Saturday, March 29, 2008

Phoenix March 14th- March 16th

Friday March 14, 2008

Still having problems with the clutch we decided our next mission would be to find a VW place and try to fix it. After using McDonalds for their Internet we found a good sounding place less than 10 miles away. We called them up and explained the problem, and they actually listened- we knew we had stumbled onto something special. The shop is called Affordable German in Phoenix. With old Vanagons littering the place I figured they knew what they were doing. Very friendly people, easy to talk to, and listened to what I had to say about the car. They bled the system and figured out from where the air came out, it had to be the slave cylinder. They answered all my questions and actually demonstrated there answers. I'm always interested in learning what things do and how they work, so I thought that was pretty cool. The best part is that they did all that for no charge as long as we passed the word around about their shop; So anyone who is travelling through Phoenix with a VW or German car, this is the place. They ordered the part and said it they would get to it first thing on Monday. That made us feel safer for the weekend.

March 15, 2008
After a lovely night in the REI parking lot we headed to South Mountain to hit the National Trail Loop(a puck 10 trail). According to Cosmic Ray (our all knowing often hard to interpret author of our Arizona mountain bike guidebook) the Puck-o-meter or Puck factor goes from 1-10, with 10 being "ultra postal psycho descents" and "wicked rough terrain with high speeds and big drops". It had some of that and lots and lots of other people on the trails.
We both managed to stay on our bikes for the majority of the ride, but were smart enough to get off for other parts, with no spills to relate. That night we decided to get out of the city (Parking lots really lose there allure after awhile) and headed to the McDowell Mountains about an hour East of Phoenix. We even had heard rumors that there was a campground with showers.

There were indeed showers- but, it being the weekend, the campground was full. There was an overflow camping area- but it was 12 $ to park in a parking lot. We could have done that for free in Phoenix. However, the parking lot also had showers. We ran in there and enjoyed the hot water as long as it lasted and then moved on to the National Forest just down the road, where we could sleep for free, with a much better view.

View from our spot in Tonto National Forest

Sunday March 16th:
We woke up the next morning to this beautiful view of the McDowells-and ATVers doing donuts in the wilderness by our door.

We decided to bike to the trails in the Recreation Area to save ourselves a couple bucks (1 $ per bike or 6 $ per car). What we didn't realize was this ride on the road was going to be longer then the trail, but it was a pretty view anyway. The trails were fine, but somewhat lacking in intensity compared to the other day (these were only puck 5). We finished up, and jumped into those handy showers again. The ride back home was all down hill, never a bad thing. In total we did 12 miles on the road and about 9 on the trails.

That night we moved a little further down our road to a free campground that had been full of ATVers all weekend. Yikes- the place looked very run down, and of course, as has become a theme anywhere people camp, there was plenty of trash. We had a nice fire- when it's dark you can't really see all the trash, and finished dreading my hair. Here are the results...

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