View Full Version : Gnats, Knobbies, Bolts, Bullets and Boulders... The Thrashing of Best Laid Plans...

05-29-2007, 02:52 PM

:tab So I survived a week of DS riding in Arizona, joined by Dyna Sport and "led" by Gotdurt :lol2: The saying is that the adventure really begins when things stop going as planned... and perhaps when you start wondering how grilled lizzards might taste... Well, we got a real jump on starting the adventure for this trip :doh: I'll start posting pics and reports as I can... stay tuned!

05-29-2007, 03:15 PM
I’ll go ahead and kick off the report since I already had the first couple of days prepared. We all apologize in advance for the lack of photos in the best areas and trails, as we were either having too much fun to stop, or were under too much stress to think about pulling out the cameras ;-). Since Scott has more patience for writing, I'll leave the creative writing to him, and to keep my side short and to the point...

Friday, 5/18 though Saturday 5/19
Getting things in place

I was useless at work on Friday, so I knocked off early and headed for the house. I had all my gear ready and waiting in the front when John ('Tx Rider', prev 'Dyna Sport') arrived, and the 2 of us were ready to go by the time Scott pulled up at around 6:30 PM. The plan was to drive through the night, arriving in the Phoenix area by noon. We loaded the bikes after some last-minute trailer modifications and climbed into the truck. My eyes welled up as I watched my not-quite 3 year old son begin cry as he waived and said "bye-bye Daddy".

The night was so long, but strangley short... Make sense? As we began to enter the more familiar areas that I had once explored, I was struck by the odd feeling that I had never actually left; many things hadn’t changed, and memories came flooding back. Driving through Globe presented a rather surreal feeling, and once in Mesa I felt like I was home…

We arrived a little early and opted to find a motel before going to drop off the truck in Tempe. I had a place in mind that I had remembered seeing on Main street in Mesa; it was a c. 60's era motel that had a neon sign with a woman jumping from the top of the sign landing in a splash of water at the bottom... however, I wasn't married to the idea, so we opted to drive further to see if there was one that was closer to Walmart, as we still had some items to get for the ride. The idea was to find a ground-floor room that we could park the bikes near. We saw a few along the way, and John spotted one that appeared to be in decent condition just down the street from Wallyworld. The lobby was clean enough, and the rates were along the lines of the local Motel 6's, so we took 2 rooms. What was better was that the rooms had patio doors, and we were told that we could just park the bikes in the rooms...

We found the building with our rooms only to discover that the door latch into the building was broken, so after playing with it for a while, decided to just climb the rail into the staircase... after entering the dirty, smelly hall that led to our rooms, I had a bad feeling. That feeling was soon justified; the room was as dingy as the hall leading to it, with dirty, worn walls and floors. John and I made our way to the patio door, only to find it locked with a key that we didn't have... Scott’s door was luckily lock-free, but his room was in even worse condition than ours, complete with a picture hanging half-way out of its frame.

Let's see, disgusting rooms, inaccessible building... the idea of staying there seemed pretty ridiculous, so we headed for the office to check out... early. Of course the owner started making up policies and refused to refund, so John and Scott said they'd just settle it through the card companies, and we left.

We decided to head back to the diving girl place and see what it was like. As we pulled in, I noticed the well kept grounds, and I hopped out and entered the office. The rates were reasonable, so I asked to see the rooms. These rooms were actually very nice for such an old, privately owned motel, and we took them.

Next task was to drop off the truck and trailer in Tempe at Jim's house. I found Jim on Advrider and he was kind enough to let us park the truck and trailer in his back yard while we were away riding. Finding His house was easy, and once our bikes and gear were unloaded, we made our way to one of my favorite eateries, Rubio’s Baja Grill. I was disappointed to discover that they no longer have the delicious Lobster Burrito, but still enjoyed an excellent steak burrito and fish taco.

After stuffing ourselves with Rubio's goodness, the others headed back to the motel while I headed for my old 'hood north of town for a surprise visit to a friend. Unfortunately Drew wasn't home; his house-mate Pat said he was in Mexico, and wouldn't be home until Monday or Tuesday. While I was there, Pat showed me the supercharged Lexus V8 that he was getting ready to slip into an '06 Toyota Tacoma. Never a dull moment at Drew's house!

Hanging out at the motel…


05-29-2007, 03:48 PM
Casey got a LOT of those looks from me during the week of this trip :lol2:

05-29-2007, 04:11 PM
:popcorn: I can't wait to hear all the stories!!

05-29-2007, 04:32 PM
Sunday, 5/20
The fun begins…

Morning came and the sun began to rise, along with John. That's good enough for me, so I got up too. The morning was cool, and we loaded our bikes. I went and made an attempt to get Scott up, but that didn't work too well :lol2:

Scott eventually rose, and we got a later start than I had hoped. I was a little concerned about the heat of the day, but continued with the planned route. We turned south into the state land that held our first dirt for the day, and is the gateway to a desert paradise.

Entrance to the State Trust Land.

The 1st pass where things begin to get scenic and interesting…

Once in Box Canyon, we were having so much fun racing through the canyon wash that I totally missed the turn into Martinez Canyon. I came upon an inexperienced driver and his wife in nearly-stuck 4wd SUV trying to negotiate some eroded bedrock. I parked the bike and advised him that if he was having trouble here, he going to have real trouble further up the trail, unless his wife was up for some serious rock stacking :-P. He finally got turned around and we were on our way. After some more fun I began to exit the canyon and recognized the trail changing back into a road, soon realizing that we had gone too far. I had missed my landmark, an old adobe casita, and had blown past our turn. How could I have missed it? It’s a very obvious landmark… I watched for it on the way back and still never saw it; I guess it must have been overgrown by the surrounding palo verde trees. I saw my turn regardless, and we headed into Martinez Canyon. I eventually turned south on the “Coke Oven Trail”. Do note that I added this trail to the route at Scott’s request :-P.

This is where I knew the challenges would begin for Scott, although I didn’t recall the challenges being this consistent (my apologies to Scott :shrug: ). I knew there was nothing on the following trails he wasn’t capable of without a little help, but had I remembered there being this much of it, and had I known we’d be on the trail this late in the day at 100 degree temps, I’d have omitted it from the route.

From the beginning of the Coke Oven trail

John, then Scott on one of the climbs

Break time. That’s Scott laying down… early sign of what was to come…

After some hard work getting Scott’s bike through the first third of the trail, we found ourselves in serious need of a shade, water and food break. After the extended break we continued to make our way to the coke ovens, until I, after sitting at the top of a particularly long and technical hill for some time, realized that there might be an issue, and I didn’t hear motors. I made my way back down the trail on foot to find John and Scott struggling with Scott’s bike. After a few failed attempts to get the KLR up the hill, we decided it was time for a break, as we were all experiencing heat exhaustion and serious fatigue.

While sitting in the weak shade of a palo verde tree, a jeep convoy appears over a hill. We wait as they approach, and I ask the lead jeeper if he’d give the KLR a tow to the top. He agreed, and 2 of his comrades and I struggled to negotiate the bike over the ledges and rough terrain as the Jeep whined to the top of the hill. It was against my better judgment to help in my condition, but I felt like I needed to, which resulted in more extreme exhaustion once at the top. The female passenger in the lead jeep offered me a cold bottle of water, which I sucked down in seconds while I waited for Scott, who was getting an air conditioned ride up, to arrive. Scott sat in the Jeep for some time, and John was getting antsy to keep moving toward the nearby river. John decided to move on (I thought to the coke ovens), and we would meet up once Scott was ready.

Scott and I finally got rolling and arrived at the ovens, only to discover that John was nowhere to be found. This could be a very bad thing; with the countless trails out here, one wrong turn could lead to one seriously lost rider. We opted to stay put, as from a hill, we and the ovens are easily seen, and if we go looking for John while he finds the ovens without us waiting there… well I’m sure you can see the problem.

While Scott and I are resting in the shade, I keep hearing 4-stroke single sounds. Eventually we both look up to see John at the top of a hill, and overwhelmed with relief. He made his was down and around, and after a rest we decided to skip the Battle Axe trail and headed to a water crossing that I once did to see if it was fordable.

Scott resting at the Coke Ovens

Approaching the river Bottom

We arrived at the crossing to find a muddy, swollen river. Some quad riders were sitting on the other side drinking beer when I rode up and dismounted. Scott and John arrived shortly behind and I guess they figured out that we were contemplating crossing, because one of the guys hopped on his big 4WD quad and plunged into the river to show off his quad-squiding skills (or lack of common sense). He struggled each way, and on his second return-crossing he lost momentum and bogged due to his excessive tire-spinning. The right-rear tire began to dig as the strong current began to lift the front of the quad, sending him bailing off to save the fat-tired cycle. Scott and I chuckled as we struggled to stand in the knee-deep side of our bank.

We opted to turn around and ride the Battle axe trail out. We knew there was a long, steep, technical decent that John had already negotiated, so we headed down, and met at a point near the river where we decided to camp instead, as it was getting late. So much for globe by noon :roll:.


The camp at the river

John with his purifier pump. That thing was a lifesaver.

Beyond exhausted, I hit the tent pretty early. I felt too bad to eat that night, but managed force myself to eat a little of John’s barbeque stroganoff out of a cup, as well as a few bites of jerky and cheddar cheese.

05-29-2007, 04:41 PM
Spectacular views, can't wait to see all the pics and video's. Glad y'all made it back.:popcorn:

05-29-2007, 04:47 PM
A pano from the evening

05-29-2007, 04:59 PM
Man, can I kick myself any harder for not making this one? Keep the reports coming guys - this looks like a trip I'm gonna hafta do.

05-29-2007, 05:14 PM

Looks like a tough ride so far.

05-29-2007, 05:45 PM
:popcorn: Good story so far. Hope it ends well. What about the bullets? :cool2:

05-29-2007, 05:52 PM
Hardships just make for "ugh" better memories.That looks spectacular so far guys.

05-29-2007, 06:29 PM
I love the pictures. Too bad I haven't seen these places since I live 100 miles south!

Tx Rider
05-29-2007, 08:25 PM
Yeah, the bullets...

Here's a few pics from my end. Big pics so click on the pictures for full size and zoom in for the details.

The hotel the night before riding, working off the 18hr drive fatigue.
http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0093_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0093.jpg)

Packing up in the AM

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0097_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0097.jpg)

Entering the desert from the highway, notice the sign to our right....

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0098_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0098.jpg)

Ahh finally in the dirt... and lots of it. :) And a warning about fuzzy cacti that jump out and grab ya choyas or something. Doesn't that look sweet? Go ahead, click on the pic and zoom in and take a real close look. :dude:

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0100_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0100.jpg)

Trails every which way...

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0102_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0106.jpg)

Finally into an awesome box canyon.
http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0106_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0106.jpg)

Where Scott goes rock climbing..
http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0107_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0107.jpg)

Beautiful place, but it was gettin a bit hot and the riding reminded me of the rougher sections of Red River park in Muenster in the dead of summer, miles and miles of it.

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0109_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0109.jpg)

After a good bit of riding and a pretty technical descent we took a break and cooled off a bit, and met a big group of folks on 4x4 ATV's who passed by as we rested, and took a break of their own 30 feet down the trail.

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0114_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0114.jpg)

After that things got tougher. We did a fair bit of rough riding and finally on a very steep rocky climb with some decent ledges Scott dropped it, we were all tired, hot and out of water. I got Scotts bike up but I couldn't ride it up the climb over the shelf in front of it with the tall gearing, tryin it a couple of times took everything out of me that I had left. Some nice Jeepers came by and helped us out and towed Scott's bike up and I rode mine up behind em.

Scott wasn't feeling well at all, I was thinking this was getting a little dangerous with no water(we started out with about 10 liters) and if they hadn't come by I would have had to go fill up our camelbacks at the river and bring em back up and camp right there on the hill by Scott's bike till morning. Yeah it was that hot and hard.

I wanted to get to water asap, so once all was well at the top and Scott was hydrating in an air conditioned Jeep, I went for the river by the straightest path down I could see. Came to a fork and flipped a coin in my head. :) A long steep drop switching back and forth down to the river and I was rewarded with a nice cold river full of rather muddy and fast moving water.

After a while at the river getting wet and cool and refreshed it was apparent that Scott and Casey took the other fork to the other ford that was on the GPS. After a bit of searching for a path that went that way and didn't include a steep loose half mile climb(and failing), then realizing I couldn't use the GPS to backtrack as I had forgotten to turn on tracking, I tracked back up the climb and found them down the other fork. Not any pictures from that part.

So we check out the Coke ovens for a while, and head down to the ford over some nice flat loose dirt and some sandy track. We all cooled off in the river and refilled the camelbacks with the pump and decided it was too deep and fast to ford. So back up the climb again and back down the steep half mile to where I went in the first place. :) So I get a little extra riding in.

The terraflex I found does 2 things very well... going up steep rocky climbs and going down them, grabbing rock like a mountain goat. I found those are really the only things it does well at all...

Anyway, A shot from somewhere going back over to the battleax trail with dark closing in, it had cooled off a lot and after the long rivr soak while we pumped fresh water we were all well past danger of overheating if still feeling some after effects. What a beautiful place. Zoom in on this one. :zen:

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0120_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0120.jpg)

Or the panorama version...Big 180 degree Panorama (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/Panorama_1.jpg) You can see the green swath below that is the river if you zoom it up to full size.

Home sweet home for the night, a dip in the Gila river, cooked up a hot meal on the svea stove, and off to sleep. My clutch forearm was feeling like rubber, been off the hard dirt too long I guess, and a bit sore from hard days ride. A nice tough day. Globe by noon fades into the realm of best laid plans of mice and men.

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0122_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0122.jpg)

05-29-2007, 10:15 PM

05-30-2007, 07:55 AM
Note: I seem to be having problems with photobucket; besides the dark photos, some images are only showing as links... just remember, they need love too :-P

Monday, 5/21
I think we have a problem… and I go out on my own…

I awoke feeling much better. We’d ride out the remaining portion of the Battle Axe trail, which I had remembered being an easy ride, a friend and I actually finding our way through once by accident while looking for an additional river crossing.

It turns out it wasn’t so simple, as there appeared to be other possibilities, and I didn’t remember the long, uber-steep climb that we ran into. Scott simply wasn’t feeling up to it, and none of us wanted to get to far into this portion of the trail only to find that it wasn’t actually the way out. We decided that the best thing to do was camp back at the river again and wait until morning, when John and I would do some gear-free recon riding while Scott continued to recover.

The dreaded cholla. If you ever see one of these, avoid it… hug a saguaro or prickly pear, whatever, but don’t even get close to a cholla!

More from Battle Axe

Back at the camp we waded in the river while discussing our predicament. I noticed that the square bank on our side of the river would be at just about the same height as the tailgate of my friend Drew’s giant (heavily modified) M715 military Jeep. As long as the river wasn’t moving too swift for the 6700 lb behemoth, he could back it into the river via the beach on the other side, load the bikes and gear, and drive out. Heh, that would be pretty cool, if we could contact him, and if he wasn‘t in Mexico.

While hanging out, waiting for the day to pass, we started to hear what sounded like a motor on the other side. While waiting for the “motor noise” to manifest itself, we discussed what we would do when it did. I said I would ask for a ride somewhere that I could make some calls, particularly to my friend Dan, to get a ride back to town and get the Battle Axe directions I had left in the truck, and to mine and Scott’s wives, to let them know we were okay even though they hadn’t heard from us in a while. My plan for Dan was to get him to take me back to the river camp, carry our gear across the river to his Ranger 4X4, then make his way around to the other end of the Battle Axe trail, while we rode out on gear-free bikes.

The sounds teased us for what seemed like an hour. Then, to our delight, a silver jeep emerged from the woods, and we got their attention.

I waded across the river with some clothes and other necessary items in a trash bag and climbed into my new friends’ Jeep TJ. The ride to Florence went by quickly, and they dropped me off at McDonald’s where I enjoyed a double cheeseburger and numerous cups of Coke and Powerade while waiting over 6 hours for a ride out.

I couldn’t get hold of Dan, but Drew returned my message and said he was on his way back from Mexico, and he would come out to get me when he gets home. He finally arrived around 8 PM, and once we got back to his house and picked up Pat we all went to eat at Manuel’s Mexican Food. While driving I mentioned my idea for his truck, to which he responded with one problem: it doesn’t currently have a front drive shaft… he has 3 though, and one might be the right length for a fit to his new doubled transfer case. Hmm… Dan called shortly after and was up for my other plan, so I decided to push that route. Dan said he’d call me at 10 am Tuesday after he dropped a visiting friend off at the airport.

Tuesday, 5/22
It just might work...

I slept horribly that night. I got about 5 hours of broken sleep before my eyes opened and the strategies for the day began running through my head. I laid there on Drew's floor for hours before I finally knocked on his door a little before 9 AM. He was slow to get moving, but we finally moved into the garage to attempt to get the front drive operational. After some measuring on the truck and the 3 shafts he had in the garage, we had a shaft… a good thing too, because Dan called to tell me that they found out his friend's flight was at 2 PM. Back to the big-truck plan. By the time we had everything loaded and ready to go, it was about 2PM. We hit the highway with the big tires hummin’.

We arrived at the river where Scott and John had to be happy to see the monster military Jeep rumble down to the beach.

First, plan 'A'. Drew reluctantly plunged his pride-and-joy project truck tail-first into the murky, swift flowing water. Into the deep center of the river, then up the shallower side to drop the tailgate on the bank, where the gear and two of the bikes were ready waiting to board. While loading the gear Drew hollered out that the front was sinking, and about that time the radiator fan sank into the river, spraying water out through the fenders. The current was sweeping the loose river bottom from under the big tires, and we picked up our pace. Drew pulled out with the current and the modified 460 sang its way across the river. I couldn’t believe my original daydreamed ‘plan A’ worked, but it did, like a charm. Once the bikes and gear were across the river, we all headed the back way (beautiful ride by the way) to Superior for food and a Motel.

Video: Our ferry ride in the Kaiser Jeep (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVxy5kJLD6g)
The water in the middle of the river was well over waist deep - over seat height. You need to see a picture of the truck next to someone to get sense of scale for it's size, but note the rear bumper was under water in the middle of the river; the bumper comes up to my stomach when standing next to it. The spot where we backed the truck up to at the bank was shallower than the rest of the river.

Spirited conversation at dinner

Los Hermano’s = good food

After an excellent dinner we said our seeya’s to Drew and his friend (also Drew) and hit the hay at local dump of a motel.

The dive motel

John’s new Terraflex wasn’t fairing well

05-30-2007, 10:18 AM
Holy cow, it looks like you all went through ****. I was hoping you were way high in the 7-9000 feet range, but it looks like you were right at 3000 feet. It must have been hot! Great story.

For everyone who doesn't realize how big that jeep was. It can fit 37" tires under it stock, no modifications. It comes with a D60 front and a D70 rear. Big truck.

05-30-2007, 10:45 AM
Holy cow, it looks like you all went through ****. I was hoping you were way high in the 7-9000 feet range, but it looks like you were right at 3000 feet. It must have been hot! Great story.

That area was at about 2000'+, mostly well under 3k though. It did get hot... Most of the trip was at between 4-7000'.

For everyone who doesn't realize how big that jeep was. It can fit 37" tires under it stock, no modifications. It comes with a D60 front and a D70 rear. Big truck.

Yea, it's a definitely a beast, and the suspension and most of the drive isn't stock. The current tires are 11.00-16 Michelin XZL Military Radials, which measure about 39".
There's more on that page, although it doesn't cover 1/2 of the mods.

05-30-2007, 01:12 PM
Sunday, 5/20
The fun begins…

Morning came and the sun began to rise, along with John. That's good enough for me, so I got up too. The morning was cool, and we loaded our bikes. I went and made an attempt to get Scott up, but that didn't work too well :lol2:

Scott eventually rose, and we got a later start than I had hoped.

:tab What Casey fails to mention is that I specifically asked what time we needed to be ready to roll. I dutifully set my alarm only to have someone beating on the door TWO hours early because they forgot about the time zone change :nana: Even at that, I was still up earlier than what we had agreed on the night before and was ready to roll within about ten minutes of getting up. This was to set the trend for the rest of the week :doh: I finally gave up on asking what time we needed to be ready to roll :roll: :lol2:

05-30-2007, 01:25 PM
:tab What Casey fails to mention is that I specifically asked what time we needed to be ready to roll. I dutifully set my alarm only to have someone beating on the door TWO hours early because they forgot about the time zone change :nana: Even at that, I was still up earlier than what we had agreed on the night before and was ready to roll within about ten minutes of getting up. This was to set the trend for the rest of the week :doh: I finally gave up on asking what time we needed to be ready to roll :roll: :lol2:

Actually I had originally intended to roll at daybreak (about 5am AZ time) I banged on the door at 6AM AZ time, which was what I had originally intended (I soon came to realize that I was actually confused the night before, not that morning). I think Scott purposefully confused me the night before so that he could sleep longer :lol2: Even getting up at 6 AZ time, I still had 7 hours of sleep...

05-30-2007, 01:34 PM
Taking forever to get the pics uploaded...

05-30-2007, 02:17 PM
Looks and sounds pretty brutal...:popcorn:

Tx Rider
05-30-2007, 03:07 PM
Heh forum name change mid post... :)

Ok second day.. Again click on the pic for the large 8 megapixel version.

Woke up with the dawn sore pretty much everywhere, the good aching sore from a good days workout, I really should have warmed up a couple weekends at Red River before the trip, and the left forearm still a bit rubbery and cooked up a double portion of oatmeal and some coffee and then Casey and Scott got up so we packed up and got ready to ride out battleaxe trail, provided we can find it as the map for it is back in Mesa in the truck. :) Pumped the camelbacks full for about 3 liters each.

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0124_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0124.jpg)

We rode up a trail and stayed on the one that looked like it had the most and the most recent traffic, after several miles we ended up looking up at a very steep climb up into a saddle that looked to me like it might be a couple hundred feet. Scott and I already had picked up his bike once this morning, and the GPS didn't show this road as even existing, but it did show some other roads that went out to the highway back down closer to the river.

So back down we go, to chase other trails, which after much chasing we took a deep sandy wash that went toward the river just to eliminate the possibility of any roads heading out that direction as we would have to cross them.

Well no roads did, just one small and unused looking trail that appeared it could peter out in 100 feet.

At some point we went back up to the steep climb again, that part is a little fuzzy.

Anyway by this time it was after 12:00, peak heat of the day, water half gone. My outlook was to avoid what happened yesterday with a down KLR on a steep incline with heat exhaustion and no water and being even farther from the river, and maybe on a dead end trail we didn't know where it went. Sounded like a recipe for trouble to me, the kind that can kill a fella if it goes bad enough.

So I suggested we just go back and camp, cool down, and hit it again at the crack of dawn, or at least at about 4-5 when the heat was falling off with full water. All agreed and that's what we did. No need to do anything that could get dangerous, we had enough food for a few days and all the water we needed at the river.

About the time we got water refilled and Casey and Scott were cooling off in the river, a jeep comes down on the other bank looking for a ford over to our side, and Casey grabs a ride to town to find out if a) the trail we were looking at went anywhere, b) if he could get a truck to ford us over the river.

By this time gas was beginning to be a real concern.

I guess I didn't take any pictures that day out riding, my camera apparently ate enough dust it was making real loud noise when the lens moved in and out. I decided to minimize pics for now.

A shot looking down into the old ford we were camped by, the river bank shots and where the truck backed up to are right down there.

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0125_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0125.jpg)

Me and Scott's camp for the night.

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0128_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0128.jpg)

What two days of rock crawling and a high hp thumper does to a Terraflex...

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0129_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0129.jpg)

http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0130_t.jpg (http://killer.playnet.com/pics/AZ-07/IMG_0130.jpg)

So having brought a week worth of food to cook, I set up the svea stove and made some grub for me and Scott, and we kicked back and took it easy that afternoon. A modded Jeep cherokee came by on our side of the river and we talked to the guy, which convinced us 90+% that that climb we balked at was in fact the way out, and the last tough obstacle on it followed by 7-8 miles of more trail.

So we ate and slept well, or at least I did. Around dark we started hearing some alarming sounds... Remember that sign at the desert entrance in my last post?...

All the sudden the sounds we heard down river became more clear, helicopters. Then around dark we start hearing what sounded to me like .30 cal machine gun fire, LOTS of it, thousands of rounds. :eek2:

I took a little stock... I'm prone in a low sandy spot, 50+ft tall solid rock wall 25ft to one side, 20ft tall sand bank 200ft the other way, I'm pretty safe and I sacked out after listening to it for an hour or so and slept like a baby most of the night, Scott can fill ya in on the night he had. :)

So morning comes, more hot oatmeal and coffee, refill the water bags, and sit around trying to fill time waiting for Casey. Some military Helos fly over and Scott makes a small attempt to flag em down with no success. We were fantasizing about having them pick the bikes up and drop em across the river and be waiting there for Casey.

The day passed, we loafed, ate, loafed, thought about what frying up some of the local reptiles might be like (I might have if I'd grabbed the two foot lizard I saw that morning) and decided if Casey didn't show up by dark we would cross the river and hike ten miles down the RR tracks that ran parallel with the river to the next little town and call him and see what was what.

Well right as it got late into the afternoon here comes this behemoth truck on the other side, with tires as tall as my bike, woot! was worth this just to see that truck and watch it in action.

No pics from me of it, I was busy riding all three bikes down through the washed out sandy ford to the bank and loading them all up, as I was the only one with boots and riding pants on. I did grab caseys vid cam and shoot some video though.

Nice truck I must say. Ohh and Casey then whips out the map that shows exactly where we were and where the climb out was.

So we get across the river in about the coolest truck ever, eventually get moving, meet some fine members of the U.K. military having their own party, and ride 18 miles of mixed dirt/silt/gravel to a little town, where I told Drew and Drew that dinner was definitely on me at place of their choosing. We grabbed rooms at a little fleabag, and down to the mexican restaurant we went. Major good vittles, and we ate a lot of it.

Back to the hotel with the little window AC that was louder than my bike, and another night of good sleep on a full stomach. I guess it was about this time we discovered Scotts rack bolts had been sheared in half, and we need some non trivial repair, like a drill and a bolt extractor, and some higher grade replacement bolts... But that goes into the next day.....

It was a very nice little camping spot on the river, I really enjoyed it there. I'll remember it for a long time. And we did need the day break as the next day the arms and legs were no longer sore and good as new.

05-30-2007, 03:51 PM
By this time gas was beginning to be a real concern.

Oh yea, I had forgotten about the gas issue... We had enough to get out, but not enough for much exploring to look for the way out...

05-30-2007, 04:11 PM
Great stuff. Can't wait to see what's next.

05-30-2007, 04:17 PM
Dang, you guy's should have shot some more video clips and we could have put you all on that Survivor man show.

05-30-2007, 04:33 PM
Survivorman Voice:
"I have just found some string and I am going to weave a hammock so I can sleep off the ground a bit. That lizard over there looks pretty tasty" LOL

Tx Rider
05-30-2007, 04:50 PM
Now that ya mention string, I farted around with some out of boredom but my makeshift recliner didn't work out so well. :)

05-30-2007, 05:17 PM

:tab A few years back, Casey was a student at Sam Houston State here in Huntsville and doing part time design work for our company. This was right about the same time I started getting into riding in general. Casey getting an XR650L at that time was partially responsible for watering that dualsport itch deep down in my psyche. Then after he graduated from Sam, he moved off to Arizona, from where I would get the occasional pictures of fantastic scenery and tales of wild riding adventures. Then life took a turn for Casey... a kid :lol2:

:tab A few years back, Casey moved back to Texas and soon found his way to the TWT site. From that time on, he talked of a return trip to Arizona. We even tried to put together a tour ride for 2006. The initial reaction to the planned trip was overwhelmingly positive. Then we posted the details and ONE person signed up :doh: Much to Casey's consternation, that trip got dumped. Later in the year he approached me about doing the trip with a small group... I was definitely interested! And so began the planning...

:tab Slow months go by as we wait and wait for the allotted time to arrive. Hours are spent in the garage pouring over the bike to make sure everything is ready: new chains and sprockets, clean air filter, new spark plug, new tires... And then it happens. First, Jeff "Sprocket" has to back out due to a shoulder injury and our group of four is now down to three. Then the Tuesday before we are to leave, I get rip roaring gut wrenching sick... :puke: By Wednesday evening, I am feeling much better. Early Thursday morning I am laying on the floor of the ER waiting to be admitted and wondering what in the world is happening inside me :-|

:tab Hours later, the Doc's tell me they can't find anything life threatening, that I should just go home and follow up with my regular Doc. Beth gets me home and the pain has subsided a bit, but I still can't stand up and walk very well. Casey is beside himself because we are supposed to be leaving for Arizona tomorrow... It doesn't happen. I simply am in no condition to go riding in the desert on a bike. It finally sinks in for Casey and we start trying to make plans for a delay of the trip rather than totally canceling it. We decide to postpone for two weeks.

:tab Life has a funny way sometimes... The delay turns out to be a good thing. My fork springs have been feeling really harsh. The delay gives me time to get new Race Tech springs installed. A few nights before we are to leave, while finishing up with the forks, I notice that the steering stem is VERY loose! :eek2: No choice but to pull the front end off the bike and have a look. Once inside, everything looks good and damage free. I guess the stem nut just vibrated loose during my recent trip to Mexico :shrug: I had not been riding the bike much since then and never felt anything to indicate the stem was loose. Thank goodness I found this before we were out in the middle of nowhere!! I inspect and then repack the bearings, reassemble everything, and do a few test rides. All is well. 3:00am and I am off to bed.

