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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by cb60130, Jun 19, 2017.
it just keeps getting more picturesque...
a few miles before hitting town the traffic slowed to a crawl. Like stop and go crawl. After a mile or two I was starting to get a cramp in my left hand from the clutching to crawl along. I decided I'd take a detour at Morgan Rd. This is where the Pink Jeep Tours take the tourists on their little sight seeing loop. It's national forest land so the trail is open to the public but the jeep tours do a lot of trail maintenance so they like to think they own the area. You will get snarky looks from the jeep drivers but the tourists in back think it's out of this world that they see common folk along the trail. The trails lead to some of the most awesome picture opportunities you will find in the area.
I took a fleet of pictures on Broken Arrow trails hoping the traffic jam would clear up while I was playing around. No such luck...The last mile or two in to town was no better. It would have been faster to push my bike. Just to illustrate how photogenic Sedona is.... It doesn't matter which direction you are looking, the view is pretty incredible.
After finally getting in to town to catch HWY89A South ... I hit Page Springs Road down to Cornville. I had burned a lot of daylight getting started late, getting detoured, stuck in traffic, playing photographer. I dropped off Page Springs Road a little after 2pm. I was kinda hungry and thinking about the miles I had to cover to get home. I headed east along my planned route and soon passed this place.
There was a little store with gas at the other end of the shopping center... It only took about a 1/4 mile for me to turn around and go get a burger. I decided I'd grab some chow and top off my tank and hit the interstate home. I had planned a whole lot of dirt roads from here to home but I decided I'd just duck out on that and get home.
By the way... If you're ever in that neck of the woods... The Mushroom & Swiss burger is worth the stop.
Even through all the adversity just to get on the road, finding my friends, detours and holiday traffic... I had a great 2 days.
Beats work any time!
Nice write ups . . . makes me look forward to my upcoming ride in AZ!
Nice rides, looks like fun. PM me if you want to ride sometime.
Somewhere after my last ride I found the flyer for an ADV Rally in Flagstaff this weekend. I sent a flare up to some of my riding buddies. I was having a hard time being able to commit so I never pulled the trigger and registered. Austin was out. Mark isn't set up to camp so I made him an Amazon wish list with the basics half as a joke and half as a kick in the ass to get some camping gear and emailed it to him early last week. He didn't take the bait. There's another guy Scott that I had ridden with once who was on the original call to organize. I hadn't heard much from him I figured he wasn't too interested or busy. I never really got free until Thursday so it was kind of too late to register for the rally. Mark was good to ride Saturday but not camp. We decided we'd follow the same route I had taken on my last trip since he'd never been up that way and we'd split off at the end of the day. I'd set up camp and he'd slab it home. Mark was in touch with Scott late in the week and it turns out he was half planning on trying to make it to the ADV rally. At the last minute he decided to join up with us for the ascent. The plan was we'd all ride up together, then all 3 head different directions at the end of the day.
It's monsoon season here in AZ right now so the weather is a little bit of a gamble. The forecast says 20% chance of rain all week in Phoenix. But there's about a 100% chance it will rain in the mountains all around but you just really don't know where or when. In addition to that these storms can be down right wicked. We took the gamble.
7am. I met up with Mark and Scott at a gas station in Scottsdale.
I just got a Sena last week so we all synched up and rolled out toward Fountain Hills. If you have a group of buddies you ride with I highly recommend taking the plunge in helmet intercoms. It was the first time I had been able to intercom like that and it made the ride pretty entertaining. The 3 of us talked shit all day long while riding. It was really helpful in the twisties or when somebody needed to stop, plus it was non-stop entertainment.
