Observations from "Rug Road"

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by HoosierTrailmaster, May 22, 2011.

  1. HoosierTrailmaster

    HoosierTrailmaster Just an Old Grizzly

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    Two riders from Phoenix, two from Tucson took on what is a legendary route in Southern, AZ. Known as "Rug Road". This road is well known by the 4 X 4 crowd, but less ridden by motorcyclists because, frankly, it is a MF'er.

    Riders were:

    YBRacing KTM 525 EXC "Supertanker"
    4Play KTM 450 XC hybrid
    FastPhil38 Honda CFR 450 X
    Hoosiertrailmaster KTM 450 EXC

    Unfortunately, I was my usual self and arrived right at 8:30...where "stands were up and we were to roll". 15 minutes later we took off up Copper Creek road.

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    At about 7 miles in you can continue on Copper Creek Road or take a left and you are on the infamous "Rug Road".

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    Rug Road is contained in the Guliuro Mountains, said to be the remotest area in all of Arizona. I believe it, we did not see one other person the entire day including getting a dirt road past ranches.

    We did, however, find other friends on the trail.

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    About 5 mile in your get to "Carpet Hill". Sorry I was too busy holding on for dear life to snap some on the decent, but I can tell you this drops 900 feet in .7 miles. You can see in the photo remnants of the carpet that has been there since the 1950's when a local rancher placed it there to slow down erosion.

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    This is the very bottom just before going into a wash...if you look closely, you will see I slid 60 or 70 feet to come to a stop. Even YBRacing who has seen just about everything riding commented "that got his attention"

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    Once you come out of the wash, you face roughly 2 1/2 miles of this going up.

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    4Play dreaming of the "Rapture" that was to come later that day.

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    YBRacing and FastPhil38 catching their breath before the final accent. Actually, YBRacing had already been to the top and decided to come back to see why it was taking 45 minutes to go 2.5 miles.

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    We are now at the highest point in the ride at 5200 feet. Great views and we expected it to get easier after this...we were wrong.

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    A shot of "Carpet Hill" looking back.

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    Looking toward the Galiuro Mountains...foreboding.

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    FastPhil38 says "Yippee Kay-ay MFer".

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    YBRacing looking for a suitable launch site for his "rocket motorcycle".

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    4play says..."is the tough stuff done?"

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    OK, after that I fell off the "photographer's job". I am hoping that YBRacing and 4Play can add some later stuff. However, we got lost, I fell and hurt my knee fairly seriously and got super dehydrated.

    Several observations:

    1. Don't do this in late Fall or Summer...it is too damn hot.

    2. Put on new tires with some real bite to them. Both 4Play and I came with half eaten tires that didn't make it any easier.

    3. LOTS of water.

    4. Make sure your bike is tuned for some altitude. I could tell my 450 was running rich, especially going up the other side of "Carpet Hill".

    5. Lastly, always bring the Navy Seals with you...YBRacing, FastPhil38 and 4Play made sure I got out in one piece.

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    #1
  2. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    Nice to see my laundry still at the beginning of the steep down side.
    #2
  3. mntdawg

    mntdawg NOT FRAGILE OR GREEN

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    Whats the rest of the story after the left turn at the corral?:lurk:1drink
    #3
  4. HoosierTrailmaster

    HoosierTrailmaster Just an Old Grizzly

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    It's all in the theater of your mind Mntdawg. We did go through an area which looked like an old rock quarry that had had very little traffic in a long time.
    #4
  5. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    Did you guys make it to this spot from the ride report I did:



    If so, I think I know what wrong turn you made. You were probably following jrproper's tracks for a little while. :lol3
    #5
  6. Fastphil38

    Fastphil38 AZ Offroad

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    Hey Motos, Thats the ride you want to take that "been there done that mouthy rider on" I'ts tough and we had our moments thats for sure.But it was a great day and the views are incredible. Thanks Allyn for the great report, and to you MTD if thats a "B" ride I then I need to work on my skills. Great group for this ride and a walk in the park for YBR, That dude can motor. I felt a little dehydrated today, but the new F-Dunlop MX71 {thanks for the tip Buddy} and my Honda ran great the front was planted most of the time, there were a few run out of talent moments but I got lucky. Hey these rock infested rides are fun don't get me wrong, but how about a fast paced ST in flag soon.Ride On! Phil
    #6
  7. 4play

    4play Next?