:tab I am a terminal procrastinator. Beth will be packed for weeks before a trip. I pack the night before, maybe a day before if I am really motivated. I have spent the last few weeks making sure I have everything I need and I have a general idea of how I will pack it. It all goes together and fits on the bike nicely. A fender bag goes on the front for spare tubes and patches. I have a tank bag on top for small stuff. There are tank panniers on each side holding my rain liner, nothing heavy and it makes for good padding... :wary: On the back is the Wolfman Expedition bag and my tent. On my back is the Camel Bak M.U.L.E. with 3 liters of water and munchies.

Friday - 5/19: It Begins...

:tab Finally the day arrives... My unknown illness has not resurfaced and I am feeling back to normal. I get the bike loaded on the trailer and then sit... waiting... 1:00pm... 1:15pm... 1:30pm... and then finally 2:30pm and I am out the door! :dude: The plan is to hit Casey's place in North Austin as close to 6:30pm as possible, load up the other bikes and then drive straight through Friday night. I arrive about 6:45pm, we spend an hour or so getting the other bikes on the trailer and then it is time to hit the road!!

Dad's Dodge Qaud Cab that he kindly let us borrow for the trip

Casey and John ready to hit the road

:tab It is a LONG boring night of driving... Satellite radio helps ;-) With the time change, we roll into Mesa sometime around noon I think. Casey takes us on the hunt for a cheap place to stay. There are times when cheap is not good. The huge splatter of dip spittle on the wall over the head of my bead did not enthuse me about staying at the Royal Mesa Inn, nor did having to jump the fence just to get to our rooms :doh: It did not take more than a few minutes to decide we were going to be moving on. The owner tried to play dumb, and then make up some nonsense about charging us $20 per room for the hassle of being checked in ... Whatever :roll: Just a good reason to have used the credit card instead of paying cash!

:tab We head back up the main drag to find the Starlite Motel. Casey always wanted to stay here because of the neon sign of a hottie diving into some water. A man has to have standards you know! :lol2:

Here's the pool... :doh:
:tab The sprinklers do come on so I guess we could have had a romp in the spray...

And the diving hottie ;-)

:tab This time we check the rooms BEFORE we pay and they are nice. So we pay up and then head to Jim's (Advrider fellow) to drop off the truck and trailer. He has graciously offered to store it in his locked back yard for us during the week. given that the truck and trailer are borrowed, this makes me a happy camper!

Casey navigating to Jim's home

Casey and Jim comparing route notes while John sets to unloading the bikes


:tab We get the truck stowed in Jim's backyard and then say our good byes. Bikes loaded, we head back towards the hotel but not before grabbing lunch at Rubio's Baja Grill... :eat: Great food and BIG portions!! Afterward, Casey heads over to his old stomping grounds while John and I head back to the hotel to settle in for the evening. I've not had much sleep the last few days and the cumulative effect is catching up with me.

The bikes locked together outside my room

Casey and John had a nice setup, living room, kitchen and separate bedroom/bath

:tab We spend the evening enjoying the dry air of Arizona and talking about our plans. When it is time to hit the sack, I ask what time I need to be ready to roll... "7:00pm"... No mention of sunrise or anything :-P Okay.... so off I go, set the alarm and hit the sack... :sleep:

05-30-2007, 09:46 PM
Wednesday, 5/23
On the road again… sorta.

Scott had noticed that all but one of the bolts on his tail rack were gone. The 2 top ones had broken, leaving the threaded shafts in the welded nuts on the frame, and one of the side bolts was gone altogether. In the morning I pulled out my nut and bolt kit and replaced the side one with a nut and bolt that would at least get us to Globe where we would have the means to perform real surgery.

After sleeping in a bit, we climbed out of Superior for a gorgeous paved ride to Globe. As we climbed above 4000’ I discovered a problem; my bike was missing and sputtering above 60 mph, and anytime I was more than easy on the throttle. I shouldn’t be having this problem with stock jetting :ponder:

Once in Globe, we stopped a the Polaris dealer on the way in, where Scott was helped with a smile. We had the threads and bolts drilled out so full nuts and bolts could be used, preventing the problem in the future.

Drilling the subframe at the Polaris dealer

Next we stopped at Napa Autoparts for the side bolt and a headlight bolt.


After a couple of other stops to restock on food and water, we were on our way.

I was torn as to what to do for the route at this point. We had decided to add a day to the trip to help make up for lost time and keep us from having to butcher the route into an awkward mess. We could either continue where the itinerary would have us go from Globe, which involved some exploration on unknown trails to connect two areas I know well, camping in one of my favorite places in AZ, or give the guys a break and head straight for the small community of Young the easy way, which involves a nice desert ride on pavement and a long but pleasant ride up gravel road called 'HWY' 288, or the 'Young Highway'. If we end the day on 288 somewhere near Young, we could visit one of my favorite eateries, Alice's Restaurant and Cantina.

I opted for the easy route, giving us all some added recovery time from the stress of the last few days. I led north on HWY 188, back into the heat of low desert for the last time for the next few days. We made a right on 288, crossing the Salt River, then began our climb into the Sierra Anchas. We stopped at some bluffs that overlooked Roosevelt Lake to the south-west, then continued on the so-far now-paved 288... until we reached road work. We were stopped by a fellow in a white truck, his stop sign rigged so he wouldn't have to hold it, and told to wait for the pilot truck. So we dismounted and kept the guy company for about 20 minutes while we waited. The pilot arrived, and I spent the most excruciating next few miles following the 10mph pickup on oil-covered dirt. Once around, we had an easy ride throught the tall pines decending into Young. Thanks to the construction on the main road, there would be no camping on the mountain.

View from the cliff

I think this would make a nifty new avatar for 'TX Rider' (prev 'Dyna Sport')

Scott goofing off...

...and goofing off some more, with his best eagle impression.

A bluff like the one we were standing on

Waiting for the pilot truck

I pulled up to the the sign at the road to Alice's, which said they were open till 10 PM. Once we approached the cafe however, the owner (Alice?), told us they were closed... and not in the most polite tone, either. This didn't make much sense, but oh well, off to the Antler Cafe, which I had been wanting to try. The Antler Cafe turned out to be a great option; great burgers and a unique atmosphere.

Alice's, where we didn't eat.

The Altler Cafe, where we did eat

And eat we did...

After filling our bellies, we took a short ride down the road to a motel we had passed. It didn't look like anything special at first, but the rooms were very nice (except for shower heads that needed replacement) and it had a cool fireplace in front.

Ending the day in front of the fire

05-31-2007, 02:41 AM
Sunday - 5/20: "We should be in Globe by noonish..."

:tab While sleeping and dreaming of pleasant things, a loud bang intrudes into my peaceful slumber... :huh2: I roll over and look at my cell phone... 5:00am :eek2: What the...!? I stumble to the door and find Casey fully dressed and apparently ready to go riding. The sun has only barely begun to show its first feeble rays on the distant horizon. I ask him if he knows what time it is and he looks a little confuzzled for a moment... Then it dawns on him :doh: I head back to bed after things are sorted out but it is not long before he just can't stand it and is soon back to rapping on my door. Seeing that it is a lost cause, I dress and pack the bike. Already, at a little before 7:00am, sitting in the sun gets a little warm. This should be an interesting day!

The KLR stands loaded and ready for abuse...


John ready for action

Day-Glo Casey and the Bug Eyed Dr650

Yours truly, eager with anticipation of things to come :wary:

:tab We head out of town on one of the highways and soon find the entrance to the land of dual sporting bliss. It seems the military has a different vision of desert bliss, something to do with live fire exercises! :brainsnap The sign with the dates on it show that we should be fine, but there is that nagging issue of the pole with the red flag on it... :wary: We air down the tires in preparation for the ensuing ride in the dirt and head in to the unknown...


Looks pretty tame right...?

:tab We head in and the road is nice, loose gravel and sand with some ruts and rocks in the mix. We ride for several miles before Casey stops in some shade, perhaps to check his route. I am in tourist mode for this trip. The planning has pretty much been in Casey's hands from day one. I don't even have the route loaded in the GPS, just all the local Topo and City Select maps for the area. Not having any clue where one is heading kind of makes things interesting.

Shade is a precious commodity in the desert...

It is starting to get hilly

:tab Soon after our stop, the terrain starts to really get interesting! The hills get steeper and the road rougher. As always, the camera just cannot convey to reality of the terrain. Really... it IS steeper than it looks!! :lol2:

John heading up an easy hill climb

Notice that John is standing

:tab John never stands unless he has too. So when I see him standing, it gets my attention! That is usually a sign of things to come :trust: With a few good hill climbs and descents behind us, we stop at the crest of a hill to take in the view and have a short break. Shoving the KLR up and down these hills is work. With all the added weight of luggage and the tall stock gearing, I am really exploring new territory in terms of mine and the KLR's abilities. I have never really done much serious technical dirt riding, just trips to Clayton, Big Bend and Arkansas (which had some hard stuff but of short duration). Gazing out over the land below, I can see that duration is going to be an issue today...



A nice level area for a break

Looking off into the distance

Easy to get lost in this rat maze and not all the "roads" are on the maps

Looking back up the hill

:tab While we are hanging out, a guy in an "Off-Road 4X4" Ford pickup pulls up to chat. He's trying to get to the Coke Ovens. A little chat with Casey regarding directions and distance and then he takes off in a cloud of dust. We soon follow.

:tab The ride is challenging but thrilling. The scenery is awesome. After riding for a while, we encounter the guy in the pickup backtracking. He informs us that he reached a ledge and some big rocks that he did not think his truck could handle but that we should have no problems on the bikes. Soon we enter a narrow box canyon, its floor lined with deep and loose sand and gravel. Large boulders are scattered about just to add to the fun. Normally I like riding in sand and loose stuff. However, with all the added weight of the luggage, the rear of the bike just wants to dig in and it makes it very hard to steer the bike. Fighting the loose stuff is exhausting work but the scenery makes it worth the effort!



A relatively flat, wide and hard packed section of the canyon/wash

I had to shove rocks under this guy's front tire so he would get traction to straighten out and then back down to a point where he could get turned around!

This is what caused him to turn around and what we just came down...


A fine parking job by John :lol2:

Apparently seeing the first guy turn tail did not dissuade this guy from taking a peek... :doh:

Could not help but notice the prevalence of this lichen everywhere... very cool!

:tab Once all the SUV's and trucks are turned around and out of our way, we continue on our way down the canyon. It eventually widens out and the ground becomes very loose. However, with the extra room to maneuver, the riding is not so bad. Soon we are on a hard packed road that gently rises and falls over the terrain in big sweeping curves. It is a refreshing break from the hard stuff. About the time I am thinking many miles of this kind of riding is just what I like, Casey turns us around and informs us that we have missed a turn and have to go back up the canyon :doh: So off we go...

:tab The run back to the canyon is fun but once we get back to the rocky stuff, I manage to hit ledges with both the front and back tires at the same time. This causes me to lose all forward momentum and just fall over to the side :argh: Normally, picking up the KLR is not a big deal for me. However, with the luggage on the bike, it is very difficult to get a grip on the rear of the bike for lifting. After a few tries, it becomes obvious to John that I am gonna need some help. He obliges and we are soon back on track chasing Casey. Somewhere between that drop and finding Casey I have numerous close calls that send huge amounts of adrenaline coursing through my veins. I rarely feel out of control when riding on the street. On the dirt, the opposite seems true and I rarely feel in control :wary:

:tab We catch up to Casey as the spot where we were supposed to turn earlier. We are soon back to the steep climbs, loose rocks, ledges, and sharp prickly things lining the road!

There is a Cholla Cactus on the left side of this pic with my name all over it...

:tab Now on the way out here in the truck, Casey went into great detail about the pain and suffering associated with an encounter with the dreaded Cholla Cacti. Barbed spikes laced with poison that have to be pulled from your skin, each feeling like a bad wasp sting. The plant falls apart sending globs of spikes everywhere. Apparently, my brain did not absorb all of this during the wee hours of the morning of driving when he was going over these details. I must be checking out the scenery instead of watching where I am going because one moment all is fine, and in the next moment I am doing everything possible to avoid making contact with one of these abominations as my bike falls into one, taking me with it...

:tab The end result is me standing WAY to close to this vicious attack cactus that is tossing big globs of spikes at me with every wiggle of my body. The problem is, I can't move!! My left leg is pinned under the bike. The seat is resting on the top of my boot at the calf and my boot is supporting the full weight of the bike. I am not in any pain but I am pinned with no way to lift the bike off my boot without leaning into the cactus that stands there taunting me. See my predicament, once again John comes to the rescue. After a few minutes of picking out needles and John looking me over real good to make sure we have not missed any, we get moving again. About this time I am starting to feel the cumulative affect of the heat and exertion. I sip some more from the Camel Bak and keep moving.

I try to rest and conserve energy on nice sections like this

The dreaded Cholla

A close up! :eek2:

:tab Soon the nice level sections become scarce. If we are not climbing some rough rocky hill, we are doing a dicey descent. With the tall gearing and extra weight on the back of the KLR, it is a chore keeping the front end on the ground. At times I am leaning so far forward I can almost kiss the fender. Nonetheless, too often the front tire is in the air and I am trying to keep the bike moving and balanced on one tire. When I stop on an ascent to keep from dropping the bike, getting restarted is a real chore and is physically punishing. Each hill just takes more and more out of me. Soon we reach a bit of nastiness with a sharp ninety degree turn about half way up with a ledge in the turn... It is more than I can handle and once again the bike is down. This time I did not jump fast enough and something is pulled in a place where guys are not fond of having pain... :huh2: Time to have a sit...

:tab I don't think I am seriously hurt, just a little tweaked. A few moments to catch my breath and to drink some more and I forget about the pulled/strained muscles. With the bike righted, John helps me get it up over the ledge and then I ride it up the rest of the way to where Casey is stopped. I park the bike and try to sit in what shade it provides. By now the sun is really beating down on us and there is NO shade to be had. It is not even noon yet so it is likely to only get hotter! While resting I try to get some pictures of John's attempt to make the climb.

John at the sharp turn/ledge

Casey and John confer on the best line...

:tab The rest helps, but I can tell that I am fast approaching the point of having no strength or energy to continue this level of riding for much longer. We go a little further and then come to a steep descent. Here the road is basically just a sloping rock surface with lots of uneven areas and drops of a foot or more. We stop to decide what the best lines might be for the descent. John goes first and seems to get down pretty well. Casey goes next and stops to wait for me. I am at a nasty ledge and cannot back up to take a better line. Casey helps with a push back and then I reroute around the ledge. The worst behind us, we drop down into a wash to find John resting in some MUCH needed shade. At this point, I am feeling the early signs of heat exhaustion. I tell Casey and John the seriousness of the situation and we take a nice LONG break. I force myself to eat a few power bars even though they taste horrible to me right now. I continue drinking slowly but deliberately every few minutes to try to prevent dehydration. Looking at the faces of Casey and John, I don't think they are far behind me even though they don't seem to be struggling with their bikes like I have been.

Looking up the wash, the road crosses the wash here

Looking back up the road to a corner, the descent is out of pic to the right


John enjoying the shade... but not the ever present gnats!!

The gnats are driving Casey nuts as well, hehe


:tab While we are hanging out and resting, we start hearing motor noises. Soon we spot these guys cresting the hill we just descended and they start picking their way down with a few close calls!

(a little fuzzy because of the digital zoom)



This fellow stops for a quick chat to make sure all is well

And then they just keep coming...

Eventually, there are eleven of them and they stop just beyond us for a beer break

Doesn't look too bad eh? That spot just above John's head has ledges from 18"-24" in the middle of the turn

I tried to zoom in for a better look but the camera flattens everything

Our rest stop

:tab The problem with getting over heated and exhausted is that it takes only a short time to reach that state, but it takes MUCH longer to recover from that state! After a good rest and some rehydration, I feel a whole lot better. We get back on the bikes and keep going. However, it is soon obvious to me that despite feeling better, I still simply lack the energy (caloric in nature), having burned through much of what I may have had at the start of the ride and the power bars just don't cut it. We are right back to the climbing and descending. It is not long before I reach my limit on a climb.

:tab With the top in sight, maybe another 20 yards at most after probably a few hundred yards of steady rough climbing, I hit another ledge and just cannot keep the front of the bike down. It lifts, throwing me off balance and over I go. At this point, I can barely stand because my legs feel like rubber, so sit on the dirt next to the bike and ponder the situation. The bike is not going anywhere as I certainly cannot lift it. Even if I get it upright, I doubt I can get it moving on such a steep incline. I feel like vomiting... Sooo... I head for what meager shade I can find under a spindly cactus and lay down. As I suck on the Camel Bak tube I experience that dreaded "thwack" as the bladder registers empty :doh: Three liters gone shortly after noon. Casey comes back down the hill and John climbs up so we can take stock of things.

:tab While I am laying down trying to cool off, John and Casey right the bike and John tries to ride it up. No dice. Then, in an almost instant answer to prayer, several jeeps round the bend below us. They stop to check on us and graciously offer some much needed assistance. I get the privilege of sitting in an air conditioned jeep while the others tow my bike the last bit to the top. Then John has to get his bike up. He seems to be doing okay until he reaches the ledge where I went down. He almost clears it, then loses his momentum and starts sliding backwards!! :eek2: Fortunately, John has some seriously long legs and he is able to back peddle pretty fast to keep the bike upright. After a brief pause to catch his breath, he puts the Terraflex to work on the rock and sends the bike scrambling up the hill to the top. The jeep makes it seem so effortless that I have to wonder why I am torturing myself like this :doh: :lol2:

:tab Once at the top, we stop to regroup. I get some much needed ice cold Gatorade from one of the friendly jeepers. Even better, the guy whose jeep I am occupying fills my Camel Bak with ice and water. After a few more minutes I am feeling pretty good again. John on the other hand is baking in the sun and really itching to get moving. He has the routes in his GPS and so Casey tells him to go on ahead and we'll come along in a few minutes. As I am getting myself back in gear and on the bike, John disappears around the next bend in a swirl of dust.

Looking back the way we came from the top of the fateful climb, if only it were as smooth and easy as it looks in pictures!! :roll:

[The climb up is about as long as that section seen above that descends from the back ground to the middle of the picture. However, because I am looking down the hill side, the bulk of the climb does not even show up in the picture. It is significantly steeper than the descent seen in the back ground and falls away sharply just beyond the edge of the road in the lower left portion of the image.]

The air conditioned jeep

Steamy dog breath in my face never smelled so good :lol2:

Some of the other vehicles in their convoy

:tab The jeepers are really nice folks and genuinely concerned for our welfare. They offer to let us go ahead and they'll follow to make sure we make it to the river without any further problems. So Casey and I head after John, only to come up to a fork in the road within a few hundred yards... Which way did John go? :shrug: While pondering this dilemma, the jeepers come up behind us and tell us, "That way is really tough, so go this way to get where you want to be." Hoping that John will have realized the same, we go the way they suggest. We are on a ridge and trying to reach a river. The obvious issue is that this means another descent. I steel myself for it because at this point, I WANT to get to the freaking river!!

:tab Soon after the fork, we start descending. The road is rutted and strewn with large loose rocks. The front tire of the KLR is bouncing all over the place. I am trying to be very gentle with the rear brake as I pick my way down. In places it is so steep that the rear just locks up and tries to slide around to lead the way. I have to steer into the slide and just focus on keeping the bike upright until it comes to a stop on its own and I can start picking my way down again. This continues for several hundred yards as the road wraps around the side of the hill and down into the scrub trees that line the river valley. At this point the road turns to silt, that super fine powdery dust that seeks to penetrate every tiny crevice in my sinuses with each labored breath I take. The saving grace is that the road is like riding in a tunnel formed by the low hanging branches of the trees and the shade is a welcome relief from the searing sun. It does not last long...

:tab The road pops out from under the trees, makes a sharp switch back and begins a loose rocky climb up a steep hill. Sitting near the top of the hill is a run down collapsed structure that looks like it might have been a home at one time. I make the next tight switch back and gun the bike for all it is worth. The back end is flying all over the place as I focus on keeping the front end planted. I am NOT going to drop this thing!! I reach the top and there is a sharp left onto a nice flat level area. I made it to the Coke Ovens... Where is John? :scratch: :doh:



Looking back down towards the collapsed building


:tab The jeepers finally take their leave after we assure them we'll be fine and thank them for all their help. This leaves Casey and I to kick back and take it all in. The scenery here is fantastic. I LOVE the desert, even when it kicks my backside! Getting here involved some serious and grueling riding compared to what I have ever attempted before now. I feel like crap and am totally wasted. How can this possibly be fun!? Nonetheless, I am having the time of my life, misery and all! Still... it would be nice if John would show up soon! And just then...

Major fuzzy because of the digital zoom, but rest assured that is John across the small valley wondering how to get to where we are

:tab After much shouting and arm waving, John almost heading straight down the side of the hillside thinking that was what we told him to do, and then finally figuring out we were trying to tell him to circle around the backside of the hillside to find the road, he finally found his way to the right road and the way up to the ovens. What a relief!

Getting closer

Almost to the top... and standing up again...

Sitting down for the last bit of the climb where there are fewer rocks

Taking a much needed break and drinking my HOT gatorade

:tab It seems that John did make it to the river, but at the wrong place. He went down a REALLY nasty descent to reach the river. Then decided that once there a good dip in the cool water was in order. After about an hour it occurred to him that he might have gone the wrong way. So he geared back up and made the climb back to the top of the ridge. So by the time he got back to us, he had really gotten a serious workout!! We stay put at the ovens a little longer to let John rest before we set out for the river in the valley below.

:tab With everyone rested, we start down into the river valley. The road soon turns back into silt. The road is lined with what look to be mesquite trees. There is a large rut on each side and a bug hump down the middle. So it is pretty smooth going under the trees for the most part. However, we do encounter a pretty nasty stretch of deep ruts left by jeeps when things were not quite so dry! Keeping the front tire from slipping down into the ruts demands my full attention. We soon reach the river... only to see it flowing fast and looking pretty deep. On the far side are the ATV guys we encountered earlier while resting in the wash. One of them is very animated about showing us the way across the river and decides to demonstrate...

:tab This guy jumps on his ATV and just blasts right into the water under full throttle. He never lets up and eventually reaches our side, shoving a huge wave of water onto shore ahead of him. He spins around and charges right back into the river, chugging away. This time though, the current is working against him. The ATV starts drifting and he is trying to keep the front end pointed where he wants to go.


He us churning up the river bottom pretty good but is losing momentum.

Right about here, the current almost flips the ATV over on the right side and he stalls it

He's lucky that his buddies carry a LONG tow strap in addition to their large coolers of beer :lol2:

Casey soaking and enjoying the entertainment

:tab After watching the ATV crossing and also wading out into the river a ways, we decide to forgo the attempt at getting the bikes across. There are large rocks littering the bottom of the river bed. Standing in only knee deep water is difficult because of the strength of the current. If we were to drop one of the bikes, picking it up against the current would be a nightmare. Riding across would be very risky and walking them across not much better. None of us are really wild about the idea, but it seems that the better part of valor is to backtrack and ride out on the Battle Axe trail... if we can find it... It seems Casey forgot the trail map and description, having left it in the truck :doh:

:tab We still have some daylight left and decide to start heading for the trail. We follow the road back along the river a bit and soon reach another hill climb. With no alternative, we start up. It is LONG and steep. There are large loose rocks everywhere. I try standing up and just muscling the KLR to the top non stop but the road has other plans for me. I don't go down, but I get high centered on a large rock. It is jammed into my center stand and I cannot get the bike over it. Finally, in desperation, I tilt the bike pretty far to one side while letting is slide backward. This rotates the rock enough that I can kick it out from under the bike. I still have to fight the tall gearing and the tendency of the clutch to want to either totally slip or totally engage, making it very difficult to control the bike. After what seems like an eternity, I finally reach the top, right back where we were several hours ago...

:tab The sun is starting to get low and we have to make plans for spending the night in the desert. The only thing between us and the river is the nasty descent that John did earlier. Convinced that this is the eventual way out of here, we decide to head down to the river, make camp and call it a day.

The view from the ridge


:tab Once again, I brace myself for what will no doubt be a grueling physical task. The road curves once or twice around the side of the hill and then plummets straight down into the valley below. John was not exaggerating earlier when he described the nastiness of this hill. Numerous times I start sliding as the rear of the bike tries to take the lead. I have to really take my time, stop where possible to reassess and catch my breath, then start sliding my way down some more. I finally make it to the bottom and the relative ease of riding in the silt. We soon make it to the river and set up camp.


A branch of the road veers into the river and we setup there

Looking back down into the old fording gully, John pumps water into his Camel Bak in the background


The way out... hopefully... Which we will explore in the morning

:tab Soon after we get our tents setup, the sun slips down behind the mountains and darkness soon follows. I brought an MRE with me that is a leftover from my trip down to Mexico back in March with Richard_ and a few other TWT folks. Chicken in Salsa... :puke: I eat the power bar, crackers, peanut butter and drink the energy drink. I just cannot stomach the Chicken goop. However, I do start feeling much better after eating. Exhausted, we knock off pretty early. Everyone is fairly well beat from the heat and physically punishing riding.

:tab Laying in my tent waiting for the Alieve to work its magic, I ponder the day of riding. I feel like I am totally in over my head and out of my league in terms of skill, physical conditioning, and even the bike. Yet, I only dropped the bike four times. Given the terrain and my condition, I am actually quite surprised I did not drop it much more! Still, I am confident that I cannot continue this type of riding for days on end. Recovering from heat exhaustion takes time and rest, yet we still have to get out of here in the morning. What will tomorrow bring? :ponder:

:tab Sleep comes and goes in spurts. The stars shine brightly even through the material of my tent walls. The sound of the river a few yards away is soothing and relaxing... morning will come all too soon... :sleep:

05-31-2007, 10:32 AM
What? No pics of the girl in the bikini? :trust:

05-31-2007, 11:39 AM

beautiful scenery...

My 1st time out in the desert on a bike, I came this .. close to suffering heat exhaustion. That hot, dry air will get you WAY faster than you think.

05-31-2007, 11:49 AM
What? No pics of the girl in the bikini? :trust:

There was a girl in a bikini!!?? :doh: I must have really been out of my mind... :lol2:

05-31-2007, 11:54 AM
Beautiful pictures. I am going to have to get some info from yall. Winter will be here quickly!

05-31-2007, 12:01 PM
There was a girl in a bikini!!?? :doh: I must have really been out of my mind... :lol2:
With the Jeepers... I recall you noticing as well ;-) I didn't take a picture because her boyfriend looked like he might have killed before :-P

Goat Trail Green
05-31-2007, 01:02 PM
Excellent !!!!!

Thanks Mike Green

05-31-2007, 02:14 PM
Beautiful pictures. I am going to have to get some info from yall. Winter will be here quickly!
Lemme know when you're ready, I have lots to suggest... Mostly north of you though.

05-31-2007, 04:54 PM
Lemme know when you're ready, I have lots to suggest... Mostly north of you though.

I am used to driving 2-3 hours to go for a ride. It isn't as far as you had to go :rider:

Thanks for the offer, I shall be hitting you up in a few months.

06-01-2007, 09:46 AM
We forgot the Dairy Queen job apps and and the weird homeless polish (or whatever) lady...

06-01-2007, 12:06 PM
Oh yeah...

:tab Friday evening we stopped at the DQ in Marble Falls at 1431 and 281. The tray liners were job application forms. I've never seen that before :lol2:

:tab On the way to Arizona, some where out in the middle of no where, we turned around to see if someone needed help on the side of the road. This odd old lady appeared to be living in her van. She said she was out of gas. When we offered gas she just wanted money. Then she launched into some bizzarre story of life in Poland. I don't think she was all here or there :shrug: Seeing that she was not really in need of help, so far as we could tell, we resumed our course.

06-01-2007, 02:52 PM
:tab On the way to Arizona, some where out in the middle of no where, we turned around to see if someone needed help on the side of the road. This odd old lady appeared to be living in her van. She said she was out of gas. When we offered gas she just wanted money. Then she launched into some bizzarre story of life in Poland. I don't think she was all here or there :shrug: Seeing that she was not really in need of help, so far as we could tell, we resumed our course.

The western version of the eskimos leaving grandma for the polar bears. :mrgreen:

06-01-2007, 05:31 PM
Monday - 5/21: "I remember it being an easy ride out from here..."

:tab The desert sun comes up right around 5:00am... :huh2: It's freaking bright too! By 5:15, things are getting down right uncomfortable in the tent. No point in trying to deny it, I have to get up. John and Casey are stirring as well. Our intent is to get an early start in an attempt to beat the heat and to escape the desert. Tents are rolled up and bikes are packed. With the sun already climbing over the tops of the surrounding hills, we set out on what we think is the Battle Axe Trail.

:tab I'm never really on my game early in the morning. Normally, I would say 8:00am is early as I don't typically roll out on a normal day until about 10:30am because of my work schedule. When I do get up really early, my body doesn't know what to do with me. My equilibrium department has not risen with me and I feel a bit off until late in the morning. Today is no different. We start the ride in loose silt and I feel like I am just flailing all over the place on the bike. We reach a boulder strewn wash and I bounce my way across to the other side like a pinball. Then the road starts climbing out of the river valley and we leave the shade of the trees behind.

Looking back towards the river valley



Where we are headed...

