Arizona Adventures- A compilation of rides

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by cb60130, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
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    Location:
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    EDIT- I've decided that instead of posting a new thread every trip, I'll just change the title to this one and keep a running tab of my fumblings about the state of Arizona. Enjoy and check back now and again to see what I'm up to.




    So... I've been a member of the site for a long time. But not a member of the "club" until recently.

    Bear with me through this first part because the pictures from the epic ride report will follow the back story to how I ended up on the ride...


    I've always been a dirt bike guy, I had a plated XR650R but sold it around 5 years ago. I had plated it just to connect some good trails and ride some forest roads where you needed to be legal. I had taken a few rides from home but I nearly got taken out by a Crown Victoria a few blocks from home so that soured me a little, plus I had done a few rides with some slab and droning out mile after mile on pavement was about as exciting as clipping your toe nails. The last year or so I just haven't had the same level of desire to race, even ride. Just the same old hand full of places we ride, same old trails...

    Then about 6 weeks ago one of my racing buddies calls and says he's thinking of buying a new Africa Twin and heard from another buddy I used to do some Dual Sporting and wanted to know if I knew any good routes or places to go. We talked for about an hour and it sparked a wild fire that would spread fast and furious.

    I started thinking back to a bunch of really cool rides I had done on my old XR, thinking of rides I had wanted to do but never did. Then I started planning new rides, but I didn't have a plated bike. I have a KTM 530 that I've been meaning to make legal but I've just never got around to it. Mark called me a week or so later to tell me he pulled the trigger and he was picking up his Africa that Friday and I should plate up my 530.

    My rusty wheels in my head are turning.

    3 or 4 years ago my good friend Austin had bought a Triumph 1200 something or another and was trying to convince me that there was something to this adventure bike thing... I wasn't on board, that thing was like the size of a bus. How the hell are you supposed to ride single track on that? CASE CLOSED. He sold his Triumph last year, never did much with it.

    My rusty wheels were gaining momentum.

    I was eyeballing that dusty 530 in the garage half heartedly thinking about dual sporting it. Then I took a drive over to the Honda dealer. Sat on that damn Africa Twin. Sexy lookin' bike. They had a red, white and blue one with the gold wheels, kinda reminds me of an old Honda Works motocross bike from the 80's. I was warming up to those big goofy looking adventure bikes. Then I took a ride to the Euro bike dealer... the BMW's were pretty cool lookin' too.

    The rusty wheels were spinning.

    I called Mark and told him the idea of an adventure bike was kinda growing on me. He laughed and said he was going to call Austin and give him hell for selling the Triumph. I started poking around here and there looking at adventure bike stuff. Reading ride reports, looking at bikes. Then I saw a youtube video of some dude racing The Desert 100 on an Africa Twin and he had done it on a BMW F800GS in another video. MIND OFFICIALLY BLOWN! Next thing I knew I was counting my nickles and dimes in my piggy bank. I knew I couldn't just run out and buy a brand new Africa or F800 and farkle the snot out of it. BUT I WANTED ONE!

    A few days later I'm obsessing, thinking of maybe robbing a bank, selling a kidney. Whatever I need to do. I need one of these things. Then it happened... I found a White 2013 F800GS on Craigslist that would fit in my "not a brand new" bike budget. It was pretty farkled out with the stuff I'd want, looked good in the pictures and it only had 3100 miles. Then I saw an ad for a Blue 2014 at a local dealer for about the same money with 3400 miles but a few less farkles. I hooked up with the seller of the '13 and was planning on taking a look after work that evening. Then my phone rings... It's my my buddy Austin. He's busting my chops about looking at adventure bikes after he sold his Triumph when nobody wanted to go play adventure rider... I told him I was going to look at a BMW that night. He expressed a half assed interest.

    I looked at the '13. It was nice... really nice and even though I wasn't sure how to make it fit in my garage with the other 3 bikes I have, I felt like it belonged there so I told the guy I'd have to buy it. With a wink, a nod and a handshake we had a deal. I would get my finances in order and pick up the bike in the next day or 2. The following day I snuck over to the credit union on my lunch to get a cashier's check, called the seller and we were a go for me to pick up my bike after work. Then my phone rings. It's Austin asking about those BMW's I was looking at. I told him about the '14 for sale at the dealer by his house. He was off of work that day, said he might go take a look at it. He called me few more times asking about options and stuff.