We got gas in Fountain Hills and headed North on 87. We hit the Four Peaks turn off after 15 miles or so and we were on dirt. The area got pounded with monsoon rain Friday night so there was no dust and the traction was better than usual. Mark and Scott are both A class racers I never quite made it there since B class was as fast as I ever got. I let those 2 ride ahead and did my best to keep them close. We were making pretty good time. We were 10-15 miles in when I was following Scott and his tent was gently finding it's way from the grasp of his tie downs on the back seat. It took about 3-4 corners and a g-out or 2 and his tent was free. I told him on the intercom he dropped his tent and he stopped. I picked it up and rode it up to him in 100 yards or so. Without an intercom I would have had to pick it up and either strap it on my bike or set it in my lap and limp along trying not to drop it while I caught up. We were moving pretty good and having fun so I imagine it would have been a couple miles before those guys figured out I wasn't back there. First case in favor of Sena!
Here's Scott getting his stuff tied down.
We are all new to this adventure thing so we're getting all the bugs ironed out of our setups. He recently bought the KTM 1290 and this was to be his first over night trip. We didn't bust his chops too bad about the little hiccup with his tent... I lied... we spent the whole time giving him shit while he re-engineered his rig.
We got back on the trail and made it about 3-4 miles. This time his tent was sliding forward so we stopped again so he could re-adjust. We took the opportunity to dish it out once again.
We made it over the top of Four Peaks and down to Roosevelt Lake. We stopped one more time for Scott to adjust his stuff. This time there was a length of strap dangling down and flirting with his rear caliper. Yeah... we busted his balls about it. Good to get that out of harms way before bad things happened. We took FR60 across the North side of the lake. We made pretty good time and rode in a pretty tight group across. Nature's water truck did a great job keeping the dust down for us.
Mark and I had talked about maybe throwing an alternate part in to the trip when we hit the Young Rd. Maybe hit FR203 which is part of the AZBDR but we decided to skip it in the interest of getting Scott close to Flagstaff while we still had daylight. I have read about that part on other ride reports and it's supposed to be moderately tough with spots that get washed out in flash floods... in retrospect it's probably a damn good thing we didn't try to tackle it yesterday or we might still be out there.
The first several miles going North is just a lonely stretch of twisty pavement heading in to the hills. It is rare that you will pass anyone and it's a REALLY fun place to scrub out the chicken strips on your tires. We made a pretty spirited run up in to the hills. The last couple times I was through there I passed a spot that I wanted to get a picture of... this time I stopped.
It's just a gnarly crack in the earth that opens up and you can see the lake through the crack as you head up in to the hills. Unless you are looking you will pass it and never realize it's there but it's pretty cool. While we were playing photographer there was something happening above.
Monsoon season here is a gamble. The mountains build up really impressive looking thunderheads almost every day. Some days they migrate all the way down in to Phoenix, some days they don't. You just never know what they will bring.
About 30 miles North we'd hit Young. We decided a cheeseburger was in order as it was just about high noon. We stopped in a bar and grill type place called Antlers. It was busy... I think we snatched up the last table in the place. Just as we ordered our drinks... the power went out. We hung around and waited about 15 minutes and they had started some kind of backup generator to get some lights going in the place but it wasn't looking too promising for lunch in a hurry so we cut bait and decided we'd head the 30 miles or so to the next place we could get some grub. We left Antlers and headed for the ONE gas pump in Young.
We pull in and Scott runs in to a couple guys he raced with in the WORCS series. Small world... especially if you consider we're in a town with ONE gas pump. We got gas, some water for camel packs, a candy bar and here we were faced with a decision. Is it time to put on our rain gear? The view to the North was ominous. Like a bunch of fools we opted out of donning the rain gear before we hit rain. I guess we were still in Phoenix monsoon thinking. The sky gets mean looking but that rarely means actual rain. In the mountains it's opposite and it's usually rain. We pulled out of Young and headed north. A few miles out of town the pavement ends and we were making good time on a nicely groomed mountain road. The only problem was the sky was looking kind of angry. Actually a touch past angry, if I was to describe it better I'd say it looked to be in a RAGE. I chimed in on the intercom when I felt the first rain drop. I said "I'm gonna pull over and put on my rain jacket and my rain cover on my tail bag." Scott said "Lets find a flat spot to pull over" By the time we finished those 2 sentences the rain was coming down... coming down HARD. I think we rode a 1/4 mile tops before we pulled over and I was soaked. The rain drops were bucket sized and were also accompanied by hail stones at this point. It was kind of a moot point but we all scrambled to put some rain gear on. The rain was coming down in sheets. It was stupid heavy rain. And the lightning and thunder was just natures way of reminding us that we were stupid too. The rain was coming down so hard it filled my face shield with water while I was looking down trying to attach my rain cover on my tail bag and zip up my jacket. It was like looking out of a fish bowl. We got rolling again, it was kind of sketchy, a little slick, can't see a damn thing, lightning and thunder. We're stupid so we just keep going.