:tab The road starts out fairly mild but soon we are doing the climbs and descents again. I'm feeling pretty good as I have eaten, slept, and drank until I could actually whiz again :lol2: It is not hot yet, just a little warm. Today I plan to focus on doing the climbs and descents a little faster than yesterday. Dirt riding is about doing non intuitive things. The mind may be screaming to slow down lest you cast your body upon the unforgiving rocks, but the bike wants to go faster to maintain stability. Even though I know this to the core of my being, it takes all the will power I can muster to force myself to go faster. It does help. And then it happens again :doh: In a tight dip where I drop down into the bottom of a "V" while having to turn back up and to the right, I catch a big rock with the front tire while going slow and it just tips me right over :argh: Even though I can reach the ground on the KLR with no problem, once it gets tipped to a certain point, I just cannot hold it up with all the added weight of the luggage. It is very frustrating. I get the bike righted and start the next climb.

:tab Soon the road "levels" out a bit and becomes a little more rolling and fast. There are still serious rocks to dodge, but the pace is quicker. The wind coming through the mesh of my riding suit feels fantastic. Already, it is getting hot again. I don't think the actual air temperature is all that hot, but the direct sunlight makes if feel MUCH hotter. When we stop to regroup, we are always looking for the shade spots.

:tab The easy riding soon gives way again to the gnarly hill climbs. I sit at the bottom of a ridge contemplating the path to the top. Casey is already out of sight and I did not get to watch the lines he chose. There are HUGE deep erosion ruts and large embedded rocks that go from top to bottom. One side is so bad that people have started driving off to the other side, creating a second road of sorts. My mind made up, I head up the right side on the "new" road. I get up some speed, hold steady on the gas, lean WAYYY forward and hit the hill running!!

:tab Things start out pretty smooth and then the fun begins. Both ends of the bike are bouncing around trying to buck me off. I stay steady on the gas and keep my eyes looking up, looking for that magic line that will carry me to the top. The rear tries to slide on the off camber slope that waits to drag me into one of the huge ruts. The top is getting closer and the sense of expectation/dread builds... Will I make it? I clear the last obstacle and it looks like I am clear... oh crap!! There is a DEEP rut running left to right directly across my path just before the crest of the hill :eek2: Nothing to do but lean wayyy back and lighten the front end, stay loose, and hope for the best! I hit and bounce, but the bike stays under control. When the back end comes out it wants to leap into the air as the rear spring unloads. I am ready for it and it is not a problem. I make it through and then have to bring the bike to a fast stop. The top of the hill is a "T" intersection and if I keep going straight, I will launch right off into some cacti! A little skid and some pucker, the dust settles and I realize I've done it. I spot Casey up and to the right looking down with his camera in hand. Then I hear the sound of John's KTM chugging hard...

:tab We take a break for a while and enjoy the view. Roads wind away in all directions. Which to take? After a brief consultation and looking at the GPS, we head down off the ridge into a low valley. After a few more climbs and descents, the road levels out and straightens a bit.

The penalty for leaving the road is steep... :brainsnap

:tab Take a good look at that mesa on the right side of the above image. Now imagine one just to the right of that with a road going up it... :doh: Yes, this is the way we go. The GPS maps show a road running around the base of the mesa heading off to the East and then veering North. However, the on the ground experience does not confirm the existence of this road. The road we are on, which looks to be the most frequently traveled road, heads up that mesa and the GPS shows it dead ending into a narrow canyon. To make things even more interesting, we can see a ledge running around the side of the mesa. Could this be the road the GPS indicates? :scratch: We decide to investigate...

:tab We soon leave the relatively easy and smooth road of the valley floor and start a tortured and winding climb up the side of the mesa. One section of the climb in particular is daunting. It is often the case that riders don't have pictures from the best/worst parts of their trips. This is because they are either having too much fun to stop for pics or because they are so worried about their immediate survival that pics are simply out of the question! This hill climb would be of the latter case... I scan the climb for a few moments, making note of the really BIG rocks that will need to be dodged and looking for the surface that will offer the best traction. The road climbs and turns, going out of sight. I'll just have to wing it when I reach the turn and hope for the best :pray:

:tab I take this hill in first gear, as I have had to do for many of them. The throttle is snatchy in first gear which makes it hard to consistently control, but second gear is just far too tall and will lug the engine into a stall. John waits at the bottom of the climb as I start my way up, no doubt hoping I won't dump it and need help :oops: The bike chugs and bounces, slips and slides, but keeps going. I hit the corner and run a berm around the outside of the nasty stuff and keep going. The remainder of the climb is long but not as rough as the first section. Eventually I catch up with Casey. He's waiting at a switchback where there is a large leveled area where it appears that people camp. I pull up next to him and we wait for John.

:tab It is now that I realize the heat is ON! It is maybe 9:30 or so and already it is cooking. We stop to confer again and there is much anguish over the route. Casey does not recall there being such a prolonged climb out on his previous ride. This combined with the uncertainty of the GPS maps leaves us in a pickle. We can't see any roads from our high vantage point that connect up with anything going East like the map shows. Ahead lies the steep walls of a very narrow canyon. IF it is the wrong way and we wipe ourselves out just to find out it is a dead end, it could get ugly. We decide to head back down into the valley below and see if a few of the smaller roads we passed show any promise. The run back down the side of the mesa goes pretty smooth and helps with my confidence.

:tab Back down in the valley we follow a few short off shoots from the main road and they show no promise at all. They look like they are seldom traveled. Frustrated and tired, we decide to attempt the mesa one more time and to go a little higher for a better vantage point in the hopes that we'll see something new. I am a little worried, but since I made it the first time I am feeling pretty good as there should be no surprises. Off and up we go...

:tab I finally reach that first nasty section again, look up to refresh my memory about the line I took before, and have at it. There is a BIG difference between the intended line and the resulting line when doing a hill climb :doh: All it takes is one well placed rock to set in motion a series of events that takes everything from the wonderful world of, "this is working great!" to,"aaaagggghhhhh!!!!" True to form, I find that one well placed rock :doh: It tosses me off to the right and the bike climbs the berm on the side of the road. The hill is so steep that adding the slope of the berm just wheelies the bike right up and over onto the top of the berm. I eject, something I am getting all too good at doing :mrgreen: The bike comes to rest on its side with the front end off the road. This won't be easy... :-|

:tab I learned my dualsport riding on the BMW R1150GS, the biggest pig on the dual sport road (next to the Adventure version of the GS). I learned several important lessons riding that beastie. Once it is obvious the bike is going down, get clear!! Trying to save it can only lead to nasty injuries and pulled muscles. The second and perhaps more important lesson is that once down, there rarely is a need to act fast to get the bike righted. It is far better to take a few moments to make sure I am not injured, let the adrenalin come down, and to survey the situation calmly. Trying to get the bike up in a hurry while pumped on adrenalin can really get a person hurt!

:tab I stand for a moment and survey the situation. A feeling of disgust floats at the edge of my consciousness. I made it the first time with almost no problem at all and it burns me that I could not do it again :argh: Worse yet, it does not look like I will be able to get the bike up without help. As much as I appreciate John's help in these situations, I get tired of it always being me that needs the help and him doing the helping :roll: He waits patiently below as I start trying to tug the bike back onto the trail. I tug with everything I have and it hardly budges. The heat and exertion of riding is already taking its toll. I leave the bike where it is and hike down to the bottom of the hill to join John in the shade of a scrub tree.

:tab After John finishes a cigarette, we hike back up to the bike and see what we can we can do. We both grab the front of the bike and just start dragging it down the berm to get it on the road so we can get to it for lifting. The right controls and mirror are just digging into the dirt and rocks. I cringe as I see the parts scraping, but what else can we do :shrug: After a few minutes of heavy grunting, the bike is still on its side but is basically pointed in the right direction. I move around to get a grip on the downside bar and start the dead lift. John steadies the bike and keeps if from rolling backwards as I remount. Now I am faced with a mid climb restart again... My experience thus far is that a gradual start is very difficult. The bike does not have enough speed to maintain its balance and with the rocky footing it is very difficult to keep it from going over again if it starts to tip. The launching start is scary though because it immediately sets the bike to broncing and bouncing like a raging bull. I opt for the launch and get up on the pegs in a standing position as fast as possible to let the bike flail around underneath me. Back on the gas and determined as ever, I eventually fight my way back to the top, make the switchback where we stopped before and climb a little farther before finding Casey stopped, sitting in the shade of a cactus, pondering his maps... I am beat...

:tab John soon joins us. He and I share the thin shade of some kind of bush/cactus thing. And then there are the gnats... :twitch: They were bad yesterday as well. It seems they enjoy the shade also. They have a proclivity for buzzing into the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Swatting at them is pointless. Even if I were to kill those in the path of my hand, there are thousands waiting to replace them in an instant. Worst of all, they like to get into the helmet and find their way back behind my ears or somewhere between my head and the helmet liner. It is hard enough to concentrate on the difficult road with the heat and exhaustion. Having several gnats wiggling around behind the ears or on the head is enough to make one go crazy :lol2:

:tab From the higher vantage point on the mesa, we still don't see anything that improves our situation. We're a long way from the river and its precious water. Our gas situation may soon become a problem. Chasing down rabbit trails and exploring is not really something we can afford to be doing right now. We are all tired, hot, and frustrated. There is still one road we have not explored. The GPS shows it going down to the river and then running roughly parallel to the river to the East before arching back up to the Northeast and eventually hitting the Kelvin/Florence highway. It is a longgg way back to the intersection where that road cuts off from our path and heads to the river...

Sitting high on the mesa where we ponder our options...

:tab Down we go... again...

:tab At this point, I am pretty much mentally consigned to doing whatever it takes to get me and the bike wherever it needs to be, all physical or mental discomfort aside. Griping about things won't help and would just get everyone more aggravated. So far, despite our frustration, no one is really complaining or getting short with anyone else. It is nice to be riding with guys like this. Some folks would be intolerable in such a situation. We're all in this together so nothing to do but suck it up and make the best of it!

:tab After a long and challenging backtrack, we finally reach the intersection where the road heads East. The good thing is that we are down low in the valley so the road is relatively easy to ride. The faster pace feels great with the wind evaporating the sweat from my skin. It reminds me to keep sucking on the Camel Bak so I don't dehydrate. I come over a short rise and find Casey stopped where the road crosses a wide gravel wash. John pulls up behind me right about the time that Casey takes off down the wash :shock: We look at each other for a moment... "Does he expect us to follow him down that?!" A few more moments go by... "I guess so :shrug: "

:tab The wash is a LOOSE rocky surface of fine rocks, most often quite deep. It is like trying to ride the bike across a deep bed of oiled BB's. The front just plows like crazy when I try to turn. When I try to use the gas to steer with the back end, the rear tire just spins and sinks or causes the bike to fishtail. It is impossible to get the bike up on top of this stuff. Add to that there are large sections of rock slabs sticking up out of the wash gravel that must be dodged. I can see where Casey has plowed through ahead of us and just resolve to keep following his trail, fighting the bike as it tries to fling itself to the ground. All I can do is put out the legs and paddle my way through. After what seems like an eternity, but is in reality probably only a few minutes, I find Casey stopped and off the bike. Dead end... :tears:

:tab Time for a much needed break and more serious consultation. Fortunately, there is a large rock with stuff growing out of it and it provides enough shade for all three of us to get out of the sun. Off comes the gear, out comes the water, and I force myself to eat some jerky and power bars. It all tastes like bad cardboard, but the water gets it down.

Looking back up the wash at John's KTM

The dead end, just beyond the bikes... We can hear the river nearby... :doh:

One look is worth a thousand words ;-)

:tab While we are cooling off and relaxing, I think the seriousness of our situation is really starting to take hold of our minds... We are not sure of the way out, we likely don't have enough gas to backtrack all the way to where we originally came in, and even if we did, the ride back out would be long and brutal. We definitely don't have it in us to do the backtrack today. None of us is wild about the idea of attempting the mesa again. If we were to get up in there and run out of gas or water, we'd be a LONG way from water and in a serious jam. All three of us are pretty well over heated and tired at this point. It seems the only logical thing to do is to head back to our campsite at the river. We've food for several days and with water can last even longer if we absolutely have to. Best to get there, cool off, relax, and then consider our options.

:tab We still have to ride back out of this wash... :help:

:tab I get the KLR turned around and pointed in the right direction. The front tire is up on a bit of a raised berm of the gravel. When I try to get it turned to miss the rock ledges where John's bike was parked, over I go :roll: At this point, there is no real sense of frustration or anger... It just is, so I have to deal with it :zen: I get setup and dead lift the bike. Casey holds it steady while I swing a leg over. Then it is back to the paddling and plowing through the gravel. I have to stop several times along the way to catch my breath. Fighting the bike in this stuff is just brutally punishing and my heart is POUNDING!! I just keep telling myself..."It is only a little further, you can do this, you have to do this, just keep going..." I finally reach the spot where the road crosses the wash and find John waiting for us.

:tab The map shows that the road continues towards the river and back the direction where we camped. It if goes through it will be a MUCH shorter ride to the camp spot than backtracking the way we came this morning. John leads the way. The terrain is up and down with lots of silt and sand at the bottoms of the hills. After a mile or so, we come to a big dry wash. The map shows the road continuing on the other side, but the drop down into the wash is not something any of us are willing to risk. It is very steep, strewn with large boulders and criss crossed with tree trunks that have been washed down in past flood waters. Another dead end... It looks like we will be backtracking all the way back the way we came :doh:

:tab We make short work of getting back to the main road and then start the trek back to the river. Coming out this morning, I don't recall it being so challenging. It is funny how perception is affected by our mental and physical states. Now, hot and tired, the road seems much more difficult, the rocks bigger, the climbs and descents rougher and steeper, and the bike much less agile... I experience several near drops and only manage to stay upright by sheer luck and judicious applications of the throttle. Just have to hang on a little longer... I can see the trees lining the river below...

:tab We finally make it back to our campsite. The bikes are quickly parked in the shade, gear is stripped off, and bodies are soaked in the river... ahhhhh... The water is cold, but not COLD. Soaking is incredibly refreshing. We sit soaking, pondering our situation and what we might do to extract ourselves from it. Casey is a little agitated because he has that driving focus that makes him want to be doing something every moment to achieve the goal. I am content to soak for now. Fifteen minutes or so won't make that much difference either way at this point. Besides, maybe we'll get lucky and someone will drive up on the other side of the river and we can get someone into town to go for help... <insert silent prayer here>

:tab "Do you hear that?!..."

And the prayer is answered moments later :dude:

:tab A jeep comes crawling into view and we wave our arms to get their attention. They stop and ask if things are okay. I ask if they can take one of us into the nearest town and they agree. Casey is elected to go since he is most familiar with the area and also has friends with 4 X 4's. "Give me a minute to get some stuff together...", exclaims Casey as he climbs up the bank back to the bikes. Twenty minutes later he is finally ready to go :lol2: John and I were getting antsy and worried that our help might lose interest and move on down the road... Casey wades across the river which is just over waist deep on him. "It might be a few days before I can reach my friends and get back out here...", and then he disappears into the Jeep and vanishes around the bend into the trees. It is an odd feeling standing there on the bank of the river with John... A few days?! :-|

:tab Well, with nothing left to do, John and I set about to being slugs. There is shade in need of chasing and gnats in need of swatting. The only sounds now are the wind moving through the trees, the flowing of the river, all manner of odd bird calls... "Is that a motor!?" "Does that sound like a helicopter?" "Is someone coming?" The ears strain to hear and identify every sound. As the afternoon wears on, hunger sets in...

That sunny silt BURNS bare feet!! Looking from the banks of the river back to the bikes

So... now what...?

"How about some lunch?"

:tab Kuddos to John for being the campmeister! He whips out his little stove, some noddle stuff and a precooked chicken breast, and best of all, he makes some bread!! I did not think I was all that hungry until the scent of the cinnamon in the bread started making its way to the olfactory center in my brain... :drool:

Mixing the dough with water


The result... :eat:

The bread cools while John sets to cooking the noodles and chicken

Living high on the hog while roughing it :trust:

:tab After a great lunch, we resume our task of doing nothing. It feels great to be off the bike. I down some much needed Alieve. My muscles are hurting and I am really sore in the arms, shoulders, and upper back. My legs and knees are actually doing much better than I would have expected. About eight weeks ago I started taking some Glucosamine (sp?) mixed with some other stuff. It is supposed to help with joint pain and lubrication. Apparently it is working because normally I would be experiencing a high degree of discomfort directly under the knee caps. I was also doing squats every morning in the hopes of building up my leg endurance. It seems to have paid off.

Lazing away a hot summer after noon: no phones, no pagers, nothing...

John trying to pretend the gnats and flies are not bothering him

:tab Even after the great lunch prepared by John, I am still starving. ALL I can think about is eating and drinking. I brought quite a bit of jerky with me and numerous power bars. They start to vanish in short order. It seems that every few minutes I am taking a long drag on the Camel Bak. I never thought I would reach the point where I am always worried about where my Camel Bak is. At this point, it goes everywhere I go and never leaves my side, even if I am just moving from one shade spot to another. Before this trip, I was thinking a three liter Camel Bak was a bit of overkill. Now I know better. Once again it has been drained by noon and needs refilling. Thankfully, John has that covered as well.

John filling his Camel Bak with his MSR water purifier

:tab The river water is pretty silty. The pump works for about a half liter or so before it has to be cleaned. The filter is a ceramic cylinder. It just pops out, gets scrubbed with a Scotch-Brite pad, rinsed and reinserted. It works great and I have no doubt that we'd be forced to drink the river water if we had not had this filter available. Of course, in the condition I am in, I'd drink the river water and risk any consequences. With our Camel Baks full, we resume doing nothing...

Looking across the road from the campsite

The view back up the road towards the Coke Ovens

Tiny white dragon flies that are all over the place

:tab "Do you hear that...?!" "Is that a bull dozer?" "Sounds like tracks creaking to me..." "Wait... what's that?!" "Gotta be some kind of V8..." and so it goes for the rest of the day...

:tab Late in the afternoon it starts again... "That HAS to be a truck!" "Wait... It sounds like it is on THIS side of the river!!" We scramble up and over the berm to the road just in time to see a white Jeep Cherokee coming from the direction we had gone this morning. I wave him down and we chat a bit. He claims he came in from the North. I describe the mesa climb and he says it sounds like the way they came, but then he describes some other stuff that doesn't sound quite right... hmmm... :ponder: He asks if we need any water and offers a few gallons from his spares. We assure him that we are fine on water. After a bit more chatting we say good bye and watch as he slowly drives away, headed for the Coke Ovens. We quickly get back to doing nothing...

:tab The day wears on and the sun begins to get low in the sky. John is having a hard time keeping his eyes open and as soon as his tent is in the shade, he climbs in to escape the gnats and flies. I stay back down by the river and just sit, soaking up the experience, glad I am not at work... :-P While relaxing, it occurs to me that I am filthy and coated in a thick layer of dirt. I grab my camp towel, strip down and take a bath in the river. Now... I've sat here for hours and not seen or heard a thing, but no sooner than I get nekkid and jump in the river, I start hearing motor noises again :wary: I don't pay much attention to it until a truck pops out of the brush on the other side of the river! :doh: I scramble back over the berm, towel and clothes in hand, dry off and then come back around to greet our new visitor :lol2:

:tab A young guy driving a 4WD Toyata truck stops to let his dogs play in the water. He asks if everything is cool and I explain our situation to him. When I ask about the way out on this side of the river, he mentions the Battle Axe Trail. When I mention the nasty mesa climb to him he doesn't recall that. All he recalls is a nice road that rolls over small hills. Dang... I'd sure feel better if we knew for sure which way was the right way!! Not knowing for sure what Casey will be able to do, there is still a definite possibility that we will have to ride the bikes out of here. With no way to contact Casey, all we can do it sit and wonder... After a short while, the guy loads up his dogs and leaves. As darkness approaches, John and I start to wonder if perhaps we should not have bummed a ride out with the people in the Cherokee...

:tab Once the sun starts slipping from the evening sky, we retire to our tents. While I am blowing up my air mattress, I hear what sounds like gun shots not to far from our position. Hmmm... The guys on the ATVs were doing some shooting yesterday at the other crossing area. Maybe they are still down there :shrug:



Slight pause....


:tab Okay... so maybe there are some HEAVILY armed locals with fully automatic heavy caliber weapons :scratch: Several thousand rounds later it becomes obvious that we are not dealing with locals. Soon the sounds of military helicopters fill the air, reverberating off the many peaks around us. They sound really close! Then start the FIIIIIZZZZZZ of flares being launched into the dark night sky and my tent is lit up like the middle of the day!! :brainsnap I peek out the tent window and watch as the flares drift on their parachutes, burning brightly, until they smolder out just over our location! And so it goes, all night, non-stop, until close to day break. When I do manage to drift off to sleep, the dreams are bizzarro beyond description :lol2: So ends another day of the adventure...

06-01-2007, 06:01 PM
Please remind me to take John with me whenever I rought it! Dude's got everything covered!

06-01-2007, 06:04 PM
Thursday, 5/24
So, now what?

Like yesterday, I was at a slight loss for what to do with the route. For the past week and a half, I had been watching a couple of wildfires, particulary the 'Promontory fire', which was on the Mogollon Rim and had the east end of the rim road closed, as well as every trail and road that went around the closed area. I had been watching it closely, hoping that they'd have the fire out and at least one of the options reopened in time for our arrival. Unfortunately, the fire containment came too late, and I had to strike the spectacularly scenic FR300 from the route.

So now what? The only real options were either pavement through Payson, or the 'Control Road' which is a gravel road that runs along the hills at the base of the rim, which I had only been on parts of and didn't remember it being too exciting. At least I had an idea for the ride to the two options; FR200, AKA 'Chamberlain Trail'.

We all rose fairly early that morning, and headed north out of Young in search of FR200. For some reason I thought it was a few miles out of town, so I didn't start looking until we were well past it. That's okay though, we got to ride the awesome couple of paved miles in the middle of 288 as a result. After doubling back, we found FR200, only to discover a 'road closed' sign. After discussing it a bit, we decided to go in search of a local that might know something about the closure; if it was passable, etc. We stopped at the gas station and inquired within, the woman tending telling us that she'd just go anyway, although she didn't know what the reason was for the closing, suggesting it might have something to do with the campground at the creek. So we figured what the hay, it's only 8+/- miles to the said creek, let's go see... We finally arrived at some concrete barriers and another road closed sign, and like all good DSers... went around them :-P. We pulled up to the bridgeless creek, where we were met with the 'you just interrupted our clock-milking' attitude of the workers. They told us it's a $500 fine to cross the creek, and we decided not to test their radio skills... So, like all chicken DSers, we turned around. We found a potential way around on the GPS, albeit a Looong way around, and set off to find the trail. After passing it a couple of times, we found the trail in question. It began as a faint, rocky jeep trail, and given it's length on the map, guessed it would only get worse; not something Scott needed at this point. While we stood at the trailhead pondering the unmarked trail, which happened to be across the road from a ranch house. Scott took off for the house, while John and I sought shade under nearby trees. After some unintelligible conversation, we heard the owner say "what you need to do is..." as they walked into his house.


Scott returns after some time with a smile on his face. After telling us the story, he explained the proposed route shown to him on a local forest map that the man had. Turns out there's a jeep trail that goes around the crossing to the west, and eventually rejoins FR200 up the road from the inconvenient obstruction. Sounds like a plan... so off we go, turning left before the closure, crossing the creek, taking a right at an intersection of jeeps roads, and enjoying an entertaining ride for a few miles before popping out on FR200. At this point, FR200 climbs as a shelf road, offering great views of the area. We stop for a break, and Scott and I hike up to some rock outcroppings.

The bypass, before it got entertaining


And suddenly a troll pops out of the rocks… (this one would make a good caption contest :lol2: )

Scott taking it in


After goofing off we continue along the scenic road, eventually coming to the HWY 260 intersection. We decide to go for the Control road. As we passed through the community of Christopher Creek, I could see the burned area along and below the rim that was once the Promontory Fire. After the short highway run, we take a right on the Control road, and begin a long, but surprisingly pleasant ride along the base of the rim, eventually coming out on 87, where we turned north for the town of Pine for lunch and gas.

Once our bellies and tanks were full, we made our way to Strawberry, where we would turn west on Fossil Creek road. Fossil Creek road is a fantastically scenic road, and when I used to visit, it was a primitive, very narrow and exposed shelf road. There was one place in particular, where the shelf begins, that can totally surprise and scare the crap out of an unsuspecting driver… the narrow road makes a dropping, hard bend to the left, with an incredible drop at the edge.

We made or way out FCR, and as I neared the area where the shelf begins, I began to slow down… waaay down. The shelf finally arrived, and I was surprised to find that things have changed; the road had been recently groomed and widened, and concrete barricades placed along the edge of the dangerous bend. People, probably teens, had spray painted messages to some unfortunate soul named Matt; ‘We miss you Matt’, etc. On closer inspection in the gorge one will find the remains of several unfortunate motorists’ vehicles, and one seems almost forced to imagine what it would have been like the take the unexpected plunge in their delicate cage.


One of several cars at the bottom



After our short break we made our way down the exposed switchbacks until we finally reached the river. Crossing the bridge, the wonderful aroma of fresh, clear water filled the hot air, calling me to the shade of the cool creek. We pulled over and dismounted. The water was cold at first, but incredibly refreshing.

Scott working the camera

Enjoying the water


After our recharge we began our climb out toward Camp Verde. While the scenery was beautiful, the road was frustratingly rough - not good rough, but large, evenly space washboard and erosion rough. My underdamped suspension wasn’t having it, as the rear wheel pogoed to the point of levitation, only made worse by the instinctive urge to accelerate. The faster I tried to go, the more I slowed down. Scott wasn’t having that problem, buzzing past me, leaving a cloud of dust in his path. Once at the pavement on 260, we looked on the GPS’s for a nearby campground on Beaver Creek. Once we located one, we were on our way. We arrived at the campground only to find a ‘Full’ sign and young teenage girls running amuck…

So much for that idea. We decided to check out a nearby creek crossing on a FR road, which turned out to be a fun ride, but the camping area was walk-in only, and no one seemed too crazy about carrying their gear.

We scratched that idea and headed to a nearby forest headquarters to ask for suggestions. We arrive just as the government office was about to close, and the last lady in the office was none to excited about pondering options with us. I asked her about private campgrounds, and she suggested a place about 10 miles southwest of Sedona. That was way out of our way, in fact the opposite direction from the planned route for tomorrow, but it was getting late and we decided to go there anyway. We were given our choice sites by the creek, where we spent the remainder of the evening soaking in the cool water. John and I thought it would be a nice idea to run some of our riding gear in the fast flowing water, so I dunked my jacket in the rapids, only to remember after a few minutes that my MP3 player was in the pocket…


Chatting with a fellow camper

We ended the evening with a fire and tomfoolery, then turned in.

The evolution of a studly adventure type…

Tx Rider
06-01-2007, 09:56 PM
Can't believe I slept like a baby through all the helos, gunfire and flares.

Heh, yeah I just emptied my pockets and dove in in full gear jacket and all at Oak Creek...

And all those flat cars down in that gorge were quite sobering.... The road was quite sweet though, especially the lower half with all the tight switchbacks.

Can't believe that firelight pic came out so good, that's advrider front page stuff if ya ask me.

I wish I had gotten a close up pic of the buzzards sitting on those rocks across from camp, sitting with their backs to the sun and wings spread eagled out to get warmed up from the sun at daybreak. I was standing about ten feet from them.

06-02-2007, 01:32 PM
Just wondering, did y'all have a plan in case someone got sick enough or ate it hard enough that you needed quick medical attention?

06-02-2007, 03:38 PM
Apparently no cell phone coverage in the area. Does anyone on the forum have experience with satellite phones? I was looking up some UHF radio components at work and ran across a vendor that rents them.

I guess I must be spoiled by the ability to quickly communicate in my everyday world. I worry about someone needing expert help in a remote location and being unable to communicate, I didn't think about these things back before the advent of cell phones.

06-02-2007, 04:29 PM
Just wondering, did y'all have a plan in case someone got sick enough or ate it hard enough that you needed quick medical attention?

:tab Well, when riding in such remote areas, there really isn't much you can do beyond basic first aid and stabilize a person while someone else goes for help. "Quick" medical attention simply is not going to happen, even if you happen to have cell service (which was nonexistent for the first few days). This is a big reason NOT to ride alone in such conditions. Also, you ride VERY carefully and not recklessly. Our speed was seldom over 25-30mph. This is no guarantee against a serious injury, but it certainly puts the odds in your favor. Lastly, GOOD gear can make all the difference. My gear was full coverage and short of a slash to the neck, there was not much way I was going to be cut by anything sharp. My SIDI boots easily saved a severely sprained or potentially broken ankle at one point in the trip when the bike had me pinned. Good gloves are another must in my opinion. I prefer leather, again for better laceration protection.

Apparently no cell phone coverage in the area. Does anyone on the forum have experience with satellite phones? I was looking up some UHF radio components at work and ran across a vendor that rents them.

I guess I must be spoiled by the ability to quickly communicate in my everyday world. I worry about someone needing expert help in a remote location and being unable to communicate, I didn't think about these things back before the advent of cell phones.

:tab I thought about this during our extended stay by the river. I have read of other people renting them for their trips. However, their reliability is sometimes questionable from what I have read. I think I will be checking into this option if I do another trip like this. The cost could be split among the group and calls limited to emergency only.

:tab There are also the personal locater beacons. However, if you trigger one of these, you had better be knocking on death's door when the calvary arrives or there are VERY stiff fines and I think even potential jail time.

