Thursday, Reidy008 (Drew) called me to see if I was riding over the weekend. I said I had no plans, but if he had an idea I'd be up for it. He did, and said an over-nighter was in order. The general plan was to work our way toward the south from the Phoenix area via as much dirt as we could manage. Drew had some GPS tracks from our buddy YBRacing (Thanks YB) so we decided to try to do that loop, which would be about 600 miles, with a very large chunk of that off pavement. We both had some work to do on saturday before we could leave, and Drew decided to get some new tires put on the Africa Twin before the trip. Dillon, over at Zen Moto had tires for his bike and was able to spoon them on while Drew went to work. (Thanks Dillon! Above and beyond the call!) Friday night I got my XR650L into dual sport mode by putting on my good (straight) wheels that have the DS tires on them and adding the little windshield that actually helps when at highways speeds. Then Saturday, when I filled my big tank and got home, I noticed gas smell and saw a puddle forming under the bike. Didn't take long to find the culprit, a crack in the plastic tank, somewhere up on the inside wall. Now I have a full (and leaky) 4.7gal tank, but only 2 (1) gallon cans that I can transfer gas into. I started draining the tank into one can, then rummaged through our recycle bin to find another gallon jug that I could use temporarily. Luckily, my street bike was sitting there about empty, so I could put a couple gallons in that bike to get the big plastic tank emptied. I removed the plastic tank to replace it with the shiney, new original equipment tank. (Only 2.5gal though!) Tank off. I found one of the rubber bumpers that holds the front of the tank in place was missing. This probably damaged the plastic tank, but it was now noon, and we planned to leave my house around 2pm. I looked around the shop, then got the idea to use a hole saw and cut a wooden bumper to take up the space and hold the tank in place. Grabbed a chunk of wood and cut a spacer. Worked perfect! Sometimes you just can't allow the gremlins to stop you! Drew got to my house and after seeing my thimble sized gas tank that we take along a gallon of insurance. Good idea! The chosen route called for going OVER Pioneer Pass up by Globe. We knew before we left that since it was currently rainy, and had been snowing all around us, this was unlikely to be successful. However, we had to try, didn't we? Yes. It rained on us most of the way to Globe, but undeterred, we started up the mountain. The road was only really sloppy in a few spots, and we got through so we kept going. By now, it is probably already 3:30pm, and it is snowing. Hmmm. Keep going. Getting a bit sloppier. We met a couple 4 wheel drives coming down, one of them told us we should turn around because we wouldn't make it much further, plus he thought there was no way down the other side. Ha! We'll keep going. Wonder if there is tire chains in here. Nope. The campground! Hmmm, still a little more to go up, and now it is getting tough to keep the bikes upright. A little beyond the campground our traction gave out as there was a steeper grade and no prior vehicle tracks to stay in. I went up about a tenth mile from where this photo was taken, and after sliding into a ditch figured we were done. Here's where we turned around. Heading back down the hill there were many little streams forming. Time to put a front fender on that beast Reidy. Had to slab it around the mountain to Winkleman then wash a layer of mud off the windscreen. By now it was dark and getting colder. Not to mention we were a bit soaked. Decided to stay in the metropolis of Mammoth, AZ. Had a fair mexican dinner at the only joint in town that was open, then got a couple rooms at Foster's Lodge. Here's what it looks like in the am No fighting for parking here Leaving the motel about 8am, spotted a sign that the Lions Club was having a fund raiser breakfast. I don't think they raised much, but they were happy to see us. Reidy orders up some bacon 'n eggs, hash browns and toast for $5. Can't beat that with a stick! The chefs The other guy there was Ralph, a member of the Lions Club in town. He was so happy that we came in that he had to give us a tour of the place. Took about 30 seconds, but was time well spent. Here's Reidy and Ralph in the bingo room. On a serious note, Ralph is a good guy who is really trying to help his community. They are raising funds for improvements to their shooting range. If you get to pass through Mammoth in the AM this summer, esp on a sunday, stop by and see Ralph. Tell him the first two