Good thing about these storms is that they are usually short and thankfully this one was. I think we were out of the rain in 15 minutes or so but the damage was done. We were soaked to the bone. I think we had 10-15 miles to get to the highway and then we ducked East to Forest Lakes where there's a Bar & Grill on the highway. We pulled in the parking lot and we were laughing about the rain and peeling off our soaked gear and a lady comes out to tell us they have no power, a limited menu and can only take cash at the moment. We asked what they could cook... she said quesadillas, chicken wings and burgers. We looked at each other and wondered .... Is there anything else we could ask for? We sat outside on the patio since it was dark inside. I had a Green Chile Cheeseburger that was divine but as I was eating I kept getting colder and colder. My soaked gear wasn't doing my core temp any favors. After we squared up our tab I decided to take off my wet jersey and base layer and get some dry stuff out of my saddle bags. Good thing I had some dry clothes in there or I think I would have been done for the day.
We headed west on the highway to get back to the rim road (FR300). When I bought my bike I kinda thought grip heaters were a dumb idea, especially since my first handful of rides were riding through 100 plus degree temps. When your gloves are soaked and you're running 65mph in 60 degree weather, grip heaters aren't dumb anymore. As a matter of fact I'd like to kiss the guy who invented them. Even with a dry shirt on and grip heaters it was cold and I was damn sure glad to get to our turn off the highway. I took the opportunity to remind Mark and Scott that my hands were warm on the intercom. I can't remember exactly what they said but it wasn't very nice. They don't have grip heaters. A few miles later I chimed in on the intercom to let them know I had to turn down the grip heaters... they were too hot on the high setting. They weren't too interested in my problem.
Just off the highway FR300 is pretty busy with campers and sight seeing folks but as you get further in the traffic thins out. We got to the first real point of interest . The road runs along the Mogollom rim and you look off to the area below and it's pretty awesome.
Scott and Mark. A little wet and a little cold but no worse for wear.
Off in the distance you can see two spots where the rain is coming down hard but they are kinda isolated. That's how these things go. You could ride all day under black skies and never get caught. Or... You can get BLASTED like we did.
Looks like a picture for a magazine shootout... KTM1290 vs Africa Twin vs BMW F800... haha
Depending what direction we were heading. The skies would look like they were going to break open to sunshine or unleash fury upon us as we made our way across the rim.
We stopped a time or two to take a picture. We dropped in to a canyon through a couple switchbacks and it started to get foggy. Then I'm like what hell is that???
Looked like we hit snow...
It was hail. I'm damn sure glad we missed it coming down.
A few miles later we hit the same kind of thing. I grabbed my camera out of my tank bag and snapped a couple pics while we were moving.
It was weird, like something out of a science fiction movie.
We hit HWY87 and made a decision. It was here that we would decide our fate. Originally I had kind of planned on camping somewhere around here. Mark could duck out on the slab from here and be home in 100 miles. Scott could have an easy ride up to Flagstaff from here. It was about 5:00 I had also put together a route that would dump out on I-17 near Munds Park just a little South of Flag. I was about 44 miles and I had also planned for a bail out at Stoneman Lake to I-17 about halfway. We were having a great day and none of us were really ready to call it a day yet. We had about 3 hours of daylight left and we decided we'd take on that last 44 mile leg I had plotted on the GPS. We hit the gas station a few miles up the road and topped off our tanks.
