Livin' in a Van, Down by the River.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by zachbrowning, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. zachbrowning

    zachbrowning Adventurer

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    Buddy filming with his gopro. Paparazzi!:D
    #21
  2. zachbrowning

    zachbrowning Adventurer

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    So, after making the most of our friends' hospitality in Elephant Butte, we finally had to hit the road again. Since we were already in southern NM we figured it would be a shame to miss out on the National Parks in the area. We made a quick hop over to White Sands, with a stop in Hatch along the way to get some green and red chile burritos. No pics, we were way too busy eating those magnificent creations!
    We had a nice hike around White Sands and enjoyed the scenery. No dune riding here, which is just fine. There's plenty of places to ride motor vehicles on sand dunes without trashing the biggest gypsum dunes in the world!
    [​IMG]

    After White Sands we drove up through Cloudcroft and over to Carlsbad Caverns. I won't bore you with photos of stalagmites and such, but suffice it to say that Carlsbad is worth seeing if you get the chance. I felt a bit like I was on acid...not that I would know what that feels like or anything...

    From Carlsbad we took one more day off the bikes and went hiking in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. It was beautiful weather and the park has few visitiors, so we had a great hike to see Devil's Hallway:
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    From there we headed through El Paso and on west along I-10 until we turned and headed south towards Animas and the bootheel of NM. It's an interesting region with a lot of cattle ranching a whole lot of Border Patrol vehicles. I took a quick spin around on my own in the evening to see what the riding was like:
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    The next day we rode down the the south-eastern most section of the Coronado National Forest, and ended up riding what I later found out is the eastern portion of the Geronimo Trail. It was about 20 miles of pavement south from Animas, and another ten miles of washboarded dirt before the riding got a little better about the time we entered the forest. There's a lot of signs warning about illegal immigration and smuggling, but we didn't feel particularly bothered:
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    Top of the pass:
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    On the way back:
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    Computer battery dying! More tomorrow.
    #22
  3. Sean-0

    Sean-0 straya carnt

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    Location:
    Mumblebum Northern NSW

    Yummo ..good looking bike as well :D
    #23
  4. AndieFlaps

    AndieFlaps Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Interlaken, Switzerland
    I am on here as well so can read all the comments :-).
    Biggest problem I have had with the bike is the kick start. I read all the info, watched all the videos and in the end had to work out my own, hanging off the bike technique! It seems to work 50% of the time, rest of the time I am just doing thigh muscle exercises! If anyone else is having the same problem (probably more chicks then blokes) then message me and I can give you more info.
    #24
  5. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
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    552
    Location:
    The Big Mitten
    I've been to Interlochen - hiked from Kleine Scheidegg down to Grindenwald... in mid-May... in the snow! Brrr..

    Enjoy riding in the southwest!

    I'll be riding out that way in either early March or sometime this summer.

    Not sure I'd like kicking an XRR....
    #25
  6. pavemike

    pavemike I fall down alot

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Albuquerque
    Once you get the hang of the secret handshake starting ritual of the XR, you'll see that it isn't too bad. Keep with it! :evil
    #26
  7. zachbrowning

    zachbrowning Adventurer

    Joined:
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    der Schweiz
    From Animas, we drove the van over to the Chiricahua Mountains. We had no idea really where we were going, so we were blown away by the scenery when we drove into Cave Creek Canyon. Wow! We decided we better make the most of our discovery and do some hiking the next day. We climbed up Silver Peak, which is a little over 3k feet of climbing. The view was well worth it, but it was damn chilly at the top. We ate a quick lunch and retreated to warmer elevations!

    The route up:
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    View from the top:
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    We wanted to ride over to Chiricahua National Monument the next day, but we woke up to rain and a forecast for more on the way. We decided it would be wiser to beat a retreat to the city to get some errands done (ie spend money). We cruised to Tucson and visited various retailers to help make their holiday season more profitable. We also took Walmart up on their fine offer of hospitality as we have several times on this trip. After another rainy day the weather started to dry out and we looked for a place to ride. We decided since we were in Tucson and there's good riding near the city we might as well stick around for the holidays. We made our way out to Reddington Road where we found a spot in a parking lot that was convenient if not ideal. We decided the Chimney Rock area looked good for riding and headed up that way on the bikes.

    Going up the pass:
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    Fresh snow on the mountains after the wet weather:
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    XRs having a chat while we ate lunch:
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    Andie digging the riding:
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    and making it up some difficult climbs:
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    Just after this climb there was a short descent with some loose rock and a bend halfway down. Andie must have grabbed a bit of front brake at the wrong moment because the front end washed out and she dropped the bike. No big deal, neither she or the bike was injured, but it shook her up a little bit. When we got to a longer, steeper, ledgier descent a little ways further, she decided that enough was enough. OK, no problem, that give me a chance to ride back up it :D