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    Yardstick yes, that's the way we went & managed to find a way out. We kept motoring to a steel coral we chose the path to the right which lead us past some awesome rock formations & a trail that has not had any traffic in a long time. It ran down the ridgeline then worked it's way down toward the river. One particularly hard (washed out) little creek crossing & a few turns & twist later we were at the river. We were pretty much spent & jumped on a trail never intended for motorcycles, struggled out way up that looking for a dirt road clearing as many cactus as we could for the hikers.
    #7
  8. ybracing

    ybracing Been here awhile

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    Nice report Allyn.
    I rarely get the opportunity to ride with guys willing to punish themselves to the extent that this crew did on Saturday. And here is the cast for today's expedition ride:

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    Rug Road is a tough road to ride on a motorcycle because of the combination of loose rocks and the steepness of the hills. The elevation changes are dramatic and there is no opportunity to rest until you reach the top or bottom of each of these long hills. This road requires you to commit to each section without hesitation. Here is the result of hesitation:

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    And the Restart:

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    And again:

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    You have to be relentless in your attack of these hills. All that effort combined with the altitude will have you taking breaks more frequently then normal:

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    Here is a shot of the valley we just spent what seemed like hours climbing out of.

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    And the Valley we were heading into.

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    The lone tree at the top of the saddle.

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    Uh, me running out of things to do on the top of the mountain while waiting on the group to ascend.

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    I started to get worried and went back down a little ways to see what was happening. I saw Phil sending up smoke signals telling me everything was alright and to wait there. I decide to proceed back down and intersect the gang. I guess Buddy took a tumble (no pictures, did not happen) and was resting after climbing back up to his bike and securing it. One at a time the group braved the trail and continued up the mountain.

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    We all reached the saddle and rested for a spell. From the saddle you could see for ever. Buddy and Allyn were pointing out how nasty the hills looked in the direction that we were traveling.

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    I think Buddy asked if this was the end of the hard stuff. Not quite. We had completed the main hill with the rugs on it but I think the continuation was every bit as hard.
    We finally got to a more normal trail ride section and decided to stop at the general store for some refreshments. They were closed! I guess we missed them by about 80 years.

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    Remember how this ride was billed? I think it said "Rug Road expedition ride". Me being the brainiac that I am did not pick up on the underlined meaning. Yeah, it means that neither of our two local boys have ever done this ride to completion before. Now normally I would load up the gps with tracks and bring a map of the area. Of course I did not do it for this "expedition" ride. I am so stupid. Winging it, we came an intersection that looked like this.

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    A decision was made to go left (WRONG). Our destination was Klondyke not the middle of nowhere. Well we ended up at a tank in the middle of nowhere. Another decision! Which way to go? Follow the tracks on the gps that look as though they end in a creek about 3 or 4 miles away or follow the tracks on the ground that don't show up on the gps. Good call Phil! Aside from the fact that we knew that we were not riding back over Rug Road today (to spent) we continued on into blindness. I think we were rewarded with some of the most spectacular scenery that I have seen in years. All of a sudden we were in Moab! Slick rock, sheer cliffs, the only thing missing were the hundreds of jeeps and bikes.

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    This was a very desolate area! I started to understand how the first settlers felt as they rolled through this area. Are we there yet?
    Magellan (FastPhil38) seen here scouting out our next move,

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    did a great job at getting us to civilization. The chosen trail/road was a winner in more ways then one. Look at the beauty all around us.

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    The beauty soon turned ugly again as we found an old road leading down to a ranch and what looked like a staging area for hikers.

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    I am sure at one time it was used heavily but that was a long time ago. Steep and narrow at times with overgrown weeds covering the boulders in the middle of the trail. I came upon this scene and wondered how this happened since we were going down the hill.

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    A little team work.

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    Ever since we dropped off the mountain the temperatures were constantly going up. The temperature recorded by my truck when we returned was 92 degrees so I imagine that would be accurate for the valley that we ended up in. Temperature plus dropping the bike a couple of times will wear you out right quick and in a hurry. Allyn was feeling the effects more then most especially after dropping his bike a couple of times.
    We were crossing a dry creek that did not have any sort of a trail/road through it when I finally scummed to the heat and dropped my bike in the sand on a stupid turn uphill. Here is Allyn crossing the creek.

