Or, the alternate title…..
“No worries….we’ve got a shovel.”
Today’s blog post is a story. It’s the story of Suzukis, sand, sandwiches, & snow. It’s a White Pocket story, and it has the possibility of a long one. How long will it go? That depends on when I wear down and succumb to the sleep I so desire (and deserve). But we’ll see what we can do with this one. 😉
This Spring’s final White Pocket trip was pushed out by one day. Instead of Friday, Saturday, & Sunday we went out Saturday – Monday at the request of participants. Yes in fact, we do requests here. Remain flexible, plans can change and that’s okay.
Leaving Prescott Saturday morning we had a prelude of things to come, although we didn’t know it. The winds here were amazing. I mean amazing. And for several hours I got to drive the Titan in blasting winds from Prescott to Gap. My forearms got a great workout while steering to be sure.
We made our way to the Vermillion Cliffs in no time at all. After doing the trip so many times in the past year it’s become familiar. Therefore, the long ride doesn’t seem so long. For my passengers though I’m betting it was just a long trip. Fortunately the scenery the whole way is fantastic and ever changing. So, passengers are normally entertained. 🙂
Some additional entrainment was provided when we started to approach Poverty Flats. A small “low clearance” Suzuki was on the rough road in front of us, and we were all pretty surprised. As we made our way along the BLM road we watched the Suzuki bottom out here and there. The consensus was that there was no way they were heading to Poverty Flat, Cottonwood, or White Pocket. But, when we came to the cut off road that way the consensus was proved wrong…..
Once you get to the cut off from Pine Tree to Poverty Flat things get sandy fast. And within minutes the little Suzuki in front of us came to a grinding halt. They were stuck. An older woman popped out of the passenger side, and then a young skinny guy. We wondered what would come next.
The next thing we saw, a shovel came out of the back of the Suzuki…..
“No worries…..we’ve got a shovel……” That was echoed in the Titan for some time to come afterward.
Sure enough, the folks dug themselves out. Simply amazing. And they cleared out of the way for us as they were clearly going to be going in at a slower pace than we were. Plus, given their clearance it wasn’t looking to hopeful for them.
Miles later while opening a gate we looked behind us and surprise, surprise, there was the Suzuki……. Really? You’ve got to be kidding. From Poverty Flat to White Pocket we kept wondering if they’d find a short cut and beat us in…… 🙂
We all began to wonder, do you really need a high clearance vehicle to get in? Or could the Versa pull it off? Maybe a Civic??? Anything is possible it seems!!!
Arriving at White Pocket we found that we were on our own. Ah, how nice, the whole place to ourselves. We also found that the wind we’d been dealing with the whole day was with us, even hundreds of miles away from home. Well, it is the high desert, and anything is possible.
Making camp was interesting. While the Turbo Tent does go up easily, it does not go up easily in blasting winds. And it’s even tougher in an all out sand storm. Where we camped was a dune, and therefore wind + sand = sand storm. The final pitching of the tent was something to be seen. In fact, it was partially anchored to the Titan for good measure! It remained that way for the whole weekend!
We’d talked about making a video of the camp on day one, but then decided pointing any lens into the wind would destroy it within minutes. Not a good idea…..and the manufacturer’s warranty would probably be voided by such actions!
After getting things squared away, and gear stowed into the tent, we attempted to make a mid-day meal. 3:30 p.m. the grill came out……and it wouldn’t remain lit. The winds were just too strong. After a lot of maneuvering and changes we found a spot close in to the tent and I whipped up some burgers. Even out of the direct wind though the burgers got a nice fine coating of White Pocket sand.
Days later I’ve still got sand in my teeth. Heck, I just showered and I’ve got sand in too many places it doesn’t belong…… Ever put your IPod headphones in and hear the crunch of sand? Oh yeah……
With burgers in hand we attempted to eat our meals in comfort. By that I mean we all faced out of the wind and stood. Chairs were blowing over, the portable table was left in the truck as it would fly away, and plates were out of the question. Oh yeah, an epic meal to be sure! 😉
Fortunately spirits weren’t dimmed. Day one in White Pocket. Plenty of time to photograph, plenty of time to enjoy, and plenty of time for the wind to die down.
See, we believed that the winds would in fact die down. But you know, they didn’t cooperate at all. Well, they eased off at night while we slept. But the moment the sun came up the wind machine turned on too. Really neat phenomena if you’re observing from somewhere not in the middle of it…….
Over the course of the past three days I think we all no longer like strong winds. For years I’ve enjoyed the wind storms here in Prescott. They’re a fun diversion and wonderful to listen to from inside a place they can’t reach. But being outside and sand blasted, getting into a tent full of sand even though it’s sealed up tight, getting the real wind blown look that leads to “leathery skin…..” Nobody was having it. That didn’t matter whether or not we’d have it. It was going to take place with or without our permission.
I think the most interesting weather event took place this morning though. Strong winds, but no sand blowing. Ah, some relief. What changed?
Well, last night and this morning’s snow packed it down……
Why I believe Weather Bug at all is beyond me.
Okay, I haven’t passed out, but I sure am typed out. There’s a lot more to the story of course, and I’ll try to do more justice to it later. I also filmed more than an hour of video in total, so you’ll get to see that sometime in the near future I’m sure. And you’ll get to hear the wind as well! You’ll also probably hear the sand grinding away at my camera.
Oh yeah, gotta clean the gear big time!!!
All images in today’s post are as is. No HDRing, Topaz, filters, or anything else. Heck, I’m still offloading! 😉
I did a double take watching the weather the other day, when they were showing that area! You people do know it is almost June, don’t you? I hope you packed your 30 degree bag (unlike someone who will remain nameless who ventured into that area last fall – with a 45 degree bag…).
So are you saying that you didn’t test out the Titan 2.0 sleeping modifications?
Can’t wait to see what nuggets you scored this go around!
One more thing – was the Suzuki a rental? Not that anyone with a rental would ever consider driving Cottonwood Road or any other road in that area with a rental… I’m just sayin’.