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Unread 01-29-2006, 10:42 PM   #1
articulate
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Arizona Jeep epic adventure: in print!

I'm really excited to share that I've got a trail/adventure story published in the latest Arizona Outdoorsman magazine (Vol. 4 Issue 3). If you're in Arizona, you can pick up the mag at most Walmarts and Sportsman's Warehouse. Here are a few pictures, which didn't make the printed version:





I do have a ton more at this page:
http://www.markdstephens.com/coalson_ranch/index.html

The quick story goes: I left somewhat at the last minute for a super-remote place in the Apache-Sitegreaves National Forest, near the Blue River. My wife and I drove to an old ranch, which we thought was going to be deserted, on approximately 45 miles of trail, that starts about 30 miles from the nearest town (Morenci, Arizona). The trail took us a day and a half to navigate, although the terrain was not technical: Just remote and scenic. When we arrived at the ranch early on a Sunday morning, a short and tough looking Mexican cowboy greeted us at the front corral. This dude was WAY out there without a vehicle, horse, or radio. He spoke nearly no English at all, and luckily I speak Spanish; He called himself Gustavo. He was quite excited to have some visitors, and was extremely kind: He offered us coffee and breakfast. I asked Gustavo if he lived there all the time, and he explained he's only there between cattle drives and simply watches the place for the "patron" (the owner). Just Gutsavo, his dog, and a small shack loaded with canned goods.

But on the way out, the Jeep broke down - the fuel pump. At this point in the trail, I could tell we were 10 miles from the last source of modern life based on the GPS. It was another ranch, but we remembered seeing several people, some trucks, etc. We decided heading that way was best. We hiked our way to this ranch, but nobody was home. Which was strange because there were at least a half dozen horses, a herd of cattle, chickens, several dogs, and so forth. We waited and waited. It was raining hard, so we stowed away in their bunkhouse that seemed to house just old furniture. My wife and I huddled for warmth until morning, and hit the road again.

About 12 miles down the road, we heard a noise: an car? A motor of some sort? Cresting the hill, there was ranch #2 with a generator running. This lady saw us coming down the hill, and stopped. "You're a sight for sore eyes" I told her. Immediately, she took us in and gave us food, water and drove us to her "phone booth" as she called it: a cedar tree on top of a hill that seems to allow the best cell phone reception, which was splotchy at best.

There is a whole new story to the adventure of getting the Jeep extracted, perhaps I'll post up shortly.

Anyway, I'm hoping you enjoy. Epic for sure, and I probably tell it better over a campfire. If you're in Arizona, go get a copy of the magazine....I'd appreciate it!

Cheers,
M

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Unread 01-31-2006, 09:22 PM   #2
articulate
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More pics
A storm begins to roll in over us as we begin the trail:


Crossing the Blue River:


Coming back with the cavalry, we were stopped by this unamused cow:


We were pretty concerned about not having brakes since they are hydrolic. On the first slight downhill section, I decided to try putting the Jeep in 2nd gear as I coasted down the hill behind the Rover. Since the Jeep has a manual transmission, this worked perfectly for getting the serpentine belt moving, thereby activating my hydrolic components:

I had brakes and power steering. So when I needed good brakes and steering, I just put her in gear. This would not have worked with an automatic transmission...at least I don't think so. This method did produce additional drag on the tow vehicle, however everything has a trade off and this seemed to be the wisest way to go.

After 8 hours and 23 minutes of towing, we made it to the highway. But we were still a good distance to town. We agreed to keep towing the Jeep on the highway to Morenci, where I contacted AAA to get the Jeep to the dealership where I got the fuel pump replaced under warranty. Cheers to that!

Thanks for checking it out...
M
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Unread 01-31-2006, 10:17 PM   #3
sciron4x4
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wow. GREAT shots. What kind of camera were you using?
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Unread 02-01-2006, 09:33 AM   #4
articulate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sciron4x4
wow. GREAT shots. What kind of camera were you using?
Thanks, amigo. The pictures were shot using a couple of Sigma lenses (19mm-35mm, and a 28mm-200mm), with Fuji Provia 100. The camera body is a simple Canon Rebel Ti - but the real magic happens between the lenses and the film.

I haven't "gone digital" yet. I've got to save some change to get the Canon EOS 5D...if I'm going to add a digital SLR to the kit, I want to get a full-frame sensor in that sucker. For now, I just use a slide scanner to make my 35mm transparencies digital.

Cheers
M
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Unread 02-01-2006, 12:21 PM   #5
sciron4x4
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Digital or not, whatever you're doing now... looks great. I personally love this one the best...



Great angle.
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Unread 02-02-2006, 09:17 PM   #6
articulate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sciron4x4
Digital or not, whatever you're doing now... looks great. I personally love this one the best...



Great angle.
I appreciate that, thanks.

Hopefully I'll get even better ones in time....and more magazine assignments.

Cheers,
M
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Unread 02-02-2006, 11:21 PM   #7
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Just makes me wanna clean up my ZJ, then hit the trails. I figure, clean Jeep + fresh mud + sunshine + perfect backdrop = great scene. Heh.
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