Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..


jerome to camp wood, 3/21/08

This ride had it all, so i thought i'd post it in here. My riding buddy Tom called me & wanted to go on a ride yesterday. I said, 'how about we go to bagdad?' Well, Tom thought that was great & said he'd get out his old 30-30 he used with the rough riders. I said, 'No, Tom... Bagdad, Arizona.. not Baghdad iraq!'
Once the disappointment subsided, we planned our ride. We'd meet in Jerome, about 30 miles on pavement between us, then head on a gravel road through the mountains to Chino Valley. Get gas & lunch, then go up williamson valley road to fr 21, which goes all the way to bagdad. we saw right away we were going to run out of daylight, so figured we'd stop at camp wood, then head back.

enough words. Lets get to the pics.

The riders: Tom on a 250 husky, me on a drz.

San Francisco mountains near flagstaff, vista from outside Jerome.

The road from Jerome, cut into the mountains. Jerome was a bustling copper mine the first part of last century.. now it's a tourist destination, craft shops, old hippies, etc..

We wound around the mountains, working our way to the open prairie & chino valley.

..saw these guys on the side of the road.. i zoomed all the way in & cropped it from a 4mp shot. We saw antelope a lot on this ride.. lots of open prairie.

Once we left Jerome, we had about 30 miles of this kind of road.. rocky, bumpy, loose gravel.. but we could go about 20 or so... on the straight better sections, i got up to 50 a couple of times..

I stopped & asked a local phone co. guy if he knew of a way to cut over to williamson valley road.. maybe he didn't like bikers, or maybe we misunderstood, but we went on a 1 hr detour, heading north looking for a way over to the west. I finally asked another local we met, & he said we had to go all the way back south & then cut over.. so we doubled back & crossed over to williamson valley road. It was paved in this section. We rode it up to fr 21, about 10 miles or so, where the road was graded dirt. This is the road to camp wood, then goes on to bagdad.

When we got to camp wood, we knew we weren't going to make it to bagdad, so decided to take the fr 705 back to prescott. This road was about 40 miles, & unknown to either of us.

Tom, convincing me to take the 705 back to prescott..

For about the first 15 miles, it was pretty nice.. a few small water crossings.. some ruts, but plenty of places to make a good line. I was in 3rd most of the time, & maybe 4th on some of the long straight sections.

Some of the views along the road.

Me along the 705.

We have to have some splashed from the water crossings.. there were probably 15-20 crossings.. most of them 3-4 ' long & 3-4" deep. But they kept getting bigger!

It was very pretty along the creek.. the leaves weren't on the deciduous trees, yet, so the light was more open.

This was one of the bigger water crossings.. it came up to the axles & splashed us pretty good going across. we could feel the mud & water bogging us down some, but we gassed it & made it across ok!

Our only mishap was at the last big water crossing. It wasn't wide, just deep.. axle high again.. & there was a steep bank you had to climb right after the deepest part. The bank was muddy & had loose gravel. Tom made it up the hill, but got bogged down in the loose gravel. He slowed too much to stay upright, but deftly dismounted & stayed on his feet. We picked the bike up & kept going.

With the bigger water crossings behind us, we came into ruttsville. Evidently a week or so before, the 4x4 crowd came down this road. It had rained so was very muddy, & they left lots of deep ruts. They had all dried up for us, which left us with some tricky sections where off camber terrain was surrounded by deep ruts. Then we got out of the creek valley & started to climb. Now there was no more mud or water. We went from ruttsville to rockville in just a mile or so. There were steep sections with 1' steps.. up, then down. My back end was bouncing around & kicking right & left. Several times i thought i was going down, but managed to keep it rolling. I didn't take any pictures of the brutal parts.. didn't have time to stop, & was more concerned about survival. But after about 15 miles of creeping along piles of boulders, they started to subside, & the road got better.

Here's a couple of the easier sections, toward the end.
Finally we went through a gate & the road improved dramatically. Graded dirt with view of the San Francisco mountains again in the distance!

We road this out back to williamson valley road, then turned south back to prescott.

Back to the open prairie.. where the deer & antelope play.. but we're heading back to the cities.. where the beer & cantelope lay.

Tom & I parted.. he back to prescott, & me over the mountains to jerome then back to sedona. Once we got on williamson valley road, it was paved.

Paved & mountain switchbacks mean twisties! They were there with little traffic.

As i climbed, it got colder.. it was nearly 5pm, too. There was still plenty of snow on the ground, but i made it over the top & headed down into the verde valley toward home.

topping out at 7k ft.

we did a total of 210 miles, about 50 on easy gravel or rocky road, 30 in gnarly ruts, rocks & water, & the rest paved.


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