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LINKS TO PICTURES - Thanks to Andrew Navik

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Part 3: http://imageupper.com/g/?S040001010D1443423514774356

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Coronado Trail Tour - 9/25/15 - 9/27/15

If you are not familiar with this route I encourage you to Google Coronado Trail and read what a fantastic tour this is. Worth mentioning is the fact that the entire route is paved and in excellent condition. There are a number of videos available on line if you care to search around for them and here is one example. "Spectacular" is the best way to describe it and the frosting on the cake, so to speak, is the fact that there is very little traffic to contend with, 95% of the time the road is clear and very often slower vehicles will pull over and let you pass, road courtesy seems to prevail along the route. There will be elevation changes from about 1500 feet to 9000 + ft along the route and the scenery in the lowlands is colorful and interesting and driving through the forest is always a delight especially in top down conditions. The open pit copper mine in Morenci is the biggest open pit mine in North America and is quite a sight to see. The mountains and forest around Hannigan Meadows and Alpine are post card beautiful. The twisty portion of the road is about 90 miles from Morenci to Alpine with some straight sections giving you an opportunity to relax a bit before the next set of twisty roads challenges your driving ability, ha, ha! This route is ranked as one of the most scenic drives in the United States and we're so fortunate to have it so close to home. Please be sure you have very good tires on your car and that it is in top notch mechanical condition. You definitely do not want tire trouble or a mechanical breakdown anywhere along this route. Try to remain in radio contact with some of the other cars in the event you do need help or assistance of any kind. The cell phones may or may not work along this route so don't depend upon them. When we leave Safford we will split the group into two classes, the "A" class will be the experienced drivers who will be driving faster than the "B" group who prefer to take it a bit slower, you decide which group you want to be in and if you wish you can change groups anytime you like and we encourage you to drive at your own comfortable pace, never exceed your personal abilities. In any event, we never leave anyone behind and when the "A" group arrives at a waypoint they wait for the "B" group to catch up so even if you're in the "B" group you are not all that far behind.

We will begin the tour by meeting at exit 197, Tomahawk Road off highway 60. I'm not sure if that is Mesa or Apache Junction but that really doesn't matter for our purposes. We'll meet at the gas station which is on the NE corner, when you come down the ramp at exit 197 turn left under the overpass and you will see the station on your right.  In addition to fuel there is a restroom, food and coffee available there. Plan to arrive between 9:00 and 9:15 AM with a full fuel tank and your FRS radio along with this tour guide and your club name badge. There will be a short driver's meeting before we start. We tune the FRS radio to channel 3 and zero sub-channel. We suggest you also bring an Arizona map that clearly displays the route we're taking and you might want to put a yellow highlight on it. Also bring your membership cell phone list, always a handy item to have on our tours.

We'll depart Tomahawk Road at 9:30 AM and head east on Hwy 60 to Globe which is about 72 miles, we should arrive there at about 11:00AM but the arrival time at any of our waypoints is not that critical, we have all day to get to our first overnight stay in Safford. At the far east end of Globe there is a Chevron station on the right side of the Hwy and we will stop there for a 20 minute comfort break and fuel if you need it, and we will be departing at about 11:30. When we leave Globe we will continue east on Hwy 60 and a few miles out of town we will pick up Hwy 70 where the two highways meet. We'll continue east on Hwy 70 to Safford which is 77 miles from Globe and we should arrive there about 1:00 PM depending upon traffic. We will have a group lunch with reservations at the [TBD]restaurant and after lunch we can check in to the hotel and freshen up a bit. At a designated time and place those who are interested can meet up and take the tour to the top of Mt Graham. The directions and info on this side trip will be printed and sent out in a separate email. It is important you fill your fuel tank in Safford Friday evening so you will start out with a full tank Saturday morning, the nature of the Coronado Trail will increase your fuel consumption substantially. Gas stations on 191 are few and far between, a full tank in Safford will get you to Show Low without worries.

Saturday morning in Safford, we will meet at the hotel parking lot at 9:00 AM and we'll start the tour by driving east on Hwy 70 to where it intersects with Hwy 191 and we'll be branching off to the left on 191 north. Leaving Safford, the first stop is Clifton, then Morenci and the open pit mine, it is about a 47 mile drive from Safford and in Morenci we'll be at an approximate elevation of 4100 ft. We'll devote about 20 minutes to sightseeing and then continue north on 191 and then on to Hannagan Meadows, which is 67 miles north where we will be at 9000 ft. We'll be ready for a 15 minute break and comfort stop, again, the time of day doesn't matter, it is what it is. We'll depart Hannagan Meadows for the next stop, Alpine, 8000 ft, which is 22 miles, we may or may not stop there, it will be called out on the radio so please anticipate getting some instruction just prior to that waypoint. Here is where our tour will differ from tours in the past. Rather than continuing north on 191 to Eagar, AZ., and hwy 60 to Show Low, we will pick up hwy 249 about 5 miles north of Alpine on 191 and we'll be turning left. There should be a large sign at that intersection advertising "Big Lake" but in any case, we'll be heading west on 249, be sure you don't miss this turn, I am sure it will be marked by a highway sign prior to the intersection. Your Arizona map may not even show hwy 249 and if it does it will show it as unpaved but it was paved a year ago and the maps have not caught up with the improvement. We have a club member who drove it with the Porsche club not long ago. We'll be going through "Three Forks"  and "Rainbow," probably nothing there but they do show up on the map. Then we'll pick up hwy 273 which will take us past Big Lake, Crescent Lake, Sunrise Lake and several miles further on, 273 intersects with hwy 260 which will take us through McNary, Pinetop/Lakeside and finally into Show Low which is 6300 ft. As best as I can determine the distance from the beginning of hwy 249 to Show Low is about 65 miles. I have no idea what our elapsed time will be since I have never travelled this road previously but I estimate our arrival time in Show Low will be 2:00PM. We'll be checking into the Holiday Inn Express and have time to relax and freshen up and then we'll have a group dinner at the _________________restaurant at 6:00 PM.

Sunday morning we'll meet in the hotel parking lot at 9:00 AM and depart for home. There are three choices for the return home. You can go back east on Hwy 60 to 191 and drive  south on the same road back to Safford and Phoenix although I doubt if anyone is going to do that. The other two choices are either hwy 60 out of Show Low, south through the Salt River Canyon to Globe and then hwy 60 west to Phoenix or Hwy 260 west out of Show Low to Heber & Payson and then hwy 87 south back to Ftn Hills and Phoenix, which is usually the most popular choice and also a very scenic drive as well. By the time Sunday morning rolls around most of us have had a belly full of performance driving and are anxious to get home. ~~~~~~ HA! HA!

Please contact the hotel in Safford and Show Low and make your own personal reservations, we have blocked rooms in the name of the BMW Z Roadster Club.

Paul Ebeyer, President, Arizona BMW Z Series Club

Paul Ebeyer, President

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