:tab Part of the experience on trips like this though is the very fact that you are in a remote place and help may not be a quick call away. There is definitely an element of self reliability, on the spot flexibility, and most certainly luck... There is also the killer scenery :trust:

06-02-2007, 04:37 PM
John and I thought it would be a nice idea to run some of our riding gear in the fast flowing water, so I dunked my jacket in the rapids, only to remember after a few minutes that my MP3 player was in the pocket…

Just got the guts to finally test it... Works! :thumb:

Just wondering, did y'all have a plan in case someone got sick enough or ate it hard enough that you needed quick medical attention?

Yea, if the person can't ride on the back of a bike, I (or someone else if I'm out) goes for help. One thing about doing this kind of trip, you accept that if you get hurt, you might have to suffer for a little while. When I shattered my wrist a few years back, I rode on the back of a KLX without passenger pegs for nearly 2 hours before we mad it to an ER :shock:

Apparently no cell phone coverage in the area. Does anyone on the forum have experience with satellite phones? I was looking up some UHF radio components at work and ran across a vendor that rents them.

I guess I must be spoiled by the ability to quickly communicate in my everyday world. I worry about someone needing expert help in a remote location and being unable to communicate, I didn't think about these things back before the advent of cell phones.

We though about that... while we were stranded :doh:. Really, the cell pone didn't help much, since by the time I got got somewhere I could get a signal there were payphones available as well. People survived in the old days without them, I suppose I would too...

06-03-2007, 08:12 PM
Just think, you guy's had the time of your life. This is the kind of trip that you will remember for a long time. Great pics and reporting, in that pic of Scott climbing the rock wall...was he looking for lizards?:lol2: I love the pic of the evolution to a studly adventure type, cool time exposure.

06-03-2007, 09:04 PM
Just think, you guy's had the time of your life. This is the kind of trip that you will remember for a long time.
That's definitely the way I feel, and I hope they felt the same way. Some people don't like the drama and challenges. I actually look forward to these kinds of situations, and get a rise out of finding my way out... sometimes I think I subconsciously put myself into these situations (no, I didn't sabotage this trip :angel: ;-) ).

06-03-2007, 11:52 PM
I'd do it again... :trust:

06-04-2007, 07:52 AM
wow...what an adventure...these are the kind of stories that grandchildren must hear one day...

06-05-2007, 08:10 AM
So Scott, then what happened??? Did you ever hear from Casey again? Did you make it out okay, or are you still there?

06-05-2007, 08:33 AM
Great picture!


06-05-2007, 03:35 PM
Tuesday - 5/22: "So...Are the gnats bad over there...?"

:tab Knowing that I don't HAVE to get up at the crack of dawn, I briefly entertain deluded fantasies of sleeping a little later to catch up on some rest... :lol2: The desert has no sense of compassion... only a grim humor. Feeling like a wrapped potato in an oven, I roll out to greet the new day. No sounds of gunfire or helicopters. No holes in the tent or bike. Maybe it was all a dream...? I'm hungry.

:tab John is up and busy doing.... well... nothing. Seems like a plan to me so I join him. I guess I could wander around and do some hiking and exploring but the thought of actually exerting myself is just not real appealing. Before the sun gets high enough to turn the silt between the tents and the edge of the river into a blistering torture trail, I grab my stuff for the day and head down to the river to enjoy the cool morning breeze and shade. As always, the Camel Bak is by my side. We engage in some idle speculation as to what may have happened to Casey... "You's a purdy boy ain't you now!" Cue the banjoes... Has he been able to get a hold of his buddies? Will he remember to bring me a cold Coke!? What the... doh! My shade is drifting. Time to find a better spot to lay down.

:tab The gnats are a constant annoyance. They were bad yesterday too. It seems they have company today though... flies :roll: It would seem that what energy I manage to recover from resting could easily be spent constantly swatting gnats and flies out of my face. I sit. I stand. I pace around. I sit. I lay down. I stand. I pace around. John can't take it. The idleness wears on him and he starts hatching plans for "doing something". Doing nothing is still doing something, but I guess that is not enough for him :lol2: So out comes his big knife and some rope... essential tools for doing something!

Something to lean against...?

The first version fell down, so time for some modifications to beef it up a little

:tab Well, it soon becomes obvious that John is not Bob Villa when it comes to making things out of wood :lol2: We sit. We stand. We pace around. We lay down. "Dude... are you hungry? How about lunch?" Sounds good to me!

John is better at cooking, Alton Brown eat your heart out!

The groovy stove that is a hoot to light! It involves BIG flames :dude:

Delicious Mexican Rice and Beans!!

The far bank sits there... taunting us... soooo close and yet so far :twitch:

:tab Earlier in the morning, John had noticed that the water level of the river seemed to have gone down several inches over night. Looking around confirms that it has indeed gone down probably four inches or more. He pokes a stick into the mud on the edge of the river to use as a reference to monitor any further drop in the level. You know the saying... "A watch stick never changes its level indication..." It is amazing how many times we both walk over to take a look at the stick during the day, as if the water would really be going down that fast :doh: Besides, it would have to drop a foot or more before we could attempt a crossing at the other crossing where the ATV's went across. Worse... we'd have to GET there, which would involve going back up that insane hill between here and the top of the ridge :suicide: I check the stick again...

:tab Sometime in the afternoon, I have this fuzzy feeling of having fallen asleep at the waters edge. Odd sounds of clicking and buzzing float in and out of my ears. Strange dreams of being experimented upon and sexually violated linger in the dim edges of my consciousness...


:tab All my parts are accounted for... must have been a dream... :shrug:

:tab And the afternoon drags on... "Do you hear that!?" Hmmm... sounds like helicopters again. They sound really close. In fact, they sound like the are coming directly at us! I stand near the edge of the river and peer down through the trees and over the water. Sure enough, the familiar profile of a Blackhawk looms low in the sky, skimming up the river between the trees, and coming fast! I wonder if they might see us? I move out from under the trees and up the bank a bit to get in the open. When they get closer, I start to wave my arms back and forth to see if I can draw their attention. Apparently not... They pull up and bank hard right over our position, arcing up over the river and falling away behind a ridge line on the far side of the river. Hmmm....

:tab John and I joke about how cool it would be to have them see us, agree to drop a cable to wrap around the bikes, and to haul us over to the other side of the river. Imagine that trip report! Pics of our bikes dangling on the end of a cable slung under the belly of a chopper. The desert boredom is taking its toll on our mental faculties... "Do you hear that!?" It is the unmistakable sound of another chopper coming up the valley towards us! I move back out into the open to watch for it. Sure enough, another Blackhawk rounds the bend, its massive rotors whomping the air into submission. Once again I wave. Once again they bank right over us before falling away over the distant ridge line. This chopper was a medic chopper and had the big red cross emblem painted on the sides. We can hear the choppers winding down after having settled behind the ridge line out of sight. These guys can't be that far away. John starts hatching plans to wade across the river, hike over to their position, and to introduce ourselves, "Hey guys! Got any spare MRE's!? And oh yeah, think you could spare a hummer or chopper to get us across the river?" :lol2:

:tab I check the stick in the water... no change... Let's see... where's a good shade spot? And so the day goes...

:tab It is interesting that when I have time to just sit, and I mean really just sit and do nothing, at all... I start to notice things. There is the feel of the breeze on my skin. There is the constant sound of the water undulating as it courses down the valley. There is the clicking of branches as they rub against each other in the wind. There is the soft rustling of leaves as the wind passes through them. There are birds EVERYWHERE! There are big birds, little birds, bright yellow birds, blue birds, hungry birds... The big vultures continually soar on the winds above, slowing when they get directly overhead for a good look at us :wary: How long can those guys stay airborne without flapping their wings... It would seem a LONG time! At one point, I swear I see several different huge McCaw birds flying across the river, you know, the ones like Tucan Sam... There are lizards everywhere we look. One even comes out to the end of a branch near John and starts showing his colors in a threatening manner! Little does he know that John is eying him while thinking of how he might be cooked... :lol2: Then there are the bugs.

:tab If a person does not like bugs or at least have a tolerance of them, then that person should avoid the desert. In every direction I look, there are spider webs. These are the ones that look like funnels. The webs always narrow down to the spot where the long legged and LARGE spiders are hanging out, sitting just inside the hole waiting to leap out in an instant to drag their prey back into the hole. At times there are so many webs it seems as if they blend into each other. It is a good thing I am not arachnaphobic...

:tab Then there are the gnats. These things are EVERYWHERE!! One can hardly take a breath without having a gnat buzz up the nose. Considering that my eyes, ears, nose and mouth are only a very small portion of the total real estate of my body, it astounds me that the gnats are overly preoccupied with those parts of my anatomy :argh: Yet even these annoying and seemingly worthless pieces of creation are fascinating. As I sit still and watch, I notice several different clouds of them. One of them is a good ways out over the river. I watch it on and off during the day. These things collect in clouds of swarming gnats, all buzzing around in seemingly random patterns, and yet the cloud never changes position. It never drifts one way or the other. For hours and hours, these clouds will stay in the exact same spot. I would have thought that with all the random buzzing around that the cloud might drift one way or another, especially when you consider the breeze that has been blowing all day, but no... it stays put :ponder:

:tab John has cooked up his last meal. My jerky is gone. My power bars have been consumed. Casey left his stuff with permission to eat what we want... I peek over the berm between us and the blistering silt path to the camp site where his food sits. The shade has extended over the path just enough that I can walk up the edge of the silt to get to the camp. It's still hot, but that stinging burning of the sole of the feet is gone. I find his bag and start to take inventory... sausage... cheese sticks... wine!? Geez, hehe. Casey is living large! I grab a handful of stuff and head back down to the river to share the loot with John. The cheese sticks have mostly melted. I am not a wine drinker. But I bet that sausage would taste good heated up!!

:tab John and I spend the remainder of the afternoon pondering our situation and making alternative plans in the event Casey is not able to get back out to us today. It is already getting late in the afternoon. So unless he gets here with a way to get us across the river, we are going to be spending another night here anyway. Looking at the maps, we see that the railroad on the other side of the river follows the river roughly East and West between Kelvin and Florence. Fifteen miles to Florence. Ten miles to Kelvin. We can walk ten miles... We had been considering getting up before dawn, leaving our camping stuff here with Casey's bike, and then riding out that nasty mesa climb in the hope that it is the way out. The more we think about it though, the more that ten mile walk to Kelvin appeals to us. Leave just before dark, take the remaining food, water purifier, GPS's and flashlights, and just follow the tracks to town. Call Casey to let him know we are out, get a room for the night and something to eat, come back for the bikes tomorrow. Before long, the walk out plan is pretty much what we settle on doing.

:tab "Do you hear that!?" Sure enough, it sounds like a motor getting closer... far side of the river... sounds big... pushing branches out of its way! And then a huge jeep thing bursts through the trees and emerges on the far shore! Is that Casey!? It is! Amazingly, he is just in time to save his food :lol2:

The big rig, belonging to Casey's friend Drew

Casey wades across to give Drew an idea of the depth and speed of the water

:tab John and I get busy breaking down camp and getting our stuff ready to go while Drew gets the jeep ready to make the crossing. After much discussion and weighing of options, Drew backs the jeep across the river, right up to the bank, and drops the tailgate. John start riding the bikes down to the rivers edge, no small feat! It takes all three of us to pull them over the last berm before the edge of the river as it is crisscrossed with HUGE tree roots and loose silt. Then he just rides the bike right into the back of the jeep bed :dude: How sweet is that!?

[I have vids, but they are in AVI format and HUGE! I will try to upload them tonite. If anyone knows how to convert them to mpeg, let me know!]

Drew's friend... also Drew... lowers the tailgate prior to loading the bikes

Casey and John look on with great relief!

Notice the water level on the front tire... It is deeper out in the middle of the river...
:tab That four inches the river went down really helped!

:tab As we are getting the bikes loaded in the back of the jeep, I notice that the front of the jeep seems to be sinking! No doubt, the stiff current is washing the bottom out from under the tire. It was doing this to me earlier when I was just standing in the water. I just gradually sank deeper and deeper. Drew informs us that we need to get moving before the front sinks too deep and the engine is stalled! We get my bike, Casey's bike, and our gear loaded. John will wait for the next trip.

:tab On the ride across, the motor of the jeep starts making odd noises... :eek: Hopefully, it is not getting any water in the intake! It would suck to not be able to get John across... :-P

Drew lets the jeep idle for a bit to dry out

A good view looking back at our camp and a small ridge behind it

Drew (the other Drew) wades across to help us unload the KLR and DR

All snuggled up, safe and dry...

Preparing to unload the KLR and DR

Drew explains to Drew how to use the scuba tanks to inflate their river raft...

"So you see... this has 3000 psi in it and you want to go reallll slow because I forgot the low pressure regulator..."

"Hey guys... remember me!?"

It takes several tries to find a good line for going back for John, but eventually they make it

Preparing to unload John's KTM

Since they are already here... Drew and Drew figure on playing on the river while we get packed and ready to roll again

The other Drew is prepared to survive in the wilderness

Casey's bud from his Az days, the Elder Drew :-P

:tab Casey did remember to bring the Cokes, iced down even!! However, when I open the ice chest, my eyes are drawn to the chilled Gatorade. The Coke can wait... I down a liter of Gatorade over the next ten minutes or so and it hits the spot like never before :drool: Being on the right side of the river, knowing we will soon be back in civilization, and having a nicely chilled drink, all seems right with the world again :mrgreen:

:tab So while we are busy getting our gear sorted and the bikes packed. The Drews decide to have a go at paddling up stream... :roll: I can't get the video camera out fast enough to catch them paddling furiously with everything they have, only to barely hold position against the current. Elder Drew was apparently a river rafting guide at some point in his past life and he is barking orders to younger Drew concerning proper paddling technique. It is hilarious :lol2: Soon, they are drifting down stream with a promise to return for the jeep.

:tab John and I are packed and ready to roll pretty quick. Casey doesn't pack quick, hehe. Come to think of it, Casey doesn't do much of anything quick... except ride :rider: Soon, the elder Drew comes walking up out of the trees. It would seem they drifted a pretty good ways. He's come to get the jeep and to go retrieve the raft and the other Drew. They'll meet us at the railroad tracks so he does not have to drive the jeep back down the narrow tunnel road through the trees. The sun is starting to slip low onto the horizon. I'd really like to get out of here before dark. A short while after elder Drew leaves with the jeep, young Drew comes walking back around the corner to check on us. Casey finally gets all his stuff repacked and on the bike. I head out for the tracks to find elder Drew waiting with the jeep.

:tab While waiting for Casey to arrive, I notice that my rear bag is flopping around more than it should. I get to checking and to my shock I find that it is not a case of loose straps as it had been earlier. This time it is broken subframe bolts where the rack bolts to the rear of the subframe!! They have simply snapped off at the nut on the frame, leaving the ends of the threads down in the nuts :doh: Not only that, but the two bolts on the sides of the rack are loose as well and the whole rack is able to rock back and forth as if on a hinge. Well, the only thing I can do is torque down the remaining two bolts and hope they hold until we reach civilization :shrug:

:tab As I am taking care of my bike and getting my bag situated, a truck pulls up loaded with a bunch of young soldiers. The older of them, which looks to be their ranking guy, does not look all that thrilled. The younger guys, maybe 18-20 years old all look like they are having a blast. I ask if they were "playing" last night and they all respond with BIG grins. I thank them for the entertainment as they pull around us and drive off. Just then I hear this horrible noise and look up to see Casey low side his bike right in front of the railroad tracks! What the heck is he doing? :scratch: He gets his bike up and comes over to where we are and explains that he just carried a little too much speed in the corner, hit the loose stuff and the front end tucked. He seems none the worse for the wear and we are good to go.

:tab The road leading out is deep silt. I have to remind myself that just because we are across the river, it does not mean I can relax. We still have quite a few miles to roll before we reach pavement. Buried randomly in the deep silt are large rocks waiting to kick the front end of the bike out in an unexpected direction. The front end continually wants to just keep going straight regardless of where I point it. The back end continually wants to slide out from under me when I try to put the power down to get the bike to turn. The weight up high and on the back of the bike really makes riding in this stuff a challenge! After a few miles, the road finally starts to climb up out of the river valley and run in the hills. Fortunately, the road here is wide and relatively smooth unlike the "roads" we had been riding on the other side of the river. There are huge wash board ruts, with rocks, sand and silt scattered about in the corners. However, we are able to run about a 35-40mph pace comfortably. I would love to stop and take some pictures as the sun starts casting long shadows. It is beautiful out here. At this point though we are just focused on getting to the nearest town for the night. The road twists and winds, rising and falling like a serpent strewn across the land. Eventually, we reach the paved highway and turn North for the run up to Superior.

:tab It is a strange feeling to reach the pavement and know that the worst is over. I don't recall ever really thinking we were in serious danger. However, the experience was certainly a good reminder of the unforgiving nature of the desert environment and how quickly things could go from fun to disaster. I fall in behind Casey, his bug lights illuminating the road ahead. My normally great headlight is horrible. Something must be wrong because the beam is bouncing all over the place. I would guess something broke during a drop or maybe another bolt is broken or missing :doh: The hum of the knobbies on the pavement is somehow reassuring. We pass by some large open pit copper mines as the last light fades from the sky. The run into Superior is a nice stretch of pavement, a relaxing way to finish the day's ride.

:tab Once in town, we start looking for a place to air up Drew's tires on the jeep. They can't run prolonged highway speeds at such low pressure without overheating. As we are putting through town to find a gas station, we spot a little local hotel on the side of the road. We stop at a gas station a few blocks down the road. We made it... I'm hungry... It takes close to $10 in quarters to get Drew's tires aired back up to their normal pressure! While messing with this we notice that his front left shock mount has broken and the shock is just dangling from the top mount :huh2:

Drew checking out the busted shock mount (notice how tall the tires are!)

The tops of his tires are about even with my seat...

:tab While the others are airing up tires, I head back up the street to check out the little hotel. Two rooms left. Perfect. I snag them and head back to the gas station. On advice from several locals, we plan to hit Los Hermanos for dinner. I inform the others about the rooms and head over to the restaurant to secure seating for our group. When I walk in wearing full gear and covered in several days of desert grime, I get some strange looks from the locals :lol2: "Have no fear, I come in peace, just show me your pork chops!!"

:tab The others arrive, we place our orders, suck down our drinks before the waitress barely walks away from the table, and the story telling begins! I know I am supposed to take pictures of the food, but I can't bring myself to wait that long to get started on it! :eat: The dinner salad is great. The potatoes are great! The corn is great! The big fat pork chops are GREAT! All this for a mere $8 too! Noticing the large breakfast menu, we decide to come back in the morning! After a great dinner we all head back the hotel for some parking lot bull session and to call the wives to let them know we are still alive and kicking. Eventually Drew and Drew head back to Mesa, leaving us to turn in for the night. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. The bikes all need some TLC in return for their faithful service the last few days.

:tab The bed is stiff and hard, the pillow to thin, the air conditioner loud and ineffective... I'm asleep before I know it...

06-06-2007, 08:04 AM
:tab John and I are packed and ready to roll pretty quick. Casey doesn't pack quick, hehe. Come to think of it, Casey doesn't do much of anything quick... except ride :rider:
Funny, people usually observe that everything I do is in a frantic, hurried fashion, yet rarely get anything accomplished so. I get so bogged down in the details, making sure everything is 'just so'. Of course in this case, I had a bag strapping 'system', which wasn't the simplest, and everything had to be just right...

06-06-2007, 12:08 PM
I was trying to give Scott some time to catch up, but my memory is beginning to fade a little, so I shall continue…

Friday, 5/25
More itinerary adjustments… and things had to be going a little too smooth…

Once again I awoke with the early Arizona daybreak :sun:, still frustrated at the fact that I just paid to camp… in Arizona! :huh2: That’s like going to the coast and paying to see the ocean… Oh well, you do what you gotta do sometimes.

New friends helped us pack


Since the park search took us far out of the way of our route, I opted to continue the “AZ Route Digest” and skip the forests east of I-17 and head straight for Oak Canyon. Of course, this would also mean than we’d miss out on Schnebly Hill Rd descending into Sedona, unless we rode back to I-17 and took the freeway… no, no we don’t want to do that. We’ll if we skip that part of the route, then that’ll put us at the next camp site, which happens to be one of my favorites, at around noon… :-? so, as much as I hate the idea of missing out on another one of my favorite camp sites, maybe we’ll just make a stop there, then plan on camping at the trail head to the ruins. That would give us time to make Senator ‘Highway’ tomorrow.

After stopping for gas in Sedona, Scott stopped at the local NAPA Auto Parts for some brake fluid, and I continued to the only McDonalds in the world that has teal arches. I ordered me a couple of Sausage McMuffins and a coke, and waited for Scott and John to arrive.

After breakfast and a stop at Safeway for water and bungee cords for Scott, we began our run out the scenic 89A along Oak Creek for our climb out of the canyon.

Looking back toward Sedona From the crest of the canyon. Note the 3 roads… that are actually the same road…

Scott taking one of 400 pictures

Once out of the canyon, we turned west on FR535 and I took the guys on a fun ride through the forests above Oak Canyon for a visit to one of the many secluded fingers in the canyon.

Making dust on FR535

From the one of the side routes to the canyon


Gratuitous bike shot

Once back to FR535, I led the way to FR231, which is a maintained gravel road that leads most of the way to Sycamore Canyon, where I had originally planned to camp. Once I got on FR231, I told the guys to take the lead, so I could deal with the washboard without hindering their fun. Luckily the washboard wasn’t as bad as I had expected and they didn’t need to wait much. I resumed the lead where the road passed trough the gate and became an unimproved road the rest of the way to the canyon rim.

Rim break






The plan after the break was to make a connection to the west side of the canyon with a detour to the small community of Parks for gas. Since we would be covering a lot of miles today, I decided to let Scott’s GPS do the brunt of the work and showed Scott the route on my map so he could enter it into the GPS. Since we were to follow his gadget, I let him take lead through the red dirt forest roads. As we made our way deeper into FR231A, the dusty trail began to get entertaining, with large embedded rocks, water berms, dried ruts and general erosion. A good line was crucial any decent speed, and I placed my trust in Scott’s growing ability to pick a line as I practically hugged his back tire, otherwise finding myself dangerously lost in the dust if I dropped back. Scott did a good job of leading me through the minefield of rocks and ruts, until the one time I veered off his line as he appeared to fall into a deep rut… I heard a sudden *WHACK!* as I saw the KLR do it’s best to buck Scott over the bars, all the while I’m thinking to myself “hang on Scott, ride it out!” Scott brought the loaded KLR back into control, but not without a clicking, rattling sound of possible damage. He clicked to a stop, luckily to find the noisy culprit; the back tire had sucked the license plate into the fender well, with the plate rubbing against the Dunlop knobby. Scott pulled the plate back out to a position somewhere near it’s original location and we continued a short distance to an old crumbling log cabin where we stopped for a rest and route check. We weren’t far from Parks; just a mostly straight shot up this road, which should end at a maintained gravel road into the ‘town’.

Rest stop

Once on our way again, we were quickly halted by a cattle guard at a fence where we were faced with a ‘No Trespassing’ sign… :argh: Now what? This is the way we needed to go; any other option was a long way out of the way, with a good bit of back-tracking involved. I had a hunch that we wouldn’t be on the private property for long before we reached the main road, so we took our chance. The hunch was correct, and after a short sprint we turned right for a dusty ride into town.

We fueled-up in Parks, but there wasn’t much for eating options, so we decided to follow the old Route 66 and some back-roads into Williams, since my bike pretty much wouldn’t go over 50 mph at this altitude. Once in Williams, we stopped at a quiet old Route 66 café for lunch. I still wasn’t real hungry after my morning McFeast, so I settled for an order of greasy fries and a couple gallons of Pepsi :thpt: .

Back on the bikes, we headed south on Perkinsville Road, the DR spitting and sputtering as we wind through the tall pines and stands of Aspen looking for FR139, which would take us back to the roads around Sycamore Canyon. FR139 came in short order, which led us to the series of roads that would lead us on our dusty journey south through the pine forests to the canyon rim, and eventually to our planned :rolleyes: camping destination at Cow Flat near the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness.


Sycamore canyon. Hopefully Scott or John will post one of their panoramas


After our break at the rim, I donned the neglected helmet cam, and with the route entered on Scott’s GPS, sent him into the lead. The next few miles was yet another pleasant rolling ride through the forest on FR105. The further we went south, the more the “road” deteriorated, until it became a jeep road as it began it’s descent into the high desert. We were moving at a good pace, and were making good time. I had long since dropped back out of Scott’s dust for the video’s sake, enjoying the views of the mountains to the south and west from our winding shelf road. The road began to get increasingly rough, until eventually I was dancing across boulders... No sooner than I thought to myself “man, Scott must be getting the hang of this”, he appeared around the bend… not on the bike, but rather standing the middle of the road next to an upright (thank God) KLR with his arms waving. The fun was over, and I rolled to a stop. It appears Scott had lost the left footpeg when it slammed into one of the big boulders, completely shearing the bolts that held it, as well as the aftermarket center stand. Of course, once again, the threaded portions were still snug in the frame :doh: .

Something is missing from this picture…


Much rougher than it looks. This is where the belly of Scott’s bike made hard contact with one of the many large embeded rocks

We still had a bit of this abusive FR354 ahead of us, and the sun was making haste for the horizon. Lucky for Scott, he still had the highway pegs that I had poked fun about earlier in the trip, so we knew once we got to a smoother road he’d be able to cruise okay. One thing was certain though, the rough 13 mile ride out FR181 to Cow Flat was not going to be a realistic option for him. After looking at the map, he decided to go out the smooth FR492 to Hwy 89 for a paved ride into Prescott. Since John was quick to volunteer to join him, stating that we didn‘t think he‘d be up for the ruin hike the next morning anyway, I decided to continue on to Cow Flat. We would meet in Prescott sometime around noon the next day, allowing time for Scott to find a shop to extract the bolts.

While we were prepping Scott’s bike for its limp to Prescott, I was feeling some strong, um, ‘intestinal urges’… :wary: So I told them to go on without me. Things were getting a bit urgent, and my ‘paper’ wasn’t in a convenient place, so John tossed his pack of wipes at me and I went in frantic search of a good rock…:moon:

Feeling better, and now sold on wet wipes in lieu of paper, I suited up and mounted my tired bike for the remainder of the ride to my camp site. The sun was getting low now, directly in my eyes, and my dirty, dusty goggles were proving difficult to see out of. I stopped and tried to go without them, but after a few minutes decided that the tinted lenses were a necessity. I only had to endure a few more miles before I would turn away from the sun, so I pressed on. The trail got even worse before it got better, and I hoped Scott was fairing okay some distance ahead of me.

I finally came to Perkinsville Rd and made haste for FR181. The sun was about to set, and I still had about 13 miles of a rough, twisty, hilly jeep road to navigate.

The start to FR181

Once at FR181, the race was on to beat the sunset to camp. The faster I rode, the longer the road seemed to go on, then as I reached the familiar flatter, silty stretch before the end of the trail, the ‘urge’ returned… this time with a vengeance :shock:. I carefully opened the throttle to manage the DR’s rich hiccups, and focused on reaching the end at speed… I could see it now, the opening in the barbed wire wilderness boundary where the main road ends, and part of the Sycamore hiking trail continues. In one fluid motion I slid to a stop, leaping from the bike, frantically shedding my gear, and dashing through opening in the fence, then right, up the fence line behind the trees :oops:. I don’t know why this was necessary, as I was far from civilization. conveniently, the bottom wire of the barbed wire fence was barbless, and made for a nice perch…:moon:

This time didn’t go as smoothly as the last, and at this point, I was getting concerned. But ambient light was fading fast, and I had a camp to build. I slung my gear over the bike and made my way up the hill a short distance to my camping spot. Once again, while I was pitching my tent, the urge returned… :argh: this is getting ridiculous! I couldn’t find a good rock or anything else at a glance, and the bottom wire of this fence was barbed, so I had to resort to holding onto a post and relying on the strength of my legs. I had no idea how difficult this could be, and soon the burn in my legs began to exceed that of other places… Luckily I thought to pack some Imodium :clap:, so after a large dosage I frantically resumed my tent pitching. I finished just in time to get a fire going before the last bit of light slipped away. Now was a good time to enjoy the Chianti that I had packed in a small plastic water bottle, along with a stick of cheddar. Enjoying my solitude, I sat on a log next to my fire and reflected on the trip thus far. Although little went as planned, I still felt as though it was a success, rich with drama and adventure, just how I like it.



06-06-2007, 12:59 PM
...so I had to resort to holding onto a post and relying on the strength of my legs. I had no idea how difficult this could be, and soon the burn in my legs began to exceed that of other places…

TMI!! TMI!! :nono: :lol2:

06-06-2007, 05:24 PM
"After stopping for gas in Sedona, Scott stopped at the local NAPA Auto Parts for some brake fluid, and I continued to the only McDonalds in the world that has teal arches."

Man those GREEN arches should have been a dead give-a-way. :eek2: Or did you eat some unsuspecting lizard?:eat:

06-06-2007, 05:34 PM
"After stopping for gas in Sedona, Scott stopped at the local NAPA Auto Parts for some brake fluid, and I continued to the only McDonalds in the world that has teal arches."

Man those GREEN arches should have been a dead give-a-way. :eek2: Or did you eat some unsuspecting lizard?:eat:

LOL, guess your're refering to my 'issues'? I blame the large, dripping-greasy plate of fries I scarfed in Williams...

06-07-2007, 02:46 PM
I do not think I could have made it more then one day of your guy's pleasure cruise.

Great Adventure.

06-07-2007, 04:03 PM
Wednesday - 5/23: "What size bolts do you need again...?"

