Devil's highway

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Xskydiver, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. Xskydiver

    Xskydiver Been here awhile

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    I'm really lazy about writing these things. This was a pretty cool trip so I thought I'd share.
    I tried this trip last year from the opposite direction and my clutch blew up a few miles onto the dirt. After an exhaustive battle with BMW they finally did the right thing and replaced the clutch...but that's a different story. This one starts with a simple desire for redemption. The devil would not best me again.
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    It was a little chilly at six in the morning. I wasn't looking forward to the interstate at these temperatures.


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    This was the first gas stop. Thankfully it had already warmed up quite a bit. Nice tail bag right?

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    This is Kitt Peak. It's an observatory run by U of A on the way from Tucson to Ajo. About a second after I took this we rounded the bend and were met with a sea of red and blue lights covering the highway. It was interesting trying to brake, downshift, move over, and not drop my phone all at the same time. It looked like a Border Patrol agent and a smuggler had collided with one another. Both vehicles were on the side of the highway and smashed up. I hope the agent wasn't injured.


    More to follow...
    #1
  2. Xskydiver

    Xskydiver Been here awhile

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    This was the scene from Tucson to Ajo. I was pretty grateful for having a bunch of music on my phone. Except for the near death experience near Kitt peak the ride to Ajo was pretty boring.

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    This is Alan. There were supposed to be more of us but we all know how that goes...
    #2
  3. Xskydiver

    Xskydiver Been here awhile

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    After a quick stop in Ajo at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge office to pick up our permits we headed back to the start of the Diablo. We put our flags on (to be legal) and shed some layers (to be cool). The temperature was about 70 degrees already. I knew there was a reason we were doing this in the winter.

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    #3
  4. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    "not drop your phone" ?

    You were holding a phone __while__ riding a motorcycle on a public
    road ?

    The Darwin Awards called, they'd like to set up an appointment with you.
    #4
  5. Mercenary

    Mercenary Mindless Savage

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    Ummm....me thinks he's using his phone to take the pics....

    We see lots of folks take pic's while riding so......cut this dude some slack there guy:freaky
    #5
  6. Xskydiver

    Xskydiver Been here awhile

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    Here's a few pictures of Bate's Well. It's pretty much the first notable place you come to. The road was pretty good up to here. I was wondering what all the fuss was about. Sure, I had seen some sand last year on the other end, but this was a pretty well maintained road. A little rocky but nothing to think twice about. I had downloaded a list of sights to see along the road. The list noted that Bate's Well would be a good place to air down your tires. Air down, why? This road was cake.
    #6
  7. tucsondude

    tucsondude Been here awhile

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    wait you didnt do this yesterday?

    I think it was the coldest day in the last 9 months?

    i thought about riding up to phx to buy a new helmet, and said f that...:rofl going to go monday.
    #7
  8. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    You lucky dog-----------I've been plotting to ride this road along the Mexican border for years.
    Rode down there once--and was turned away in Ajo---as they said motorcycles weren't allowed.

    I've called them several times since-----and would get conflicting answers to whether or not I could ride my motorcycle across the preserve.

    Then the one final pisser 2 years later----I got an OK from some lady there over the phone and I thought---alright I'm finally going to get to ride it ----and right before I left I called again to confirm and she still said it was OK---but wait she said---let me talk to my supervisor---------who then turned me down.

    Man was I aggravated-glad you got to-------hope you got good pics :D:D:D:D:D

    BigDog
    #8
  9. Xskydiver

    Xskydiver Been here awhile

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    I was told the same thing last year which it's why I did it the other direction last year. The Cabeza Prieta NWR had a long standing "policy" of not issuing permits to motorcycles. The Marines in Yuma however, have no such policy so I got my permit from them last year. After asking a few questions and not liking the answers, I got the Blue Ribbon Coalition involved who brought in the AMA. We were able to find specific wording in the travel management plan allowing motorcycle access. Then after a few more months of the refuge manager convincing his bosses to do the right thing they finally issued a press release stating the refuge would be reversing the policy and begin issuing the permits. Thanks to the newly appointed manager Sid Slone for making it happen.
    #9
  10. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    Thanks so much for the info------I never took it off my bucket list--just shoved it down a bit----by next plan of attack was to get a permit and never tell them what vehicle I would take---or fudge about it-----maybe change my mind what to take ??????:deal:deal:deal

    I'll be down that way again next year--and give it a shot. I've been all over the border down there---all over---just never got to ride the "El Camino Del Diablo".:eek1:eek1

    By the way----how I found out about this trail----was from a guy who rode it solo on a Honda XR650R---it's still on AdvRider somewhere.

