Fire Road 42, usually called FR42, is located in the Tonto National Forest. A group of 7 Jeeps and one Toyota pickup (argh!) ran this on Saturday of the Labor Day Weekend. The temp stayed in 90°s for the trip. It was my first "day" trip for several months. I had been doing all night runs pretty much since Memorial Day when Donna and I spent the holiday at the Cinders.
My good friend Larry did us the honors of being trail leader. The majority of us had never been on the trail. A couple had but it had been too many years ago to remember those minor navigational details. So, Larry lead the group and for the most of the time, I took the tail gunner position. Larry was also great at taking the pictures that he has let me post here. He got a new Sony digital a few weeks back and is making good use of it. Many thanks to Larry for the great pics he took!
The trail wanders around and through the area west of the Verde River and Bartlett Lake. The trail runs in many different washes that provide drainage into the river. It occasionally skirts the ridge tops between the washes also. Much of the trail is decomposed granite. It had recently rained during the week so we were lucky and did not have to put up with the dust factor. That was a nice little blessing considering we had 8 vehicles. The last half of a group that size usually eats a lot of dust.
Here is Lady stopped part way up a climb out of a wash. The Verde can be seen in the background. Steve and Jimmy wandered down to talk about something or the other. Check out the flex on that front axle....driver's front stuffed up into the fender well while the passenger front droops way down to get traction. There were many spots on the trail where the non-TJ vehicles would lift tires while we TJ owners kept all four firmly on the ground.
Here is a picture of the Toyota making room for Jimmy's 1955 Willys. I am standing on Lady's front tire so as to get a better view of the tippy & twisty spot coming up. This was Brian's 2nd trail ride (Toyota driver) and he told Jimmy to go ahead so Jimmy could spot for Brian on the way up. There is nothing wrong with asking for spotter help. Jimmy does a good job at it, as I was to find out later in the day. He was having a bit of problem overheating on the Willys. It ended up being a thermostat that was stuck shut. He removed it later in the day and all seemed much better.
Here is Mike and Sally coming down a tricky down hill section. You can see the bottom side of the next Jeep (I think it is Steve's YJ) waiting at the top of the hill. (yes, this hill is much steeper than the picture shows) The recent rains had really had a good time sculpting these parts of the trail. I forgot to mention that shortly after starting on the trail, we met up with a couple of pickup trucks. They informed us that the trail was washed out and they had been forced to turn around and come back out. Gosh, it must be rough owning a vehicle like that and wanting to go trail riding but not being able to! Mike's TJ here is not stock. He has a lift, no lockers, and 31" tires. He drove this trail with no problems at all. We weren't sure where the trail was washed out. It all kind of looked like this, which to a Jeeper is just heaven!
Here is Dion's YJ with his newly installed Lock-Rite front locker making its way to the top of the hill. Dion's YJ is unique in that his is the only Jeep running the new Goodyear MT/R tires. We have all been keeping an eye on his tires. To say the least, we are all quite impressed with there performance. The sidewalls have withstood quite a bit of rock climbing abuse and are doing much better than my BFG MTs. Steve has also replaced numerous BFG MTs during this past summer. Time will tell how well the MT/Rs wear as far as mileage goes, but odds are high that this might very well be my next tire.
More pics from FR42
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