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Old 05-30-2014, 03:07 PM   #1
Afry OP
Why hike?
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Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Ramona, Ca
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AZBDR and North Rim GC

Todd (Twwhitey) aka Todd lite and I decided to ride the AZBDR with 3 buddies from the OC and high desert area who would meet us on day 2 because of work constraints. Catalina 38 and Big Todd were riding 990's and ConTeacher was on a 1200 GS.

Todd an I met in Pine Valley @ 4 on Wed 4/21 and got to the to the very nice campgrounds near Gila Bend at the Petroglyph's which are pretty cool around 8:30. We had the place to ourselves and the firewood gods left us a nice present for our viewing pleasure.

Hit the road early and ended up in Casa Grande for breakfast - if you are ever visiting the metropolis of Casa Grande make sure to eat at the "Big House Cafe" - it should be on Diners, Drive ins and Dives for sure.

On the road to Tombstone to walk the very same streets as the likes of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday! Here is a picture of one of the local town drunks or Todd - I'm not sure which it was.

Main St Tombstone

Here is the bar at the Crystal Palace the wooden bar is a replica made in England as was the original at a modern day cost of 150k. If ever in Tombstone make sure you stop by here for a shot of Old Overholt whiskey (Wyatt Earp's drink of choice) poured by the lovely bartender Celeste. Just make sure your wife is not with you and you keep your shades on - you could set a pie on top of.....well you get it.

Tombstone was cool but the Old Bisbee Brewing Company in Bisbee of course was a short ride away and well worth it. Next time we would stay in Bisbee.

Day 1 - 258 miles (180 dirt) rode 8-6PM

The next day we hit the AZBDR - here is the start. The AZBDR is broken down into 6 sections but it's really easy to do it all in 4 days which we did. First day we left Tombstone @ 8 and hit the start @ 9 heading to Sonita. We took the "hard option" which was a bit of slow deep sand in a tight twisty trail which made it hard to get up on top with the loaded big bikes - it was hot and we did struggle a bit. Just when your a little worn down with the elevation of about 4500 the trail becomes very rocky for about five miles before we hopped on the freeway for the 11 miles to Benson for lunch around 1. After Benson a paved back road turns to high speed dirt/gravel all the way to Mammoth. We stopped for a cold beer and guacamole and chips before moving on to Winkelman where we had planned on camping and meeting the rest of the group. But it was too early and the camping options were pricey because of Memorial Day Weekend so we decided to head up to Pioneer Pass and camp in the pines at a cooler and higher elevation. Pioneer Pass was a bit rocky (as is the whole of AZ as it turns out) on the climb up with a couple steeper tricky sections on bigger loaded bikes but nothing to worry about.

Pretty easy high speed stuff at first. Todd saw wild pigs on the side of the trail in this area.

Quick side trip to this site were a Spanish dude passed through in 1539 - supposedly the first European west of the Rockies. Hows this for a title....

Local scenery - one thing about AZ is if you don't like the view just wait a minute cause it will change.

Came around a corner to find this guy wrestling with a 950. We knew the sand was coming but it went from hard pack to deep soft sand in one blind corner - kinda catches you by surprise. Todd says he likes to fall in the's soft!

Found this bitchin old mine- does anyone still use the phrase "bitchin"?

Excellent meal here as you first enter Benson. Not sure if this is a ride report or a food report - try the French Dip.

What would a ride report in AZ be without a photo of these guys?

Fast graded roads on the way to Mammoth were FUN!

Todd heading up Pioneer Pass on one of the smoother sections

Camping that first night on the AZBDR at Pioneer Pass

Day 2 145 miles mostly dirt- short day - rode 8-4PM. Rode down to Globe then up onto the Mogollon Rim

The rest of the crew met up with us at camp the next morning and we stopped for gas in Globe before heading out to Young. Big Todd, John and Bill riding the token GS.

Bill crossing the bridge near Roosevelt Lake. The guard rail on the left was busted off and it looks like someone went for a ride over the edge - quite a ways down.

Yes there is water in AZ!

Shade was at a premium

Did I mention how beautiful AZ is?