    Found it: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=196396&highlight=camino+diablo

    BigDog
    #10
  11. Xskydiver

    Xskydiver Been here awhile

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    Let me know if you want some company when you get here. I'll probably be ready to do it again by then.
    #11
  12. Xskydiver

    Xskydiver Been here awhile

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    Oh yeah...this road is cake...

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    What was that about airing down?
    This was actually my second time down in about a mile. The cake turned into foot deep sugar sand with a couple of hundred truck ruts through it. Remember that sweet "tail bag"? It made the bike feel like I was riding two up with an elephant.
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    Then we found some water.

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    Then we found some more water. WTF...I thought this was the desert.
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    Oops. As you can see, even the go arounds were basically impassable. Yep...cake for sure.
    #12
  13. Superhawk

    Superhawk Been here awhile

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    Nice work !! and great RR !
    #13
  14. Purcell69

    Purcell69 Mors ex Tenebris

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    Moving forward...at the speed of rust in mid-OK
    That's awesome! When I was stationed in Yuma, I ventured in along El Camino Diablo a little ways down the established trail on my DR350. Wasn't supposed to be there, but... I only traveled a few miles since I didn't want to anger the Feds. I would really love to make the full ride.

    Nice going, looking forward to the rest of the report. :clap

    -Joe
    #14
  15. Xskydiver

    Xskydiver Been here awhile

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    Luckily the swamp didn't last too long. Then it was back into the sand. We got some relief now and then in the form of these Vietnam era landing mat sections. I can only assume they were put there by the Border Patrol to keep the road from sinking further into the desert floor. In places the road is up to about four feet below the surrounding desert. For those of you that don't know this road is about 500 years old. It already existed when the Spanish came here in the 1500s looking for Baja California.

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    More evidence the Border Patrol is working the area. The tires are used to drag the dirt roads clean so it's easier to see where illegals cross. The pole is a rescue beacon. There are a bunch of these out here. They were put in place a few years ago after a big group of illegals died and it made headlines. I'm guessing most of you won't recognize the language on the bottom. It's Tohono O'odham. We're still on the reservation at this point.

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    Here they are. This is camp Gripp.
    #15
  16. wallache

    wallache Been here awhile

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    :lurk
    #16
  17. Xskydiver

    Xskydiver Been here awhile

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    Shortly after Camp Gripp there's a stone grave on the side of the road. It's called Oneal's grave. You see, Oneal was found dead here, face down in a puddle of water. He is the only known drowning victim along the Diablo. His is NOT the only grave along the way. It is the most visible one as it is right next to the road. Passers by pay their respects by leaving tokens among the rocks. The common theme is either ammo or coins. We spotted coins from the Netherlands and several calibers of ammunition.

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    It was getting dark fast. We wanted to get off the refuge before making camp because you can't gather firewood on the refuge. We ran into a BP agent on patrol and asked him about a place to camp. He said we were almost off the refuge and were close to Tinajas Altas. This was on my list of things to see so we decided to camp near there. I wanted to see the circle 8 grave site but missed the turn in the dark. It's where family of eight are buried after having been murdered. The agent told us to look for a scarecrow that marks the turn to our camp site.

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    This is one creepy bastard in the middle of the night. We made the turn and started looking for a soft spot to camp. After a few minutes of driving around we headed a short way down a wash and decided to stop for the night.
    #17
  18. Mike955i

    Mike955i Future Escapee

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    In! I've wanted to make this run for a few years, thanks for your persistence in making this happen. :thumb
    #18
  19. Dirt2007

    Dirt2007 Long timer

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    Nice RR. If I googled right it starts at I-8 East of Yuma and goes to Oja?
    #19
  20. Xskydiver

    Xskydiver Been here awhile

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    That's right. It's about 125 miles from Yuma to Ajo. The traditional direction is East to West. It's worth planning a couple of days out there. There's quite a bit to explore. I'll go again.
    #20