AZ - Rug Road, A Three Hour Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Yardstick, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
    A tale of a fateful trip
    That started from Mammoth, AZ
    Aboard three KTM's. :lol3

    jrproper - KTM 530 EXC - White hand guarded, supertanker
    vortexf650 - KTM 450 EXC - Blue hand guards
    Yardstick - KTM 530 EXC - Orange hand guards

    The blue track is the intended route. Red tracks are potential offshoots to check out.
    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, Google Earth doesn't tell you where there are locked gates that have scared women with shotguns behind them. What started out as an 80 mile loop through unknown terrain, turned into a 200 mile Adventure!
    #1
  2. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    Some e-mail traffic from the planning stages of this little excursion:

    jrproper: I'm thinking rtr about 8:30-9ish... should we do earlier??
    Yardstick: Ride time sounds good. Maybe closer to 9. ;)
    jrproper: [vortexf650] is going to come to my house, haven't told him a time yet.. 6:30?
    ...
    jrproper: So I'd guess we would be by your house a little after 7 if that still works for ya!
    Yardstick: That works. If it's just the three of us, I'm not that concerned with keeping to a schedule.
    jrproper: Yep, just the three of us. Just as long as we're not riding in the dark.:)

    Oh yeah... We were cursed from the start. :lol3


    Heading southeast to Florence, we hit a traffic jam.
    [​IMG]


    Certain weekends they run bicycle races out here.
    [​IMG]


    After some slow-going, the lead riders turned off.
    [​IMG]


    Followed by the peloton.
    [​IMG]


    And we were on our way to the mountains in the distance.
    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    Getting ready at about 9:30 there was some debate whether or not to wear or even bring a jacket. It was supposed to be warm and it didn't feel too bad sitting still. I am so glad I brought my jacket!
    [​IMG]


    The road starts out easy enough. Jrproper at the turn to the Rug Road.
    [​IMG]


    But we all want to check out Sibley Mansion first, so off we go!
    [​IMG]


    This area has a lot of little roads shooting off in all directions from various mining activities.
    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    Which way do we go? With so many choices and nobody with a mounted GPS, we stopped quite a few times to get our bearings. Check out the mountain goat on the hill!
    [​IMG]


    That is one fat mountain goat! :lol3
    [​IMG]


    Ah, we're going entirely the wrong direction!
    [​IMG]


    Back to the water crossing near the holding tanks.
    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    We followed Copper Creek and found remains of old mining equipment littering the hills.
    [​IMG]


    Copper Creek definitely lives up to its name!
    [​IMG]


    Copper Waterfall!
    [​IMG]


    There were some concrete walls and other remains opposite this chute, but taking pictures into the sun doesn't work so well.
    [​IMG]


    Copper Creek runs through the small ravine to the left. Soon we would be in the creek!
    [​IMG]


    Scary bridge! Good thing we don't have to cross here.
    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. lightfighter

    lightfighter where does this go?

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,303
    Location:
    Sierra Vista AZ.
    subscription post:deal
    #6
  7. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    Getting to the mansion requires testing one's trials skills.
    [​IMG]


    Lots of good obstacles to play on!
    [​IMG]


    Line selection is key!
    [​IMG]


    But apparently the mansion has owners that don't want visitors, so the road ends at a gate a half mile away from the place. :doh
    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    We thought we could hike up a hill and see it from above, but it is around the corner and hidden from view.
    [​IMG]


    We did see another one of those portly mountain goats though. :D
    [​IMG]


    Back down the hill to the bikes.
    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    Interesting place for a staircase! We didn't explore this road though. We were on a mission to ride the Rug Road!
    [​IMG]


    On the way in I saw a few things of interest that I wanted to get pics of on the way out. Lots of material removed from these hills.
    [​IMG]


    Odd colored dirt in Copper Creek.
    [​IMG]


    We think the tailings in the upper right were from "Reliable Mine". Apparently whatever the metal thing is, it wasn't so reliable.
    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    Finally, the beginning of The Rug Road! The road gets its name from the multi-colored patches of carpet that were used to get traction on this road.
    [​IMG]


    Yep, it's so steep and so rocky that 4WD's needed extra traction! What did we get ourselves into? :eek1
    [​IMG]


    And we're not even to the steep parts yet!
    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    Most of the carpet is long gone, but you still see bits of colored rags caught in the rocks as you descend.
    [​IMG]


    We were dropping so much elevation that the obvious question had to be asked.
    [​IMG]


    What happens if we hit a dead end and have to come back up? :eek1
    [​IMG]


    It wouldn't be pretty, but, "technically it's doable".
    [​IMG]


    If you didn't see the moon rising in that last shot, there it is!
    [​IMG]