    I was counting the minutes waiting for the dreadfully slow clock to release me from the confines of work... I had a new bike to get. Finally.... I run to the parking lot, jump in my truck like a 6 year old on an Easter egg hunt. I'm on my way to get my bike and Austin calls me. He's working on a deal for the '14. I meet with my seller, get the title work all squared away and go back to his house to pick up my bike. I leave my truck there to pick up later and ride my new bike home. I'm pumped!!! I get home and I have a text message from Austin with a picture of his rear view mirror. There's a blue BMW in the back of his truck. The next morning, we met for a shakedown ride. 3 dirt bike guys on adventure bikes. All of us with temporary paper license plates did a 100 mile loop ride. We had a great time and learned pretty quick that it was a lot different than a dirt bike but we were all pretty surprised how capable these big girls can be.
    #1
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  2. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    The following weekend Austin had to work. Mark and I hooked up for a ride on Sunday morning. We would put together a 200 mile loop with minimal pavement and threw in a lunch stop. That was cool. I ordered some bags and I had my mind made up on a big ride with a camp out somewhere. I have always been fascinated by the Great Western Trail and have ridden on portions of it at one time or another so I was thinking of how to put a loop together heading out and back using that as an anchor.

    Then I started reading a bunch of ride reports and I read all 28 pages of klaviators life and times with a motorcycle thread. He really inspired me to see what riding the mountain twisties was all about. I was warming up to the idea that with this bike, maybe I'd be a little more comfortable covering a little bit of ground on the slab. I started really getting the itch to ride Highway 191 (They call it the Devil's Highway used to be HWY666 but they changed the name). If you've never heard of it google it and find the blog by excessivelocity. I put a route together in my head and planted the seed with my wife that I was going to be gone a couple days and my ride idea was born.
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  3. AZ Desert Dog

    AZ Desert Dog To Ornery To Quit

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    Lot's of big bike opportunity in AZ for sure. Looking forward to your ride reports. I just did the 666 and I'm working on editing the video for my YT channel. I ride a Tiger 800 and a WR450.
    #3
  4. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    I got my bags early last week and got them all strapped on the bike. I packed up everything I thought I might need for a camping trip and there I was standing in the garage looking at my bike all loaded for a trip and decided the only thing left to do is put gas in the bike and aim in a direction and go. With HWY 191 in mind I started putting a route together in my mind. Looking at a map I thought it would be cool to ride across the Apache trail since I've never been across there before. I could come out near Roosevelt lake and head to Globe for some gas. Then East to San Carlos lake and through to Clifton for lunch and gas. Through Morenci and North On Devil's Highway. I had plotted 4 different campgrounds along the way where I could stay if I was getting weary. Ultimately Alpine was where I was trying to reach on day 1. From there I'd make a turn West and head past Big Lake to Pinetop. My In-laws have a cabin there so I'm fairly familiar with the area but I just figured out that Forest Road 300 AKA Rim Road originates there. I wanted to take that across all the way to FR512 South to Young and back to the North end of Roosevelt lake. Up and over 4 Peaks and home from Fountain Hills. I had figured 600-700 miles and originally thought it'd be best to take 3 days.

    Mark was on vacation in San Diego so he was out. I had talked to Austin earlier in the week and he wasn't sure of his schedule for the weekend. He's a bartender so weekends off are not too common. He told me he wouldn't know his schedule until Thursday afternoon. I had made my mind up that I'd go alone. Last week was really nice weather for Phoenix this time of year. I rode my bike to work one morning and wished I had worn a jacket as it was kind of chilly. After I hatched my plan, the weather forecast for this week was calling for highs in the neighborhood of 120. If you've never experienced that, just go pre-heat your oven to about 350.... then hold your face over the door and open it. That should give you an idea. I am an HVAC tech so I work outside, on roof tops and you guessed it, summer is my busy season so I am fairly well acclimated to the heat. My personal cut-off is 112. That's where I start to not like it anymore. Lucky for me the weekend was still only calling for "cooler" temps like 115 or so. A good portion of the trip would be in much higher elevation so I wasn't discouraged. I have learned to respect the heat as it will kill you if you're not careful but it's no reason to stop you.

    Austin called me Thursday, he was off Saturday and Sunday. We talked about my plan. We talked about the heat. We talked about gas. We talked about food. He said "Damn, you really planned this thing out didn't you?" Then he said, but I don't have any panniers or anything. We devised a plan where he could borrow a bag I had and a duffle he had and I'd carry the lions share of the rest. He was in!! Our plan was to meet up at 6am Saturday morning and head out.

    Adventure awaits.
    #4
  5. Jeeper0505

    Jeeper0505 Adventurer

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    Location:
    Prescott, AZ
    Great read so far.....keep it coming!
    #5
  6. C5dad

    C5dad Man on the Run!

