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Az Trail Run, Tip Top Silver Mine, Gillette AZ

Discussion in 'United States' started by o8k, May 3, 2010.

  1. o8k

    o8k Member

    We finally got Herb (mini truck) out on the trail.

    We decided to inaugurate herbs four wheel drive career on a well known (and VERY OLD) trail to Gillette AZ and Tip Top Silver Mine. Tip Top was more than a mine, it was a town, complete with post office, bars, brothels, hotel, etc. More can be read about this very historic area here.


    A quick synopses if i may (with a bit of creative license). Arizona was known for its sliver mines, Tombstone to name another, and in the economic boom of the 1880s many New York investors were dumping money into the Arizona Silver mining industry hand over fist. Like all good things, this abruptly ended when the US down here got off the monetary silver standard in 1893 killing silver values. Almost every silver mine in AZ went promptly out of business, never to return. This boom and bust of the wild west has been the make of legend and adventure to this day.

    Well enough of that. We had to check out this rich history for ourselves (Fiances, two dogs, and some friends).

    This trail we took marked a small section of the black canyon stage route that wend from Phoenix AZ to Prescott AZ. Traveled by the likes of Famous Law Man Bat Masterson and one of the Erp brothers, i forget which, and many other historic characters of the western frontier. We started at Table Mesa RD off I-17 and headed west into the Aqua-fria valley (and river) and on to the foothills of the Bradshaw mountains.

    Being my first time out in this area, i asked a group of heavily fortified jeep people where Gillette was, he promptly replied, oh... i thought you were looking for a golf course! HA! Speaking of which, we did receive many weird looks from fellow trails people.

    The Aqua-fria had water in it and we got to test out the snorkel unintentionally. (i soo owe yall a pic of this, but its on my friend's camera, will post them as soon as i get them)

    Here is a quick trail pic

    Here I am with my best canine friend, dakota at an old building (i have read this is an old brewery), Dakota has never shown much interest in photography and is entirely more interested in the smells of the old brewery rather than a silly photo :D

    Here is a mine shaft (Aqua-man safety tip: don't go into mines that aren't yours and that are 120+ years old)
    Also notice the rich red colored vein that wraps down into the shaft! That is silver ore folks, or rather its whats left of it after the good stuff has bee plucked out of it. Transition zone clearly visable with dark metallic type rock to the left, and feldspar/quartz/silicate based type rock on the right. This mine shaft just doesn't get any more text book!

    brewery from another angle...
    Last edited: May 3, 2010
  2. Acerguy

    Acerguy Moderator Staff Member

    Awesome! More, more, more! :D
  3. fupabox

    fupabox Well-Known Member

    Ditto on the awesome...and double ditto on the more more more:):pop:
  4. o8k

    o8k Member

    Ok here are some more....

    One of the rig all loaded up, dogs and all (my lovely in the back ground):

    Most guys will tell ya 4x4'ing is all about ground clearance, i beg to differ! :D

    My buddy dakota shaking the water out of his ears after a good swim(ok wade, he dont like water, a lab that dont like water... go figure):

    A rocky crossing that i dont have a photo of me crossing,,, but i did (no ramps)! I did enjoy running the same trail as guys with 40" tires and all the gear tho, golf course! Ha, but i did hide my ramps when the drove by =D (they were probably up our way taking a break from LT ;)

    And well herbert the mini did some swimming too that day, the water in the morning was much more shallow, there was a bit of rain up north in the mountains and the river was up about 4" from when we crossed it b4, made me nervous but we had to get home eh?

    See no problem in and out! Hrm, better check them Diffs when i get home =\
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  5. o8k

    o8k Member

    I tried to plow through that water in 3rd-low (~4500RPM) but was stuffed by the sheer drag of the water that was up to the door pannels. A quick shift to 2nd-low got me out without any stopping. From the other direction i ran 2nd-Hi and was forced into 1st-high at the mid point as well. No real difference, tho 2nd-low is a bit less luggy than 1st-hi can get if your crawlin, so i figured the second run on the river was the better planned of the two.
  6. Acerguy

    Acerguy Moderator Staff Member

    Great. You know, I often wonder what the original owners of our trucks would say if they saw what we do with them! :D
  7. smoothstroke

    smoothstroke Member

    You shoulda kept going north another 20 miles you would have wound up at our place in mayer. We live on the road to crown king in mayer. We can drive the minis 30 minutes to the pines and if you wanted keep on going all the way to lake pleasant. Your truck looks good.
  8. smoothstroke

    smoothstroke Member

    PS. You keep putting those photos of arizona on here and these guys are all gonna move here :)
  9. o8k

    o8k Member

    Cool, didnt realize you were so close. Hrm, i was just studying that part of the trail before we went out. How rough is it to travel to crown king from Mayer? I know that on the south end, getting to Lake Plesent from your from crown king would be a VERY long and bumpy trip! The back way is about 4-6 hours alone, ive ran that in my jeep. There are a few other routes off the hill as well that catch my fancy, like the route through packer (an olde mule stop for mule trains that serviced the mines of yesteryear)

    Thanks for the complement, my only regret so far is not getting larger tires
  10. smoothstroke

    smoothstroke Member

    Mayer to Crown King is a pretty good road. I live on Jefferson street which used to be called the Mayer-Bolado road or Goodwin road. They changed the name for 911 response reasons. This road takes you to crown king through goodwin which is the intersection of the goodwin road and the senator highway. I have talked to a few of the trail bike guys that come through that the lake pleasant side is alot worse also. You can also get to Crown king from mayer on the road through Old Cordes and cleator(not as scenic in my opinion). I have been this way and this is a very good road you could take a passenger car on. I told you 20 but from where you were its probably more like 30 miles of dirt to Mayer. I have taken the horse thief basin/bumble bee exit off I-17 home quite a few times because of wrecks ahead. This is about twenty miles of dirt to mayer or back to I-17 south of cordes junction depending which way you go when you interesect the bloody basin road. Anyway theres alot of back roads up here and I have only been on a few. Beautiful country.

    Take it easy, Terry

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