Perhaps my obsession for dirt roads, empty two lane highways, and ones that are a bit of both, stems from those golden days of summer when the old dusty tracks that stretch across the wide Sacramento Valley, and the pre 1952 alignment of Route 66, were my playground. Surprisingly, this fascination never waned with age, and even more surprising, I never purchased a 4×4 until the mid 1990s. Needless to say, there are more than a few stories in those adventures.
Several years ago my dearest friend, also an avid fan of the road less traveled, and I acquired a 1998 Jeep Cherokee and resolved the limitations we had imposed upon ourselves through the ownership of stalwart two wheel drive vehicles. Well, to say the very least it has been quite interesting.
With next weeks interview on AM Arizona in Prescott, and informal business in Williams as well as Flagstaff pending, that familiar hunger for some real adventure is beginning to build. Here is the excuse needed to explore more than sixty miles of raw, rugged Arizona back country and I can even justify it as a shortcut!
For obvious reasons I have to stay on the main road to the studio. Usually we make the return trip on the Williamson Valley Road, forty miles of beautiful rocky rutted trail between Prescott and Seligman.
On this trip we will most likely have to skip that drive but that does not necessarily mean we will have to stick to the trail made safe for hybrids, econo boxes, and small foreign sports cars. As it so happens I know of a beautiful old road that winds it way from Chino Valley, into the deep forest, and then into Williams.
Sure, the elevation will near 8,000 feet in places, Sure, we just had a winter storm that dumped snow measured in feet in that area. Sure, there is supposed to be a warming trend that will transform large segments of the road into gumbo. Sure, the last time I drove it in similar conditions we got stuck several times but it was beautiful country.
However, that time I was driving a 1946 GMC. This time we have a Jeep. Besides, I am quite sure it is a shortcut.
Stay tuned for details –

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