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    Arizona, fer now
    As you know, lots of water to bring along. Globe was 109 today at 330 pm. Though we did have some clouds and it tried to rain to the east -> I could see it from my office as I work at one of the mines. Watch the storm track! Weather is much different up that way from the oven, we, Valley!
    #6
  7. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    Here's my bike all loaded up. To be honest, I could have probably stayed out for another week with the stuff I had but I wanted to see what it was like to take a ride while fully loaded.
    KIMG0009.JPG


    We met up at a gas station just off the Loop 202. I was a couple minutes late as I was diddling around with getting all this high technology GPS navigation stuff going since this was the first time I'd be using any of that stuff.

    Austin smashed a sausage egg and cheese biscuit before we headed out.
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    After that,we geared up and rolled out. I jumped on my bike and pushed it back out of the spot, turned and was waiting for a car that was pulling in. The Austin is rolling his bike back and bumps in to my saddle bags. Damn near knocked me over right there in the parking lot. Wondering why his bike wasn't rolling he gave another push before he realized what was going on. I didn't fall over but I was close. We got a pretty good laugh out of it and off we went.

    Canyon lake was the first destination
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    There was this cool one lane bridge at the end of the lake.
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    #7
  8. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    Tortilla Flat is kind of a biker destination as the road in is kinda twisty and out of the way. Has a bar with saddles for bar stools and all that jazz. It was about 7am when we passed through so it wasn't quite buzzing with activity. P1010018.JPG

    Damn... my bike looks cool in this light!!! hahaha
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    I'll never tell Austin but that blue bike looks pretty good too...
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    #8
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  9. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    Shortly out of Tortilla Flat the pavement ends and The Apache Trail heads past Apache Lake, along the Salt River and upstream to Roosevelt Dam.
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    The Superstition Mountains are pretty awesome. Rough and rugged and lots of stories and you guessed it... superstitions!!
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    It gets hard to decide whether to pay attention to the road or just look around and take it all in...
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  10. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    The road meanders along side the Salt River for a spell before you come to Roosevelt Dam and you hit pavement again.
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    #10
  11. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    A couple things began to happen on a regular basis as we followed my planned route.

    1) Every time I would stop and take a picture... around the next bend would be a scenic overlook or pullout to take a better one

    and

    2) Almost without fail every leg of the trip was taking about 1/2 hour to an hour longer than I had estimated. Not that we were necessarily on a schedule but we had a lot of miles to cover in 2 days. I had originally kind of thought 3 days but it would be a short day in there somewhere.

    Roosevelt Dam
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    Just the other side of the Dam there's a bridge across the lake on HWY188 that we'd cross on our return trip.

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    From here it was 30-40 miles or so on the highway in to Globe for a gas stop. I had kinda planned on a gas stop about every 125-150 miles so gas wasn't ever going to be a concern. At least I hoped since I wasn't planning on carrying any!
    P1010057.JPG
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  12. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    We rolled in to Globe around 10am. An hour behind what I originally estimated, but then again I was pretty fascinated with the Apache Trail and made a lot more stops along the way than I anticipated. It was really a lot to take in so I'm glad I wasn't in a hurry.
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    While we gassed up we talked a bit about the next leg. It was another 120 or so miles to Clifton. We would cross the San Carlos Indian Reservation and there's a pretty good sized lake out there with a little detour road around to break up the highway a bit. We decided that we'd pull over when we got to the turn off and decide if we would take the detour and check out the lake or push through and see if we could get that hour back.

    We stopped at the turn off. Called another guy we knew from Safford to see if he'd like to join up with us. He was actually riding up 191 with his brother in law while we were talking. Maybe next time... We decided we'd pass the lake detour and try to get to higher ground as it was starting to get pretty close to 100 degrees out. As we closed in on Safford there was a big wild fire burning on a mountain South of the Highway. It was a pretty awesome sight and like most things, pictures do no justice to what it looks like in person.

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    Just past Safford we got to the Anchor of the trip. The reason we set out on the ride in the first place...
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    As I had mentioned earlier. I had ridden a hand full of miles on the road on a motorcycle in the past and to be honest, I have never really seen the romance. Droning out the miles on the slab just never really appealed to me, but after reading klaviators story I started re-thinking my opposition. This was gonna be my shakedown on mountain twisty roads.

    You gotta add the bikes so you know I'm not just a tourist
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  13. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    We started to climb a bit in elevation as we pressed on to Clifton which would be our next gas stop. I was expecting the town to be a little more substantial but we did manage to get gas there and the guy at the gas station sent us 4 miles up the hill to Morenci in search of lunch. Despite bypassing our detour to San Carlos Lake, we were still an hour behind what I had estimated. It was around 1 when we sat down at this little gem of a Cafe for some lunch. And I was hungry...
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    Who doesn't love Tater Tots...
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    Our waitress was kind enough to give us extra ice so we could ice down our camel packs as the water in mine was pretty warm. We saddled up and rode out of town. Which was about 2 blocks!!!

