Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wagoner road trip

The adventure begins at Kirkland Junction on SR89, south of the Prietas. The Wagoner road branches off to the east; the easiest-to-spot landmark is the great big Maughan Ranches sign. That's seven (7-count 'em-7) ranches under one ownership out this road. Maughan owns others in the area further south on SR89. One can only hope that there's an ironclad conservation easement on all that property!

The sign above announces what is important out toward Walnut Grove and Wagoner -- cattle. Open range, BTW.

And here is the road as it takes off over hill and dale heading southeast toward the Hassayampa River. This section is running primarily through through BLM (federal government) land.

Oops! Once the road reaches inhabited land, that is, tax-paying property, suddenly it is paved. Some interesting politics there, I would guess, dating way back. The alternating dirt and paved sections have existed ever since the LH and I began travelling this road back in the early 80s.

At this point, the route is dropping toward the river.

Always in Arizona there is a developer, though not much looks to have been built here.

Or here.

We're getting near the bridgework.

After crossing the river, the Wagoner road follows the Hassayampa for miles; oh, it's beautiful country down there. This detour is the regular route taken by large trucks which are too heavy for the bridge. The cattle guard (below) is located just before the detour rejoins the blacktop.

A side road takes off right at the bridge works.

Further along the road, we spotted this barn which has few days remaining. Its condition is somewhat surprising, inasmuch as most of the ranches along the river are prosperous spreads. They're rich in water, if nothing else!

The pavement leads through gates to the TK Bar...

Further along, the Walnut Grove schoolhouse. I don't believe that classes have been held here for a long time; the local kids take the long bus ride over to the school in Kirkland for K-6 and an even longer trip into Prescott for middle and high school.

Also at Walnut Grove: a church.

Further along: the Gold Bar Bed & Breakfast. I could happily spend a couple of weeks here along the river!
These "primitive road" signs have freaked me out for years. Actual meaning: 1) this is an unpaved county road that is 2) graded and drained but 3) doesn't meet federal highway standards. Or some such. Perfectly good for any fancy sedan. Humph, I'm sure these folks know all about the Real Primitive Roads out in the woods and chaparral here.

At this point, the road is unpaved but hasn't reached Wagoner as yet. Georgene & I turned around here, although if you are adventurous, have plenty of time and 4-wheel drive, you can make it all the way to Crown King.

A picture from long ago (1982), of my LH and the very, very young woman who has morphed into OmegaMom, in front of the last remaining building at Wagoner. Has it been that long? Sometime before 1990, the old store and post office structure gave up completely and the site was razed. I think that Wagoner is still on Arizona road maps -- but beware of "towns" on maps that are marked by an open circle. The symbol actually means a "location." Our first trip out to this spot, we assumed that it was a Real Town, with, among other things, a gas station. Hah!

In the 1880s, Wagoner was far more prepossessing than in 1982!

A Family of Bloggers: I'm happy to report that in addition to the dotter (OmegaMom), my family now includes another blogger -- the Aussie Bro, who signs himself as Hermano in the comments. He's inclined to be a grump about misuse of the language, as you will find out at Antipodean Curmudgeon. And in a note this AM, the SSon has again pondered entering the Blogosphere to show off some wonderful bio-pictures. Go Sson! Go Curmudgeon Bro! Go OmegaMom!!!


Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

A dandy day's outing. I think it was the summer of '82 that I visited youse in Wilhoit.


TomboCheck said...

Great pics GJ! Looks like the bridge work should be done soon, eh?

Jan said...

granny j..your photos just make me want to move to Arizona!

I always loved visiting there, but it has been years, and I do miss it.

I hope you never stop sharing your wonderful town and surrounding areas with us.

JesseL said...

I love it out that direction.

A few years ago, when my wife-to-be and I were dating, we took a couple long drives out that way. We mad a loop that went past Wagoner and the abandoned mines in the southern Bradshaws, and coming back up Senator Highway past the old Palace Station. Around 70 miles of back roads in about 9 hours I think.

