AZBDR with Mountainman and Xfrog

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Mountainman13, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. Mountainman13

    Mountainman13 Been here awhile

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    Working on creating the videos for this trip so I wanted to get the ride report started.


    The trip down to the AZBDR was pretty uneventful. Set off on May 14th from Colorado Springs to Bernalillo, NM. Stayed the night at the KOA there then finished up in Sierra Vista at a fantastic AirBnb just outside of the entrance to Coronado National Monument. Along the way I met up with fellow inmate Xfrog, we had made a loose plan on here to try and meet up and maybe ride the harder sections together. He was on his 1190S and I was on my 690 'Adventure'. Another inmate had talked about linking up with us but because of his schedule (he was basically trying to do the whole route in 3 days) we never ended up seeing him.

    If you're looking at doing the AZBDR, make a serious consideration for staying at this AirBnB. The host was fantastic, if you want to camp it's $10 and the ranch is amazing. Literally 3 miles from the visitors center. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/24733821?source_impression_id=p3_1595784395_+2mRzStUTTDmUCzt

    Getting there:
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    AirBnB:
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    Day One: Sierra Vista to Benson

    Started out early on Saturday 5/16 from Sierra Vista with Xfrog, beautiful weather the entire trip. I'm not even going to mention weather the rest of this ride report simply because there wasn't any. We basically didn't see a cloud the whole trip.

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    2 minutes from the border fence and my Cyclops TPMS paid for itself. Xfrog missed a turn and I stopped to wait for him, just then my low pressure warning on the rear tire went off. I had picked up a rusty nail within 20 minutes of getting into the dirt. Took us only about 30-45 minutes to fix it, thankfully the nail was so dull it barely nicked the tube. One patch later and we were ready to keep going.

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    Pulled into Sonita without any further drama, had lunch at the Copper Brothel Brewery which we both enjoyed immensely. Continued into the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area/ Empire Ranch, I apologize in advance for butchering the name of repeatedly, I know I was getting it wrong but couldn't figure out how to pronounce it. Tons of fun riding in there, it looked like it had quite a bit of water through it over the winter and was pretty tore up. This ended up being some of the most technical riding we had during the trip.

    We were looking for campsites as we worked through Las Cienegas but everywhere we wanted to camp was taken by cows, this would be a trend for this trip. Ended up getting all the way to Benson without finding a suitable campsite and just split a hotel room. Glad we did as we later found out that between the exit of Las Cienegas NCA and Mammoth there were no open camping areas. COVID had a lot of stuff shut down and we would have ended up with a really long day otherwise.

    We settled in that night with the plan to get an early start the next day to head for Winkleman and the hottest portion of the trip.

    #1
  2. Mountainman13

    Mountainman13 Been here awhile

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    Day Two: Benson to Winkleman

    Didn't take many pictures this day because honestly the riding was kind of dull. Only drama this day was me getting pulled over in Benson about a mile from the hotel, no ticket though LOL. Between Benson and Mammoth you're basically on ranch roads with no technical sections while you cut through private property. North of Mammoth you start following the railroad grade which was a ton of fun but not particularly difficult. The biggest problem we had this day was heat, lots of it. Highest temp we saw was 106 with sustained temps in the high 90's. This is the lowest altitude you get to and the valley floor just reflects the heat down. Got a pretty good campsite at the Gila River Rec area just north of Winkleman. Tons of flies but lower temps so quite appreciated.

    One thing we noticed which stayed consistent the whole trip was AZ had experienced a very wet winter (for them) and EVERYTHING was in bloom. The added colors and flowers really made the trip more enjoyable as you could enjoy the scenery much more than I think was typical.

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    We camped in Winkleman with the expectation that we would be taking on the "experts" section on the approach to Globe, Pioneer Pass. Camping at Gila River allowed us to attack Pioneer when we were rested and the temps would be low.

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  3. Mountainman13

    Mountainman13 Been here awhile

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    Day Three: Winkleman to Young to Globe...

    Holy shit, here's when everything went wrong.