We had a couple miles of slab and we hit our turn. Or so we thought... The GPS had shown us turning on a route that just wasn't there. We looked around for a couple minutes and there was nothing there. Not even a goat trail. After looking a little closer and zooming in we could catch another way in about a 1/4 mile down the road we were back on track. Things were going well and we were making pretty good time. We caught another trail and it was a little rutted and rocky but it was fun as we weaved our way through the pine forest. The next trail we connected to got a little more rocky and slower going. It was rocky, real rocky actually. Nothing that going to turn us around but it was slow going for sure.
I was bringing up the rear as I did most of the day and had gotten just about to the end of Sena range when I tipped over in a really awkward spot. Mark and Scott were just far enough ahead that I lost them right as I went down. My bike was laying on a slight downhill so I had to overcome that and with all my shit strapped on I had a hard time finding anywhere to get a good purchase on my bike to lift. Needless to say I worked up a bit of a sweat getting my bike upright and moving again. As soon as I got moving Mark was on his way back to check on me. About this time it started to rain. This rocky bitch of a trail wasn't going to be a lot of fun in the rain so we kept moving. We came to a spot where the trail seemed to just vaporize in to the forest. I looked like a fire had been through and there were trees down. We just put our trust in the red line on the GPS screen and went for it. We picked up a recognizable trail again in about a 1/4 mile.
With the rain steadily coming down it was getting wet. The rocks were slick and plentiful but the dirt around here was really slick and sticky. We got out of the rocky stuff when the trail popped out of the woods in to what was like lower elevation scrubby forest. It was good to leave the rocks behind but now we were in really sticky snotty mud. We duck waddled our way along on a two track jeep road until the mud had it's way with the front fender on Scott's KTM. He said he was going to stop and see what was going on with his fender and as I was riding up behind him the next thing I know, my bike is on the ground. AGAIN. These big bikes aren't fun to ride in slick mud. That's my official position and I'm sticking to it. Scott's fender was done. He pulled what was left of it off and came up with a way to rig up some zip ties to keep his brake lines out of his front wheel. While he was dicking around with that I was looking at the GPS. We would intersect with the next trail in a mile or so. Since this was unknown territory for us, I was praying it was going to be a better road than this.
Part of this adventure thing has been learning how to create routes and get them loaded on the GPS. I have been working on honing up my skills and trying to create routes. Figuring out how to e-mail the files to my buddies and get them to load them on GPS so we can all navigate. We're all GPS noobs. On a lot of these adventures, we haven't been there so we're not working off a known track but a route I create off a map.That's all good and well as long as everybody is having a good time. But when shit goes bad I kind of feel responsible. I was hoping Mark and Scott weren't thinking of hanging me from a tree or anything. In my defense, none of any of this would have been an issue without the rain but this snotty mud was really slowing us down.
That last mile was nothing short of hellish. We dropped down in to a little canyon where we bounced over some big ass rocks and then we got in some extra slick ass mud and wouldn't you know I fell over again. In a puddle. I tried picking up my bike, my feet slid one way and the bike slid the other. This mud was bullshit. Scott helped me hoist my bike out of the slop and I made it about 12 feet before I dumped it again. Got moving and caught up to Mark. Right about here my battery in my Sena headset died. It had worked just as advertised and then some. I think they said 10 hours talk time and we were about 12 hours in at this point. We could see the intersection to the next road. As we sat for a minute we could hear a truck off in the distance. He sounded stuck. You'd hear the engine revving and people yelling, then a minute would go by and you'd hear the process repeat. Didn't sound promising. We saw another truck come cruising down the road. Looked more promising. We hung a right at the road which was in much better condition than what we just finished. About a 1/4 mile and we saw a sign ...12 miles to I-17. Mark pulled up next to me, gave me a thumbs up and said "I think we just found our way out of here"
It was starting to get dark and sprinkling rain. We took off down the road and lemme tell you it was a little sketch. We were probably going 30mph and there were spots where that snotty shit would take over and you would just have to pucker your ass up and pray. 6 miles later we hit pavement and had 6 more miles West to the interstate. The rain was coming down a little harder and it was a little tough to see well with the light and the rain.
