The easy way to get to the Coke Ovens is to drive east on Florence/Kelvin Highway. Turn north on Cochran Road, cross the Gila River drive another couple of miles or so and you are there. The whole trip takes about forty five minutes.
But nooo, we wouldn’t do something that easy. We decided to go the hard way, of course.
Dave’s knee was still sore but getting better so he decided to give it a rest for a couple more days and not go on this trip. A good decision as it turned out.
Patti and I met Sue, Denis, Michelle, Suzanne and Roy at the 76 station in Florence at around 10:00. We topped up the jeep’s tank and headed north from Florence to Price Road where we turned east.
Our route to the Coke Ovens takes us through Box Canyon again. Not a hardship. It is a beautiful ride through the cactus forest.
We stopped for a comfort break and while we were there I put the top down on the jeep.
There were a lot of people on the trail’s today.
We even met on coming traffic in the canyon.
Driving through the Box Canyon never gets old.
Once we were through the canyon we saw some Arizona Moose. It’s a tough life for herbivores in the desert as you can see the Cholla’s hanging from the lower lip of this cow.
Not to far after you leave the canyon is the turnoff to go to the Coke Ovens.
Here we talked to an ATV driver to make sure we were on the right track.
He said that we were on then right trail and were in for a rough ride.
We smiled said thanks and continued our ride.
The trail started out pretty mild with some great views.
As we moved along, the trail got a little rougher but the views just got better.
We encountered a group of Jeeps coming the other way. They said that were in for an interesting ride.
We continued along the trail; still not to bad.
We encountered more traffic. Everyone smiled and waived.
We continued along still enjoying the beautiful scenery.
The trail started getting a bit bumpier but still not to bad.
We passed a nice pond along the way. You can see the trail along the rocks in the background.
From here the trail becomes mostly rock and becomes rougher.
We come to the first challenge, some large steps on a turn.
Roy makes it through with guidance from Denis.
With my narrower jeep I was able to slip through the notch between the boulders.
That wasn’t too bad so we continued bouncing along.
Until we get to the next rough spot.
We continued in this manner going from rough spot to rough spot and eventually got to a place where we were able to stop for lunch in the shade.
While we were having lunch some jeeps went up the trail that we had just come down.
You might get some Idea of just how rough the trail is from this picture.
A little while later some ATV’s came down the trail.
After lunch we continued our journey south.
Here we are at another challenge, commiserating on the best approach.
We finally figured out the best approach and got passed this one.
Eventually after more rough travel we arrived at the Coke Ovens.
This is the outside.
This the inside.
After we got there we found out talking to some people that showed up in a ATV that we had taken a wrong turn some where and came down the more difficult trail and there was an easier route. Oh well, we had fun anyway.
As we were leaving the Coke Ovens we noticed some cacti growing on the oven’s roofs.
We followed the trail down toward the Gila River. The trail wound through a thick growth of trees
and became increasing muddy.
It got so bad that Roy actually got stuck. Unfortunately Clifford slipped into the rut as well.
I was able to back Clifford out of the mud onto the high ground. But Roy had to be pulled out by Denis. One of the guys in the ATV that was following us assisted in the extraction.
Eventually we got out of the mud and made our way to the river and crossed without incident.
Once we crossed the river we drove under a railroad trestle,
went through a gate
near some ruins.
We drove about a mile in a wash and got onto Cochran Road. We followed it to Florence/Kelvin and turned west.
We stopped at Roy and Suzanne’s for a cold one and had the traditional Tow strap signing ceremony.
I don’t think Roy will hear the end of this from Denis for a while.
We had a long day but it was a lot of fun and the most challenging ride we have been on in this area so far.
Patti and I topped off the day by having dinner with JoAnn and Dave at Tags American/Mexican Café.
I would like to thank Sue for the use of some of her pictures. They are the ones with the date/time stamp in the lower right corner.