We decided to forego the 22 miles of "relentless rock" on the way to Young and took anther route given to me by a "DOD" an inmate here on Advrider and it was a great route with some slightly challenging rocky sections but overall a scenic ride. It's a little longer then the AZBDR route to Young but very enjoyable. Much thanks to DOD!

Big Todd having a good time!

Up top we are back in the trees

Lunch in Young at Antlers - great food again! Light sprinkles as we ate inside but it stopped in time to ride.

Then we climbed up onto the Mogollon Rim which is spectacular! Hows this for a fire road...

Todd pondering the meaning of life on a Super Enduro

Camped right on the rim

Day 3 - 183 miles - again mostly dirt, rode 8-6PM. Entire day is up on the rim with varying terrain and landscape.

A shot looking back at our campsite

Lots of this

Bridge was out so we took a little bypass through the woods - there is a posted bypass but it was no problem to get by.

Bill's GS decided it didn't like it's centerstand anymore - broken bolt - turns out this was worth removing anyway as the rocks would get worse and ground clearance was at a premium. Gas station in Happy Jack - cool name for a town! This was our only breakdown of the trip and NO FLAT TIRES!!!

Long Lake - which was appropriately named

After Long Lake we hit miles (5+) of very rutted and sharp baby head sized rocks which really slowed things down. It started out just a little rutted....

Very deceiving - look closely

Then on to the cinder cone area with it's black volcanic sand - only a couple deeper sections that were pretty short.

The Mighty SE

Todd's SE

Big Todds new (to him) 990

John's 990 with BIG gas

We were waiting for Bill to show up as he was last and when Todd went back he had crashed in the sand and was pinned under the bike but luckily just his ego was hurt!

Cinder Cone

Finally back across the highway and on to Antelope Valley where we primitive camped for the night.

Saw Elk as we found a spot to camp - they almost took out John as they crossed the trail through the trees hauling butt. We called this camp Boneyard due to the pile of big bones nearby.

Day 4 - 289 miles again mostly dirt 8-6:30 - Down off the rim down to Cameron and across Navajo reservation then across the Grand Canyon to North Rim to camp with our first showers!!!!!

The ride down was again spectacular!

Wide open spaces

Open range horses

Ran into two Navajo locals with a broken truck and Big Todd gave one of the guys a lift out of the middle of nowhere

Navajo Reservation is HUGE! Had the BEST French Dip made with Navajo bread which tastes kinda like funnel cake - yum!

Our own GC overlook on the res.

Todd Lite has bigger ones then I do

This is close enough for me!

Bill let us have a big orange moment

Off the res and on the Navajo bridge

Bison on the way to North Rim Campground - and did I mention the showers?!

The morning view a short walk from the campground

Day 4 245 miles rode 8-6PM from North Rim to Fredonia for fuel and breakfast in Kanab then hit the dirt to Mt Turmbull area the hotel in Mesquite called the Virgin River Casino but did not see a river of virgins.

Once again great eats

Self explanatory picture

Again I repeat myself

Shade! Saw turkeys in the woods nearby. This last day of riding from Fredonia to Mesquite was a very pleasant surprise with great terrain and views.


These hoodlums were inside

Nice shot

Last day - Todd and I blasted home on the SE's while our wiser friends had a truck in Mesquite to ride home in the AC with some kind of noise blaring out of the speakers - I am sure of this. But the weather was quite comfortable on the ride home from 7-2:30 and the big V Twin's just rumbled on and on at a steady 70+

Two SE's at the In N Out in Barstow - trusty steeds resting in the shade!

Great ride, great riding buddies - what more could you ask for!
KTM 950 SE

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Afry screwed with this post 05-30-2014 at 03:24 PM
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Old 05-30-2014, 04:21 PM   #2
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Stingray bay CA.
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Here are a few more shots.

Mogollon Rim

Night #2

North of Winona

Night #3

Little Colorado over look

Navajo bridge

North rim Grand canyon national park night #4

Morning on the North rim then at Mesquite by 3:30

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catalina38 screwed with this post 05-30-2014 at 10:19 PM
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Old 05-30-2014, 05:37 PM   #3
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Excellent write up. I am impressed that your group did the route pretty much without any significant issues on loaded big bikes. As you had commented earlier in the main thread, the route really isn't that difficult to complete for riders with an average skill set.
I sense some mixed messages were received earlier in the thread relating to the overall difficulty that the route presents to the would-be, adventure rider types contemplating a go at this. Keeping the weight down low and to a minimum is the key for the big bikes.