... As I put my helmet back on, it occurred to me that you are never more completely the sum of everything you've ever been than when you take a slightly difficult motorcycle trip into a strange land. And make it back out again. [ Peter Egan, Leanings, July 07 issue of Cycle World]

:tab Written after a trip to Copper Canyon Mexico where things simply did not go as planned... :lol2: I think Peter would have had a fun time on our trip :trust: I know I would have enjoyed reading his perspective on the craziness of the past few days! He certainly has a way with words when it comes to the experiences of motorcycling :bow:

:tab Despite having all the curtains drawn tight, my room lights up with the morning sun. The pathetic curtain over the window has no chance of blocking any of penetrating brightness... my eye lids aren't much better :huh2: Nothing to do but get up. We're going to have a busy morning doctoring the KLR back to traveling condition.

If it were any brighter, the curtain would burst into flames :argh:

Our weary steeds strapped to the hitchin post...

Casey scopes out the remnants of John's Terraflex

After two days of rocky abuse, maybe 75 miles total...

Developing a little too much character...? :ponder:

Of course we had to go back to Los Hermanos for breakfast :eat3:

:tab After a fantastic breakfast that cost a mere $4 including the drink and tip, we headout. Our new plan is to get to Globe just up the highway where we will have a better selection of autoparts stores in our search for replacement hardware for the KLR. We also need to find someone that can remove the remnants of the busted bolts in my subframe. The run up US 60 is nice easy pavement through some beautiful terrain. It is very rocky and there are massive boulders strewn about as if God dropped his bag of marbles. We did not top off the bikes in Superior and sure enough, a few miles from Globe my bike starts to sputter... I reach down and flip to reserve and then pull up to let Casey know I'll be needing gas sooner than later.

:tab We make it into Globe with no problems and get gas. Then it is off to the Wal-Mart to restock our supplies. Lastly, we start looking for places to get the bolts pulled on my bike. We had passed a shop with a bunch of ATV's and a few bikes out front so we backtracked there to see if they could help us. A minute or two of explanation of what we need and they were on top of things!

Drilling out the studs and running the hole all the way down through the subframe

I failed to get a good shot of him, but this is Bill, a friendly and enthusiastic service tech! We need more like him in the industry!!

Hole drilled, we still need to find some replacement bolts. The shop did not have any long enough.

:tab If you are ever in the area around Globe, Az., and find yourself in need of assistance, be sure to check out the folks at Copper Mountain Motorsports. They have us good to go in short order and for an unbelievably good price :thumb: We say our thanks and head off in search of bolts.

:tab We stop at the first auto parts store we see and check to see what they have. I start unpacking the KLR so I can get to the rack. Once that is done I head inside to join Casey and John in the hardware isle. They don't have what we need... and I have to go outside and repack the bike... At the next place I will check first and unpack second :doh: So we head down the road a little further and come to another place. We pull up onto the sidewalk under the awning to get into the shade. The adjoining stores seem to be closed down so this is a great spot to work on the bike. We spend the next thirty minutes in the back of the auto parts store digging through boxes and trays of assorted bolts, nuts and washers. Computerized inventory tracking has not made it to this store yet... However, they are right in the middle of making the transition, literally! There is stuff everywhere and they are totally reworking the store, so confusion reigns. The guy helping us is determined though and he does not give up until we find exactly what we need. Satisfied we have what I need, I unpack the bike ;-)

John is the tool man... His packing system makes his the easiest to access!

:tab We soon find out that the holes that were drilled all the way down through the subframe are just a tiny hair too small to let the bolts come all the way through :doh: The guy at the store mentions a place next door that works on cars, so I cruise over there, explain my problem and in moments the holes are drilled out a bit larger. No charge. Awesome! Back to the sidewalk and shade and I commence to getting things fixed.

Replacing the headlight mounting bolts

:tab Where possible, we put longer bolts in the place of the original bolts and added either lock washers or lock nuts to help prevent further issues with parts going MIA. By the time we finally get everything taken care of, it is getting to be early afternoon. Casey is busy doing the mental rerouting to salvage what is left of the day and to maximize the ride experience. Our new plan is to make it to the town of Young... wherever that is :shrug:

Back together, better than new, and ready to resume duty!

:tab We make one more stop on the way out of town to load up on water. I snag some powdered Gatorade/Propel packs to tuck away in my Camel Bak pockets for later use. It occurs to me now that it would have been reallll nice to have had some of these when we were out in the desert a few days ago :doh: We head North out of town on Hwy 188 and up into the mountains. It almost feels like we are setting out on a whole new trip. As the road winds through the mountains we see numerous large Saguaro cacti (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saguaro) everywhere. Oddly, many of them are being propped up by 2 X 4's in groups and have what looks to be a water tank nearby :scratch: It kind of reminds me of all the palm trees in Houston that have to be held up by 2 X 4's because they just don't grow real well in Houston :roll:

:tab We soon start dropping down out of the mountains into a large wide valley. Off in the hazy distance I can see a shimmering lake North of us. Before we reach it, we turn off onto Hwy 288. This is supposed to be a great long ride through the mountains on a rutted dirt road! It starts out paved.

Crossing the Salt River, which flows into Roosevelt Lake, before we start climbing again


:tab The bridge crossing is right around 2500 feet in altitude, by the time we stop again a few miles later, we are up to 5000 feet. When we get to the spot where the sign says "Pavement ends", it keeps going :argh: It would seem that since Casey was last out here, the Arizona Highway Department has been busy! No matter. We are passing road construction trucks that are coming down off the mountains so they are probably still doing the paving and hopefully they have not gotten very far. Still, it makes for a fun ride!! :rider:

Looking West back toward Roosevelt Lake

Not the best pavement in the world, but the KLR eats it up!

:tab After a few more miles, Casey pulls onto a rocky little side road that runs out towards the rim of the valley. We follow the road for maybe 3/4 of a mile and then it crests a slight rise to reveal the entire valley down below.

According to the Topo Maps on the GPS, the cliffs we see are over 1000 feet tall and I can get reallll close to the edge :eek:

Spring has not totally sprung just yet...

Apparently, cactus like living on the edge ;-)

Looking back East to what I think is Asbestos Point (6654 ft).

:tab After soaking up the view for a bit, we head back to the highway and continue our climb to higher altitudes. The road starts getting really curvy with some fun switchbacks and we are soon nearing 6000 feet. We pass a few more construction vehicles and then finally reach the start of the paving.

We spend some time hanging out with this guy just chatting

Wasting time while waiting for the pilot truck to show up, looking back South the way we just came

:tab It takes about fifteen minutes before the pilot truck comes around the corner, followed by all manner of construction trucks and equipment. Worst of all, there is a big oil tanker truck dripping fresh oil :uhoh: Sure enough, as the pilot truck gets turned around and we start following him, we have to ride on the freshly oiled side of the road :argh: The sand and oil is kicking up off the pilot truck, off of Casey's tires, and I can hear/feel it getting stuck all over the bottom of my bike :doh: This is gonna be messy... The pilot truck crawls along at a snails pace, almost so slow that it is hard to keep the bikes balanced, just fast enough I can't coast but not enough to let the clutch all the way out. After what seems like an eternity of gravel bouncing off the bike, we reach the end, leave the pilot truck and oil behind, and the road is unpaved!! :dude:

Does it get any better than this...?

The long shadows of the late afternoon make for great views!

From destruction comes new life....

For the last three days of desert heat, not a cloud to be seen, but now... :roll:

[More later, gotta go to work :doh: ]

[Okay, back to bidness]

It was a beautiful ride, perfect temp, not to windy, great scenery, nice road, very relaxing... just what I needed after the last few days!

:tab Since I have not spent any time going over Casey's routes I really have no idea where we are going or how close we are to being there. It is kind of a nice change because I just focus on enjoying the ride and leave all that stuff to Casey. Normally, I would be the one doing all the constant rerouting and worrying about mileage, places to stop, and all the other things that I worry about when I am leading a ride. Yeah... this is great... I just kind of slip into a groove and enjoy the show.

:tab Soon we are starting to descend and I can see a wide flat valley below. I presume this is Young, where we will be staying the night. It is getting on in the evening so that is fine with me. There is supposed to be some incredible place to eat here that Casey has been dying to revisit. That's cool, I have a few of those places as well, so hopefully it will be really good.

A blooming Century Plant (http://www.naturesongs.com/vvplants/centuryplant.html) spotted on the way down into the valley below


The buds were just starting to open... a few more days and it would have been spectacular!


:tab We round the last few curves as we drop to the valley floor and the road is paved again. It runs straight into town. This is obviously a small town. I've no clue what folks here do for a living, maybe ranching? We cruise through town and spot a decent looking little hotel. Casey keeps going, so I guess he is looking for the restaurant where he wants to do dinner. We cruise right out of town... okay... and then he pulls over at a gravel road.

Isn't there a song about this place or something?

:tab Seeing the open sign swinging in the breeze, we head on up the side of the hill. The restaurant seems to be someone's house set high on a nice hill. We pull into the parking lot and as I am trying to park the bike some lady is yelling at us. Casey does some yelling back. What the...? It would seem they are closed and she is telling us to go away :doh: Real friendly folks... :lol2: So... back into town we go. Casey is disappointed... just another plan tossed aside like so much nothing :-P

:tab We passed a place on the way into town that I pointed out which looked interesting. It would seem it is our only alternative as public eating establishments are not real common in this town. So we pull up outside the Antler Cafe. Looks charming enough... :shrug:

Never judge a book by its cover :eat:

Is that a deck table umbrella up there? This could be interesting...

Always a good sign to see a few local vehicles out front!

This the Cafe side, the other side is a bar and some kind of museum :scratch:

:tab Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries for me please :mrgreen: Extra grease! The food comes out and is HOT! I bite into one of the fries and soon realize I have sacrificed a few layers of skin from the roof of my mouth to the experience :doh: The fries are awesome though, as is the burger! Stuffed and getting stiffer by the moment from sitting, we waddle out of the place and get back on the bikes. Time to get a room.

:tab The hotel seems pretty nice. They even have a cool fire place outside the rooms. Hopefully they will let us use them. The office is closed but they have a phone on the wall with a number that says to call, so I do. A few minutes later the owner comes walking up from behind the building to check us in. The rooms are NICE! Amazing compared to what we have been staying in the last few tries at motels. I think my bathroom alone is nearly the size of the entire room I stayed in the night we got out of the desert :lol2: When I come back out of my room to start unloading the bike, I notice Casey has a beer in his hand... Where'd that come from!? Upon further inquiry, it seems some angel of God visited the room before we got there and left exactly THREE beers in the fridge :hail: Hmmm... My fridge is empty :doh: Casey is kind enough to share :lol2:


The fire place, even has a gas grill they told us we could use if we wanted to do some cooking!

The light fades as I set to building a fire :trust:

Casey enjoying the beer from Heaven :chug:

Casey after his beer trying to figure out why his bike is running so poorly :scratch:

John enjoying the cool clear evening, a cold brew and a nice fire. A great end to a great day!

Shortly after this, the flames were spilling out the front and up the face of the hearth!

Casey sets up to experiment with some low light photography

:tab We enjoy a nice evening sitting in front of the fire, listening to jets on approach to Phoenix, and star gazing. Eventually, the best wood is all burned away to ashes and I hear my bed calling... well... actually I hear the hot shower calling a little louder ;-) So I call it a night and head to my room.

:tab It would seem that Casey is not the only one destined to have his plans dashed on this trip. I thought I might get by without having made any plans or formed any real expectations leading into this trip. I'm wrong... When I pull back the shower curtain to step into the steaming hot water, I notice the water is just falling straight down out of the shower head instead of spraying. Worse yet, there are streams spraying in all directions out of cracks in the fitting where it screws to the water pipe coming out of the wall. It would seem the casting has completely cracked in several places. Thinking I might be able to at least adjust the head to get a decent spray, I reach up to turn the knob only to have the entire head fall apart into my hands, scalding hot water going everywhere! :eek2: Now I am not one that normally gets into dancing, but I am busting some serious moves trying to avoid getting particular parts of me scalded!! :shock: I manage to get the water cooled off and then get the various pieces of the shower head reassembled. The best it will do is the straight down stream... Oh well... at least it is HOT!!

:tab Clean and relaxed, I slip into a very comfortable bed and soon drift away to dream of things to come...

06-07-2007, 07:01 PM
Free undercoating from AZDOT! :trust: Such nice folks there.

06-08-2007, 01:09 AM
Hmmm... My AVI video files are pretty big. The smallest is about 8Mb, but most are up around 20Mb or more. Everyone viewing them would kill my monthly bandwidth. I guess I could stick them on YouTube :shrug:

06-08-2007, 06:41 AM
I'd love to see you guys compare and contrast the three bikes on this trip. A KTM, a KLR and a DR650 on this true dual sport trip with a wide range of conditions ought to be a classic thread. How much fuel did the KTM hold? How far was it between fuel stops and how overall availability?

Tx Rider
06-08-2007, 09:07 AM
That KTM has a factory 5 gallon tank I added that holds exactly 5 gallons (found this out when I ran out one time and had to push to a station). I never had less than a gallon in the tank at any time, and wasn't all the way full when we started.

Was running a 14-45 sprocket set, made first gear a granny gear only and RPM's at 75 were higher than I like to run the bike for a long period of time.

Suspension was great, considering the springs front and aft were carrying significantly more than their rated load.

Tires were my only issue, the terraflex made the bike feel like it was understeering pretty bad, even on pavement, and felt real squirmy when I leaned in to a corner on pavemant. Had me riding real slow in the twisties.

Terraflex absolutely rocked for those gnarly rocky climbs though, could stop and start again on pretty much all the climbs if I needed to with that low gear and tire. Same for going down the steep rocky descents, There were places even the terraflex had a hard time keeping my speed controlled, but not many. That and that engine has more than enough power for anything, and will lug up most climbs even at just over idle revs.

That said, I'll never buy another Terraflex I don't think. :)

Bike is basically stock other than tank/seat though and had zero issues.

From my perspective the DR looked great, aside from jetting issues and Caseys cut rear spring/shock that didn't seem to be doing well, specially on washboard roads.

Scotts KLR was geared too high, Where he got it stuck day one I tried to ride it up and couldn't, had it been geared better I'm sure I could have. I got my KTM in the exact same spot he was in and rode it up from there pretty easily. If it had been geared a good deal lower I doubt he would have had as much trouble. Could have used a little more ground clearance maybe.

06-08-2007, 10:31 AM
For the most part the DR650SE did pretty good. It handled very well, even in the sand without headshake.

Gearing was adequate for me at 14-41 (15-41 stock). It got me up every climb and over every obstacle first try, so luckily I didn't have to test it for a mid-climb restart... that's the idea, right?

For tires I was using a Maxxis M6006 rear and Kenda Trakmaster front. I continue to be pretty impressed by both. I made every technical climb with ease and rocked pretty good in the sand washes. I was amazed that I didn't suffer any pinches, even after some hard hits, especially the last day. I ran about 15psi in them on the first 2 days and about 20psi the rest of the trip. 20 psi was fine on pavement as long as I didn't ask too much of them. Pavement is great at about 30 psi, even for the aggressive Kenda.

I have a 4.9 gal IMS tank. Plenty big for this trip, and I averageed a little over 40mpg.

My Supertrapp IDS2 exhaust sounded really cool.

From my perspective the DR looked great, aside from jetting issues and Caseys cut rear spring/shock that didn't seem to be doing well, specially on washboard roads.

Yep, the big problems on the DR were suspension and jetting. The rear spring was cut to a 450lb spring (stock is 365), but the already poor damping shock was far from adequate for such a stiff spring. This made for a lot of motion, and control could be an issue over large obstacles, g-outs, etc at speed. Wash board was the worst though; the rear suspension was way to live/active for the evenly spaced bumps, and the back tire would basically levitate. It was a necessary trade though, because before, the stock spring would bottom (without a load) if I so much as sneezed hard; there's no way it would've handled all of that weight on some of those trails. With the stiffer spring, even with the gear weight, it never bottomed once, and there were times that I showed no mercy, especially on the last day.

The front suspension was too soft. I had cut a little off the front springs, but not much because there was a threat of coil-bind. They are adequate without a load, but loaded they were a bit overwhelmed. I had to focus on predicting where the front would be an issue and make the back take the hits. Hard to do though when you can't work the throttle due to jetting...

Jetting was my other big issue, starting at about 4k feet. It was rideable above that, as long as I was real easy on the throttle and keep the top speed down, depending on the elevation. At elev's above 6-7k', I couldn't go over 50 mph. I had planned to remove the airbox lid at one of the overnights, but kept forgetting once we were off the bikes.

I carried a lot more weight that I really needed and would normally carry, but I wanted this to be a comfy, pleasant trip, so I brought more clothes than needed, as well as other things to make life 'easier' and cleaner. I also brought a lot of camera gear (which I hardly used :argh:), including a tripod, multiple lenses and a video camera with a helmet cam. I had a lot of weight on my back, as well as on my bike.

Scotts KLR was geared too high, Where he got it stuck day one I tried to ride it up nd couldn't, had it been geared better I'm sure I could have. I got my KTM in the exact same spot he was in and rode it up from there pretty easily. If it had been geared a good deal lower I doubt he would have had as much trouble.

I rode behind Scott a bit, and was surprised at how well his suspension worked. He had a progressive rear and straight rate Race-tech front. The KLR appeared controlled over everything.

His biggest problem (besides a little more weight) was gearing. Had I known he still had a 15t front sprocket on the bike, I would have suggested 14t. He had a 14t, just didn't bring it with him... The 14 might not have helped get the bike restarted after stopping, but might have made the difference between stopping and keeping it moving.

I didn't get to spend any time in the rougher stuff behind the KTM, but didn't hear John complaining much. Since it's far more of a dirt bike than the other 2, I'd venture to say it did great ;-) . He did drop back pretty far in the twisties due to the squirmy Terraflex though. He was smart and packed the least.

Tx Rider
06-08-2007, 10:59 AM
Heh, yeah as many have said it's probably not wise to ride behind a terraflex in the rough stuff. I didn't chew that tire up taking it easy on it. :)

That tire was my only real beef though, could have used bigger springs as KTM springs the bikes for 160-170 lb riders and I weight 200 plus gear. Only bottomed the rear out a few times though.

I was very surprised we had no pinch flats, I popped my front hard enough on big rocks a few times I stopped to take a look afterward. I was running one of those D908 Rally raid front tires with a heavy duty tube, I still need to check the front wheel for bends after some of those hits though.

I probably wouldn't have used the Terraflex, but I've had it sitting in my garage for 2 years and figured I have to use it sometime.;-)

I only packed the necessities, one change of lightweight clothes one to wear and one to wash, 3 pair of wool socks and drawers, lightweight food and stove, 3.5lb tent, lightweight sleeping bad and essential tools. I figure 30-35 lbs total not counting 3 liters of water in the camelback. Split a bit over half on the bike in a $5 totes duffle bag bungied on and the rest in my camelback backpack which was a little heavier on my back than I would have liked. Had a mesh jacket and liner with me, but had it gotten cold and rainy my pants were goretex and I'd have been limited to a garbage bag over my jacket liner up top.

I basically treated it like a light weight backpacking trip and packed what I would have for a several day backpacking carrying it on my back trip plus bike tools. I wasn't going out in the middle of nowhere without some real food though.

06-08-2007, 04:57 PM
:tab I don't think gas was too much of an issue for me. I was getting pretty good mpg even in the technical stuff. Bike ran great at altitude as well. Suspension was working fine.

:tab Several issues for me: rear weight up high, stock gearing, no rim locks so I could not air down as low as I would have liked.

:tab I was using the Wolfman large Expedition tail bag. I had learned on the Mexico trip last March not to over pack it. So I had my sleeping bag, a few days worth of clothes, and some tools. My tent was strapped to the back of it. Still, it was pretty heavy, up high, and far back. This made some of the hill climbs tough because the front end kept wanting to come up when I tried to throttle over stuff. I could not weight the front end enough to keep it down. Saddle bags would work better because they keep the weight lower. The bag also got in the way when I needed to pick the bike up after a drop. I could probably have packed a bit less in the way of clothes and maybe tools. I carried 3 liters in my Camel Bak with jerky and power bars. Given our experience, I think I might look at packing the kind of food John had, but I need a stove. I really think John has one of those magic Bags of Holding. Anyone that played Dungeons and Dragons knows about these! They open to another dimension and you can cram tons of stuff in them but they never get bulky or heavy :lol2:

:tab I have the 14 tooth front for the KLR. That would have helped a LOT because throttle control in first gear is real snatchy which makes the climbs tough. It is either on or off and not much in between. If I tried second gear, I just couldn't carry enough speed to keep from lugging the engine into a stall. This is not to say someone else might not have been able to carry the speed, but at my current skill set (very inexperienced) and given the technical nature of many of the climbs, I was barely treading water ;-) I think the 14 tooth might have let me run 2nd gear on the climbs and made it easier to control. I might have lost a few mpg, but not much. Like John's KTM though, I would not want to rap it out on the highway at 75mph for very long.

:tab I aired down to about 20psi. Not having rim locks I am not wild about going lower. The tires were the D606s and they did great. Mine was no where near as shredded as John's Terraflex. However, trying to restart on some of those climbs had the rear spinning instead of grabbing. Everywhere else though it was great. I don't think anything would have helped in those gravel washes... :brainsnap

:tab Given the cost of the KLR and the few mods I have done to it, I am pretty happy with how it did. The bolt issues could have been taken care of ahead of time if I had thought about it :doh: I would say that the first few days were pretty much at the limit of what I would want to attempt on a KLR though. If I were to ride out there more often so that I could actually develop some skills, it would help tremendously!!

:tab Ground clearance was only an issue once or twice... that last one being when the centerstand took a serious whack that ripped off my footpeg :doh:

06-08-2007, 06:23 PM
What did you end up doing about the foot peg? When mine came off, Cagiva 549 helped me out by drilling it out and using a helicoil to insert SS threads and used stronger bolts.

06-08-2007, 08:09 PM
The bolt issues could have been taken care of ahead of time if I had thought about it

Are these the infamous subframe bolts everyone upgrades?

06-08-2007, 08:21 PM
Are these the infamous subframe bolts everyone upgrades?

Actually, no. Those had already been done and they were fine. These were the two small bolts that go down through the top of the luggage rack and screw into nuts that are welded to the backside of tabs which are themselves welded to the frame tube. I've not seen those included in any of the upgrade kits. However, I was able to have the bolts drilled out and I had the guy run a hole all the way down through the frame tube so I could put lock nuts on the end of the bolts.

The same is true for the footpeg bolts. I have never seen them included as part of the upgrade either. I think the bolts that were in there were not stock as they are longer than the stock bolts to allow for the thickness of the centerstand mount bracket. The nut for the footpeg bolts is welded inside a box with no way to access it. I don't want to risk drilling all the way through the main frame at such a high stress area. So this presents a bit of a dilemma with regards to improving the strength of the mounting.

The other bolts are just bolts that vibrated out and disappeared. I use blue loctite on most of them, but that did not seem to hold. Red loctite will actually damage some of the nuts on the bike because of the lower grade metal used. Casey's friend Drew mentioned some kind of grey stuff that is supposed to work like loctite but it doesn't dry or mess up the threads. I can't remember the name of it though :shrug:

06-08-2007, 08:23 PM
What did you end up doing about the foot peg? When mine came off, Cagiva 549 helped me out by drilling it out and using a helicoil to insert SS threads and used stronger bolts.

Well, as far as we could tell, the nuts for the footpeg were still good after we removed the remainder of the bolts. John thinks one of them might be on the verge of having the threads shear out though. So I was thinking of doing the helicoil thing. I have never done that before so I don't really know what is involved. One of the bolts that holds down the rear of the gas tank has the same problem with the nut threads. I need to get that one fixed as well. Right now I just have a big zip tie holding it down ;-)

06-08-2007, 11:54 PM
Okay, finished the report for Wednesday. I'll try to get more done tomorrow.

06-09-2007, 11:12 AM
A real adventure has to contain elements of fear to get the true effect. This foray is even at times scary/exciting as a reader!

06-11-2007, 04:28 PM
Thursday - 5/24: "So what you wanna do is cross this here creek, go up the little hill to the trees, then...?"

:tab Morning comes and I am already awake. I would seem my body has begun to anticipate Casey's knock on the door :lol2: It is another beautiful morning! I am feeling pretty much 100% again, no soreness, no stiffness, and ready to roll! Casey and John prattle on about the route, options, where we might go and stay... I tune it out. I don't wanna know. I just want to ride in the moment without thinking about what comes next... well... other than perhaps the next corner :-P

:tab We get the bikes loaded up, skip breakfast, and head out of town. I think I heard Casey mention something about a great gravel road stretching for miles and miles through the National Forests... high altitudes... cool temperatures... Oh yeah, my kind of riding! We scoot on out of town and soon the road starts to wind and climb up out of the valley.

Still paved and great fun!!



:tab Hwy 288 is paved here but apparently becomes NF 512 and is gravel. Casey mentions that the road was covered with "All weather" gravel the last time he was on it. This is the large coarse gravel, usually an inch or more in diameter, and deep. It is not a lot of fun. There also appears to be road construction up ahead. After a stop to check the maps, he decides this is not the way he wants us to go. A quick peek at the GPS confirms another road that we passed back down where the road started climbing up out of the valley. So... back down we go!! :rider:



:tab The road we are looking for shows up on my GPS as The Chamberlain Trail and it runs North up to Hwy 260. When I catch up to Casey and John, I find them contemplating a Road Closed notice :doh: It would seem that there is some bridge work being done somewhere up the road. We decide to see if we can find a local that can give us a bit more info before we spend the time to ride in and possibly have to turn around. So we head back towards town a mile or two to find the local gas station, which is just a big tank above ground next to some pumps. Inside we ask the lady behind the counter if she knows what the scoop is on the road. She informs us that it is open until you reach the campground at Haigler Creek. The campground and the road are closed for upgrades. Well... perhaps if all they are doing is putting a bridge over a creek we can squeeze by on the side? "Can't hurt to try," she replies. After a top off of gas, we head back to see what awaits us.

:tab The road is nice and wide, being fairly well maintained hard packed gravel/dirt. It is soon rising and falling, twisting and turning through the woods. Casey has me running point with the GPS, which is cool because it gives me a break from the dust and a clear view ahead. It does not take long before we reach the campground and the "Closed" signs. We skirt around those and go a little further.

The spot where the new bridge is being built

:tab We walk around the construction equipment to have a look. There are several construction guys hanging out. The tall fat one gets a little peeved that we are there and starts lecturing us about fines and such. The creek is shallow and narrow, easily crossable upstream or downstream of their work. I explain our dilemma regarding the extra miles if we have to find away around. No dice, the big guy is having none of it and his tone gets more hostile :roll: Not wanting to start an incident, we decide to back track. Looking at the GPS, there are a few "roads" that loop around this spot, but according to the topo contours, it would be a wild ride! Well... how bad can it be?

Heading back to look for the cut off for the side roads

I'm loving it!

:tab Well, I am scanning for the road while trying to watch the GPS and I still manage to ride past where it should be. So I turn around again and watch REAL carefully. In fact, I have to stop and look for a moment when I reach the spot where the GPS says the road should be... and there they are... two faint trails running up a steep narrow gully :wary: It might not be as hot as the desert, but if we get stuck up in there, it is obvious there will be NO ONE coming by to offer assistance. At this point, I decide to just pull up in front of the house on the other side of the road to see if anyone is home. Local advice is usually the best.

:tab The dogs alert as soon as I park in front of the house. That saves me the trouble of knocking on the door :lol2: Sure enough, before I can even finish getting my helmet off, the front door opens and a friendly fellow walks out. I explain our situation and he invites me inside, saying he has a map and can show me where to go. The house smells of fresh pancakes and coffee :drool: It seems he, his wife, and some visiting relatives have just finished breakfast. She offers me some coffee, but I have long since kicked that habit and substituted another (Cokes :doh:). The husband disappears for a moment and then comes back with a big rolled up piece of paper...

This is Bill, and he knows every goat trail in these parts!

:tab I indicate the trail we had been contemplating and Bill laughs. It seems they have been back up in that area on their ATV's but it eventually gets too rough even for the ATV's to get through. Getting through there on the bikes might be possible, but it would certainly be a major undertaking. Okay... "But I have a better route!" And so bill begins to explain, "You cross this creek, run up this little hill, when you reach this clearing there will be a small intersection, hang right an run up another hill... and you'll eventually come out just on the other side of the construction!" Sweet!! He assures me that they take their ATV's this way all the time and that the bike should easily be able to make the trek.

I snap a shot of the map just in case... Hi res digital cameras rock!

:tab I thank Bill and head back outside to share the good news with Casey and John. Here we are, only a few miles into the day and already we are off on a new adventure :rider: Sure enough, a few miles back up the road, we find the turn, head down across a creek, up a little hill to the clearing, hang a right and then things get fun! You can see the four way intersection just below the X in the Bar X Pasture on the map. The trail climbs and twists its way among some little peaks, through some dense woods, runs North almost to the tip of the Cross Y Pasture and then bends East back to the main road. It is a blast!

A flat wide section of our wonderful detour

:tab All too soon the fun is over and we pop out back on the main road just like Bill said we would, a little bit North of the construction. It is tempting to trot back down the road to say "Hi" to the worker guys :lol2: Well, that would be real mature... So we just get back to our riding and are soon climbing up out of the creek valley onto a fantastic ridge, climbing from 5500 to 6500 feet in a few minutes. Near Turkey Peak, we stop for pictures looking back down into the valley below.