We had a great time checking out the old mining equipment and buildings. Also saw the only bobcat I've ever seen in the wild.

Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

Catalyst said...

Great road trip, GJ. Thanks!

Granny J said...

bro -- then perhaps you recall the time that we did, indeed, try to make it all the way to Crown King. In the Fiat. BTW, I have located the slides of you and Motor Mouth Jim Reed on his claim.

tombo -- with luck, yes! Tho it looked to be moving right along when G. & I were there. A lot faster than Iron Springs Rd. or Copper Basin.

jan -- I'll do it as long as I can; I'm having a ball doing these posts!

jesse -- bet you've got a 4-wheel drive to make it in 9 hours. I think cattle and pick-up truck dawgs are the only 4-legged critters we ever saw out that way.

Cat-A -- where did you get that picture of Judy?

meggie said...

Lovely interesting post.
I have been trying to get my brother to begin a blog. He is witty & funny. Time is his main concern.

Russell L. Carter said...

We just went by the Wagoner road yesterday, we went via Wickenberg to PHX to drop the dotter off. Stopped at the Hassayampa Preserve for the very first time, almost knee high grass everywhere. After leaving the Preserve, we passed by the Castle Hot Springs Rd and L. asked about it, and I said we should go via the Wagoner Rd, I think it goes all the way down.

Anyway, we were inspired by your posting the "Green" map a while back, so we took the long way back this morning. We went east, stopping at Bryce Thompson Arboretum. Been wanting to visit for almost a quarter century and it just hadn't happened. Everyone should see it in the next few weeks. That part of the Sonoran is fantastically green, with carpets of yellow poppies up the sides of the mountains. The flower peak at the Arboretum should be in a week or two, it will be awesome, as they got some rain today.

Then we went to Miami (try Dick's Broasted Chicken, Tombo might appreciate correctly fried chicken) , then up through a bunch of hail north to Roosevelt, Payson, General Crook Trail, than high tail to Prescott. All the way to the base of the climb to Payson the desert is spectacularly green.

Granny J said...

meggie -- there is no question that blogging does take a time commitment, but it can be worth it!

RC -- what a drive!!! And there's been a bit more moisture this weekend to keep the deserts and hills green just a wee bit longer. Hurrah!!!

TomboCheck said...

Well that's it, I think I am going to have to do this trip the next chance I get.

I've wanted to drive through Crown King for a while too, so this would be a good opportunity to do that as well, assuming the road isn't too snowy still....

Granny J said...

tombo -- I'd avoid those back country mountain for another month until they not only melt but also dry out thoroughly! Which reminds me...

RC -- don't know what kind of wheels you have, but the road connecting the Wagoner Road & Castle Hot Springs was pretty dang iffy back in the day when LH & I were driving up in that turf. Very, very iffy. Unless something has really changed.

TomboCheck said...

Probably good advice. A little mud is fun, a lot of mud means hours of frustration. :)

Granny J said...

tombo -- unless you're a kid (and the weather is nice and warm)

Russell L. Carter said...

Granny J, I've got a Toy Tundra with a lift and an extra leafs in the back, and some heavy duty rubber. This same Tundra has done 200 miles of the Baja 1000 route, so I think it can handle AZ chaparral ;-) Although I did ding up the door right good getting past downed trees on Senator Highway a few years ago, when we had all that rain in Nov/Dec. We had to push maybe 30 trees off the road to get through to Palace Station.

I may have to actually see if I can push through Wagoner all the way to Lake "Pleasant".

I've taken the route from Palace Station to Wagoner Rd, I guess maybe 10 years ago, in a smaller 4wd and it was interesting.

Based on what I've seen all around I doubt there's a lot of mud right now. Although, I was bawn and raised in the Florida Everglades, and what you do with your 4wd there when you are young and stupid is to find a nice mudhole and get stuck. Now you have a technical problem, worth an hour or so entertainment. I am not ashamed to admit that I have done that multiple times. But I was young then.

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