bike riders he hosted for breakfast sent you. He will be one happy guy! Back to the ride... In Mammoth, we grabbed a dirt road that hooked up to Reddington Road, which we took all the way down to Benson. From Benson, just a ways out of town to the west, Reidy hooked a hard left across the I10 median and grabbed another dirt road. This one headed generally SW all the way to Patagonia. Back on the dirt! Spring has not sprung down here yet as everything was still brown or grey. The road was interesting and fun for about 30 miles It was somewhere along this road that I heard over the intercom Reidy, who was leading, say "Uh Oh." I came around the corner and he had found a 30ft wide water crossing, but stopped just a little too late for the full evaluation. Hmmm. Ok. We talked about pulling it out backwards, while it was only about a foot or so deep, but since that would have meant that I had to wade in to help, I encouraged him to go for it. (If I'm gonna get a little wet, might as well get really wet...right?) He went for it! I was just kidding man! (Notice front wheel is under water at this point, and it got a little deeper yet!) Almost out, and a rock slowed him down, spun the rear tire and stalled. No more bubbles. But wait, it started back up and he was able to get out without assistance. Whew! At the deepest, it was about taillight depth. "I was going good then hit that damn rock!" I knew I wouldn't get through that depth without sucking water, so I looked upstream a bit and found a little 8 ft wide crossing that was only a foot deep. Much better. Back on open, dry land and on the move! These cliffs were cool Oooo, freshly graded! Getting farther south, and close to Arizona wine country, we got to ride through some nice sweeping grasslands. We headed south at Elgin and picked up another road that took us into the Canelo Hills area. "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!" (Yogi Berra). We found our way to Mowery, which near as I could tell consisted of a ranch, then on toward the ghost town of Harshaw. Not much left here but one ruin of a building, a sign and a cemetary. The cemetary itself is pretty cool, located on a hillside that is covered with marked graves as well as unmarked piles of rocks. The building Some cemetary pics. This is an obviously well kept cemetary with some recent additions as well as some from the 1800s. Notice the shovel is there ready for duty. Not a bad place to spend eternity I recon. From Harshaw, we backtracked a little to pick up FR812. This road is a beauty! Lots of great scenery on this one Finally made it to Patagonia about 3pm. Found the only gas station in town, but it was closed. By now I'm on fumes already, so we check the map and have a snack. Our route calls for us to head south a little then west toward Amado on Salero Canyon Road (FR143). If my calculation are right (big if here), I should have about 25 miles left including reserve. We check the map and see that it should be about 30 miles cross country to Amado or Tubac. We are not sure about the station in Amado since the restaurant is closed and for sale, so we call Tubac and confirm they have fuel. Well, we do have the 1 gal can strapped to Drew's bike, that should get me there if I run out. The other option would be to go north from Patagonia to Sonoita, which is only a couple miles, but if that station is closed we'll lose those miles on my reserve. We agree that "A smart guy would go up to Sonoita", then we headed the other way. Let's go for it! We find our road that heads out into the Santa Rita Mountains without trouble and head west. I think this might be part of the ruins of Titus, another ghost town, but I'm not sure. This trail was rough enough, and we were clipping along at a good pace causing one of Drew's side bags to come loose. We strap it back on. Also by now, I've been on reserve for 17 miles. Might as well dump the insurance policy into my tank. Riding this road was worth the time it took to get here. Spectacular views around every turn, and there were lots of those! I especially liked this section Near the end of the dirt, our strapping job gave way, so we had to reposition the side bag to the back and strap it on there. No further problems. Not far from here, we hit I19 and rode up to Green Valley for fuel. We had several more dirt roads to ride north toward Phoenix, but time was getting short so we decided to slab it home. Didn't complete the entire loop as planned, but will have to go back to pick off the roads we missed on the way back. Thanks to Drew for navigating this ride, and YBRacing for plotting the course, it was fantastic!