You can see the road going back up the valley in the center of the picture before it veers right off the edge of the picture


You don't want to blow a corner here... :-|



Panorama: We came up the right valley and eventually hiked over to the peak jutting out on the left. The line of peaks in the far distance on the right are were we came in last night.

Another gratuitous KLR shot :trust:

[Gotta work again... :doh: Back later...]

:tab I cruise on up the road a bit and see a nice spot to pull over in the shade to take a break. There is a trail leading out from the pull off area to a precipice maybe 75 yards away. Looks interesting...

06-12-2007, 08:26 AM
Saturday, 5/26
Locked gates and sheer exhaustion.

My eyes popped open at about 4:30am and I laid awake until there was enough light to get up and get ready for my short hike to some 900 year old Verde Hohokam cliff dwellings hidden nearby. I hoped to arrive in time to photograph them before the harsh light of the direct sun made them difficult to shoot. I grabbed my backpack and tripod and took off in search of the faint trail that led the way over the saddle. Once I arrived at the site, I remembered part of what made the ruins so difficult to shoot the last time I was here... there was no place to stand or set-up, due to the steep slope and terrain. I did my best with what I had, and sat in the east-facing cliff for a little while to enjoy the outstanding scenery that surrounded me.









Back at the camp, forgetting once again to remove the cover on my airbox, I loaded up and gave the map another once-over. My plan was to take the backroad into the once ghost town of Jerome. From Jerome I'd climb out on the twisty Hwy 89, then turn left for a series of roads/trails that I'd been curious about since I lived in Arizona, but never got around to exploring. This route would dump me out east of Dewey, then I'd make my way west to Prescott to meet Scott and John. At this point, provided the footpeg was back in place, we should have plenty of time to make it back to Phoenix via Senator 'Highway' and the Crown King road. It was a difficult decision, but after our experience the first day, I decided to spare Scott the pain of the incredibly scenic but somewhat technical Crown King trail :tears: .

This was one of those mornings that I was 'on', and my pace grew faster and faster as I worked my way back out FR181. Before long I was pushing the loaded DR harder than I had ridden in years, and finessing the testy throttle actually seemed to make me ride smoother than usual. Barreling down the last straight of the rough road, I didn't bother slowing down for the transition onto Perkinsville road. I made good time by the time I reached the more dangerous, more heavily traveled shelf road portion of the Jerome back way, and slowed down to an easy pace for the remaining 18 mile ride into Jerome.

Jerome is a unique place. Once an old mining town, it clings to the side of a mountain as Highway 89 switchbacks through it's crumbling interior. The old buildings appear tired and lifeless, despite the bustling new life that has fairly recently been breathed into the town. Old hospitals and schools are now hotels, and bars and restaurants abound. I wish I had time to hang out a while, maybe grab breakfast, but alas, I have a schedule to keep, and unknown riding awaits.

Jerome, from where I stopped…

I sputter and spit west, climbing into what perhaps the best 12 mile stretch of paved nirvana in Arizona. Oh, how I wished for a properly running bike and fully inflated tires... Still thoroughly enjoyable though.


The road eventually straightens out and I begin my search for FR151 to my left. Once upon it, I thump south on what begins as a well maintained road. After a few miles, the road forks; the maintained portion going to the left with a sign for a boy’s camp, and my road, to the right… the maintenance obviously stopping here. I climb the trail to the right, which soon offers views toward Prescott, Prescott Valley and the mountains beyond.



My pace increased as the trail became rougher; I had a schedule to keep, so I had to compensate for the conditions… soon the trail became badly eroded with wheel swallowing canyons and large, sharp boulders. Climbs and descents were many; steep, badly eroded with loose rocks, and the worst part of all… with washed out ditches at the bottom, just large enough to grab hold of a front wheel, catapulting a rider against the opposing face. The difficult part was controlling the speed of the loaded beast downhill, without sliding, so that I could come to a complete stop, drop the front wheel into the ditch, throttle out with enough momentum to carry the back wheel across and get a good launch for the scramble to the top. Luckily I had the weight on the back of my bike to aid my handicapped right wrist in lifting the front wheel. Of course, even though I noticed that there didn’t appear to be much traffic on this trail, it never occurred to me to consider why… After many miles of this abuse, the road finally leveled out and turned toward the valley, my target. I passed an intersection, veering right and came to a gate. It isn’t unusual to pass through gates around here, but this one was different than the others; it was locked… twice :doh: . I dismounted and stared into the valley at the town that was only a couple more miles away, thinking to myself that I could not turn back.


I had an hour before noon when I told the guys I’d meet them, and it would take me a couple to go back the way I came and ride the pavement around to the north side of Prescott. Plus, at this point I was getting tired from my morning of spirited riding, and wanted to be done with it. I was hungry, my cartilage-free wrist was finally beginning to hurt pretty badly and all of my standing was really beginning to aggravate the fibromatosis in my feet. I considered the wire-cutters on my Schrade multitool, but decided I’d save that as a last resort, besides, I had no idea what I’d find at the end… a rancher’s back yard perhaps? Consulting the map, I find a couple of other options, that while they go in a less productive direction, might offer me a way out, and with fewer miles than returning the way I came. If any of these work, I can still make my noon meeting time. I make haste back to the intersection and turn east. After blazing a couple of miles, I come upon a forest service sign: “No Outlet, road ends at locked gate” :argh: . Sheesh… you’ve got to be kidding me! Why put the sign at the end of the road :brainsnap ?? Had it been at the beginning I never would have come this way to begin with! I consult the map again, and if I’m reading it correctly, it indicates another trail a short distance back that heads south. I double back (which I always hate doing) and begin my search for the trail. I didn’t have to search long before I was on my way down a faint, lose, rocky double track trail that followed a ridge for a short distance before dropping down the rocky hill. As it fallowed the ridge, the trail would drop steeply for a short distance, then level out some, then drop again, etc. I skipped across the jagged, copper colored rocks, thinking to myself, “man, I hope I don’t have to ride back up these hills”, then came sliding to a stop… the next drop was long and STEEP, comprised completely of lose, jagged boulders. This was a decision point; if I continue, I have to commit, because I am NOT climbing back up this hill… I decide that I’m not ready for this just yet, as I didn’t even go all the way to the second gate mentioned by the sign… what if it’s open? I work hard to get the bike turned around on the narrow, boulder strewn trail and begin roosting rocks back to the main trail. At this point I am in race-mode, despite the heavily laden dual sport, and intensely focused on getting the heck out of this trap. I blew past the sign, feeling a bit of an anger rush at the sight of the white blur on a pole. Some distance later I find myself sliding up to gate number 2... Locked. The fence was a very tall, wire grid type; the owner obviously was serious about keeping trespassers of all species out, or perhaps something in… as I stood with my back to the gate pondering my next move, looked to my right, across a large, canyon-like ditch, and spotted a strip of gravel… a road, a maintained road! That had to mean a way out, and there had to be a way to get to it. I turned back, looking for some sort of trail that might take me to the heavenly strip of gravel. I eventually came upon a badly eroded opening in the scruffy vegetation, in a low area that could easily enter the ditch. I eagerly turned into it, hoping it would be my saving trail… and eventually popped out onto the road! I was off in a cloud of dust, climbing to the top of a large hill. Once at the top, I saw that I would soon be faced with a decision, as the road I was on was part of a network. I began to think that maybe I was on some sort of quarry property, and continued in the most southerly direction possible. If this is a mine or quarry operation, I don’t care. I’ll pass through the front entrance if I have to, leaving those who care coughing in my dust. A couple of more turns and I find myself at the end of the road, at the top of a hill.. And at the intersection of a dirt neighborhood road. One little problem… there’s a locked cable. Turns out there way just enough slack in the cable to squeeze the bike under, and I was on my way through a new maze, but at least a civilized maze.

Eventually I popped out on Hwy 169 and high-tailed it west as fast as the gasping DR could go. The traffic was horrible, and my impatience sent me weaving thorough the sea of the cages with their zombie-like pilots. My goal was to reach fast food in Prescott proper, and try to contact Scott while I have a much needed rest. I rolled into Jack in the Box right at noon, slid off of the dirty DR, and staggered, exhausted, into the ‘Box. I sat down in the back corner and started peeling off gear. It was only noon, and I had already experienced a full, hard day of riding and adventure. After inhaling a Jumbo Jack and sucking down a coke and a couple of lemonades, I pulled out the phone and called Scott. They were downtown, hanging out at a festival on the county square. The KLR was fixed, and Scott told me where to find them. The only problem was that I did not want to move, at all. I had no desire to climb back on the bike. After extending my rest a bit, I forced myself onto my feet, and wandered into the parking lot.

Once into town, I passed the square and found the bikes parked along the side of the street. The DR joined them and with a slight limp I slowly made my way toward the festivities. John and Scott appeared in the sea of people, heading my direction, so I leaned against a nearby window sill. Back on the bikes, we went to refill on gas and water before moving out Senator Highway.

Senator “Highway” is a mostly dirt road that wanders through the Bradshaw mountains and connects Prescott with Crown King, an old mining town that barely survives as an off-roaders turn-around point and watering hole. The road is an old pioneer route that took its name after the Senator mine that was active in the 1800’s, and is anything but a highway... The winding 35 mile road begins paved, then turns to well maintained dirt, then eventually becomes a high clearance road the rest of the way to Crown King.

I was feeling pretty bad at first, so I told the guys to go ahead while I sit back and veg a while. After some time I found myself back in the middle, winding through the somewhat high traffic road (for an unimproved dirt road). At each blind hairpin each rider would go wide, looking around the bend for any oncoming pick-ups or quads. I watched Scott go around one turn, wide as usual, then suddenly a black dodge truck appeared :eek: , sliding to a stop just before the drop into the trees… From my perspective, Scott appeared to have been hit as I thought I saw the back of his bike kick to the side. My adrenaline dropped as I went into ’oh crap’ mode. I came around the front of the truck, the driver of which actually appeared irritated, and found Scott to be okay, just a bit shaken. He said that the truck didn’t quite hit him, just came darn close. We went on our way, now even more careful than before.





As we approached Crown King the campers became plentiful, with an abundance of quads and jeeps. It was a holiday weekend, and the banjos were playing :-P . I pointed out the entrance the Crown King trail that I had reluctantly cut from the trip.

Once through Crown King, we descended back into the desert via the Crown King road. Our ride down was interrupted by a line of emergency vehicles, which were tending to an injured quad rider. We stood in the road for a while, chatting with one of the emergency personnel until the big guy was loaded into an ambulance. We managed to get ahead of the ambulance when it pulled over briefly, and made our way out the road through Bumble Bee to the freeway, where our ride basically ended, and about 70 miles of droning paved torture began.

It was good to be back at the truck. I ran the guys around town gathering some of mine and Dawn’s favorite food to take home, then we returned to the diving chick motel…

06-14-2007, 08:35 AM
:tab I cruise on up the road a bit and see a nice spot to pull over in the shade to take a break. There is a trail leading out from the pull off area to a precipice maybe 75 yards away. Looks interesting...

I'm beginning to think you fell off of the precipice...

So then what? Did you see any giant baby elk?

06-15-2007, 12:06 AM
Yeah.. yeah... :nana:

You just wait until you have that second kid running around the house... :-P

06-15-2007, 07:55 AM
Yeah.. yeah... :nana:

You just wait until you have that second kid running around the house... :-P

Yea, Yea, just wait until you have a job where you have to work :lol2: Now get off the porch and get to writing :-P

06-15-2007, 08:11 AM
Yeah.. yeah... :nana:

You just wait until you have that second kid running around the house... :-P

Aw, the second one is easy. It's the third one that causes trouble! :doh:

God bless,


06-15-2007, 02:16 PM
Yea, Yea, just wait until you have a job where you have to work :lol2: Now get off the porch and get to writing :-P

Unfortunately, those days have been gone since right about the time you left here... :doh: I can't remember the last time we sat around on the back deck... Odds are it will only get worse for the next week or so because Dad just left for a week of vacation and we are already getting slammed...

06-16-2007, 12:53 PM
Guys, I'm really enjoying this ride report! :clap: :popcorn:

06-17-2007, 02:22 AM
Thursday 5/24: Continued...

:tab So anyway, we're standing on this precipice looking back down the valley the direction from which we came. Bubbling up on the breeze from down below is the sound of Haigler Creek tumbling down into the valley over the many rocks that have long since fallen away from our perch on high. No mutant baby elks to be seen anywhere... :-P The air is crisp, dry and cool. It just feels so refreshing against my skin, unlike the thick clingy air in the deep woods of East Texas back home.

The road up out of the valley

Casey pondering the view with an eye towards taking the perfect picture... I just snap away relentlessly... :lol2: That is the road out just over his head.

Gotta watch where we're walking or it is a long way down!

The top of the tree in the center is about even with our feet

John and Casey scoping out great camping spots down by the creek

So this rock has been here a LONG time... I wonder just how many more pounds would be enough to make it teeter off the edge... :eek:


Looking back up the creek valley, very rocky and rugged!

Quite a few trees out here have been burned... I wonder if it is lightning related since we are so high up and there is not much evidence of burns lower down?


:tab After our break, we start climbing up out of the valley again. The road is great. The weather is great. The bike is running great. I am not at work. My pager is at home. The cell phone is turned off. Man... I need to do this more often! After passing by Turkey Peak, the road drops down into a shallow valley and runs back to the Northwest. We soon reach Hwy 260 where we stop so Casey can do some route work in his head and consult his maps. After a few minutes of baking in the sun, we decide to head West and pick up another dirt road oddly named "Control Road". It cuts over from Hwy 260, North of Payson and comes out over on Hwy 87 just South of Pine. Not only should it be fun, but it will save us some time in connecting to our next dirt road.

:tab I take point, enjoying the smooth pavement and highway speeds. It is only a few miles to our turn off but I like being on the pavement for a bit. It is a nice time to relax, take in more of the scenery, and enjoy the wind blowing through the mesh gear. Central Arizona is simply beautiful! It doesn't hurt that Hwy 260 is a really nice ride too! We soon reach our turn and head back onto the gravel. The road is wide and relatively smooth, not too dusty, and is soon wandering through the woods. I love it.

A small sample of the Control Road

John eyeballing a little trail that runs up the hill from the road...

:tab It does not take long before we reach Hwy 87 and then we head up into the small town of Pine. We do a run up the center of town to take it all in. On the North side of town we pull over to top off the bikes with gas. I spotted a nice looking little 50's cafe back down the road and we agree to try it out. The parking lot is pretty full so it can't be too bad ;-) Looking at the age of the average patron, I think the idea of a 50's style cafe here was a pretty shrewd business move :-P

Casey tries to decide what to eat...

:tab The food and service are pretty good. Casey gets a HUGE chili dog that takes up the whole plate... :uhoh: No way I could eat that and then get back on a bike! Thank goodness I have been taking point today, hopefully that won't change after lunch :wary: My cheeseburger really hits the spot! However, it is the Coke that really makes my day... Yes... I am an addict :doh: Stuffed, we head back outside to resume our journey.

Looks real 50's on the outside eh? :whatever:

The friendly old keeper of the porch really likes a good belly rubbing!

:tab As we head out of the parking lot, Casey takes point :twitch: I'll have to hang back a little... :trust: We head up the highway a few more miles to another tiny little touristy town, Strawberry, where we cut West to find the Fossil Creek Rd. As we leave Strawberry, we are right around 6000 feet in elevation. The road starts down into a valley and slowly drops in elevation. It does not take long for things to get interesting!

That little dot above the trees at the base of the road is John or Casey, hard to tell from here... :scratch:

Not much better here... notice the locked gate!! :doh: :tears:

:tab When I catch up to the others, they are stopped at a sharp curve that bends the road around onto the edge of a deep canyon. I am a little disappointed that we were not going up the road with the locked gate (not that I want to go around the gate, but that there was a locked gate there to begin with ;-)). However, this road looks promising! :trust:


See how steep that wall on the left is...? Well... it is just as steep off to the right immediately beyond that pile of gravel on the edge of the road :eek:

According to Casey, these barricades are recent additions to this road

A better view of the drop... don't want to blow a corner here!!

Road is the ledge on left side

:tab The drop looks to be several hundred feet easily and that is just to the first spot where you'd HIT on the way down. It is quite a bit farther all the way down to the bottom! Carefully looking over the ledge, it would appear that the barricades should have been put up a long time ago :-| If one was not familiar with the road, this curve sneaks up on you because it is at the end of a straight section and down behind a slight crest in the road!

Apparently, even the locals had trouble with it...

Apparently, they have been having trouble with it for quite some time! :doh:

:tab Standing here looking at the assortment of vehicles at the bottom is kind of strange. It is a LONG way down and there would be far too much time to ponder one's fate... I will be riding VERY carefully while we are on this road! As we are mulling around taking pictures, the local FedEx delivery guy roars by in a cloud of dust. At his pace, I don't think getting stuck behind him in his dust will be a problem! I take point just so I can get ahead to stop for more pictures. I have a feeling this road will have plenty of opportunities!

John posing for me to help give a sense of scale


He's that dot above the center of the second gravel slide from the left

:tab Off in the distance I see the FedEx guy's plume of dust and his truck rounding one of the many bends. As we ride on, the road starts a gentle descent down into the valley. The nasty corner was at about 5400 feet. The bottom of the valley looks to be at least a thousand feet down from that point. The farther we go, the steeper the descent becomes. Eventually, we reach some switchbacks and begin to descend pretty fast!

John heading for the first switchback

John is a big guy, but you'd never guess it from this pic! :lol2:

Or this one!

I've almost got the camera pointing straight down at this point



:tab After taking my pics, I set out to catch up to the other guys. When I reach the bottom, the road flattens out and runs along the side of Fossil Creek. We've dropped to about 3500 feet from 5400 feet! I find Casey and John on the side of the road chatting with the FedEx guy. He's already made his delivery and is headed back the way he came! I pull up to find Casey and him carrying on a confused conversation, hehe. Apparently, between Casey having his helmet on and the noise of the truck, neither of them can hear each other and both are a little confused by each other's responses :lol2: I pull right up next to the guy and just ask him politely, "Are you asking us for info or offering us info?" He replies, "I'm offering info if you want it!" Cool! I listen as he tells us about some camping opportunities. We then thank him and get back to riding. All along the side of the road, there are little side trails that run down to the creek a few yards distant. There are cars and trucks tucked into nearly every one of them. We reach a spot where the road crosses the creek and Casey pulls us over for a stop. Time for a break.

Heading down to the creek for a dip!

Really have to watch your step...

The bridge over the creek with a nice shady spot underneath... already occupied :doh:

Looking upstream from our spot

Not looking to good for dipping this way...

Looking better back towards the bridge! See it?

Casey and John concur :trust:


John really gets into his river dipping :-P

Casey is trying to decide if he can tolerate the cold water and the nice breeze that makes wet clothes feel even colder!

John again

Now they are hassling me about getting in...

Resistance is futile... :borg:

:tab I carefully make my way down into the water... BRRRrrrr!!! Aaahhhh!! Ohhhhh!! That is a bit chilly there!! :huh2: Aaahhh!!! Much better now... I find me a good rock to sit on and enjoy the cool feeling of the water. Small perch are tickling me by nibbling on my toes and leg. In a few minutes, the shock of the coldness wears off and I am used to the temperature. Man... this is just what I needed!! While hanging out, John realizes he has cut his foot on something. It is not serious, but it does seem to be bleeding pretty good. As we climb out, he notices blood scattered about all over the rocks where he was taking off his gear and getting in the water. He follows it back to the culprit... a piece of litter from some careless twit that was here before us :doh: :argh:

:tab I get my gear back on and then head towards the bridge. I always like the way my socks and boots feel after my feet get a good soaking in cold water. I have done it on many other rides as well. However, high in the Rockies of Colorado, it is ONLY my feet that get dunked and even then only for a minute or so before I simply can't take the frigid temperature of the snow melt water! Right now, my feet have that soft warm fuzzy feeling like my bed in the morning when I am at that perfect temperature that makes getting out of bed so !#$%^& hard :roll:

A small water fall just as the creek goes under the bridge

It gets deep and nice on the far side of the bridge!


:tab Yes, I could really get used to being able to come to a place like this fairly often and just hanging out, relaxing, and forgetting about all the worries of the world. Alas, we must move on...

Soaked head to toe... but loving it!

:tab As we leave the creek behind us, the road once again starts to get fun! In short order we are climbing up out of the valley on a pretty steep road. The road has some pretty harsh washboard though and it is really beating me good at the pace Casey is running, maybe 25 mph or so.

The view from behind...


:tab According to the GPS, we have a pretty good way to go before we reach another intersection. I catch up to John and Casey pretty quick. John waves me around and I settle in behind Casey. Somewhere around Cimmaron Creek, I just can't take it any more. The road has gotten pretty bad. For me, it is much better at about 35-40mph, so I move around Casey and set off. After passing through about 4500 feet, the road begins a fantastic twisty descent down through Hackberry Canyon. The road is awesome. It is one of those annoying times on the bike where I am totally in the groove, having a blast, and I just don't want to stop to take pics! However, I know that this is the best place to take pics :doh: Surely you understand my dilemma :-P Ride it is then... and the KLR is all for it!! The gravel rolls and crunches under my tires as I grind into the corners and then spray rocks coming out. At several high spots, I wait until I catch a view of the others and then take off again. Other than a truck we passed going the other way back by the creek, the road has been deserted.

:tab Eventually, the road begins to straighten out and the valley opens up, getting very wide. The fun is about to end as I can see the highway in the distance. I pull up to an overlook and take in the view looking back up the canyon. After a few minutes I see the dust from Casey and John come around a corner. We're pretty close to Camp Verde, which I think is where Casey is planning to find a place to camp. After they reach the overlook, we consult the GPS. Casey shows me where we are trying to go and I take the lead again. After getting a bit confused about which way I am supposed to go (I forgot to zoom out the GPS to get the big picture :doh:) I turn around a few hundred yards down the road and get us going the right direction :oops: Now we're on Hwy 260 heading into Camp Verde...

[Time for bed... more later!]

06-17-2007, 01:09 PM
Great Pics!!....a really cool adventure:zen:

06-17-2007, 01:21 PM
After reading this post in one sitting, I think I'll trade my little Ninja in on a pocket bike instead of a 2008 KLR!

I'm familiar with all of northern New Mexico and most of northern Arizona down to Sedona, you can have the desert riding. I like trees and mountains.

I did learn a few good tips. Now I know another use for a Crown Royal bag - pot holder! ;-)

Sounded like an interesting trip. :rider:

06-17-2007, 03:38 PM
Thursday 5/24: Continued...
We head up the highway a few more miles to another tiny little touristy town, Strawberry, where we cut West to find the Fossil Creek Rd. As we leave Strawberry, we are right around 6000 feet in elevation. The road starts down into a valley and slowly drops in elevation. It does not take long for things to get interesting!

We love Strawberry! We stayed at a rustic A Cabin there so we could play in the snow up on the Mogollon Rim. Wonderful country.

That is great camping country. We did Cub and Boy Scout camping on the Rim and loved it. (Down to 17 F one night at Crook Campground near Woods Canyon Lake in October, though).

I'm jealous and missing Arizona.

In Sugar Land

06-17-2007, 05:15 PM
:tab Lee, our route was supposed to run along the top of the rim, but a fire prior to our leaving had that area closed down. Casey was most distraught about this, perhaps more than just about anything else!

06-18-2007, 08:45 AM
:tab Lee, our route was supposed to run along the top of the rim, but a fire prior to our leaving had that area closed down. Casey was most distraught about this, perhaps more than just about anything else!

Aw, bummer! Forest fires are a constant problem there. What do you think the "Control" in Control Road is about, eh?

Ask the locals about what they think of "environmentalists" who won't let the Forest Service remove all the trees killed by pine bark beetles, if you ever go back (but be prepared for an ear full).

We hiked Horton Creek with Boy Scouts (trail head starts near the Tonto Trout Hatchery, east of Payson) and it was awesome. Fresh, potable water coming out of the side of the mountain.


06-18-2007, 09:06 AM
:tab Lee, our route was supposed to run along the top of the rim, but a fire prior to our leaving had that area closed down. Casey was most distraught about this, perhaps more than just about anything else!
Yea, I was definitely pretty disappointed about that. However, I think that what I was most disappointed about was missing what should've been the 1st 2 days; the connection between Salt River Canyon and the Sierra Anchas, and camping at Devil's Chasm on Cherry Creek for a couple of nights. Those are 2 beautiful areas, and I'd imagine the transition between them would be as well.

I was also really disappointed about missing the Crown King trail, the guys would have really liked that one if we could've done it without being pressed for time.

06-19-2007, 12:24 PM
This report makes me want a bike even more!!! Oh when will the planets align? :-(

Scott, you and Casey look the same. I could easily pick you out of a line up.

06-19-2007, 12:28 PM
This report makes me want a bike even more!!! Oh when will the planets align? :-(

Scott, you and Casey look the same. I could easily pick you out of a line up.

1. When your girls are out of college... maybe... :-P

2. I age like a fine wine, getting sweeter and more full bodied with time :doh:

06-19-2007, 12:29 PM
Scott, you and Casey look the same. I could easily pick you out of a line up.

I take offense to that...:lol2:

06-19-2007, 12:35 PM
Scott it's only noon....what are you doing up so early?

btw, it looks like your letting one rip in that pic ha ha

06-19-2007, 12:42 PM
Casey, he meant the same as we looked before... not the same as each other. I am much cuter :-P (see above :trust:)

Chris, Dad is on vacation this week. 8:00am every day... :suicide: Besides, the days of sleeping until noon are long gone. Daniel is up around 6:00am everyday and even if I stay in bed, there is little sleeping going on after that...

06-19-2007, 12:54 PM
Casey, he meant the same as we looked before... not the same as each other. I am much cuter :-P (see above :trust:)

Chris, Dad is on vacation this week. 8:00am every day... :suicide: Besides, the days of sleeping until noon are long gone. Daniel is up around 6:00am everyday and even if I stay in bed, there is little sleeping going on after that...

Chris? :eek2: Where the heck did you come from? Didn't know that was you...

This report makes me want a bike even more!!! Oh when will the planets align?
Hey, I gave you a Suzuki TM250, where is it?! No excuses :-P

Scott, you and Casey look the same. I could easily pick you out of a line up.
I thought that seemed like a terribly strange comment... makes sense now :lol:

06-19-2007, 12:54 PM
well i have to say i wish you started riding sooner. Cindy said a couple of years ago, that i could have a bike before i turn 30. because "thats when Scott started riding" so now i wait, for another 1-1 1/2 years. i am seriously thinking more along the lines of a DS instead of going down the Nighthawk rode. but ultimatly it will be whatever i can afford. which right now is not even a cycle trader. its good to see ya'll had fun and that ya'll gained a lot of experince and not a lot of damage (personal or property). Good to see you again Casey!

ps my girls are the same way.but they let me sleep in till 9:30 on the weekend. guess that makes me lucky

the 250 went to my budy in Huntsville. he got it running but still not quite rideable. if it's any concelation i learned a lot about it and spend many nights and weekends playing with it. the memory of getting the trailer over to my house is still fresh in my mind. oh, college

06-21-2007, 12:01 PM
Thursday 5/24: Continued... again...

:tab It is only a few miles into the edge of Camp Verde. I turn off onto another gravel road that shows to skirt along the East side of town over to the Beaver Creek campground. It is a wide gravel road, more washboard, and the KLR loves it! I settle in to a nice pace around 55-60 mph and make some serious dust! The road occasionally crests a gentle hill and runs straight off into the distance to crest another hill. There is very little traffic. It does not take long before I reach the turn to head down to the campground so I pull up and wait for Casey and John. Off to the East I see narrow canyons crawling up between numerous peaks. The map shows a LOT of trails that direction... One week out here just isn't enough!!

:tab After we are regrouped, we head down into the camping area to see what the situation is. The situation is... not good... :doh: The campground is full. Well, we are not set on doing the campground thing and would actually prefer a more isolated location. So we decide to scoot down the road a bit to see if we can find another spot showing on the map as being not too far from here. The road out to the remote area is a hoot. It is rough with a lot of wash outs, huge potholes, big rocks, a nice descent, and then eventually we drop back down in to the creek valley and find a primitive camping area. The map shows we have arrived at Lawrence Crossing.

:tab We park the bikes and take a look around. It would appear that motorized vehicles are not supposed to venture into the camping area. It would also appear that a lot of horses are ridden around here... :uhoh: I make a mental note to pay more attention to where I step. We hike a short ways down toward the creek. There are some nice camping spots but it kind of smells like a barn. The "crossing" is a crossing in name only. Whatever road may have existed here and on the other side of the creek has long since been reclaimed by the trees. Still, it is pretty here with the light reflecting off the rippling water, the sounds of the water making its way in and around all the rocks, and the gnats... If we do camp here, we will have to carry the gear a pretty good ways from the bikes. I can't quite place my finger on it, but thinking of camping here just doesn't sit well with me and it is a pretty strong feeling. Bad vibes... I don't know. Maybe it is some kind of ancient sacred Indian site :shrug: Anyway, we head back to the bikes and ride back out to the main road. We've decided to go to the Ranger station on the other side of the main road and talk to them to see what our options in the area might be.

:tab As we pull up to the Ranger station, we notice the parking lot is mostly empty and there are Rangers getting ready to drive away. I glance down at the GPS... 4:30pm... Oh crud! I should have known. I used to work for the Federal Government and trying to get anything done after 4:30pm was nigh on impossible even though officially we were supposed to be on the clock until 5:00pm. I check with one of the Rangers in the parking lot and she assures me the office is still open. So we head in to see what we can learn.

