Texas Canyon, Arizona After opening our presents this morning we wanted to do something outdoors to enjoy the nice weather. Everything is closed for the holiday in Bisbee and Tombstone so we headed to the Dragoon/Texas Canyon area.
Thursday we made the 450 mile trip from our New Mexico camp to Benson Arizona in one day. Normally we don't like to travel this far in one day but thought it would be easy because the miles go by so fast here in the west. While most of the trip was easy the first 100 miles involved a high mountain pass. Before ascending the east slope of this pass several signs warned us that this route was going to be steep and high. "Trucks over 11 tons without an exhaust brake or more than 65' are not permitted on this route" is what the sign read. O.K., we're just under 65' and have an exhaust brake; we've come this far so lets go for it. About 50 miles from the top it started to get foggy and rain a bit; uh oh, sure hope it's not snow when we get to Cloudcroft, elev.8700'.
When we reached Cloudcroft it had in fact snowed sometime earlier. Fortunately the skies were clearing and the threat of precipitation or ice were no longer a possibility. All we had to do is 20 miles or so down the west side.
The descent down the west side was not as gradual as the climb on the east side. As if the 16 mile long, 6% grade and sheer drop off into the canyon below were not enough they added a tunnel just to make sure everyone has a white knuckle experience on the way down. Tunnel, yikes??!!! Nobody said anything about a tunnel 100 miles ago; sure hope it's at least 12'-6", no way I'm stoppin' this thing now. Despite the steep grade the exhaust brake and lower gears did their job to keep the speed of our 16 tons in check until we reached the valley below. Whew!