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    We made it back to "camp" in time to see a nice sunset over the city. Crappy cellphone pic:
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    The next day we decided a bit of exercise was in order and scrambled down to the Tanque Verde falls. Short hike, but steep and warm. Well worth it to enjoy the sunshine on a beautiful day:
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    Christmas Eve was another great sunny day and another chance to ride bikes. I had heard that the trail out to Chivo Falls was great, but it sounded like a bit more than Andie wanted to do. We made a plan for me to ride Chivo by myself in the morning and Andie would meet me at the trailhead for lunch and we'd do some easier riding in the afternoon. I waited for the temps to warm up a bit and then cruised up the the "Three Feathers" trailhead. It's a short but quite fun ride from there out to Chivo. In the 4x4 guidebook we have for AZ it says it should take a few hours, so I was suprised to be staring at the falls 20 minutes later! Ok, I guess motorcycles are a bit faster than Jeeps :D

    Since I'd planned for a longer ride I hung out by the falls (which were actually flowing thanks to the recent snowfall higher up) and enjoyed the sun and the mango I was thoughtful enough to stuff in my pack at the last minute. Made it back to meet Andie at the trailhead right on time despite a couple of wrong turns. We headed out on some other trails in the area which were about the perfect level for Andie. The climbs got progressively harder, but none were too much and she finished the ride feeling quite happy that she made the whole thing :clap

    Rest break:[​IMG]

    This climb was definitely steeper than it looks in this photo:
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    On Christmas we decided (along with half of Tucson it seems) that we should enjoy the sunshine by riding up Mt. Lemmon. We'd never been up there before and it really is a beautiful ride, even if it was crowded with vehicles of all sorts.

    Seven cataracts:
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    Snow for Christmas!:
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    Happy Holidays everyone!:
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    OK, as much as I love the XR, I was kind of wishing I had my R6 for this road...:
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    OK, that gets us up through Christmas. Will upload more photos and try to get caught up. We're still riding and still enjoying AZ, we've met one other ADVer so far, and we're looking forward to meeting others. See you out on the trails!
    #27
  8. BeemerChef

    BeemerChef Wandering Homeless

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    Location:
    Living under the Stars...
    You missed coming to Big Bend, Texas. And then again, maybe you would have never left if you did come here. Let us know if you do, we will be here for another month. Plenty of room to camp.

    Stay well.
    Ara and Spirit
    #28
  9. FBR

    FBR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Southern WI
    Looks like some great riding. As I'm reading this RR, it is -17 degrees here in WI. I'm just a little jealous.:D
    #29
  10. AteamNM

    AteamNM Wonna Be ADVrider

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    Location:
    Sandia Mountains New Mexico
    Subscribed. :norton
    #30
  11. DaFoole

    DaFoole Erudite inchoate...

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    4,540
    Location:
    BFE, SW Oregon/SF BayO'rhea
    Good stuff!

    In
    #31
  12. zachbrowning

    zachbrowning Adventurer

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    der Schweiz
    We were really debating heading down that way! Seriously, we sat in the parking lot at Guadalupe at talked about whether we should go down to Big Bend since we were already in TX, but decided it was still quite a drive and we didn't really know what we'd find down there. We're happy with the riding in AZ, but it would have been good to since Big Bend. Have fun down there, we'll have to see it another time. :D
    #32
  13. AndieFlaps

    AndieFlaps Adventurer

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    May 8, 2013
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    Location:
    Interlaken, Switzerland
    Yeah I am only in Interlaken during the summer! Zambia is my usual winter home, but this year I am trying out America instead!

    Heading back in Europe in March, so will probably miss you.
    #33
  14. AndieFlaps

    AndieFlaps Adventurer

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    May 8, 2013
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    Interlaken, Switzerland
    Humm....ok well I guess I will stick with it them!!
    #34
  15. zachbrowning

    zachbrowning Adventurer

    Joined:
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    der Schweiz
    On our Xmas day road ride up Mt Lemmon I realized that my clutch was slipping. I hadn't noticed it on the dirt because I'd put it down to the tires spinning a bit. I put up a thread on the regional forums looking for a bit of help to change the clutch out and was lucky enough to get hooked up with MAXVERT who helped me check it out and make sure it really was burned up clutch plates before I ordered the parts. Since he lives on the north end of Tucson, we headed up to Oracle after checking out the bike. It's a few thousand feet higher than the city up there, so we got a bit chilly at night, but we found a nice spot to camp for a few days and got to do some nice rides:
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    First, we decided to check out the Tucson Wash ride, just to the north of Oracle. It's got some really nice scenery, but (as the name would imply) it's mostly in a dry riverbed, so it's got a lot of sand. Andie was not too happy with the soft sand and struggled a bit at first, but got better quickly as she built up the confidence to let the bike do it's own thing and to go a little faster.

    Deeper than it looks:
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    Train trestle at the end of the wash:
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    Had to climb up on it:
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    Tucson Wash ends at the town of Mammoth. We still had quite a bit of daylight left, so we decided to head east into the Galiuro Mountains to explore a bit. We rode to where the road started to get steep and rocky and decided that we should probably turn around. Found a cool little slot canyon where we turned around.

