Our 2015 Spring Trip South – The Characteres


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Rock formation in Sedona


I am in my sixties and the longer I live the more fascinated I am with the people who walk this planet. Some people may think others are strange but we are all strange in our own way, besides what would I write about if we were all the same and what a boring place the world would be. I have met several interesting specimens at our current digs.

The first….. our new found friends
I wunder if one would be missed


When we arrived at this BLM area south of Cottonwood on hwy 260 (my previous article gives the exact location)  we were graciously invited to another camp for our first happy hour, I asked about the local ATV riding.

This year we have only one quad. I decided not to bring Lynda’s quad, not sure why, maybe my age again?? Anyway it’s not conducive for a good ride with two people on a quad that isn’t meant for two. Namely the passenger starts to have issues with the seating arrangement and comfort, those cargo bars don’t look that uncomfortable. For several years I have been directed by management to buy one of those rear seats, things do fall through the cracks now and again………. I guess.

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Trial 260…. a junction

So once I learned there was riding in these parts I kept my eyes peeled for another ATV whose owner might consider teaming up for a ride.

Enter Parker
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Parker and his lady’s sunglasses


I had already tired myself of the adjacent jaunt down the hill to the Verde river, a nice road ride but way too short and easy. I had also checked out the adjacent RV area to the point that I was about to become the target of various handy objects should I take another foray through camp.

And then……… one afternoon another RV pulls in towing a likely looking cargo trailer (enclosed). Even though I was thoroughly busy doing almost nothing, I watch with anticipation as this new rig got settled.
Out come the chairs, the ground mat, and all the usual stuff, and then nothing…… things went dormant.

What was in the trailer?
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Parker’s rig with the Joyner’s home behind


I had accidentally noticed that the trailer had a loading ramp, a dead give away for a ATV, coupled with the fact that the trailer was too small for anything but a very small car ………..OR.
As luck would have it, I had to wait until the next day to meet Parker…..oh and Cheryl.
The next morning I again accidentally noticed that the loading ramp was down but from the hundred or so yards from my vantage point it looked empty……well before letting myself run into the trailer and throw myself on the bed with sobbing tears I decided to venture another patrol around the area making sure to get close enough to Parker’s locale. As I nonchalantly coasted by I noticed a yellow side by side sitting in the shade on the opposite side of the motor home. WELL…. happy days I was thinking, it has been unloaded a clear sign of things to come.
This was all I needed, I quickly swung around the back of the trailer and killed the engine on my ATV. Parker and Cheryl acknowledged my presence, with a “hi“.
I proceeded to discuss the riding across the road and I was pleased to hear they had been here before and had gone on a brief ride. I asked if they were interested in teaming up………..“sure“….. was the response with broad smiles……..BUT

Made in China
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Our dog Buddy checking out the Joyner


Parker and Cheryl are from a small town in Minnesota, the name escapes me at the moment, lucky I remember their names. I’m not sure if it is just Lynda and I but we meet many people on our travels and more often than not as we walk way one of us will ask, “what were their names?” We have been told if you repeat the names when you do the introductions you will remember them. It seems to work sometimes.

Parker’s ATV was made in (you guessed it) China. Parker puts it this way “ride one day monkey wrench one day) and repeat, as long as you want to ride.
The BUT was the cooling fan had quit working, so the machine was over heating. I guess their last ride was a bit challenging, ride 100 ft and, “wait for the #@?+ machine to cool down“, I think was the term used.
Anyway I hung around for a while to see if I could lend a hand. I put my other urgent engagements on hold, that’s what you do for a fellow rider.
We soon determined that it was not the fan, it was the heat sensor that automatically controlled the fan, attached to the bottom of the radiator.
After a phone call to a local ATV mechanic, that Parker knew by first name, not a good rep for the Joyner, I figure. In three business days he would have a replacement………bummer 3 days. That’s a long time to kill unless you have some urgent world crisis to solve, as I do.
Well….some brief discussion and a solution was at hand. Wire the fan direct to the battery was Parker’s interim solution.

Not exactly the right picture

He called it, “ $%# rig it”, In Canada we call it, “jerry rig”. The underlying meaning I’m sure is, make it work with any means available, conventional or not.
Perfect, I thought, we may be able to ride sooner than later. I excused myself as to not provide a distraction so Parker could get to work.

Wiring or hay wiring.

