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Coke Ovens - AZVJC Coke Ovens Run : 2005-03-13

As one of the few Jeeps in this group I have been on the AZVJC (Arizona Virtual Jeep Club) mailing list for some time now. Got to stick together against the "Itís a Jeep thing, I donít understand" teasing that invariable happens every time we wheel together. Anyways, I saw a posting that there was going to be a run to the Coke Ovens in the Florence area. I had seen pictures and read about this place before, but never had the chance to make the run. So I packed up the Jeep and headed out Sunday morning.

Imagine my embarrassment when I show up as the only trailer queen of the bunch. I got some stares and asked by a couple of friendly kids "Why do you use a trailer? Canít you just drive it out here?" "Of course I could, but I normally break something and this is how I get it homeÖthatís my story and Iím sticking to it."

The turn out for the event was quite impressive. About 15 Jeeps, give or take, and one Toyota were ready for a four hour tour. By the way, for future reference, itís not a four hour tour. Try 10am to 6pm with many stops on the way. There was quite the range of vehicles, from bone stock to highly modified (I love the supercharger on one of the Jeeps). The trip to the Ovens was long, but uneventful (i.e. nobody rolled, broke or got so stuck that a couple of people couldnít shake it out). A couple of the more modified rigs took the harder lines.

The Ovens are pretty cool. I have to admit they are much bigger than I thought they would be. Down the hill was a rattlesnake under the remains of a house. Boy was it pissed. You could hear itís rattle half way up the hill. Then again, Iíd be super angry too if people kept poking me with a stick (no idea if that happened, but Iíd still be pissed if you poked me with a stick).

After eating a late lunch and checking the maps several times, it was decided that we totally did not want to go out the way we came in. However we had heard that the river was running fast and werenít sure if everyone would make it across. We decided on the river, a sacrificial lamb and some tow ropes. On the way there was some really nasty and deep mud that we had to drive through. If you tried to stay up on the side you would just slide in so most people just dove in and drove through it. Everyone was surprised when the Liberty didnít get stuck, but a stock YJ did. Guess those things are not just leather seats and IFS.

At the river we got lucky. Two cows decided to take a walk across so we saw that it wasnít that deep. Everyone made it across in one piece except one person who just took it to fast covering his engine in water. Give him credit though, this was his first time off road and didnít whine once about it. I think he will have the bug now and tires larger than 30Ē will be in his future. After that we kind of wandered around crossing the railroad tracks (I think some people really thought we might go through the train tunnel) and followed washes to get to the road.

Well, thatís my long story for a long trip. I had a great time and hope to see the AZVJC members again out on the trails.

Who: Mark

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