    Heading into the mountains:
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    Is this thing on?:
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    Slot canyon:
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    Looking downstream:
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    Andie's working on her motorcycle gear modelling portfolio:
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    All in all, it was a great day. A bit too much sand in the morning, but it was really cool to get into the Galiuros for a bit, we'll have to go back. The next day we rode up the Mt. Lemmon back road, just for another scenic drive. We turned around after 10 miles or so, as we had gotten quite a late start. Had to run into town to refill water, so got to make use of the rack:
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    After this I got a message from a buddy that he'd made a last minute trip to Eloy to hang out at the dropzone there. Since we were still waiting on parts for my bike we headed over there to hang out. Eloy ride report coming soon!
    #35
  16. AndieFlaps

    AndieFlaps Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Interlaken, Switzerland
    Would love to 'model' some trousers that are actually long enough!! Need 34/35 inside leg...anybody know of any chicks trousers this length?
    #36
  17. BeemerChef

    BeemerChef Wandering Homeless

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    3,336
    Location:
    Living under the Stars...
    We are generally here in the winter times. Have about 10 acres 30 miles north of the Park with solar, water catchment and all that good stuff! Welcome anytime next time when near by. Much to see and ride on 3 million acreas and 1500 miles of unpaved.
    Stay well.
    Ara and Spirit
    #37
  18. zachbrowning

    zachbrowning Adventurer

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    Sounds like a great setup! We'll look you up if we're back that way.
    #38
  19. zachbrowning

    zachbrowning Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    93
    Location:
    der Schweiz
    Been doing lots of riding, and mostly camping in remote areas so it's taken awhile to do an update. Let's see, where were we?

    We headed to Eloy to pick up my buddy, then drove right back to Tucson to celebrate New Year's. After our raging festivities around a campfire in the Catalina Mountains, we drove on back over to Eloy so my buddy could jump and we could make use of the nice camping facilities including HOT SHOWERS and laundry. Wow, luxury. Neither of us had had a "real" shower in a long time, so this was a real treat. Clean and fresh, we headed to bed ready to see what the area had to offer in regards to riding. Our first ride was exploring the area to the east of town, making it as far as the north end of the Picacho Mountains. We followed the irrigation canal for quite awhile, then crossed on this bridge:

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    Andie wasn't too happy about the loose conditions thus far on the ride, so was happy to see this concrete bridge :rofl

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    Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse and the road turned to pretty deep sand:

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    Andie wasn't too stoked at this point, so she decided to let me go play for a little bit while she enjoyed the scenery. She climbed up on this nice pile of boulders and enjoyed the evening light:

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    I rode on and the road surface actually got better a little further on. Since it was already getting to be late afternoon it was time to head back to camp, but we found a more direct (paved) route back and decided to explore this are some more another day. We could get here quick on the paved route, plow through the sand knowing it wouldn't last forever, then check out the rest of the area. Good plan, but first we wanted to ride up to Florence and check out the trails up there!

    We got up early the next day, dressed warm for a long pavement pounding session, and headed out towards Florence. We made it there with no drama and headed out the Price road east of town along the Gila River. Our goal was the Box Canyon road and then we'd decide if we wanted to ride anything more. It's a beautiful ride, but was a bit challenging in spots for Andie. She got over her fears though and managed to ride all of the obstacles on the trail. Very proud :clap

    Start of the Box Canyon:

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    Entering the canyon:

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    More canyon scenery:

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    It really is a beautiful ride:

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    We through the whole "normal" section of the ride. When we got to the super technical section Andie took a break and I rode on to check it out. A lot of it looked like this:

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    I rode those parts. What I did not ride was this part:

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    I took the sissy path around that looked like this:

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    I made it back to Andie in one piece and we headed back. The ride was longer than we had thought, and we had a lot of pavement to ride back, so we didn't explore any of the side roads. There's a ton of super technical stuff on the side trails I think, so it would be a cool area to explore some other time.

    We got back to Eloy just in time to enjoy a gorgeous sunset and crack open a beer with my buddy who'd had a boring day jumping out of airplanes.

    Our final day we decided to head back to the area north of Picacho Mountains we'd gone the first day. We cruised over there quickly on the pavement, Andie braved the sandy section, and we started exploring the small tracks in the area. There was a bit more sand, but not too bad, and a whole lot of cactus. At one point we saw a cow whose whole face was covered in jumping cholla. Ouch!!! So much for "free-range" beef being humane! Luckily neither of us had a run-in with any of the spiky bastards and we enjoyed our ride. Found more of these really cool boulder piles that reminded us of the desert in Namibia:

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    We climbed up a ways and had a snack. The view towards Tucson:

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    That concluded our riding around the Eloy area. I'd been waiting for a package to come with the parts for my clutch. It showed up and it was time to go do some wrenching. I made arrangements with MAXVERT to do the clutch install and we headed back to the Tucson area. Had a great time catching up with my buddy and exploring the area. And we got HOT SHOWERS! Did I mention that?
    #39
  20. THUMPER0475

    THUMPER0475 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    78
    Andie's working on her motorcycle gear modelling portfolio:
    [​IMG]




    Man, your one lucky advr to have Andie ride with you on her own bike. Pretty cool.
    #40