spent a "down day" on the banks of the Gila River in a nice
wooded camping area. The next morning, we broke camp and
headed out. Our path took us from the Gila River area
north through the mountains to just south of Grants, NM.
We encountered some challenges, but prevailed in the end.
The photos below are what we saw.
morning inspection of his rig, Len discovered that his spare
tire holder was falling apart. We repaired it the previous
day, but yet another pin had come loose. We worked on it
for awhile before we concluded that we could not actually repair
it because some of the components were bent.
spare tire is on a 4-bar mechanism, but it cantilevers out some
feet from the rear of the rig which puts huge stresses on the
joints and pins, particularly during a bounce resulting from
hitting a rut in the road. Really, you want the tire low
and tight to the frame for minimum stress.
around and took photos of the other rigs. This in Vince's
U500 with custom box.
Len's 1017A, the sister to Thor.
our 1017A with a HiLo pull trailer that we slaughtered and
mounted to the frame. It is ugly, but battle-proven.
custom U500 with GXV living quarters.
LMTV with custom living quarters.
looks rather like Thor, although very different under the hood.
high-low style pickup camper. This has some really nice
Gail's U500 with custom GXV box.
U500 with custom shelter.
traveled south from the Gila River to Sapillo and did a minor
resupply (ice, beer) and then headed north into the mountains on
the dirt. It was rather slow going with narrow trails and
steep grades. Around noon, we pulled into a campsite for
north, we encountered a lake nestled among the hills.
trail dust was bad, so the convoy spread out over several miles
both for visibility and personal comfort.
road terminated at the blacktop and many miles east we did a
brief roadside stop where I spotted this thistle in bloom.
Note the various colors of pollen.
stopped we were able to photograph the rolling grasslands and
mountains in the distance.
us was a yucca in bloom.
headed north on the dirt again toward Bear Trap Canyon and came
upon this herd of horses with several babies. I am sure
that the rancher is very happy.
traveled hard all day and made it to Bear Trap Camp. I was
a nice open field with plenty of room for all the trucks.
morning during his pre-travel inspection, Len discovered more
damage. Both of the forward cabin stabilizers had been
ripped from the frame. Upon a more detailed inspection, we
discovered that this had happened before and that the weld was
marginal. Furthermore, we noticed that the sub-frame was
of thin-walled tubing which was not expected.
that there were welding wires left over from the previous
repair. This mounting is contrary to common sense as the
1017's frame is very "twisty" and can tolerate several FEET of
twisting during "normal" off-roading. These struts were
"fighting the frame" and the frame won. An alternate
mounting mechanism needs to be developed. On Thor, we
spent a good amount of time addressing this particular design
issue and in the 5 years that we have had it, no problems have
developed. And trust me, we have not been kind to the
truck. We have driven it hard over rough terrain and the
mounting for the house is intact. If we had done a marginal
job, the house would have self-destructed due to the torsion.
continued north into the Plain of Saint Augustine.
The road was laser-straight for 20 miles or so as we approached
the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope.
a dish transporter. This contraption carries the
multi-hundred-ton dish from one mounting to another and to and
from the service shop.
the service shed, AKA "the barn" where the dishes were assembled
are serviced as required.
are 27 active dishes and one spare. This configuration
allows the ability to service the array without disruption of
dishes are huge and are mounted on concrete pillars, visible
underneath the dish.
what happens when tall trucks go through low-hanging brush.
|Trip Home Page|
Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2016, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.