10 mph….

How is it we’ve driven over six hours today and still have over a half a tank of gas?  Trust me, it’s not the gas mileage! It’s six thirty in the morning and Bear starts to pace back and forth.  “Come on mom.  I gotta go.”  Al’s still sleeping.  I roll out of bed gently, trying not to wake him.  I throw on the clothes from yesterday and put on my sweatshirt.  Off we go for a brisk morning walk.  The sun isn’t up just yet and the Superstition Mountain takes on new shades of color.  The colors seem to change with the movement of the sun.  What a sight to behold.Lost Dutchman My neck is a little stiff this morning.  I had a somewhat restless night for some reason and am not in the mood for an all day activity.  When Bear and I return to the Rig, Al is up and has started the coffee.  Ummmm, love my coffee……oh, and Al too.  Al would like to check out Roosevelt Lake today.  There’s three ways to get there from Lost Dutchman State Park.  Al has it all planned out. *****************************************************************************************************

Roosevelt Lake
Theodore Roosevelt Lake

Al’s plan is to head north to Highway 87 toward Payson.  Catch Highway 188 south.  Hwy 188 runs all along Roosevelt Lake, allowing us to check out the campgrounds and any boondocking possibilities.  We’ll continue south on Hwy 188 until it ends at US 60.  We catch Hwy 88 and return to our camp at Lost Dutchman.  On this route, the roads are paved and access is not an issue or a challenge.  But oh no, Ingrid can’t just agree and go with Al’s plan………… *****************************************************************************************************  Hubby’s plan would be an all day trek and we would take a cooler with food and drinks.  I’m just not feeling up to the whole day thing and suggest we just go to Canyon Lake and Tortilla Flat and then return home.  This would be a short morning excursion.  Al, always the gentleman, acquiesces.  We forego the cooler.  Take a couple of bottles of water for us and big jug for the dog.  Since we’ll be back for lunch, we forego taking snacks/food.  (yeah, dumb move, I know…one should always carry at least a power bar, etc.)

Canyon Lake
Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake is approximately fifteen miles or so up Highway 88 from Lost Dutchman State Park.  The drive is very scenic.  I drive, which allows me to pull over anytime I see a potential photo-op.  I’ve been known to be rather spontaneous when I wish to stop, and although Al has tried very diligently to pull over and accommodate my whims when I yell “stop”…..well, let’s just say, it works best when I’m behind the wheel when I’m struck with a whim.  You know, martial bliss and all 😉

Apache Lake
Apache Lake

Canyon Lake is beautiful.  The sky is an amazing blue.  We stop here, click, click.  We stop there, more clicks.  So it’s on to Tortilla Flat.  This is a “little” western town, population six.  There’s a restaurant, ice cream shop, gift shop and post office.  It’s barely 9:30 in the morning and things aren’t open just yet.  Al and I decide to drive a bit further….maybe to Apache Lake.

Apache Lake
Hwy 88 northeast of Apache Lake

Tortilla FlatAh, this is when our drive gets interesting.  The pavement ends.  Remember when I said that there’s three ways to get to Roosevelt Lake.  From Payson to the north of the Lake head south on Hwy 188 or from Globe, head north on Hwy 188.  The third and most challenging route and NOT recommended by most is to continue on Hwy 88 from Tortilla Flat to Roosevelt Lake.  Guess which route we’re taking?   Another 5-10 minutes, not so bad.  We’ve been on much worse.  Oops, should not have said that.  Here comes the wash board, rocks and holes.  Two lanes wide goes down to one and a half wide then down to one lane.  We climb in elevation.  The lane and a half dirt road is cut into the side of the rock and earth.  There’s no room for error.  Some crazy sh*t is pulling a boat!

Fish Creek Pass
Crazy guy pulls boat! Fish Creek Pass

Fish creek pass turns out to be the most challenging of the entire drive.  There’s a thousand foot change in elevation as we go up and then back down.  The switch backs are tight, quite often single lane.  If two vehicles meet, one needs to back up so the other can squeeze by.  This occurred numerous times.  What happened to that “easy” trek I recommended?

Hwy 88
They call this road a scenic highway? Fish Creek Pass….Hwy 88

We get to Apache Lake and find a restaurant with an outdoor patio.  It’s 11:30 and we’re hungry.  I order a BLT and share my bacon with Bear.  The waiter also brings Bear a large bowl of water.  I believe an extra nice tip is in order!

Apache Lake
Bear goes out to lunch

Apache LakeWith our internal organs readjusted, after the jolting from the rough ride, and tummies full, we’re off to Roosevelt Lake.  There is no way in heck we are driving back the way we came.  As we continue on our journey, the road widens but the washboard is the worst.  Every time I try to accelerate and go a bit faster, we get jolted so badly the rear of the truck starts to fish tail.  I’m sure the extra long wheel base on our extended bed truck is not helping.  Perhaps a Jeep would be more appropriate.Tonto National Forest Finally, we make it to Roosevelt Lake.  We check out some campgrounds and find boondocking at the waters edge….perfect.  We make notes for next winters excursion.  This is part of the Tonto National Forest and thus the cost of overnight parking should be $3-$6. We’re traveling on Highway 188 along Roosevelt Lake.  The road is wide, ah, the road is paved, double ah.  The speed limit is 55.  I’m driving at 45 …..it feels fast.  I bring’er up to 55….wow, now I’m going super fast.  I routinely check the speedometer to assure myself I’m not speeding (I would never do that…yeah, right!….who said that?)  After hours of travel at approximately 10 mph, 55 feels like 85. We continue south on Highway 188 until it intersects with US 60.  We switch drivers.  I’m all photoed out and exhausted.  “Beam me up, Scottie”.  Oh, how nice that would be at this moment.  US 60 still provides scenic vistas and by the time we drive past the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, I am somewhat recovered from the arduous drive and am tempted to have Al stop for a photo-op.  Nah, it’s been a long day.  I’ll make a note for next years visit.

Superstition Mountain
A very tired boy –

  We left at 8:30 this morning and returned shortly after 4:00 this afternoon.  Upon our return, we each down a bunch of water.  Bear eats his dinner, gets a quick walk, then crashes into a deep sleep.  I’ll grab a bite to eat then head off to the shower.  The same dirt that turned our shiny blue truck into a dull tan color has left a similar layer of dust and dirt on me. Al and I are clean but exhausted.  Over a glass of wine we discuss the events of the day.  We agree it was a fun, exhilarating adventure and we would do it again in a heart beat……..in a Jeep that is!Fish Creek Pass

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