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Old 11-26-2012, 04:25 PM   #1
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Location: El Desierto, NM
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Stubbornness and Stupidity

A few weeks ago I hatched a plan to go for a little ride through Arizona over the Thanksgiving holiday. Usually I'm all about planning, but I figured this time I would just lay down a rough route, attempting to hit some “out-of-the-way” roads. “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Day 1:



I headed south for Silver City, hoping it would be a little warmer crossing the divide further south. It had rained overnight, and it was still overcast and a bit humid. And cold. No photos on the interstate, because who wants to see those? Plus I don't do rolling shots, as you'll find out I have enough trouble keeping the rubber on the bottom side. Got off the slab for some great twisties into the mountains.





I got to Silver with just a whiff of fumes in the tank, and filled up bike and body with more fuel. Did I mention my meticulous lack of planning and preparation? It was still a bit overcast, but I could see further west that it was clear skies. I hit some dirt just to make it a little more interesting.



Crossing into Arizona I jumped on a pipeline road, which besides a few gates to go through was suh-weeet. Can't pass up stuff like this:









I stopped in Safford for some more gas. The attendant asked me where I was headed, and I explained how I was just riding around Arizona to take in some scenery. Her reply: “Well get the hell out of here!”

I'm not much of a car guy, but this thing caught my eye on the way out of town.



I hear you get better traction in sand if you lower your tire pressure.



I made a little detour to go see the Coolidge Dam. It's pretty neat, if you have 40 miles of gas to burn and a little patience on a road that exists in some limbo between paved and unpaved. I got sight of some Saguaro cacti on the way in.





And finally got to the dam itself as the sun was getting low.





Say what you will, Calvin Coolidge was a classy guy. Just look at this thing!



Pulled into Globe just as dark was settling in, and grabbed a cheap room. Nothing too scary today, other than testing the accuracy of the bike's gas mileage estimator (which it turns out is pretty good).

That would soon change...
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:24 AM   #2
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Great ride!Nice pics too!
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:13 AM   #3
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Awesome!

Looks like you had a great ride and great time!

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:11 AM   #4
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Excellent! Stubborn and Stupid Bring it Pomo!!
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:10 PM   #5
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Day 2

I left Globe and first backtracked a bit on yesterday's route to check out a small airport were some derelict planes were hanging out. When I passed them the previous evening it was too dark to get any good photos. One of these things is not like the other:



After that it was back to Globe for some fresh tracks. I headed south and climbed Pinal Mountain. It was cold at the top, barely above freezing. My bike's thermometer helpfully starts blinking below about 37 degrees Fahrenheit, as if to say “What kind of idiot rides in this sort of weather?”

I checked out the radio towers at the top before deciding yes, my hands are freezing off. Time to boogey.



To the south, where I would soon be riding:



The ride down the other side proved a little more wild. I ran into several rock slides, which had been tamped down and clearly traversed by vehicles many times. I was getting into this-makes-me-nervous territory, but I persevered. There's always the Free Helicopter Ride button on the SPOT.



The grade got steeper as I went down. Like, really steep. I was again getting a little worried that if I hit an impassible rock slide, I would have a lot of trouble going back up. Luckily, I wouldn't have to, I hit the basin and did a little riding through it until I hit a junction. To my left was Pioneer Pass, and what looked like a well traveled road. To my right was what could barely be described as a 4-wheeler trail, heading towards Pioneer Basin. My GPS naturally routed me to the right, but in fairness I was the one who laid out these tracks in the first place.

I began heading down again on the narrow path. I was beyond any chance of turning around at this point. Even if I could have, I didn't want to go up what I was going down. Loose, rutted, sandy mixed with big rocks. Amazingly I got down without dropping the bike. Check out 5:45 for a little WTF.



Note: Right after I turned off the camera is when it got hairy. The brush on both sides closed in and it more or less because singletrack, with a ton of big loose rocks. And I caught a 90 pound fish!

Eventually I made it to the bottom of the basin, and an actual dirt road. I got out to the pavement and headed on to my next section of dirt. I was stymied by some private property and a mine before I found a turn I could actually take. It may be said that I can't take a hint. I passed under a train trestle and worked my way to the top of one side of a massive arroyo. You can see the road going up the other side.



Once again this was a little hairy compared to what I normally do on solo trips, but I could literally see the nearby town from my vantage point. I dropped the bike on the way down into the wash, as the picture completely misses just how steep, twisty, and sandy the descent was. I paused for a few moments in the wash to collect myself, then nailed the gas up the other side. No drama!

