Trail Dust Days

September 1998

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These photos were taken in September 1998 at the Tucson Rough Riders Trail Dust Days 4x4 festival. This trail was Romero Canyon on the north side of the Santa Catalina mountain range. The Catalinas have peaks that are nearly 10,000 feet and the terrain is very rough. Romero canyon is a dead end, terminating short of the main ridge of the range. On this run, only 3 vehicles elected to run the trail. I had come from San Diego especially to attend Trail Dust Days (TDD) to run trails with the 411 and the Rough Riders. This section is narrow, and has big ruts.

The Photos

The 411 handles big ruts.

This is close to the end of the Romero Canyon trail. This is *way* steep. The fellow at the front questioned if the 411 would make it up. I said "Of course. But that is not what concerns me. My worry is coming back down". I am at the top with the camera. Note the big ledges. Ledges that surely would have caused the 411 to do an endo. Fortunately, my better judgement won. I sat it out while the balance of the group went the additional 200 meters to the dead end turnaround. This, as it turns out, was a good decision

At the obstacle shown in the first slide, my wheel slipped into the rut on the way out. Like all travel in the 411, I was going slow. Romero was tough, there were plenty of side hills (which I hate - see Agua Caliente Adventures for details) and it was steep. Note how the gear in the back is handing from the ratchet strap. The cooler poured a bunch of ice cold water down my back. And, to add insult to injury, I was hanging from my seat belt. I had to be braced to get the buckle undone. Note further that the windshield is now cracked due to the stress from the downhill side. And, as a free bonus, the fuel tank is on the downhill side. I am spilling a full tank of diesel onto the desert. This would later cause me to run out and require a run back to the tow vehicle to get me back to the trail head.

One of the other Rough Riders is coming to help along with Kathleen. She was not in the passenger's seat because she did not want to do the rut. The photos were taken by the wife of the fellow coming to assist me. Sadly, I cannot remember either of their names. But, if you see this page, thanks again both for assisting and sending me copies of the photos

The extraction and turnover was simple with the two other vehicles that were with me. They were fully prepared, had winches, tow ropes, chains, shackles, etc. The only thing that they did not have was extra diesel. This was not all that suprising since I had the only diesel in the group.

With a strap on the back, and a winch on the front, the recovery was accomplished in short order. Here, Kathleen attempts to coordinate the actions. Note the sahauro cactus in the background

Whew! Back to the "rubber side down" state. Time to load and go before I run out of fuel. We made it to within a couple of miles of the trail head before I ran dry. Since the TRR guys were running chase for me, we left the 411 and got more fuel. No big deal, but if there were not there, it would have been an ugly walk carrying that 20L can of fuel a couple of miles. We got out before it was dark thanks to their assistance.

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All photos and narrative text Copyright (c) Bill Caid 1977 to 2004
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