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    Morenci is a mining town and the mine is quite impressive in size. I mean really impressive in size. And the machines in use are equally impressive in size. Just after you pass through this tunnel you kind of get a feel for just how massive it all is.
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    #13
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  14. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    There's a storage yard along the road I didn't stop to take pictures of but they have a bunch of stuff MASSIVE stuff they use. The dump trucks are mind blowingly huge. There's a scenic overlook where can watch these machines at work.
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    Those little trucks you see trucking along the road hauling ore or whatever it is they do take tires that look like this. The picture in no way accurately portrays the sheer size of what you're looking at but it's just massive.

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    Just around the bend from here we ran in to a herd of bighorn sheep just kinda hanging around the highway. P1010075.JPG

    This place is the last form of civilization you will see for close to 100 miles so get gas before you depart.
    #14
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  15. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    From my research, I was planning on 4 hours ride time to cover the next 90 miles or so to Alpine. It was around 2:00 so we were good on daylight. At this point I think we were around 5000ft in elevation and we would be the other side of 9000 at one point or another along the way. I had mapped out 4 different camping areas along the route not knowing when I'd be ready to call it a day. This was already by far the longest trip I had ever ridden on a bike. We were feeling pretty fresh after lunch and just pretty stoked at the trip so far. The good stuff was just beginning. After putting the mine behind us, the road wiggled it's way in to the mountains. Being a dirt bike guy on that last stretch of highway I was just imagining whatever tread I had on my tires just melting right off the center of my tire. After a few miles of this stuff I felt a little better because I never touched the center of the tread except to roll over to the other side. I was a little apprehensive at first but once I got comfortable it was sheer joy...

    This road was designed by a guy who rode motorcycles... I'm just sure of it!!
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    Just a winding ribbon of blacktop climbing up in to the mountains

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    Picking up more and more elevation... the trees are changing... temps are dropping... but the road is still kick ass!

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    We stopped and scouted all the campgrounds I had noted along the way but we were feeling good and decided to keep moving along.

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    #15
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  16. kojack06

    kojack06 Been here awhile

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    Great report! I haven't been on this highway since 89'/90'!
    #16
  17. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    We stopped at an overlook, the name of which escapes me. I think this was our highest point on the trip. There was some discussion over who's device needed calibration but I estimate somewhere near 9300 ft.
    P1010089.JPG P1010089.JPG
    There was an overgrown set of stairs and a railing that led to nothing....
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    There were a few people here and we ended up chatting with them for a few minutes before we pressed on but they were the first people we had seen since leaving the mine. All said and done I don't think we passed more than 5 cars on the road between Morenci and the time we hit Hannigan Meadow which is only a few miles shy of Alpine where we called it a day.

    Attached Files:

    #17
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  18. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    Thanks kojack! We really had a great trip... just wanted to share.
    #18
  19. kojack06

    kojack06 Been here awhile

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    What were the temperatures at Alpine?
    #19
  20. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    We rolled in to Alpine about 6:00 and got some gas. As we were gassing up an old timer pulls up on a Ural with a sidecar and we shot the breeze with him and asked about camping and he pointed us up the road 4 miles to Aspen Divide Campground. That was originally my intended destination so things were going our way. I regret not getting a picture of his ride as I don't ever recall actually ever seeing one of those rare unicorns in the wild. We grabbed some water, a 6 pack of beer and headed for the campground. We snagged up the last spot just in time as 2 or 3 people came after us looking for a spot.
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    Got changed in to some fresh clothes and set up the tents. 12 hours on the road... I was ready to get those boots off for sure. The beer was icing on the cake!
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    We could have eaten dinner in town but decided we'd give the freeze dried meals and the jet-boil a go so as to make us feel like we were really living off the grid but truth be told... we had 4G cell service in camp so it was cheating a little.

    we also had deluxe accomodations...
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    Funny tid bit... at some stop earlier in the day Austin pointed out to me that I had mounted my saddle bags backwards. He was like "hey... the reflectors are supposed to face the back dummy" I had never even payed attention, but that made sense. So sue me... I'm new to this. He did however remind me more than once that they were backwards...He hit the rack pretty quick after we ate and I told him I was gonna pack up the chow kit and a couple other things before I went to bed. You bet your ass I flipped those bags around!!!
    #20
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