    More down!
    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    What goes down, must come up!
    [​IMG]


    You can see all of what we just came down in the background.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Up some more!
    [​IMG]


    Finally, at the top! But we are nowhere near done with the down/up/down/up routine.
    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    From the top the trail drops into yet another valley.
    [​IMG]


    Some of the hills weren't so bad.
    [​IMG]


    Most were littered with baseball to bowling ball sized rocks!
    [​IMG]


    Fortunately there were some short reprieves from the relentless rock! (This is looking back)
    [​IMG]


    The other side of the sign.
    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    If you can take your eyes off the trail for a second, there is some cool stuff to see!
    [​IMG]


    We're at the bottom again. Time to start climbing!
    [​IMG]


    The next climb was a set of rocky switchbacks where you had to dig deep to keep the momentum up. This is the reward!
    [​IMG]


    And this is the punishment.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    Further down the trail we came across the remains of what looks like a general store.
    [​IMG]


    They've been robbed!
    [​IMG]


    Looking back through the doorway. Those aren't period-correct horses. :D
    [​IMG]


    A short distance away is this old mining equipment.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    After some questioning of the GPS route vs. what is on the ground we found ourselves entering Parsons Grove.
    [​IMG]


    And then the trail turned rocky again. This picture doesn't do this section of trail justice at all. The trail was relatively flat but covered with boulders!
    [​IMG]


    When the boulders went away, we were riding on rock faces and ledges. I slowed down quite a bit in here to keep from pinch flatting. :D
    [​IMG]


    The scenery looking east.
    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    Eventually we got off the mountain and into Aravaipa Canyon!
    [​IMG]


    This spot reminded me a lot of an area in Moab.
    [​IMG]


    The road through the canyon follows Turkey Creek.
    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    This is a big canyon!
    [​IMG]


    It has seen some development in the past.
    [​IMG]


    This house looks almost livable as-is!
    [​IMG]


    Plenty of (cold!) water crossings, if you're into that sort of thing.
    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    We got out of the canyon and onto the road to Klondyke thinking that if the road conditions held out we could make the other 50 miles of the original loop before dark.

    At the turn North on Aravaipa Town Rd, we got a little local help. An employee of The Nature Conservancy told us there was a property owner who fenced off the road. It's a road that has been open for a hundred years or more, but the land owners have relatively recently fenced it off and taken it upon themselves to close the road. They're not even local owners.

    jrproper: What kind of fence is it? :evil
    Nature Conservancy guy: The kind with a scared woman with a shotgun behind it! :eek1

    The absentee owners have a caretaker that patrols the property. So that's not an option.

    We asked the guy what our options were. There were three:

    1: We could go back the way we came. It's only ~30 miles! It was 5:30 p.m. and we started at 9:30 a.m. We would be riding major parts of the steep, rocky Rug Road in the dark. Or camping.

    2: Ride to Wilcox and then back through Tucson.

    3: Ride toward Safford and make the loop toward Globe and down to Winkelman.

    Technically there was also a fourth and fifth option. Fourth being, have my wife jump in the truck and meet us in Wilcox, Globe or some other place. Fifth would be a hotel in one of the population centers.

    Option 3 sounded the least objectionable at about 3 hours and no screaming our thumpers' guts out on the freeway. And we were still enjoying ourselves! :D

    Looking back into the town of Klondyke, Pop. 5!
    [​IMG]


    Safford (actually, North of Safford) to the left, Wilcox to the right. Between the cold water crossings and the lack of heat from the big orange ball in the sky, we were already jacketed up.
    [​IMG]


    Heading down the road, I thought these would be the last pictures I took for the day. Looking East!
    [​IMG]


    Sun setting in the West!
    [​IMG]


    Further down the road and the sun recedes further from the horizon.
    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    The first gas station we came to only had 87 octane. Vortexf650 left significant tank contents on the trail and had already made the switch to reserve, so he filled up. My bike was still sipping fuel from the long straw so I risked it, hoping for better fuel selection up the road.
    [​IMG]


    Success! The next station up the road not only had 91 octane, they had sweatshirts for $20! Vortexf650 is excited! :lol3 This was also the first time on this bike with this tank that I switched to reserve.
    [​IMG]


    By the time we hit the Apache Gold Casino gas station, I was freezing. The Fly jacket I was wearing does a pretty good job cutting the wind. The Shoei MX helmet and thin gloves do not! Sweatshirts here were $40! :eek1 It's like they know! I skipped it. I've been colder. Hot coffee and a quick snack would have to be enough.
    [​IMG]


    Another funny observation when traveling by motorcycle. 90% of people are going to ask you where you're headed. When you tell them, they will comment on the ambient temperature!
    #20