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    Phil was still leading the troops although we did fall a little behind due to errors on our part so we followed his tracks right into and across the creek and right up a single track that we should not have been on but, no one cared at this point. Some how we lost Phil and decided that we need to go back to the creek and go down for a bit to the flat area. We turned around and proceeded back when Allyn fell into a bad spot and tweaked his knee pretty bad. We did manage to reunite with Phil and get Allyn's bike to the road where he could ride it back.
    I have been severely dehydrated before and Allyn was showing all the signs so we rested at the road and drank some water until he felt good enough to ride back. Buddy could not resist splashing around in the water before hitting the road.

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    We made it back about 2:30 PM loaded up and split. Here is the profile of the ride.

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    I want to thank Allyn and Phil for hosting this adventure. I would like to revisit it in the fall and go to our original destination and back. If you want a challenging ride I would highly recommend Rug Road!
    I do love a good adventure. Don't you?

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    #8
  9. Nightstalker

    Nightstalker YO BUDDYPAL!

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    NICE!! Looks better than the 3 hours I spent at the Jeep dealer on Saturday.
    #9
  10. refokus

    refokus Just Learning

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    That looks like one hell of a ride and some nasty terrain to go over. Great RR and photos. :clap
    #10
  11. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    I know this feeling. :lol3 I waited at the top of this hill for a long time and finally turned around too.


    This looks like Parsons Grove. Yep, you guys should have gone right. Although, if you did go right and got to Klondyke, you might have been looking at the loop back on highways like jrproper, vortexf650 and I did. :D

    If my tendonitis is well enough under control (gone) by fall, I'm in for an out and back attempt! :thumb
    #11
  12. mntdawg

    mntdawg NOT FRAGILE OR GREEN

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    Thanks for the rest of the story ybracing:clap
    That is the route I thought ya'll ended up on!

    I have pushed that route through to the wilderness line above Araviapa canyon, and have wanted to push that N western spur for years, but figured it would take me to private or wilderness land.( no trespass ):deal

    Rug rd. is always an ass whipper, but ya'll got it two fold, sometimes avoiding work (going back the way you came from) ends up doubling the work load.:lol3

    I will ride it any time from November to March:ear

    If you find yourself in Colorado this summer I can show you a few ST versions of this type of riding.
    #12
  13. HoosierTrailmaster

    HoosierTrailmaster Just an Old Grizzly

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    That is one happy looking guy :clap

    Attached Files:

    #13
  14. Reidy008

    Reidy008 I,m in if we go fast

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    Good stuff guys sorry I missed it. I am in for the return trip if its going to be a Saturday give me lots of notice and I will make it...:clap
    #14
  15. AZ TOM

    AZ TOM Long timer

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    Epic ride & RR. Thanks.
    #15
  16. ybracing

    ybracing Been here awhile

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    Thanks Dawg.
    I will be in your fair town on 7/5/11 doing the CDT with my brother. Unfortunately we are both on 950 Adventures and are passing through with just a fuel and lunch stop planned. Come join us for lunch if you have time.
    #16
  17. Reidy008

    Reidy008 I,m in if we go fast

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    oldtimertc has just replied to a thread you have subscribed to entitled - Observations from "Rug Road" - in the Day Trippin' forum of ADVrider.

    This thread is located at:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=690132&goto=newpost

    Here is the message that has just been posted:
    ***************
    So, to recap. HTH (formerly HTM) was ,

    Late, AGAIN !
    Poorly prepared, AGAIN !
    Ran out of Water , AGAIN !
    Needed Babysitting, AGAIN !

    Will he ever learn ?? WTF ?
    ***************

    I thought you guys were friends?
    #17
  18. HoosierTrailmaster

    HoosierTrailmaster Just an Old Grizzly

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    Ya, not sure what this was all about. He wasn't there and he sure didn't have to deal with any issues I may have posed...it's not like he has to ride with me.

    To my knowledge the only issue I ever had that involved him was when I rode my new to me CRF 250 X which ended in starting issues due to valves. It was Buddy who was gracious enough to help me get it started multiple times...it should be Buddy who has a beef with me.
    #18
  19. ybracing

    ybracing Been here awhile

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    No worries, I had a good ride. :clap

    A redo is on my Fall wish list!
    #19
  20. 4play

    4play Next?

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    Me 2! I want to do this again when it's a bit cooler.

    I was on the elliptical yesterday & again today at my Holiday Inn Express in Vegas. I'm going to get in shape (besides round)!
    #20