There’s definitely somethin’ about a new truck and this new truck is… well, let’s just say she ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at.
BAT, aka Big Ass Truck, was recently purchased in Iowa where we picked her up and drove her home. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have a few envious looks our way. There were sure plenty of nice compliments yelled from windows as we drove down the road.
It’s an absolute requirement to take a new truck out and give her a good test. Jeff got to do just that when we arrived in Flagstaff and a box truck got stuck.
She pulled that big ol’ box truck out like it was a kid’s toy!
Of course, after this, Jeff’s sister Tessa of Charming Millers said BAT should stand for BAD ASS TRUCK!
Our first official trip with her was up to Pinetop, AZ. We had originally planned to go to St. George, UT but the heatwave hasn’t broken yet. We made a quick change to the itinerary to go someplace a bit cooler. After all, what’s the point of jumping from the fire into the frying pan? It may not be AS hot but it’s still not much fun.
For this trip, we stayed at Ponderosa RV Park. It’s an “age-controlled” park and most of the lots are filled with more permanent RVs and mobile homes. There were a few short timers, like us, but not many.
Whew, I’m still sweating the amount of work it took to park this bad boy. Oh sure, we asked for a 35″ spot and the trailer fit just fine, but when you add on an extra 20″ for the length of the tow vehicle, maneuvering into that space can be tricky. It took 15 minutes and 3 park employees to move yard ornaments and direct us around before we were able to start leveling!
We did get one of the prettiest, if not one of the tightest, spaces though. There was a nice pasture behind us and trees on every other side of us.
Overall, I’d rate the park 3.5. The guests we met were very friendly but the wifi and even mobile data was almost non-existent.
All Trails lists a LOT of different hiking options for the area. We chose a 3.6-mile loop that was rated easy since Oreo is getting older. Or at least, we’ll use her as our excuse.
When you first enter the trailhead, you have a choice of going left or right for the loop. If you head left, as we did, the first half of the hike is completely flat and relatively boring.
But the second half makes up for it as it takes you by some interesting sites including these rock cairns.
There were plenty of open range cows in the area. Just be warned, you can walk by them fairly closely but don’t try to approach especially when there are calves near.
And even a little crick (that’s creek to you) for Oreo to play in.
After lunch, poor Oreo was a bit stiff.
I tend to be a super organized person and usually begin “staging” things to pack at least a few days before leaving. This time, a few things prevented that from happening so I did all of the packing the night before and morning of the trip. I definitely learned that there’s a good reason for my prestaging everything. It shows me that I need to prepare ahead of time or I forget too many things, like hotdogs and hamburgers!
We stopped at a small grocery store, more like a mini Trader Joes, to pick up some hotdogs but all they had was really fancy brats made with 100% open range beef. They were pretty tasty but I would hope so at $1.25 per brat ON SALE!
Lazy Mornings and Fishing?
One thing we’ve noticed about us is that camping makes us want to sleep more! We go to bed around 9 or 9:30 and often don’t get up till 8am! That’s a LOT of sleep. And, while we do enjoy the lazy mornings, it makes getting up early for fishing a bit of a challenge.
Jeff and Oreo let me sleep in while they went fishing together. I’m still trying to figure out the reward on that one since he didn’t catch anything, again…
Beware of Dogs
Fort Apache is an old Army fort from the days when our country was still fighting the native Americans. It seems weird to think that was as recent as 120 or so years ago. It was later converted to a Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding School after.
The Fort is part of the Fort Apache Reservation serving the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
When we arrived, the visitor’s center was closed but we were able to wander around the property. There were a few people here and there but it was pretty empty.
These buildings were part of the original officer’s quarters when the Fort was still an Army base. They’ve been mostly restored.
Also still standing are the boarding houses for girls and boys on either end of the original parade grounds.
We brought Oreo with us and kept her on a leash as we walked the grounds. There are a few buildings on the property that house current teachers of the active (but out of session due to Covid) school. As we approached these houses, we became aware of first one dog and then two others that were not leashed or contained in any way.
Initially, we attempted to keep walking and ignore the dogs but one, and then another, came closer as we were walking by. Oreo, never one to back down from a fight, even in her three-legged state, wasn’t going to go running in the other direction.
Just as I was about to tell Jeff we needed to cross the street and get far away from these dogs, one of them bared it’s teeth and lunged towards Oreo. Fortunately, no contact was made and we were able to quickly walk past without them pursuing but it sure did make our hearts race.
Later on, we saw another dog, a stray, that walked into the middle of the parade ground and just stopped. It stood there like a statue for the 10 minutes it took us to walk back to our truck.
A trip isn’t a trip in my mind, unless I can find some great abandoned buildings. There were some awesome finds at the actual Fort location such as these old barracks. It was restored in the 1980s but a fire has since destroyed it again.
These Kinishba Pueblo ruins were just a few miles away. It was originally part of a 600 room complex that dates back to the 1200’s. They sure don’t build them like they used to.
In the 1930’s, a museum was erected near the ruins to provide cultural relevance but it went into disrepair after the 1950’s
Quirky and AMAZING
Driving into Pinetop through Show Low, you’ll drive past The Truck Stop. While it was not open when we visited, due to COVID restrictions, the place is set up to be a music venue where they invite random food trucks to serve the concert-goers.
Well, time to head back home and get the Expedition sold!