[AZ-Observing] Re: Occultation attempted at Badger Springs Road

  • From: Gene A Lucas <geneluca@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2009 23:24:16 -0700

Unfortunately, I can't "babysit" everybody and anybody who would attempt 
to drive through a flowing streambed or muddy dirt tracks out in this 
country.  Some things go without being directly stated in every message 
about observing sites on this list....

It is a typical, medium difficulty graded dirt track as soon as you 
leave the pavement. 
BEFORE you start to climb up the hill east of the I-17 - Badger Springs 
interchange, you have to negotiate a fairly difficult, rough patch down 
and through the (normally dry) streambed. 
This is not going to be "Cadillac" country driving.
If you don't have a fairly high-clearance vehicle, DON'T drive into 
these places!!

Last night, (as I thought I made it clear in my earlier message...) we 
set up only about 500 yards east of the interchange, just past the AF 
Monument signs, in a "relatively" flat dirt area, right next to the 
graded dirt road leading in.  We did NOT attempt to ford the streambed 
farther east and go up the hill in the dark....  We were driving a light 
pickup vehicle.  We did NOT get stuck, by NOT taking chances in the dark.

Note that SOMETIMES those dirt areas next to the road have a raised 
"berm" from the grading, and can be deceptively soft and easy to get 
stuck in, even when dry !!  That was indeed the case at Badger Springs 
Rd., but we did not get stuck, as it was dry and firm.  You should stop 
and walk over the ground before proceeding, esp. if you have never been 
there before...  It is also easy to drive over a steep berm in the dark, 
and get stuck (ask me about it!! It happened  at another time and 
place...)  Tow trucks are Expen$$ive to call out in the boonies....

Please visit your intended observing site IN THE DAYTIME before trying 
to negotiate any rough stuff in the dark.
Consider taking along a friend (perhaps two cars?), and leave a message 
with friends or family as to where you are going and when you expect to 
get back!
Take your cell phone. (It worked good for me from Badger Springs Rd.)
Fill up your gas tank before leaving home.  Take water and food, and 
warm clothing and a hat.
Stop and Get Out, and Check Out all around your intended 
parking/observing area with a flashlight in the dark.
Park where you can easily drive back out, straight ahead, without 
turning around.
(Your wheels may dig in when making turns and/or backing, even in dry, 
soft dirt!)

If you can't figger out how to take care of yourself in the AZ boonies, 
then PLEASE stay home!
Don't call me at 3 am to pull you out of a rough patch.

Otherwise, HAVE FUN! (Safely!!)
And try to be more POSITIVE in 2009 !!  I am (with difficulty)!
Gene Lucas

stanlep@xxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
>> Randy Peterson and I drove up to Badger Springs Rd. on I-17, to try for
>> an asteroid occultation last night (Sunday, Jan. 18).  The centerline of
>> the predicted track passed over that area.  But there were drifting
>> clouds, and (of course) during the predicted time of the event.... a
>> thick batch of clouds covered up the target star, which was west and
>> slightly south of Regulus.  So... no event to report.  Our combined
>> video gear worked ok.  It was definitely cold!  Temperature measured
>> about 39 degrees...
>> There are fairly decent areas for parking and observing well off the
>> frontage road to the east aolng the well-graded dirt road leading from
>> the Badger Springs interchange.
> Yes, now, but if it rains, beware. It is very muddy and you cannot make it.
> Stan
> This is now part of the Agua Fria
>> National Monument, and signage designates that, and some restrictions.
>> Many years ago (hmmmm...about 33 years ago, asamatteroffact) I observed
>> from a spot up the dirt road, from the ridge to the east with Louis Boyd.
>> Seeing at Badger Springs was moderately steady last night, and
>> transparency very good (in between the clouds).  Of course, Aurora
>> Phoenicia is very prominent along the southern horizon.  Overall, very
>> similar to what we used to see at Dugas Road years ago.
>> FYI, the Sunset Point Rest Area on I-17 is still undergoing major
>> reconstruction, and the frontage road off-ramps there are still
>> barricaded.  For some reason, the high pole floodlights there are still
>> turned on... but those are not visible from Badger Springs (which is
>> about 5 miles north).
>> Gene Lucas
>> (17250)
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