    We set off early for Pioneer Pass with the understanding this was probably going to be the most technically challenging part of the trip. Honestly Pioneer was in great shape, had no problems getting up there and enjoyed the hell out of the riding.

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    North of Globe was when things starting going pear shaped. We passed our planned campsite in HZ Wash at about 10:30AM and basically said screw it, lets camp somewhere between Globe and Young where it's cooler. I was following Xfrog most of the trip with the understanding that because he was on the 1190S it would be better for me to be able to help him if he got into problems vs having to turn around and come back if he was behind me. This ended up setting us up to get separated at the FR 202/203 intersection. The old AZBDR use to run up 203 basically all the way to Young, however due to forest fires and subsequent flash flooding the route was moved to follow 202 into Young as 203 is nearly impassible. Xfrogs GPS decided to try to take him 203 all the way to Young, while I was following the AZBDR track on my Drive Mode Dashboard (great app by the way).

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    Xfrog was far enough ahead of me by the time I got to the 202/203 intersection I wasn't sure which way he had gone, so after 30 minutes of waiting to see if he was coming back I proceeded up 202. Talked to the driver of a truck going the other way several miles later and found out he was not in front of me. At this point I figured he would eventually get turned around and catch back up, or follow his GPS another way into Young. I sent several text messages but ended up not having cell reception until late that afternoon so never got any updates.

    Had lunch under a tree in a cow pasture while I tried to give Xfrog more time to catch up but no dice.

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    Xfrog had not realized I was no longer with him and had continued up 203 for a while until he ended up dumping the bike in a ditch on a VERY steep climb. Because of the bike positioning he was unable to lift it by himself, and because of no cell service ended up having to send a SPOT message requesting mechanical assistance.

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    By this time I had arrived in Young, found a campsite along the road, and just as I pulled in managed to get cell reception briefly. Got messages from my friends and Xfrog's wife which provided the SPOT location he had sent and what was going on. Looking at my Garmin I wasn't able to tell how far back along the route he was but figured I would try to go help him out. Ended up backtracking all the way to the 202/203 intersection and tried to get up 203 to assist. At this point it was full dark (8:30PM) and I ended up about a mile and a half from Xfrog before I dumped my bike into a bush trying to get up the hill. Got turned around and dumped again working to get down the hill and realized it just wasn't happening. I knew Xfrog had his camping gear, food, extra water, and as long as he was not physically hurt, (which was not mentioned in the SPOT message) he would be fine until a tow truck could get to him. At that point I didn't want to create more problems by becoming another person needing rescue and worked on getting back into Globe to get cell reception or speak to the tow truck if I passed it on the way out.

    Eventually I arrived back in Globe having never seen the tow truck (best guess is we passed each other on the highway into Globe) and spoke to my family and Xfrog's wife. I got a hotel room and waited to see if the tow truck would get Xfrog out that night or if I would have to try and recover him in the morning. Thankfully Xfrog had done exactly what I would have done and basically just set up camp in the road and waited for help. The tow truck kicked him out of bed at about 10:30PM and they arrived at the hotel in Globe by 2:30AM. Thankfully the only thing broken on the 1190S was a handguard and after a good night's sleep we were ready to get into Young via the easy route the next day.

    No pictures after Young but I was recording the whole way.

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  4. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

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    Really great stuff----such a good job with the video's.
    I was really interested watching you go thru the Empire Ranch-----as the first time I went thru there I was following the first set of tracks that the BDR's put out----and it went into gated property. We got chewed out---even tho we were on the "right" side of a locked gate the owner put up.

    Actually from listening to him talk I don't think he or anybody else owned the road but a few of the local land owners on this road talked the county into gating it.

    But later on got to ride the way you guys went---it was so nice.
    So the BDR guys got that straightened out.