:tab Inside we find a nice little Ranger lady willing to tolerate our questions. Casey and John seem to have things in hand with her and discussing where our options might lie, so I peek around the office a bit. Seems like this is a pretty good size station with quite a few offices. There is TONS of stuff about forest fires, pictures of past fires, maps everywhere, and then the signs. If you have ever been in any kind of government office, you know what I mean. There are signs ALL over the place telling you what your rights are, what nitpicky law or rule governs whether or not you should be standing here reading the signs, what the government will do to you if you should fail to comply with the endless and often incomprehensible rules, blah blah blah...

:tab If there is ONE lesson I have learned from setting up and running a large forum, it is that people are loathe to read, comprehend, and follow rules. It is a serious mistake to think that simply making up a bunch of clever rules will actually create the neat and tidy world envisioned in your head. Ain't gonna happen :whatever: So you have to stick with the basics! Be nice. Don't steal. Don't kill each other. You know, basically the stuff of the Ten Commandments. After that, most folks are pretty much going to do what they want regardless of an endless stream of new rules/laws fine tunning this imaginary world for which the rule makers aim. Oh well...

:tab It seems that Memorial day weekend, even on Thursday, is not a good time to be looking for a place to camp in this area. The Ranger informs us that every campground for miles is booked. However, there is this one, on the other side of the interstate and not too far away... She offers to call them and see if they have any openings. They do and she asks them to hold two sites for us. We thank her and head back to the bikes. It's hot. Being inside I had cooled off. Still, it only takes a minute before I am right back to being just as hot now as I was before we went inside. It's a dry heat though :trust: Back on the bikes, I take point and enjoy the wind flowing through the mesh riding gear, sweeping away the sweat and cooling me quite a bit.

:tab Well... looks like it is all pavement from here on out today. We hit I-17 and head South in the fast moving traffic. Casey's bike seems to be running okay even though we are just under 4000 feet. I was worried he might not be able to run 70mph. At the very next exit we hop off the interstate and pick up Cornville Road to the West. Then we head North on Page Springs road a few miles before spotting the sign for the campground. We pull in and they are expecting us in the office. Casey has a minor stroke over the price, something about NEVER having paid so much to camp anywhere in Arizona... Well, to be fair, it was a lot more than I would have expected, but this is a private campground not usually open to the public, so they don't usually cater to grubby looking guys on dirt bikes ;-)

:tab The lady in the office is real nice. She takes us all for a ride on her golf cart to go scope out the potential sites. We tell her we want something as close to the river as possible. "No problem," she replies. She soon has us right next to the river under some huge Cottonwood trees, right next to the only swimming hole spot in the campground. Best of all, the site is fairly isolated and we don't have any other people right on top of us. With our spot picked out, we head back to the office to get the bikes.

:tab One might think I would have learned by now that you never let your guard down when you are on the bike until you have the engine off, the bike on the side stand, and you are walking away. As I am pulling into the camping area, I hit a deep loose sandy spot that I did not notice when we were in the golf cart! The bike swaps ends momentarily and then I get back on firm ground... whew! That would have been embarrassing!! I circle around the edge of the site and pull up over next to the picnic table on a spot that looks good. I kill the engine, put the stand down, test to see if the ground feels firm enough to hold the bike, and dismount... Well, at least that is how it was supposed to happen :argh: As I am lifting my leg over the bike to dismount, the bike follows me over!! I manage to just step away and let the bike go down into the dirt. No biggie, except that I have to pick it up. I stand there for a moment wondering if my kickstand had just snapped off? With the luck I've had thus far on this trip with the KLR's stock bolts, it does not seem too far fetched. As luck would have it, which mine in particular is often a bit iffy, I placed my stand right over a gopher tunnel :help: Fortunately, John and Casey are to busy laughing to think to get out their cameras :-P So I get the bike picked up and find something to put under the stand.

The site


The river

The swimming hole, a couple of feet deep with a rocky bottom

A closer view of the swimming hole

John and Casey decide it is time to cool off


John also decides his gear could use a bath :lol2:

:tab While John and Casey goof off in the river, I set about to being more productive. I walk back up to the main office to see what they have in their small general store in the way of munchies and drinks. They have a decent selection of junk/convenience food and soft drinks, but no beer... I walk around the corner to the office to inquire about beer in these parts. There is a guy standing here talking to the lady from the office and I get the impression he works here as well. When he hears me say "beer" he stops short in his conversation and greets me :lol2: It seems he is one of the owners. He has his jeep parked outside and would be happy to go get some beer and let me come with him! So we head up the road to a nearby restaurant/bar that also sells beer to go.

:tab When we walk into he restaurant, there is a guy sitting at the bar eating a HUGE juicy steak. The smell about takes my legs out from under me and sets my stomach to grumbling immediately! Now I am thinking I should have just ridden down here to eat, then taken beer back with me :doh: They have a great selection and even some locally brewed stuff. So I grab a six pack of Fat Tire and a six pack of one of the local pales. We head back to the camp ground and I thank my host for the ride. I stop in the general store to grab a few munchies as well. Then the nice lady from the office gives me a ride back to the campsite in her golf cart. John and Casey got some firewood and have started to settle in for the evening. Time for John to break out the cooking gear :eat2:


My humble abode off to the left

Casey's tent, close to the water so he can listen to the rapids

John's cool tent and his TRON suit :lol2:

:tab While John sets up to start cooking dinner, I grab a beer and head over to the river to pester a guy trying to fish. Turns out he is from the North Phoenix area and has been coming up here with his wife and kids for the last 15 years! I find out that membership is $4500 up front as a one time fee, and then an annual $350 fee on top of that, with a guarantee of 120 days a year of access. Near the front of the park, there is a little road that goes off behind some trees and there is a huge lot FULL of all manner of fancy RV's. The park lets people store them here for a monthly fee. Then when those people want to come out, they call the park and the beer guy tows the trailer out to a spot, for a fee :trust: When the folks leave, he tows the trailer back to the lot. Seems like a sweet deal for him. I can't imagine having the cash to buy the RV, pay for the membership, pay the annual fee, pay the storage fee, pay the towing fee, and then have any money left over to do anything else... :brainsnap Obviously, there are a LOT of people with a LOT more money than me :scratch: :shrug: We chat a while longer. I regale him with our exploits of the past week and he looks at me like I've got a few loose bolts... If only he knew... :lol2: He realizes the fish are not biting and I realize my beer is empty, so we shake hands and bid each other a good evening. I always enjoy meeting people from all walks of life on these kinds of trips. As I get closer to camp, a familiar smell catches my attention...

The master at work making bread

:tab John does an excellent job on dinner and we chow down. Between the chips and beer, and then his meal, I am stuffed and ready for a relaxing evening of doing nothing. Well... nothing other than finishing off the remaining beers and enjoying the fire :chug:


Casey lost in thought, no doubt rerouting in his head... ;-)

:tab We burn through the rest of the wood, beer and chips, then call it a night. Another long but incredible day behind us. As I lay in the tent waiting for sleep to over take me, I already have that sense of the trip coming to a close and the adventure slipping into the past... A hint of normal life flitters around the edge of my awareness... waiting to slip back in and take over, to lull me back into the familiar daily routines. I force myself to replay the events of the last few days over and over in my head until I slip into a restless sleep.

06-21-2007, 12:38 PM
Casey has a minor stroke over the price, something about NEVER having paid so much to camp anywhere in Arizona...
It wasn't that I'd never paid so much, but rather that I had never paid... period. Epecially that much! :shock:

In hindsight, I kinda wish we had stayed at the barn-smelling site, then it would've been more convenient to head to the trails to the east you mentioned (that was where the original route went). But then we'd have had to cut something else out... nevermind, it worked out fine anyway.

06-21-2007, 01:17 PM
Given your description of that night without us, it seems those "barn" smells are something you are familiar with :eek2: :lol2:

06-21-2007, 01:37 PM
Given your description of that night without us, it seems those "barn" smells are something you are familiar with :eek2: :lol2:
"Barn" nothing, that was more "cat box" :shock:

06-22-2007, 10:41 AM
Return to day 3...

Me and Scott on our ferry ride... (photo courtesy of Drew)



06-28-2007, 02:19 AM
Friday 5/25:"Dude... here's your footpeg..."

:tab I awake to another beautiful day. Rolling over and peeking out the tent flap, I am greeted with the drooly mug of Spike and his puppy dog sidekick. It would seem that we have attracted some visitors, a large bull terrier of some kind and a small pup of a different kind. They kind of remind me of the old cartoon with the low key bulldog strutting down the road with the hyper little yapper snipping at his heels and asking him what they are gonna do for the day... Looney Tunes? Whatever... time to get packing so we can hit the road!

:tab There are days when you wake up and you know before you even get started that it is just gonna be one of those days in terms of feeling "right". Some days it seems to take forever to get into the groove of riding, my concentration might not be up to speed, I might feel a little off kilter, muscles might be a little sore or joints a little stiff. Well, I'm feeling pretty good. John's gourmet cooking, a few beers and a good night of sleep seem to have really hit the spot! It's gonna be a great day! :sun:

The "Sometimes General Store" at the campground

:tab We head North up US 89 towards Sedona. My back brake is feeling really mushy and seems to be a little low on fluid. I'm hoping to find a place in town where I can top off the reservoir. Casey wants to hit the local McD's for breakfast. We stop for gas and to top of our Camel Baks, Casey heads for the McD's while John and I check out a local autoparts place. I'm thinking I need DOT 4 fluid. So I buy the smallest container they have, which is WAY too much. When I go to add it I notice it is supposed to be DOT 3 :doh: Well, John needs some DOT 4 so I top him off. Fortunately, there is an auto repair shop next door and the guy is willing to trade a tiny bit of DOT 3 for a new bottle of DOT 4. I get topped off and take off to catch up to John and Casey.

The only McD's in the world without golden arches supposedly :shrug:

:tab Sedona is a giant tourist trap. All the buildings look the same in terms of style, color, architecture, etc,... Bland is the word that comes to mind... :shrug: No doubt, property prices are astronomical because it is a prime location for anyone interested in outdoor activities. After choking down some kind of greasy McMuffin sausage thing, we make one more stop at a local grocery store and then head out of town. The run up US 89 North of town is very scenic. It roughly follows Oak Creek up a narrow canyon with walls averaging over 1000 feet high. There are some seriously nice houses along this stretch of road. Were there no traffic, it would be a really nice ride. As it is, we just putt along behind a long line of cars, trucks and RV's. At the end of the canyon the road climbs up onto the bluffs above.

The creek is much lower down to the right. We are still down in the canyon at this point.

I don't know if it is the guy thing or what, but big rocks are cool! :shrug:

Looking back down from the top of the climb out of the canyon


Looking South back down the canyon towards Sedona

Another gratuitous KLR shot :-P

:tab After stopping for pictures, Casey leads us a short ways up the road before we turn around for a missed turn. This will be the start of the unpaved stuff for the day. The road starts out a nice rough gravel and begins climbing. I am sure there is a formal name for the area we are entering, but I have no clue what it might be. Essentially, we are climbing up on to the edge of a large plateau that runs roughly East/West in this area. Once on top, the road opens up and is mostly dirt with rocks mixed in here and there. Pine trees abound. Beautiful.


:tab We reach an intersection and Casey heads us South back towards the edge of the rim. There are some overlooks he wants to visit. The road starts a gradual descent and becomes a strange combination of silt in places and rough rock in others.

John on the way to an overlook

I love these kinds of texture shots... Yes... I am a nerd :shrug:

John enjoying the shade

Casey capturing the view back down the canyon, which I think is the West Oak Creek Canyon

A small panorama - The canyon is around 1000 feet deep in the distance

Trees as far as we can see

This tree looks like some kind of squiddly sea monster...

The bikes parked a few yards back from the edge

A radical change from the low desert early in the week!

:tab After all the picture taking and John attending to some important paper work... we get back on the bikes and back track to the main road. I think we've been on FR 536 and at some point it became 236 or we made a turn. It is hard to keep track of these things when I am not the one in charge of making sure we get where we are going :trust: Eventually though, we head South again and I think we are working our way around the Western most portion of the Oak Creek Canyon so that we can get down to the Southern edge of the rim. The road opens up and we make pretty good time and raise some serious dust.

Casey and the bug eyed bike


:tab When we get closer to the Southern rim, the road bends to the East and runs along the top of the rim. There are occasionally smaller roads that branch off and run out to the edge of the rim with some spectacular views back South towards Sedona. The main road is mostly hard packed dirt/gravel. These little side roads are tricky buggers with some nasty deep silt!! Trying to get a heavily loaded KLR to steer is a lot of work. I know I should just relax and trust the bike but I can't get the image of me SMACKING a pine tree out of my head... Nonetheless, I manage to make it without incident and it is worth the effort!


A close up of the previous shot - the big chunk on the right is about 2 miles from us as the crow flies

Sedona is about 7-8 miles distant between the mountain and the tree


:tab The edge of the rim is at about 6800 feet and the floor below is around 4500 feet. While we are soaking it in, we spot a TINY little speck moving among the mesas. It is a tourist helicopter that is flying around the edge of the rim. Too small to show up in a picture but it would have been cool to capture to help give a sense of the scale of the scene! We head back up to the main road and investigate a few more side tracks. After two or three more with essentially the same kind of view, I decide I have had enough of the silt and grab a shadey spot to wait for Casey and John when they backtrack on the main road.

The proverbial fork in the road... I sat in the shade on the right ;-)

:tab The break in the shade feels great. It is nice to just sit, feel the air and listen to the wind. I can't hear Casey and John's bikes. I guess after maybe ten minutes or so, I hear the distant note of the bikes approaching. They pull up to join me for a break and to decide where our route will take us next. Casey was thinking originally that we'd backtrack to the point where we cut South. However, looking at the maps, there seems to be a road that looks interesting that kind of loops Westward and then North to almost the same place and that will get us where we want to be. Best of all, he's never been on it before so it will be a new adventure! He elects for me to lead with the GPS. So we head up FR 231 over to 538 and run 538 North to 527, the road we were originally trying to reach.

:tab I settle into a nice rythm and enjoy the ride. The road climbs and meanders among the tall pines. I am soon lost in the experience, focusing on the riding, reading the road, dodging ruts, jumping erosion berms, dodging trees, and forgetting to stop to take any pictures at all... :doh: :doh: It is an awesome road! How I would love to have roads like this closer to home so that I could ride them much more often!! We turn West on FR 527 and it only gets better!! However, the road is starting to get really rutted and rough! The bike is really moving around under me and I am working pretty good.

:tab Somewhere along the North end of FR 527, I am coming over one of the erosion berms. As soon as I hit it I realize I am not carrying enough speed to get the front end over so that I can ride it out on the back tire. As I crest it, I see a DEEP hole on the back side :eek: In goes the front and the forks compress for all they are worth. When the back end comes through, it hits HARD!! I am hanging on for dear life at this point and hear a loud THWACK!! As I slow to regain my senses, I notice an odd "rat-tat-tat-tat-tat...." Oddly enough, it reminds me of when I was a kid and we'd put the playing cards in the spokes of our bikes to make motor noises :uhoh: I slow and look around at the back of the bike but can't see anything unusual. Could it be the motor? I pull in the clutch and coast, playing with the revs of the motor. It does not change with the engine speed. I am going slow anyway so I just pull over to have a look. As I come around the back side of the bike I notice my license plate is gone! KLR's are known for losing license plates and I have already experienced this before and had raised it up considerably. Apparently though, I did not raise it enough :roll: The good news is that everything is still present, it is just bent up under the fender and sitting on top of the tire, hence the sound of the plate flapping on the knobbies. I yank everything back out and it looks not too much worse for the wear. We get back on the bikes and keep going. I pay a little closer attention to the remaining berms...

:tab Not long after the plate incident, we come out of the woods into a plain. There is a rotted old log cabin in a nearby pasture so we stop for a break and some pictures.

I was having a hard time figuring out how to force my camera to use the flash, so the images are darker in the foreground than I was wanting :argh:


Looking back into the woods

:tab The GPS shows that we are really close to some other roads that should lead to I-40. However, once we get up the road to the intersection, we find a sign indicating private property. Just in the distance, not even a half mile, we can see the road we want. There is an open gate, so I am thinking the road is public and just the land on each side is private. We ride on through and find another open gate on the far side and a well maintained county road that heads the direction we want to be going. It is wide and smooth... I soon lose sight of John and Casey in the ensuing dust storm :rider: A few miles later we reach I-40 and stop for gas and a break to decide what we are going to do for lunch.

Historic Route 66 just happens to pass right by the place where we stop

:tab At this point, we decide to just scoot on down Historic Route 66 to Williams, a few miles down the road, and have lunch. Interestingly, we barely go a mile or so and the road becomes wide and flat covered in gravel. It crosses under the freeway and is paved a short distance and then goes back to being gravel until we come into the edge of town. It seems the town is getting setup for some kind of event for the weekend. We roll in past one of the town's finest and then pull into a cheesy looking 50's style cafe to look for equally cheesy burgers. :eat:

It is of course the Route 66 cafe... duh :roll:

:tab The food is greasy and cheesy as expected. The wait staff look at us like we just beamed down from the mother ship. I guess we are a bit rough looking with all the dirt and grime of a week of riding ground into our gear and skin :lol2: They are nice enough to top off my Camel Bak with ice and water though :thumb: After a nice heavy meal, we mount up and head South out of town on Hwy 73. We are looking for a way to cut back over to the East a bit to pick up one of the roads that Casey wants to include on the route. Apparently, it goes by some really cool scenic over look :shrug: He has me running point again with the GPS looking for FR 110. The areas on both sides of Hwy 73 are giant spaghetti balls of forest roads :dude: We soon find FR 110 and head East in to the woods...



:tab Occasionally we pass some folks that have a nice spot picked out a bit off the road. Typically there is an RV of some sort surrounded by a fleet of ATV's!! Judging by what we see, ATV sales in this area have to be some of the highest in the country! We take FR 14 over to Davenport Hill Rd, and then head South. The roads are great. It is obvious that they see a lot of traffic. Given that it is Friday afternoon on Memorial Day weekend I am a bit surprised there isn't a ton of traffic, but we see only a few other vehicles until we reach a camping area. We experience a bit of confusion at the campground in trying to hook up with the road that continues South and this results in a little tour of the campground. It is PACKED and there are ATV's everywhere!! We get lots of strange looks, as if these ATV people have never seen a motorcycle :doh: Anyway, our little detour over with, we find ourselves heading South on FR 12.

:tab FR 12 hits Sycamore Point Rd. This is apparently where Casey wants to go. So we head East with me leading again. This is a FUN road!! I am feeling the groove and really settle into a nice pace. The road is running mostly flat but twists through the woods, across some open areas, and then back into the woods. Eventually, after a really great ride, we reach a circular drive area where cars would normally park. We park the bikes and head to the edge for a look.

First impression... COOL!

These next five shots should be stitched left to right. IF you look REAL close, you'll see John in the far right taking a picture. I don't know how to make it so that section of the image is brighter without making it look unnatural.






That is Sycamore Creek down below, currently a dry wash

There's John!

And Casey...

His pics are prolly nicer than mine ;-)

Is that a trail along the ridge leading down to that formation? :ponder: Look center left in that previous picture for this formation.

Just a few feet beyond Casey's feet is a sheer drop of several hundred feet. We are at 6200 feet and the creek is at 4600 feet.

:tab What is it with the freaking gnats around these parts!! :eek2: If I stop moving for only a moment or two, I am immediately swarmed by gnats. They are flying in my ears, up my nose, in my mouth and eyes :huh2: If there is one thing that bugs me it is bugs in my face... We decide we've seen enough and this is not a good place to camp. Too many gnats. So we'll keep moving and get farther South before calling it a day. Already the shadows are starting to lengthen. The run back to FR 12 is a hoot! Shortly after the intersection at FR 12, we pick up FR 11 and run that down to FR 105, another great stretch of road!! We run 105 over to FR 354 and then start heading in a Southerly direction.

:tab FR 354 starts getting a little rougher and more technical. The rocks are obviously volcanic and getting larger. Today I am feeling pretty relaxed on the down hill stuff for some reason. I am standing, letting the bike move around, applying the back brake as needed just to keep the speed in check, and picking my lines through the rocks. For some time, everything is going great. As they say though, when everything is going great is when you should be most paranoid :trust: After rounding a corner, I start down a long straight section that is fairly steep and littered with some good sized rocks. Everything is going fine one instant and then in the next instant, I have no left side foot peg!! :doh: Apparently, one of the rocks off to the side was just a hair higher than I thought... :shrug: I manage to stay upright and bring the bike to a stop. I look down just to make sure... yep. It's gone...

:tab Nothing to do but start looking for the peg. The bolts simply sheared right off, so I don't think I'll be able to remount it on the trail, but I still need it if we are going to make any kind of repairs. As I am walking up the hill, John comes around the corner and stops about half way down, "Dude,... there's a foot peg laying right here! And there are the bolts..." Well, there are what is left of the bolts but the peg itself seems perfectly fine. Cool. I gather up the pieces and head back down to the bike to see what can be done. The center stand mounts where the foot pegs mount and they share the same bolts. The left side of the stand is hanging down and the foot is into my chain. Hmmm... not good. The mount on the right side is bent. Looks like it will have to come off. We break out the tools and get to work.


It never looks as bad as it really is in the pictures...

Not something you like to see in the middle of nowhere with the sunlight fading...

This gives a little better idea of the roughness but does not convey the steepness... really... :-P

The offending stone :doh:

Maybe 150-200 feet back to the bikes

:tab John is not only a good guy to have along because he is a good camp cook, but he is pretty handy at rigging stuff up with whatever he happens to have on hand, a real McGyver :lol2: We take the center stand off and soon realize that the rock did not hit the peg, but that the center stand bottomed out HARD on the rock. This made the mounting bracket slice right through the bolts! There is a good sized dent in the bottom of the stand which is made from several layers of 3/16"" thick steel plate. With the center stand removed, the bolts are too long to hold the right peg in place without it flopping loose. Earlier in the week, some light mounts John had made decided to come apart. He has the pieces in his bag. One of the pieces works perfect as a spacer so the peg will stay in place. Nothing can be done on the left side since we have no way to remove the remains of the two sheared bolts. It seems I have to get myself down off this mountain without being able to stand up on the pegs...:uhoh: :help:

:tab After some discussion, we decide that John and I are going to make for the first road that cuts West to the main Hwy and head for civilization. There is no point in me trying to continue the ride on rough roads without a foot peg. Casey still wants to head for the spot where we had planned to camp. I am not wild about splitting up the group, particularly with Casey being alone. He assures us that he will be fine and that he will be extra careful... Well... okay... but I still don't really like it. As we are getting set to go, Casey mentions that he has some really pressing matters to attend to. John donates a pack of wet wipes to the cause and we hastily make tracks :lol2:

[Gotta run... I'll try to get back to it ASAP!]

06-28-2007, 07:59 AM
It was a pit bull pup and a rottweiler...

I was beginning to think you gave up on the thread... almost there!

06-28-2007, 03:28 PM
I am doing good to get an hour or two to work on it once a week :doh:

06-28-2007, 04:02 PM
I am doing good to get an hour or two to work on it once a week :doh:

You need to take shorter trips. Then you can get the ride reports done faster. You only have a few months before you do Richard's Recon ride so you better hurry up and finish this one. :rofl:

06-28-2007, 04:27 PM
You need to take shorter trips. Then you can get the ride reports done faster. You only have a few months before you do Richard's Recon ride so you better hurry up and finish this one. :rofl:
Doesn't matter, at this point he's just making stuff up :lol2:

Tx Rider
07-05-2007, 03:24 PM
Heh, just got back from running through the west again for a couple weeks, this time in my 4-runner with my little brother and his 3 boys along, and my mother and his wife and daughters following along. Yellowstone, Mesa Verde, Dinosaur Nat park, City of Rocks, Mogollon cat walk... Fun trip even if on 4 wheels.

Figured for sure Scott would be done with this by now. :)

I have some more pics to upload myself I guess.

The snow in the san juans is deep this year, there's a 30 foot high snow bank plowed through on Engineer pass, and Imogene pass is still snowed shut.. in July. :)

Cagiva 549
07-05-2007, 05:33 PM
Just talked to a friend at Texas Creek today , Fresh snow on the Sangrie De Cristo from TC as far south as he could see . SEYA

07-06-2007, 12:21 AM
Friday 5/25: "He'll be coming 'round the mountain when he comes... when he comes..."

:tab So now I have to ride my way down off this mountain without a footpeg... Fortunately, I do at least still have the left highway peg, the right one having been reduced to useless somewhere back there in the desert a few days back :roll: The big problem though is that I cannot stand! This makes fighting the bike down through the remaining big rocks a real challenge. It is slow going... tense... hard to control the speed... oh crap!!

:tab As we are descending a fairly steep straight section, the front tire digs in, then slides, and before I can react, I am laying face down on the ground with the bike pinning me. The riding gear absorbs the impacts on the sharp edged rocks and I don't really even notice the impact. My wrist seems a little tweaked but not hurting. The big problem is that my right foot is totally pinned under the bike and luggage. I can't even spin over to reach the bike. It is a good thing I am wearing heavy duty boots because I can tell they are keeping my foot from over extending and possibly preventing the breaking of my ankle. I look back and see John parking his bike. He walks up and asks what I need. "Just lift it enough that I can pull my foot out..." Once on my own two feet again, I lift the bike and he holds it steady while I remount. Everything seems fine... Back to the task at hand...

:tab By the time the road starts to level out and get smoother, it seems like it has taken forever to do the last few miles. Now though, we can crank up the pace a little bit and make some dust. I don't really need to stand anymore and just kick up the feet and cruise. Along the way I spot a few LARGE rabbits sitting on the side of the road. They scamper when I approach, but often not until the last possible second, narrowly missing getting run over :roll: In a few minutes we reach Perkinsville Rd and cut West for Hwy 73. The road widens considerably and is massively wash boarded. The sun is getting low enough now to interfere with seeing the road, but I can see well enough to crank it up to about 65 mph on the long wide straights. I have to realllly slow down for a few of the sharper corners so I can even tell where the road goes, but then I just wick it back up. The KLR sails across the wash board silky smooth...

:tab As I am approaching another hill at the end of a long straight, I spot a few vehicles on the left side of the road. A van has its hood up... Hmmm... Don't know if I can help but I might as well pull over to see if there is anything I can offer. I pull up to some strange looks :lol2: The gear must really throw people off :shrug: It seems a family is heading out to the wilds for the weekend and their van is having some electrical issues. They ask if I have any electrical tape. I do... but... it is buried way down deep in my luggage. As I am pondering unloading everything, John pulls up. I tell him what they need and he has his handy. While he takes care of business, some little girls come around from the back side of the van offering us some bottled water. A sweet gesture and I thank them, but then I show them the Camel Bak and assure them that we are fine on water.

Seems only fitting to reward their generosity :trust:

She's a little unsure but seems like she's having fun, Mom got a kick out of it!


:tab A good chunk of their wiring harness had just melted, leaving exposed wires that were shorting against each other. John has some of that super duper stretchy electrical tape and he gets down to business.


:tab It starts on the first try but then dies after a minute. They shut it down, he wraps a bit more, and then they fire it up again. This time they are good to go. We exchange pleasantries and then go our separate ways. It is not long before we finally reach US 89 and turn South for the boring drone down to Prescott.

:tab We stop in Chino Valley to see if there is anywhere we might spend the night. It is getting dark and we still have a ways to go to reach Prescott. We're thinking hotels will be cheaper this far out, especially since it is Memorial Day weekend and Prescott is such a touristy town. No luck. We decide to just go ahead and run on into Prescott and see what we can find. The first hotel shows No Vacancy. The second place shows Vacancy, but the owner comes out to inform us in heavily alcohol laden breath that his rooms are all taken. It seems he is waiting for a bunch of fire fighters to show up and claim them. Nice guy but he is already obviously a bit on the tipsy side...

:tab We shoot across the road to the next place and check it out. Looks old but decent. They have a room and we get checked in. It is small, not fancy, but the AC works!!


:tab Once we get our stuff off the bikes, it is time to think about food. The Best Western back up the road had a restaurant on site that looked like it was pretty nice. So we decide to walk down and check it out. As we are heading out of the parking lot, we notice a fireworks display in progress across the wide valley. A few folks are standing around watching it, but we have more important matters to attend.

:tab Indeed, the restaurant is pretty nice. Mexican it is! We hit the drink menu first... Priorities you know! :trust: The margaritas are awesome. I am a light eater so I figure I'll just get a small appetizer. John gets a full blown meal and even orders a bit extra. We are not prepared for the size of their servings!!

John actually eats all of this... and even some of mine :eek2:

This appetizer quesadilla is about the size of a 15" pizza and three layers deep!

:tab Being the light weight eater that I am, I manage to eat about three pieces of my pizza and pass one off on John. Now we have the stuffed lazy feeling coming over us... Time to get back to the hotel and go comatose :sleep: Once back at the hotel, it is not long before we call it a day. Gotta get up and get the KLR fixed in the morning and then hope Casey arrives in one piece :pray:

07-06-2007, 03:10 AM
Saturday 5/26: "My kingdom for a bolt extractor!!"

:tab Knowing none of the shops are likely to be open real early, we sleep in a bit. Besides, we aren't going anywhere until Casey shows up, which may be later this afternoon. So we enjoy a slow morning and get the bikes packed. While we are packing, some interesting ladies start talking to us. One claims to have stumbled into our room last night upon returning from an evening of festivities and then wigged when she realized there were people already in the room! I never heard a thing, nor did John. But we did recall that we forgot to lock the door!! :doh: It's a good thing this lady is clueless or she might have had the presence of mind to root through my wallet, which was sitting right out in the open. As we all have a laugh, they casually toss out that it would be okay if we mistakenly found our way into their room later... Uh... sure... :uhoh:

My tortured center stand

We finish packing the bikes and head out to see what we can find in the way of a shop or autoparts store.