wow,, looks like i was only about an hour behind you guys doing the same route till i got to forest lakes. i went to hang out with a buddy camping there for a while so i could ride in the dark,,, i string together a bunch of other dirt to mostly avoid the rim rd. antlers was hot inside so i ate on the patio, in spite of that it was busier than ive seen it in a long time. luckily the gas pump at forest lakes was on since that was my refuel stop.
that fog was pretty cool, yesterday was one of the best days riding ive done in a while, over 400 miles and i didnt want to stop.
I think it was right around 7:30 when we hit I-17. The last 6 miles I had been thinking about where the hell I was going to set up camp in the dark while it was raining. The sky to the North and West of us was looking pretty wicked. I had a feeling it was going to be a rainy night. Mark was dead set on going home. Scott was considering his options. I wasn't excited about setting up camp in the dark and getting rained on all night. Scott and I talked about maybe running up to Flag and camping or getting a room. Mark said he had looked earlier in the week and there wasn't much available. Mark was looking at weather on the radar and was starting to think he could out run this looming shit in the sky. Scott decided he'd join him down so he didn't have to ride alone. I wasn't crazy about riding the interstate in the rain but I was equally un-excited about setting up camp in the dark and rain. I told those crazy bastards "We set out like a band of brothers... we finish like a band of brothers"
We got on the interstate and headed south. It was raining and I'm not gonna lie my ass was puckered up pretty tight. The good news, Mark was right. We got ahead of the storm pretty quick and the rain stopped. As the last of daylight faded the sky to the West was just black and every so often lightning would light up the sky. It was raining over there and it didn't look like anything you'd want to ride through for sure. As we were headed up and out of the Verde Valley. I saw a bike closing in on us in my rear view. I assumed it was a cruiser, a headlight with 2 smaller driving lights. As he was passing I looked left to wave and it's a dude on a BMW 1200. I figured he was on his way home from the ADV rally in Flag. I chuckled to myself thinking we're not the only dumb asses trying to beat this storm out of the mountains. About a 1/2 hour later we passed him. By this time Mark's Sena had died too. Scott was behind me and as we closed in on Sunset Point Rest area Scott flashed his brights from behind. I figured he wanted to stop so I flashed Mark ahead of me in case he didn't get the message. He got the message and soon signaled to exit. We pulled in and found a spot. The dude on the 1200 followed us in. He admitted to stalking us and we had a laugh. He was checking out Mark's Africa Twin. I have to say... Why does everybody always googoo over his bike? How come nobody ever goes "WOW... is that an F800?" We stretched our legs, shot the shit for a few minutes and started talking about food. We decided we'd try and make Anthem and hit a cantina for a burrito or something. We invited our new friend to follow us in to town if he wanted, he obliged.
Amen brother... yesterday was one of the coolest days I've ever had on a motorcycle.
We headed down the hill from Sunset Point with Mark in the lead... He hauls ass on the highway. I'm a noob on the slab so I don't like to push it but he was makin' time. I just twisted it and followed along. We hit the cantina, name escapes me now, a little after 9:00. I ordered a shredded beef chimichanga with green sauce and it was just what I needed. Scott doesn't eat... he just inhales food. Mark eats at a snail's pace. We bullshitted about the day we just had, traded war stories, talked about future rides. So I was talking to the guy we just met about some different places we've been. I mention G's Burgers in Cornville and he says he saw that in a ride report on advrider.com. I was like... that was me! Funny... small world indeed.
It was nice meeting you on the way home. I'll be in touch. We will ride.