    Thanks !!!
    BigDog
    #4
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  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    so was i, but i didn't recognize any of the last section that i crossed in 2014 that took me up to the gate at I10.

    in 2014, the first part of the road was completely washed out in the two track for miles and didn't show evidence of any use for a long time. the washed out tracks were so deep i can't see any 4x4 getting through that area without driving completely off the existing road. i put the moto on the ground 3 times in there, finally ran out of daylight and dry camped in the desert. in the tent, i decided that the occasional tiny whisper of sound i heard was a truck going up a grade on I10, i got that close to salvation. it was quite a day.

    so either the road has been graded, or maybe the BDR was rerouted.
    #5
  6. Mountainman13

    Mountainman13 Been here awhile

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    I believe the road had been graded, possibly recently as we were running into deep soft dirt sections. No idea what everything looked like before but now it's pretty much as seen on the video. Technical but quite fun riding.
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  7. Mountainman13

    Mountainman13 Been here awhile

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    Day Four: Globe to Mogollon Rim

    After the mess of the day and night before Xfrog and I decided to continue to Young via the 'easy' route. This follows the main road into Young and is paved with some wide forest road sections. Honestly beautiful the entire way and some of the paved sections were a hell of a lot of fun to rip through. This got us to the Sinkhole Campground just up the road from the Mogollon Rim visitors center. We had a scheduled rest day here which we used to complete bike maintenance, fix Xfrogs handguard, and just relax. Temps up on the Mogollon Rim were much cooler, it even got cold overnight but generally we really enjoyed not having to deal with 90's.

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    From here it was up to the Sunset Crater National Monument area and into volcanic sand.
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  8. Mountainman13

    Mountainman13 Been here awhile

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    Day Five: Mogollon Rim to Moon Crater

    Much needed rest day the day before allowed us to get caught up on some bike maintenance (mostly mending Xfrog's handguard) and sleep. The weather up on the Mogollon Rim was much nicer than down lown, highs in the 70's and still not a cloud in the sky. The view from the Mogollon Rim overlook was absolutely breathtaking and the route dropped from there into some flowy two track which was a blast.

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    The time spent on fire roads was not much fun, the worst washboard roads of the route which on the lighter 690 just shook me to pieces. Lots of rock gardens and wandering two track got us into Winona. It was obvious by the way the tracks split and reformed that if the trail was wet it would probably be nearly impassible. North of Winona you immediately get into the black sands of the volcanoes in the area. Super fun riding right up to our planned campsite in Moon Crater, just south of Sunset Crater National Monument. The loose volcanic sand is no joke, 1 foot off of the hard packed trail and the sand doesn't seem to have a bottom. My bike fell over with the sidestand down and we ended up having to bury ground anchors for our tents as the stakes had nothing to hold onto.

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    Generally a fun day of riding with some pretty technical sections to keep everything interesting. Saw elk for the first time on the trip and the desert in bloom continued to provide a stunning backdrop to the trip.

    #8
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  9. Cigar Mike

    Cigar Mike Too Old and Too Slow

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    Are you 107 B? FAA registered drone?

    Enjoying your report.
    #9
  10. Mountainman13

    Mountainman13 Been here awhile

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    Yes, this was the Mavic Air 2 which ironically I received just before leaving for this trip so I was still getting used to operating it.
    #10
  11. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

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    Great thread. Good work on all the video edits. That's a lot of work!
    #11
  12. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

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    It doesn't appear you use much vid from your Sena. I have the 10Cpro and find it hard to get interesting footage, even though I only take 15 to 30 second clips at most.
    Drones are king, but I just haven't wanted to go there as it tends to take over the ride.
    Nice work!
    #12
  13. Cigar Mike

    Cigar Mike Too Old and Too Slow

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    I ask because the FAA is cracking down on all UAS operation. I see videos posted in National Parks which is not good. I'm President of a rc flying club and illegal operation of drones is affecting or hobby.

    The footage does add another dimension as is cool to watch.
    #13
  14. Mountainman13

    Mountainman13 Been here awhile

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    Yep I'm careful not to operate where I'm not allowed (I live near some restricted airspace so I'm always careful where I'm at). Or to request exemptions to the 107 restrictions as needed. I've been certified as a commercial drone operator for a couple years now so I'm not looking to piss anybody off lol.
    #14