On the other hand, the big thumpers really make the route look easy in comparison, IMHO.

Afry, your big bike mounted crews success should settle the difficulty level chatter. Your group is at least the fourth that I know of in the last two weeks that rode the "big girls" successfully.

Good Job with the pics and the write up.

Now, fires and flood are the looming issues.
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Old 05-30-2014, 05:39 PM   #4
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Great Pics Catalina38 !!
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Old 05-30-2014, 06:25 PM   #5
Tragic Overlander
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Thanks guys. Nice report and some great pics. I think I will add this ride to my list in the Fall. Thanks again.

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Old 05-30-2014, 06:36 PM   #6
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Stingray bay CA.
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Overall an easy ride with no flats and the only time a tool kit was pulled put was to remove the BMW's center stand that was falling off.
FWIW I wouldn't ride my 500 EXC on the route since there are so many dirt road miles, which is fine on a big bike when you can cruise at 60,70 or 80 for long periods of time. A dirt bike not so much.
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Old 05-30-2014, 06:56 PM   #7
Comrade Art
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Very nice
Thanks for posting.
Vietnam Adventure
Oregon BDR

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Old 05-30-2014, 07:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by pfdskipper View Post
Great Pics Catalina38 !!
+1, and are these pics from a go pro?

OP, thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-30-2014, 07:41 PM   #9
ktm's "the tourist"
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another epic ride. you socal boys know how to get around.

can't wait to see the rest to chime in and post hundreds of pics....
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Old 05-30-2014, 07:51 PM   #10
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I really enjoyed the read and photos.
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Old 05-31-2014, 06:41 AM   #11
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Thanks for the report! I did the lower half, and I thought the Empire Ranch area had some tough sections. At least they seemed tough to me because I was solo and my anxiety was up. But if in a group there is somebody to help pick up bikes so probably not that big a deal.

Is the cinder cone part of the BDR? Like others said, great pictures! Great ride report.
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Old 05-31-2014, 12:36 PM   #12
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Great report. Just got back from a 3 week motor home/Jeep trip to Hurricane and did an overnighter to Toroweap Overlook. I was a wishing for a bike the whole time. Gonna have to spend three weeks down there on 2 wheels in the future.
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Old 05-31-2014, 04:55 PM   #13
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I need to start off my addition to the ride report with a HUGE thanks to Arnie and Todd for inviting me along for this great ride. All involved with this ride were great at making some tweaks to the ride plan to accomadate my calendar.

The ride also served as the first of many big rides I plan to be taking on the new 990 R. As always, taking too much crap.

Tried a couple packing configurations and got it pretty well sorted. With the rotopax tanks mounted on the pannier racks my Ortlieb soft bags wouldn't fit so I ended up with the Jed Clampett look.

Arnie and Todd got left a couple days ahead of us and me, catalina38 and ConTeacher planned to meet them somewhere on the AZBDR trail. That called for a 450 mile highway slog to Mesa, AZ to expedite the meet up.

John crossing the river and into AZ


While Todd and Arnie were making great time in the first couple of AZBDR sections, we pulled off for a hotel over nighter.

While checking in, Bill realized his ear plugs were too small and he couldn't get them out. Good thing we brought along a paramedic with tools.

The plan for Day 2 was to head out for Winkelman and meet Arnie and Todd but they were ahead of schedule and we went to meet them at Pioneer Pass. We rode Hwy 60 to Superior and up over to 177. That was a beautiful stretch of 2 lane blacktop. Had a few Harely guys riding along with us for a bit.

Topped off in Winkleman and hit our fist dirt on the way to meet Todd and Arnie.

We were flying along thinking that with roads like these, no wonder Arnie and Todd were so far ahead of plan ... then we hit what we saw a lot of for the next couple of days; rocks and ruts, lots of rocks.

After our first gas stop, Arnie claimed ownership of this bridge and we had to answer 3 basic questions to cross safely.

Fortunately we got the answers right.