I then ran into a fence (well, not literally ), marking off yet another mining area. I followed a pipeline road hoping to get back out to the main road, or at least around the mine. I ran into a locked gate on private property, so I followed the only other option, a power line road that wove over a series of ridges and arroyos. It was getting a little tough on some of the climbs due to lots of ruts and large loose rocks.

Well, it's all fun. Right up to the point that it isn't. I finally found that point. (Fast forward to around 6:00 if you don't want to watch me flounder through the desert).



My ankle was hurting pretty good, even despite the adrenaline. I didn't feel any grinding so I figured nothing was broken, but I was ready to be done with this crap right about now.

The powerline ran straight into a paved road, which I happy took back into town. All in all I had probably spent 40 minutes to “shortcut” about 10 miles of pavement. That's why they call it a shortcut, if it were easy it would just “the way”.

My ankle was really starting to hurt as the adrenaline wore off. I stopped on the side of the road to pull off my boot and really check that yes, all my bones were still inside my leg. It was swelling just enough to make my boot fit tightly, but there wasn't any visible bruising. There wasn't much to do about it but carry on and try not to drop any more motorcycle shaped anvils on it.

I scaled the “back” of Mount Lemmon. Saw this horse along the way... may have been wild? There are cattle guards but not really a whole lot else out there.



The road seemed to go up forever. In reality it was probably only a few thousand feet, but they decided to add a ton of switchbacks lest someone feel shorted. If you look really close you can spy the road weaving up the mountain.



Riding down the other side of Mount Lemmon into Tucscon was amazing. I could have spent an entire day just taking pictures of the rock formations and vistas. What I ended up with simply doesn't do the road and the scenery justice.





I passed right by Agua Caliente, a natural oasis. It's pretty wild to be riding through a mostly barren desert and suddenly come upon a bunch of palm trees. A little too surburban-ized for my taste, but it was interesting nonetheless.



A woodpecker was going to town on one of them. Looking for water? Building a home? Waking up the neighbors?



I was about to make a quick pitstop before I left, when...



Uh, waiter, there's a lizard in my... soup? When I first approached, he played it cool. “Sup man. Yeah I do this all the time. Fuhgeddaboutit.” I was trying to figure out how he managed to get in there to begin with. I grabbed a stick and freed him from his urinal of oppression.

One more pic of this sign, filed under "You Don't Say!"



The early sunset forced me to abandon the rest of what I had planned and I just headed into Tucson for the night. My ankle was really killing me by this point. As I unloaded the bike I kept my boot on for extra support, I could barely maintain a geriatric limp to the room. I was starting to think this trip may already be over, and I hadn't even gotten to the good part!
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"It's supposed to be a challenge, that's why they call it a shortcut. If it was easy it would just be the way." ~ Rubin, Road Trip


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Old 12-01-2012, 04:02 AM   #6
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Looks awesome Pomo! Can't wait to see the rest.

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Old 12-01-2012, 04:03 AM   #7
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Great story Pomo! Hope that ankle is OK!

Mt Lemmon is one of my favorite places in the US.

When I tell folks that there is a Ski resort in Tucson, they look at me like I said I saw Mother Mary's image in a potato chip.
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Dang ..That thing is huge!!! Jax
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:49 AM   #8
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Hi Pomo. . Sweet RR so far. I was wincing in pain as I watched you drag your bike around in order to be able to stand it back up; been there, done that, and will probably be there again many times! . Nice form on picking up the bike though!

Hope your ankle's OK; looking forward to seeing more. You can thank Jax for pointing out your thread to us back here on the east coast.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:12 AM   #9
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:13 AM   #10
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That catcus ia giving the ADV salute!!!






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Old 12-01-2012, 05:16 AM   #11
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Seems like some serious terrain when riding solo. I was getting nervous just watching. Nice RR.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:56 AM   #12
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Nice rr Patrick. For safety reasons u shouldn't ride alone..........so invite me out for six months
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:57 AM   #13
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Nice ........you left your blinker on....
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:44 AM   #14
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Great ride so far! I can't wait to read the rest. You are really making me miss living out west.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:46 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by JaxObsessed View Post
Mt Lemmon is one of my favorite places in the US.
Yeah it was one of those places where ALL the scenery is just gorgeous. And the road is just twisty enough that you gotta make sure you're not staring at the hoodoos or you'll be seeing them up close. I really wish I'd had more time to putz around up there. I was a little too aggressive in my planning, I kinda forgot that the sun set at 5PM instead of 8.
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