a turnip, you can drive the county we rolled through yourself...

If you rent a Jeep in town... remember... they have something like two "Rescues" a day of those rentals... of people who claimed; "It wasn't my fault! That rock just jumped under the axle!" ... and those "Rescues" run I'm told 'bout $600 bucks!

When you're coming back into town watch for the signboards for the new traffic game being installed in arizona... Red Rock Country has got the earliest "Beta" versions...

*Click the pic to read the sign*

 I'm not sure what you win... if you get High Score...

It sounds like fun...

I need to take the Raider back there and see how many points I can rack up...

They really do need to upgrade to a three digit readout for that though! ;)

I'm thinking the Tour Jeep...loaded up with 8 touristas and a driver isn't gonna do very well in the game.

In the end we had a good time. We saw some new country and had a fine day in the Arizona sunshine... and Heidi survived with no great terrors! ;)

Still Real Comfortable with the 4X4 ability of My Old Dodge Truck!
Brian

3 comments:

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

Yup, we went and played on a back road in our little 4x4 Tracker... and read later about how all those big boys say it's such a tough scary road??? Hmmmmmm we just went and had fun! LOL

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Karen and Steve
RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com

Brian said...

Those Trackers/sidekicks/samurai are the best little 4X's around... The "Big Boys" have to sell the roads as some sort of terror to justify the fortune they sunk into their beasts that can't go near the places that lil' tracker can go! :)

What it mostly takes is something between your ears ;)

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

And some experience driving at 12 years old on back logging road in the U.P. of Michigan.... LOL



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Karen and Steve
The USA Is Our Big Backyard
http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com