We were quickly back in the dirt, John cranking up his 990 R

After a highspeed run across a ridgeline, took a little break next to wildlife resevoir that had a pump powered by solar panels ... pretty cool.

Running a close third to no shortage of in AZ is cattle crossings



Todd Lite

Me and the other 2 guys late to the ride would have our first camp night on the Mogollon Rim. Stopping at an overlook for pics, found this survey marker.

Selfie at the rim

Sunset over the Mogollon Rim campsite

Life is an adventure that requires the correct equipment

SPOT - bigtodd - where I at now?
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Old 05-31-2014, 06:04 PM   #14
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We were all to bed early camping on the Mogollon Rim with it being cold and no camp fire. We were all up early and I was ready for breakfast.

We were all out and rolling along some nice forest roads; lots of trees and great views

We had gotten a couple messages about a major washout in the road being repaired so were confident about getting around.

Everyone made it through

After the road wash out, we rode a long stretch of heavily rutted road along Long Lake. That rutted out road turned into a very long, twisting, turning, up and down rutted road full of rocks. After slugging it out for a while, we all needed a break and a quick check of the map.

Things got pretty smooth from there

We had a nice stop for lunch and then headed out across the Cinder Cone Valley. Long sweeping smooth roads with only occassional ruts and rocks.

We saw wild life everywhere, unfortunate ending for this guy but at least it wasn't one of bikes that got hit.

Our next section led to a long stretch of volcanic sand. The boys getting ready behind me.

The sand was deep in places but not all that difficult. Only suffering one go down of the lone BMW. John having no problem with the deep stuff.

Here is Arnie getting a big 950 SE roost after giving Todd Lite a little helping push

Bill really got worked over pushing the big 1200 around ... c'mon Bill, smile for the camera ... there were no smiles from him for a while.

It was almost 6:00 and we needed to find a camp site. Decided to check out a little 2 track off the main trail

And found Camp Boneyards

Sunset on Camp Boneyards

We were all up early the next day knowing we had a lot of miles to cover. We needed to be across the Navajo Nation and at the North Rim CG before dark. Arnie always seems happy to get his day rolling on his 950 SE.

This campsite ended up being spectacular, with views of the stars from horizon to horizon. We even spotted and tracked a couple of sattelites across the sky.

Rolling for Cameron for lunch and gas we started on some really nice tracks

We were soon out of the trees and onto the Nation

Todd Lite doing a little creative side of the road parking

Lunch at Cameron Trading Post

Afterr Cameron, the trail became what we most expected AZ to look like

Out on the Rez is a great overlook of the "little' Grand Canyon

John (catalina38)

It was long way down

After the lookout, we were bombing for the last long stretch of dirt.

Came around a corner where we found a lama mixed in with a bunch of cattle

We finally hit pavement after a very long day in the dirt and we had a brief stop at Marble Canyon before heading for North Rim

Check out the vultures hanging out on the bridge

A nice shot of the boys heading past Vermillion Cliffs

Some fun turns on the way to the camp ground

Arnie letting me know he is enjoying the ride

John getting the halo effect

We had a great night at North Rim CG and it was the first time that we were able to have a campfire. That and a couple of 12 packs from the camp store had us up much later that night. We were rolling a little later than uusal with a plan to back track on some GPS tracks from a Grand Canyon ride the last year. We rode hard for lunch in Kanab, UT and then got back in the dirt. It was getting really hot and dusty with not much stopping, everyone was on a mission to get to Mesquite and a hotel room.

All of the bikes outside the school house where we did stop for a quick break.

We made it to Virgin River Casino pretty early in the afternoon and it was 108 degrees. Pool, shower, drinks, dinner and then bed. Oh, forgot we had John's big 1 ton Ram truck in the parking lot so we loaded the bikes before bed. How often are you going to see a BMW 1200 GS on a hitch rack?

By the way, this is what a new rear 908 tire looks like after 1,400 miles of AZBDR

Awesome trip with a great group of guys. This is for sure a must do BDR ride for anyone willing to take it on.
Life is an adventure that requires the correct equipment

SPOT - bigtodd - where I at now?
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Old 06-01-2014, 02:28 PM   #15
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Great shots of a great trip, can't wait for the next one.
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