I’m not sure if it was a couple of hours later or not but I dropped in to see how the wiring job was progressing. “Frustration” I guess would be the proper word to be writing.
It wasn’t pretty and it didn’t work either, the fan would not run.

wiring the joyner
This is not Parker’s wiring


Parker had run some nice yellow wire from the positive battery terminal behind the right back seat of the 4 seat Joyner all the way to left front of the radiator, and back to the negative terminal. He had removed the insulation from the braided copper wire that ran from the heat sensor to the fan motor. The idea was to bypass the heat sensor that controlled the fan and run power directly to the fan motor.
The theory of the solution was perfect. The wiring was complete with a switch to control power to the fan as well as an inline fuse, to prevent a fire, in case of a short. Not likely…… right????
So what was the problem? Well I am not a expert electrician by any stretch and, as I told Parker, “I know just enough to be dangerous.”
As I was admiring the contrast between the yellow wire and the several connections made with black electricians tape, I noticed that Parker had connected both the positive and the ground to the single pole switch.
I am not sure what this will do but speaking from past experience a fire or small explosion came to mind. In other words the anticipated outcome was not forth coming.
I explained with my limited knowledge that the switch should break the circuit on one wire not both, and retreated. A short time later all was well, the fan was working perfectly.

The Joyner
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The Joyner – Parker’s son had re-fabricated it for bobcat wheels


It doesn’t sound Chinese to me, especially the Joy part but the words Parker uses to describe it do sometimes resemble Chinese. Like the other day and our ride to Cherry.
It had been a great ride (as per my previous article), but as Parker and the ladies pulled into the access road of our camping area the Joyner stopped.
Well it wasn’t the engine, it was still chugging as only a two cylinder can do. It was the shifter, for some reason Parker could not shift gears. He killed the engine, not with a gun, but it would not have been a surprise.

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The many blossoms along the trail.

I towed the Joy to his rig and the diagnosis began. I suggested something about the linkage and as it turned out that’s precisely what it was. A bolt had unthreaded itself interrupting the link in the linkage, (how bout that for describing the obvious).
As Parker describes it, “those ?#$% Chinese didn’t lock the bolt in place, that’s how the ?%$# bolt fell out.  I nodded understandingly, after all he wasn’t jumping that high off the ground.
I guess he will need to tear up his application for the diplomatic core.
After Parker’s elevations subsided an easy fix was decided . We briefly scoured the ground where the Joy had stopped for the bolt, without success.
By the next day all was Joyfull again. Was this Joy going to last??

Our Latest Ride.
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The Joyner it’s now happy passengers


Another perfect day. We decided to head towards Cottonwood paralleling hwy 260. According to the map the trails would dead end, but as I have previously mentioned it is not the destination it’s the ride, especially in uncharted territory. The purpose of this ride was to find the route that would take us up the mountain. The Forest Service map showed an OHV trail that did just that, but I was beginning to realize the map seemed a little obscure….. or maybe it was me.
We hit a well traveled gravel road, the map indicated another dead end. Up ahead a local man was walking the road getting his morning exercise, I presume. I decided to stop and ask about our route.
He confirmed that this road was a dead end and proceeded to be very helpful and give us directions to the trail we were looking for. Of course once he finished I had no idea on how to get there. We tried several side trails without success and decided to turn back.
Consulting the lying map again on the way back to see if there was an alternate route. Lucky there are no wild gooses, we would be having one for dinner.

Wild gooses

Despite no wild gooses the ride turned out to be great as usual. After retracing our route we continued south from our original starting point through some very rugged sections to Hayfield Draw, here we decided to make a u-turn at another dead end and head back.

Oh oh…. more Joy

Well apparently the Joyner did not want to stop. As Parker pulled up a high pitched whine was obvious. It seems the throttle was stuck, not wide open but loud enough to be of some concern to Parker.
He quickly popped the hood, well not actually the hood cause the engine is under the dump box. Once the engine was exposed and the throttle cable located, a squirt of WD was all that was needed to settle the Joyner into it’s familiar drone.

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A wall left from mining days

The return trip was uneventful although we had to back track, you see we tried to make our way back on an obvious ATV trail beside the hwy, a more direct route, but we were soon stopped at a fence encircling a couple of deserted car dealership buildings. By their condition I was thinking probably more victims of the economic crash of the eighties.

The Truth as it is Today

To be totally honest the Joyner despite it’s frequent irritating issues is actually a mountain goat. As Parker describes it, only the nerve of the driver limits its potential for conquering the steepest and roughest trail, he pauses, and I am sure we were thinking the same,  if it can stay together long enough to get there.

Sorry Parker.

I hope you have enjoyed this article, not sure about Parker and his Joyner, but we will probably be long gone by the time he reads this.

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Interesting rock NW of Cottonwood


If you have any comments or suggestions I would love to read them.

Thanks for visiting.

Gord. B

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