:tab Prescott is a cool town. It is scenic. It has TONS of really cool shops and cafes. It would take weeks to do justice to exploring this place. There are quite a few cool old homes and buildings. It is PACKED for the holiday weekend. We pass by the down town area and the town square. There is something going on and people are all over the place. It looks like some kind of art fair. We head on by though because we are looking for the local bike shop, which we eventually find.


:tab It is a NICE shop! They have TONS of bikes, including the new updated KLR 650... Hmmm... I'd have to ride it :ponder: Seems much more street oriented and damage prone in the event of me riding it off road :lol2: They've got a nice looking new XR650L. It is like a freaking candy store!! I head on back to the service area to see if I can find anyone to help me. I find the service guy, "Can you guys extract two bolts?" "Nope, we can't do that." :brainsnap "You don't have the ability to extract to broken bolts??" "Nope, we can't do that." Uh... okay... :twitch: So I head back out front to find John and consider our options.

:tab We spend the next thirty minutes or so running all around looking for auto parts stores, repair shops, etc,... They're all either closed for the holiday weekend, open but don't have extractors to sell, or offer a price so absurdly high as to make it obvious they want nothing to do with us :doh: We finally stop in a parking lot of one place and just start going down the list on the GPS for all the stores in the area, calling them. While we are doing this, a lady from inside the store comes out to check on us. They don't have what we need either but she recommends a private shop a few blocks away. She calls over there and sure enough, they are open. Off we go...

:tab When we arrive, the owner comes out to see what our problem is. He tells us that he is far too busy to work on it himself, however, he offers us one of his bays and his tools so we can take care of it ourselves! Awesome! I guess hearing us talk desperately about going to Wal-Mart to buy a drill and extractor made him take pity on us :lol2: I get the bike pulled around and he gets the tools for us.

Mr. Handyman is at it again! :clap:



John makes short work of it, the owner can't stay away though, too interesting, hehe.

All done and ready to roll! The guy even gives us new bolts!

Good as new and ready for action... well... sans the center stand ;-)

The man of the day!!

:tab John did break a few drill bits. I try to pay for them but the owner refuses. I ask how much for the use of his bay and tools and he just says, "Whatever you like." Man... I love meeting people like this! I gave him a $20 over his protestations and assure him I am still getting a bargain since he saved me from having to scrap the last part of the dirt riding for the trip. We thank him and take our leave. It is still pretty early and we have not heard from Casey yet. Time for breakfast. So we head back towards the town square to see what we might find. I seem to recall spotting a little cafe in our wandering in search of a shop.

:tab We find a place to park a few blocks away from the square and leave the bikes. Sure enough, there is a nice little cafe that serves breakfast. We slip in and grab a table. If you like cute waitresses, this place is DA BOMB! :trust: :lol2: I remind myself that I am a very happily married man and place my order... for food... :-P Bacon, eggs, toast and a cold coke really hits the spot. Mostly I just needed the sugar and caffeine... Yes, I know... pathetic :oops: Nonetheless, rejuvenated and full, we head out to see what we might find to occupy ourselves until Casey hits town.

:tab Across the street is a very cool outdoor supply shop. John wants to see if he can find some zipper pull tabs to replace the ones that broke on his jacket. So we head on over. It is another toy store, hehe. There is just something in me that makes me get all goofy when I see a place full of really cool gadgets and equipment. Never mind that I will never be climbing a mountain side rock face and will thus never need most of it :mrgreen: however,they do have this really cute little Camel Bak in pink... I wonder if Sarah might like that? At only 2-1/2 years old, would I even be able to get her to understand how to use it :ponder: John finishes up before I can make up my mind and we leave to go check out the happenings on the square.

:tab We arrive at the square and there is artwork all over the place. There are people all over the place. The smell of "Fair" food lingers in the air. Hmmm... funnel cakes? I could always use more sugar :drool: There are also bikes all over the place! In fact, one pack has several of the new Triumph 675's and the new Ducati 1098! (smack me for not taking a single picture! :doh: They were in a bad spot... really...). We wander around taking in the sites. One the back side of the courthouse, things are not so crowded and we find a nice tree under which to kick back and relax.


The backside of the court house. The grounds around it are HUGE with large old Pecan trees.

:tab John is messing with his helmet and then all of a sudden, "Dang!" Something broke... So for the next twenty minutes he sets about doing the McGyver thing :lol2: He walks around, looking in trash cans, checking the gutters, poking around some of the tents, all in effort to find something from which he can fabricate a washer.

Using my Micro Leatherman, he finally finds some relatively thick plastic and cuts it to fit

[Yeah... I know... not a lot... but I am trying and it is 3:00am... :sleep:]

07-06-2007, 08:02 AM
Nice :clap: So did Casey ever show up? :-P

07-06-2007, 04:20 PM
Saturday 5/26: Continued... "Nothing says 'RAM TOUGH' like the sound of ABS brakes cycling... :eek2:"

:tab Casey finally calls to inform us he is in town at a local Jack in the Box and getting something to eat. I give him directions to where our bikes are parked and let him know that we will start working our way back that direction. As expected, he has had quite the adventure in our absence :trust: So John and I drag our lazy bodies out of the nice shade and start the long walk to the bikes. About half way there we run into Casey coming up the sidewalk towards us. He must have really choked down the JB grub to get over here so quick!

:tab One the way to the bikes, we have to pass by the outdoor equipment shop again. I decide I want to get the little Camel Bak for Sarah. It's just too cute to pass up ;-) I meet Casey and John back and the bikes and we discuss our plans for the rest of the day. It is late in the afternoon now and there is no way we can do the whole route we were originally planning. It is decided that we will run down the Old Senator Highway South out of town and then eventually work our way over to I-17 to end the fun part of the trip... Just realizing we are that close to the trip being over kind of puts a damper on things.

Getting set to head South on the Old Senator Highway

:tab We gas up and top off the Camel Baks on the way out of town. Casey is already pretty tired from his adventures this morning so he wants to take it nice and easy. I take point and set a relaxed pace. Not too far South of town, the highway turns to dirt/gravel as we head into the woods and mountains. It is odd how yesterday and the day before, I was totally in the groove and feeling great on the bike, yet today it just feels all wrong :scratch: I find myself tip toeing through corners, feeling like the bike is out of control, and everything is just off! I'm not relaxed or focused... If something doesn't change, this will be a longggg afternoon...

:tab Close to town, there are a LOT of people out enjoying the beautiful day. Once again, there are ATV's everywhere! In fact, several times there are kids the come flying around the corner a wee bit out of control... That doesn't go far in helping me to relax :roll: However, as we get a few more miles behind us, the din of civilization fades and the people become farther and fewer between. Something about leaving that all behind actually does start helping me relax.

The view of my Therapist's office... :trust:

It only gets better!

:tab Looking at the GPS, we have a LOT of miles to cover. Time to get myself into the groove and focus. The scenery is all incredible but there is just so much of it that after a few miles it all starts to become a blur. The repaired peg seems to be holding up fine and none of the bolts have come loose. It's a good thing because I have found that standing up most of the time helps me settle into relaxing and riding. As I am climbing and rounding the side of a mountain I hear an unmistakable sound...

:tab It is hard to describe this sound, kind of a heavy grinding and sliding sound mixed with some fast "CHUG CHUG CHUG..." I'm already on the outside of the curve with little room to move when I see DODGE taking up my field of view and coming wayyy fast right at me!!! :eek2: Time slows to a crawl as I lean the bike outward, notice the tops of trees just beyond the edge of the road, and the grill of a huge red Dodge truck closing on my left side. But that sound just keeps going at full speed. Looking at the truck I see the face of the driver. He doesn't look the list bit concerned or panicked, but instead mad, as if mad at me!!?? Somehow he manages to make the corner and I am suddenly pointing the right direction without having gone over the edge... :scratch" But what about Casey and John!!?? In the moment it takes me to get the bike stopped and look back, the truck is gone and Casey and John are right behind me... The idiot didn't even stop to make sure he had not killed me! :angryfire: We wait for a minute, just sort of sitting here in a stunned disbelief, not really sure if what just happened really just happened :brainsnap I don't recall seeing my life flash in front of my eyes, but I sure seem to have some major adrenaline surging through my veins!! We wait a few more minutes and then get underway again... slowly... tensely... a bit unfocused... :doh:

:tab It's been about fifteen minutes or so since the Dodge encounter. I reach a small intersection and pull over. I am still a little rattled and need to just stop for a few minutes and refocus. Casey is telling me he thinks the truck hit my luggage on the back of the bike, which is what got me turned and kept me from going over the edge. If that did happen, I just don't recall feeling it. However, I was a bit distracted with trying to keep the bike from leaving the road and me from becoming a hood ornament. Well, a few more minutes and I feel my heart rate coming back down to normal. Time to just put some miles under the wheels.

:tab The road is rough. It climbs and falls, finding its way through the woods, over ridges, through narrow valleys, mile after mile... As we work our way South, the severity of the terrain starts to give way to more regular hills. The road becomes like a roller coaster. I'm still tip toeing through the corners. Casey tells me he is feeling much the same way. So the going is slow. The corners are almost all blind and I just can't get the image of that truck out of my head.

John taking in the views

Casey coming round the mountain

Miles and miles of this... up and down... round and round...


Never too busy to stop and smell the... uh... hmmm :ponder: Purple flower thingies :shrug:


It would appear that fire has been here in the past

These trees stand as silent witnesses to the past while watching over the new



John checking the route to see what kind of progress we are making

Yours truly

Miles still to go

:tab We eventually reach the head of the Crown King Trail. This was originally going to be part of the adventure. Just another part of the plan lost to the clutches of the unexpected... We stop to ponder what might have been and to pay our respects. Just the first hundred feet look pretty challenging. With the day slipping away, we have to head for the freeway and make time back to Phoenix. We stop in the old mining town of Crown King just to have a look around. LOTS of tourists and ATV's. It would seem this is a really popular area, probably once only known to the die hards, but now being flooded by every Tom, Dick and Harry for miles around. While we are checking out the sites, the local paramedic fire rescue truck leaves in a wailing cloud of dust. Never a good sign...

:tab We head on down the mountain on Crown King Rd, which heads mostly East back towards I-17. The ride down out of the mountains contains some great views! Unfortunately, it also contains a good bit of traffic. The road surface is washboard with silt and gravel. Getting stuck behind an SUV is NOT fun. We finally find a place to pass between some switch backs. Unfortunately, shortly after we pass we catch up to the fire rescue guys...

Seems an ATV rider lost it and got banged up pretty bad

They have the road closed and are not letting anyone through :doh:

Looking back up the mountain, the road goes off to the left in the distance

It does not take long for the traffic to start backing up

We wait... and wait...

According to this entertaining fellow, the ATV rider is a LARGE fellow and they are having trouble treating him...

:tab The guy talking with us is a volunteer fire/rescue worker. According to him, this particular part of the road is known for numerous accidents. Seems odd because it is mostly straight :shrug: They finally get the victim on a stretcher, which is obviously a wee bit small for a man of his stature... :brainsnap It takes several minutes of deliberation before the NINE people standing around him give their first attempt at lifting the stretcher in to the ambulance. They go on THREE and get him about half way up before one of the stretcher starts to dip... It's a no go and they quickly set him back on the ground. Time to reconsider... More time goes by and they finally give it another try. A few people reposition and I seem them all make sure they have their knees under them and their backs straight before they heave in unison... Almost there... almost... and they clear the ledge of the floor and slide him in! Surely it will only be a few moments now. Earlier we had asked our bud to check and see if they would let us coast by on the bikes so we would not have to choke on the Ambulance dust all the way down the mountain. No dice :doh: So what is taking so long? It seems that they are having trouble getting the IV needles through the mass on his arms to hit the veins... :-| Wow... He's apparently got a busted hip/leg or something and he's gonna have to ride in that ambulance all the way down the mountain on this bumpy road... :huh2: That won't be fun! They finally start letting traffic come through from the other side. We see the ambulance take off and then they let us through. We catch up to the ambulance pretty quick and they have pulled over to the side of the road. Hopefully, the guy is okay! We take the chance to get around and put some distance between us and the pack of cars behind us.

:tab Leaving the accident behind, the road goes off into the distance. It is a long drop down into a sprawling valley below. The road widens and gets really fun. We set a great pace and just enjoy ourselves. The sun is out a bit and casting long shadows. I love the way this area looks late in the day.

I am hoping to get some good shots of the numerous Saguaro Cactus, but the lighting just isn't very good. This is the best I can do.

:tab The rest of the run to the freeway is a blast. As I drift through the corners, take in the views, and inhale the dust, I am thinking of what a great trip this has been. Soon it will be over and I'll be heading back to Texas and the less than exciting roads to ride... I love Texas, but man the good riding is just so far away! Well, nothing to do but relish in the moment before it is gone...

And all too soon, it is over...

We give thanks for the great roads and wonderful riding :bow:


:tab And like that... it all becomes just a memory to be savored until it can be refreshed sometime in the future. We hop on the freeway and begin the monotonous drone back to Phoenix to begin the monotonous drone back to Phoenix to begin the monotonous drone back to Phoenix to begin the monotonous drone back to Phoenix to begin the monotonous drone back to Phoenix ... :twitch:

Finally, we get back to the truck and trailer which have been patiently waiting for us all week

Loading up for the long haul home


:tab Once we get the bikes loaded we head back to the diving chick hotel where we started the week last Saturday. The plan is to hit a few restaurants so Casey can load up a cooler with food for his wife from a few of the their favorite restaurants they frequented when they lived out here a few years back. After a few stops, we chow down and then head back to the hotel. The events of the past week already seem like a distant memory of long ago. A hot shower, a soft bed... and it becomes the stuff of dreams.

07-06-2007, 09:27 PM
Whew, glad to see everyone survived. Thanks for sharing the adventure.
So......when are you going back? ;-)


07-06-2007, 10:02 PM
So......when are you going back? ;-)

As soon as I can aford it and the wife will let me... but I'm not going back to these places... at least not on a bike (I'll take my son to some of these places someday). Next time I'm going to explore areas I haven't been, or at least haven't spent much time.

07-06-2007, 10:21 PM
Sunday 5/27: "Are we there yet...?? How much further...??"

:tab I'm up once again way earlier than I'd like to be, close to the crack of dawn... :twitch: I made sure last night that all I'd have to do is put my clothes on, grab my bags, and walk to the truck, and be ready to go. We pile in and head out...

Almost ready to roll

John checks the straps one last time

I should have taken a before picture so that one could truly appreciate how torn up this tire has become! In some places, entire knobs are gone...

:tab We hit a convenience store on the way out to load up on snacks and drinks. On my way in a fellow wants to bum some money off me for food. I don't usually make a habit of handing out money. While inside I grab a drink and a few cinnamon twists for the guy in addition to my own stuff. Back outside I hand it to him and he is genuinely shocked. Seems the least I can do and he really seems to appreciate it. Before getting back in the truck I spot this... :scratch:


:tab Can anyone enlighten me on this sign? I've never seen it before. Is it trying to say this a racial safe zone or something? :lol2: Am I required to hug the guy I just gave the food too? Has to be the result of some politically correct nonsense :roll: Loaded with our junk food, we hit the road... Texas or bust!

And now, images from the long haul home on I-10... Yes, we were insanely bored...

These are from Texas Canyon on I-10, still in Arizona. Basically, it looks like God lost his marbles and they got piled up here in the middle of a flat desert...






Still a LOT of miles to go :doh:

Just some random cool mountains and a LONG train


We watch this storm brew for the next couple of hundred miles, wondering if we will EVER catch up to it!?

Getting closer to it...

Raining off to the North

Rained before we got here but not raining now...

Looking North again

Starts getting really dark and ominous looking, but still no rain :shrug:

Almost through to the other side

And then bright blue skies...

Very few of these were spinning even though the wind was blowing the truck all over the road :scratch:

:tab The windmills went off into the distance as far as we could see and for miles and miles along the highway. I see the blades and stands for these all the time, heading North up I-45 from Houston on reallly long 18 wheeler trailers. Occasionally, there might be two blades on the truck, but more often than not, it will be one blade. They are massive!!

Somewhere beyond the windmills we finally do catch up to some storms.

It is soon raining VERY hard...

:tab The sun is behind us in the West and is coming in under the storm's edge and really lighting things up nicely. It is astounding how GREEN everything is out here. I don't recall EVER seeing West Texas so green!!




With the sun behind us, this was inevitable


Note the fainter second one to the left

Looks like someone hydroplaned right into the rock face... :huh2: Hope they are okay...

Check out how the color of the haze changes from one side of the rainbow to the other, kind of cool.

:tab At one point, BOTH rainbows fully extend from base to base but my camera just can't get a wide enough view to take it all in. It is pretty cool though.

We stop for a break just before dark... Gotta love the cheesy rest stops :lol2:

:tab At Junction, we hop on Hwy 377 and run up to 29 so that we will come in on the North side of Austin. The road is still wet and the rain scattered. Amazingly, we only see a handful of deer on these back roads. WE finally roll into Casey's cul-de-sac around midnight and start unloading his and John's bikes. Afterwards, I head down the road a mile or so to another bud's house where I plan to crash for the night. Will "birdwh" Bird has left the door open for me and I quickly head to the guest room and pass out on the bed...

Monday 5/28: "I don't think I'd try that if I were you..."

:tab I get up and enjoy a good visit and breakfast with Will. Around noon or so I figure I better get to scooting on home or Beth won't be too happy with me. So I start the trek East. The roads are wet and looking at the skies, it will likely be wet all the way home. Normally, I would hit a bunch of the little FM back roads and avoid the major highways with all their little speed trap towns :roll:

So much for that plan... :doh: To the bitter end, the plans get tossed aside like so much useless garbage :lol2:

:tab Several other folks in large trucks are contemplating the water on the road when I pull up. They're locals. After a few minutes they decide caution us the order of the day. The water does not look real deep, but it is moving pretty fast. Not wanting to be the idiot on the news seen sitting on the rooftop of my vehicle in rushing water waiting to be rescued, I decide to turn around. After a few detours, I finally make my way to College Station and then on to Huntsville.

:tab And here are a few of the reasons why I always come back...

Daniel "DualSport" Friday

Sarah "Mini me" Friday

Sarah really gets into the Camel Bak. It takes a few minutes for her to catch on to how to use it, but then she drains it in short order... :lol2:


She wanted to wear it the rest of the day...


And Not pictured is my lovely wife Beth. My hands were a bit full so I could not operate the camera :kiss: :-P :trust: Ah yes... always good to get home :dude:

07-06-2007, 10:44 PM
Hall of Fame... or is it... Tale of Fame, material. This is what adventure riding is all about. Thanks for taking us along with you.

07-06-2007, 10:53 PM
You drove all that way and didn't stop in Texas Canyon to see "The Thing"? :doh: Nice pics. did Sarah try to sleep with her camelback?

07-07-2007, 12:14 AM
You drove all that way and didn't stop in Texas Canyon to see "The Thing"? :doh: Nice pics. did Sarah try to sleep with her camelback?

Hehe... I have no need to be scammed by a tourist trap :-P

Nah... we made her take it off. Don't want her to overload the diapers!!

07-07-2007, 12:19 AM
But there's a DQ there, you could have had a "Blizzard"...:zen:

07-07-2007, 05:31 AM
Safe Place is an anti domestic violence and child abuse initiative. The sign indicates a a place with people coached in how to protect victims and notify the proper resources.


07-07-2007, 08:17 AM
Sarah is on to something there in that one pic, the diaper and a camel back could go hand in hand. I might have to get me one for adults so I can ride all day while sipping on the water and I would never have to get off the bike.:lol2:

07-07-2007, 05:24 PM
Sarah is on to something there in that one pic, the diaper and a camel back could go hand in hand. I might have to get me one for adults so I can ride all day while sipping on the water and I would never have to get off the bike.:lol2:

The Iron Butt guys have been known to use Catheters that drain out the bottom of the pants leg... Don't know that I'd want to ride with any of the unless I were leading... :lol2:

07-08-2007, 09:25 AM
Sarah is on to something there in that one pic, the diaper and a camel back could go hand in hand. I might have to get me one for adults so I can ride all day while sipping on the water and I would never have to get off the bike.:lol2:

Diapers? Drinking water through a tube? on a bike? Would that make you a low flying ASTRONAUT? ;-) :rider: :lol2:

07-08-2007, 10:52 PM
Scott, when you get time , how about a review on your gear and what the others wore. It might help some of us dual sporters get better outfitted for some of the trips coming up(Mex). What would you recomend in dual sport boots that are good for walking around in, and still offer good protection?

TIA, Steve

07-09-2007, 08:24 AM
Daniel and Sarah get cuter every picture I see. Must take after their Mom!

We were up in your neck of the woods yesterday dropping my two younger boys off at Carolina Creek Christian Camp. Nice country.

God bless,


Tx Rider
07-09-2007, 10:41 PM
You drove all that way and didn't stop in Texas Canyon to see "The Thing"? :doh: Nice pics. did Sarah try to sleep with her camelback?

We probably could have given "The thing" a run for the money in the rough looks dept after a week of riding out there. :eek2:

07-15-2007, 09:25 PM
I am doing good to get an hour or two to work on it once a week :doh:

Excellent report, love the pics. Great job guys. :clap:

Tx Rider
07-16-2007, 03:14 PM
Scott, when you get time , how about a review on your gear and what the others wore. It might help some of us dual sporters get better outfitted for some of the trips coming up(Mex). What would you recomend in dual sport boots that are good for walking around in, and still offer good protection?

TIA, Steve

I got a pair of Sidi Discoveries for this ride, I had a ten year old pair of Alpinestars tech 8's but one of em fell apart too bad. :)

The discoveries are supposedly waterproof, haven't really found out yet, and better than a street boot, but not as protective of ankles as a more hardcore offroad boot. Nicer for walking around in though.

As for other gear, I wore MSR waterproof over the boot pants, 661 knee guards under em, and an armored mesh jacket. I do have a 661 pressure suit with armor but the mesh jacket with the zip out liner for cold seemed enough.

And a camelback 100oz. backpack., MSR water filter.

I just wish more gear came in non black colors, black gear is a lot hotter in the sun than lighter colors.

09-14-2007, 01:58 PM
I finally got to work on "Gnats, Knobbies, Bolts, Bullets and Boulders... The Thrashing of Best Laid Plans..." (take breath), "The Movie", and I see the light at the end of the tunnel... Narrowed 4 hours of video into 20 minutes. I was shooting for 10 minutes, but I just couldn't bring myself to throw some of it out, even the boring stuff; it just seemed to fit. I know its late, but better late than never... ;-) Hope to finish it this weekend, haven't decided if I'll post it here (everyone's probably ignoring this thread by now), or post in the General forum.

09-14-2007, 02:41 PM
Post it in the regular Story Telling forum.

09-14-2007, 02:47 PM
Good idea.

Did you ever happen to post the trip report at Adv rider? I totally forgot about it. Of course, it's kinda old news now... Maybe I'll post the vid over there with a link to this thread.

09-14-2007, 02:53 PM
Yes I did:


09-16-2007, 05:26 PM
Post it in the regular Story Telling forum.

Movie posted: http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21214

12-23-2009, 02:39 PM
:tab You know... I came back to this thread to find a picture and then I got to reading it again... Man it makes me want to go back BAD!! :lol2: I want another go around with that desert now that I've gained a bit more experience riding in the rough stuff and how NOT to pack :doh:

Iceman Jack
12-23-2009, 03:03 PM
:tab You know... I came back to this thread to find a picture and then I got to reading it again... Man it makes me want to go back BAD!! :lol2: I want another go around with that desert now that I've gained a bit more experience riding in the rough stuff and how NOT to pack :doh:

TYA............you only live once.

12-23-2009, 08:24 PM
:tab You know... I came back to this thread to find a picture and then I got to reading it again... Man it makes me want to go back BAD!! :lol2: I want another go around with that desert now that I've gained a bit more experience riding in the rough stuff and how NOT to pack :doh:

Let's go! I have another trip already planned; it was going to be a Torch trip, but now we're going to AR instead. I'll have to tweak it some though, it has some tough riding in it right now. I'll have to see what my job situation is then too...

06-09-2010, 05:36 PM
Hmmm... I think we need to plan a return trip for 2011... :ponder:

06-09-2010, 05:59 PM
Hmmm... I think we need to plan a return trip for 2011... :ponder:

Well, since you're twisting my arm, I guess I can keep the DR another spring :-P


Sleepy Weasel
06-12-2010, 05:00 PM
Really, the cell pone didn't help much... People survived in the old days without them, I suppose I would too... or at least make an interesting Darwin Award story.



03-28-2014, 12:38 PM
Man, that was a fun trip, I still tell those stories... and they get better every time :-P

I wonder what is in store for us in 3 weeks... :trust:

Tx Rider
06-03-2014, 07:44 PM
Man, that was a fun trip, I still tell those stories... and they get better every time :-P

I wonder what is in store for us in 3 weeks... :trust:

Sorry I couldn't make it with you guys for 2014.. Is there a ride report?

06-03-2014, 08:22 PM
There'll be something, life happened as soon as we got back though. I'm about half way through my report, but I don't have photos or video for the 1st 3 days :-( ... I'll explain in the report. Scott took lots of photos though.

Tx Rider
06-04-2014, 04:00 PM
There'll be something, life happened as soon as we got back though. I'm about half way through my report, but I don't have photos or video for the 1st 3 days :-( ... I'll explain in the report. Scott took lots of photos though.

How much better did Scott fare on his KTM this time than the old KLR? Bet that was night and day. I have wondered how reliable the new smaller KTM 4 strokes are on longer rides like that.. The older LC4 based bikes have a very very long history of long distance desert reliability.

06-04-2014, 05:34 PM
:tab Yes, it was MUCH better on the KTM. Also, I was carrying a LOT less weight and what I had was down much lower as well. However... I did still manage to fall on the first day twice in almost the exact same spots as last time. One was that rocky climb with the sharp 90 to the right midway up and a ledge in the 90. That was were I pulled the groin and had to sit in the shade of the bike for a few minutes. The second was a bit lower than where I fell right before the Jeepers showed up to save the day. Still, by the time we reached our old camping spot by the river, I wasn't absolutely wiped out like last time. Of course it was no where near as hot this time as last time!! Not even close. The ride out from the camp site, including that hill we did a few times when we tried to get out before, was easy.

:tab My bike uses oil and I have to check it daily. So I just carried a 600cc MSR fuel bottle with oil in it. I think I still had about half of it left at the end of the trip, even after topping off the tranny reservoir after the sprocket seal leaked all over everything.

:tab I have over 500 pics and some videos. I don't know that I will ever be able to get up a report like this one. I am in the process of studying for the Prof Engineering exam, which is in Oct, and that is consuming ALL of my time. Maybe in the fall I will be able to get something up.

:tab It was an awesome trip. I wish you could have been there. You would have really enjoyed it.

Tx Rider
06-04-2014, 09:12 PM
That's cool, glad the KTM is working out for you. I have wondered but not checked up how well the newer 4 stokes held up.

KTM's seem to always ride on the edge with oil, both of mine only hold about 1 1/4 quarts of oil, and it needs to be changed in very short intervals. That and they each have 2 oil filters to change.

The only time I ever lost any appreciable amount was that one ride we did to Big Bend when my oil filler plug o-ring broke.

It is funny, but I can still see exactly the spots your talking about in my mind, and could ride right to them.. ;)

Did you guys ride through the river this time? Or find the other way out? I know it was right up that mesa we went up and turned around on

06-06-2014, 04:37 PM
We went up and over the mountain, past the spot where we turned back the second day. We were soooo close... if only we had known. :lol2: The river was actually up to almost the same level as last time. We stopped there to fix a flat on Casey's bike, refill the Camel Baks and just rest.

08-10-2014, 01:37 PM
That's cool, glad the KTM is working out for you. I have wondered but not checked up how well the newer 4 stokes held up.

KTM's seem to always ride on the edge with oil, both of mine only hold about 1 1/4 quarts of oil, and it needs to be changed in very short intervals. That and they each have 2 oil filters to change.

The only time I ever lost any appreciable amount was that one ride we did to Big Bend when my oil filler plug o-ring broke.

It is funny, but I can still see exactly the spots your talking about in my mind, and could ride right to them.. ;)

Did you guys ride through the river this time? Or find the other way out? I know it was right up that mesa we went up and turned around on
John, I finally started my report for the "recent" trip... 4 months later (can't believe it's already been that long!).

12-01-2017, 04:10 PM
It sure would be nice if someone updated the links to their pictures so they'd show up in the report... :-P

12-01-2017, 04:11 PM
BTW, do you still have the long exposure evolution of an adv rider pic we did in front of the camp fire that last night by the river?

12-01-2017, 04:28 PM
It sure would be nice if someone updated the links to their pictures so they'd show up in the report... :-P
Photobucket changed their linking policy, now they want $100/yr for sharing privileges... this has totally screwed up forum posts internet-wide, and no one seems to want to upgrade :lol2: They certainly won't get my money after pulling this stunt. Someday maybe I'll get around to redoing some of my posts with another host...

BTW, do you still have the long exposure evolution of an adv rider pic we did in front of the camp fire that last night by the river?

I'm sure I do somewhere, I'll have to look, or maybe I can figure out how to get into my old Photobucket account and download it.

12-01-2017, 11:25 PM
Just came across this while looking for a way to rescue my photos from them...