Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..


10/25/07, mogollon rim & west clear creek canyon

I had to get out one more time... sad to say, going away, won't be back for many a day (5 weeks! ). So my old riding buddy Kim graciously consented to go on a ride. We went from Sedona, on fr 618 past the beaver creek & west clear creek wilderness areas. Then we took the old General Crook trail up to the rim, fr 142 over to happy Jack, lunch, Lake mary road up to fr 81, wind around on various forest roads to apache maid mountain, then over to stoneman lake road, down to beaver creek again, then home to Sedona. Total of about 130 miles.. 1/3 paved, 1/3 graded, 1/3 rugged unimproved.

The ride was on 10/25. We gassed up & ran about 10 miles on pavement, then the next 25 on a decent gravel road. Then turned back onto pavement for the climb up to the rim for another 6-8 miles. We turned off onto fr 142.. right into some of the gnarliest, rocky, steep roads we've been on in this area. There were some sections that you wanted to slow down, but were afraid to touch the brakes, with the loose volcanic rock. I didn't get any pics of the rugged stuff.. too busy hanging on! Once you got into it, i couldn't look very far ahead because i was concentrating on my line, but i hoped i made the right decisions 'cause there was no stopping, & no turning back!

After we made it through about 5-8 miles of the worst terrain of the ride, we stopped to catch our breath & make sure the hearts were beating.. The rest of the ride was much easier, though there were some more technical spots ahead.

The riders: We forgot to call each other so our outfits matched perfectly...

It was a great day to ride.. the temps were in the 60's in the mountains, & the leaves were turning. ..very little traffic, it was the last day of elk season.. we'd see a couple of hunters on quads, & a few campers, but no other traffic.

This is one of the milder rocky spots.. i should have stopped & taken some pics of the earlier stuff.

This was the first time we've ridden on fr 142. For a 20 mi. section of road, it had it all. We passed a tank (pond) & the road improved. It was still dirt, but was smoother. It was nice to have a break & be able to look around & enjoy the fall scenery.

We came out on another paved road, & rode about 5 mi to one of the most scenic spots... Lunch!

We turned up lake mary road for another 5-6 miles, then onto fr 81. It was pretty tame.

I've been wanting to get on the north side of the west clear creek wilderness area all year. It is a deep canyon, with only a few spots you can climb down. Years ago, i took a few backpacking trips into it, but approached from the south side. There are deep pools (cold water!) you have to swim because the rock walls are 1000' up. From the uppermost spots, it's about a 4 day hike.. rock hopping & swimming, mostly. No trail below. The road ended & we had to take a pretty long hike (for dirt bikers..) to some overlooks. Kim's boots were hitting his ankle, & made the long walk up & down the hill pretty painful.. But it was still a good side trip.

We hiked along the rim for a bit, then went back to the bikes & rode up to a camping clearing, where there were more overlooks, & some that viewed out to the east, so the sun wasn't in our face.

I've got the gps, so usually lead the way. On the way back to the main road, Kim lead the way, & disappeared in a puff of dust. I didn't see him again until the main road. He was (& still is!) a pretty good rider. He scoffs at terrain i tremble at...

We got back on fr 81 & headed to apache maid mountain. We've ridden in this area before, & most of the roads are very rocky.. they go on & on with sharp jagged rocks that wear you out. But this part stayed in the pines for most of the way. When we came out of them, we were past the long stretches of rocky roads. There were a few rutted out parts, some steep, switchback sections, but nothing that lasted too long.

We came upon apache maid mountain.. stoneman lake road was just ahead.

We passed apache maid, & took stoneman lake road to the old blue grade back down to the verde valley. That road was the main road to flagstaff until they built I-17 many years ago. I knew an old timer who worked on I-17 years ago. He took me up the old blue grade (has blueish gray shale/rock) in my pickup to get some 'free' gravel for his driveway. It turned out to be the dept. of transportation's gravel pile for roadwork! He assured me they didn't care, but looking back, & knowing what a rascal he was, i'm sure we just stole a pickup load of gravel from adot.. I avoided joint ventures with him after that! He was in his 80's.. & that was 20 years ago.

Anyway, we made it back down to fr 618, then turned & headed home to sedona. The sun was hanging low, but we got home before dark. It was a great day & a great ride. I'm glad i got one more in.. this is one of the best times of year to ride around here.. in a month or so, they'll close the mountain roads, & we'll have to ride in some lower desert areas.


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Sedona, Arizona, United States
Semi-retired home builder. Musician. wr250x adventure rider. Amateur philosopher. Innovator. Tech & gadget freak, genealogist.