One thing i learned on this ride, is the slow guy doesn't get to take many pictures! Everyone is waiting, so i had to keep going. But i did get a few, so i'll post them here, along with some stirring narrative..
We were to meet at Cordes Junction at 10 am; i presumed at the shell station, since Tom Shell was meeting us. But, as i suspected, the road up took longer & our meeting time was delayed. We finally caught up with Tom B. at the dugas exit on I-17, & got away about 11am.. Here are the riders:
left to right, Harry(harjp1959), Ben(Bennito), Tom B.(wrtom), Tom S. (tomshell), & me(rydnseek). Tom S., Harry & Ben are down in the phx valley, Tom B is in Prescott, & i'm in Sedona. ..sorry about the dark faces.. Tom's KLR took the shot. Kawasaki's have no sense for light.
We met here for an inspiring ride into the central Az desert. The views were spectacular as we descended into the verde river valley. The road was very rocky.. even Harry thought my previous description of 'gnarly' was accurate.
Harry taking some pictures along a rare wide spot in the road. We had to stop every now & then on the road down.. riding in the boulders along a cliff's edge is very stressful! I was impressed at how Harry rumbled through everything the road had to offer without a hiccup. He makes that drz look like a 2t 250!
Tom B. He yawned a lot as he cooly made his way through the rocks.. of course, he was on a spry husky 250, while Tom S. & Ben were on the big klr 650's, & Harry & I on drz's. As the elder statesman, Tom B. brought up the rear & made sure everyone was ok.
more nice views.. the bikes are great! ..the scenery is ok, too.
This was after a particularly harrowing section.. I had to stop & catch my breath & get a drink. Tom came up & patiently waited for me to continue.
This road was about 24 miles down to the river. It passed through the bustling metropolis of dugas (sorry, no pics), & ends at the verde hot springs.
This was a great riding group.. every one got to ride at their own pace. The faster riders would zip ahead, then wait while i caught up. They could take pics, naps, do some texting.. ..whatever.. while they waited. This is a rare shot of Ben passing.. i usually only saw him at the forks in the road. He managed that big hog just fine in the rocks & boulders..
Tom S. catching back up, after i had passed at a fork. Tom couldn't get enough of the rocks, & was always looking forward to more challenging terrain.. but then he banged into some rocks & his brake lever bracket broke! We all agreed about the cheap engineering or manufacturing.. He's going to look into a better aftermarket bracket before heading for the remote alaskan wilderness.
He rode quite a ways down, then all the way out with no rear brake!!
These hills were very steep & rocky, so that was no small feat.
We finally made it down to the river.. no restaurants ..no gas stations ..just more rocks, but a nice river view. Every one was starved after the grueling ride down, & collapsed in the shade by the river.. everyone but me.. i headed for the jacuzzi!
At the famous verde hot springs. Ok, there weren't hundreds of naked women. There were about 6-7 naked men, & only one woman in the buff. But the water was nice & hot, & felt very refreshing after the long ride.. it just took so long to get out of my riding gear.
You didn't think i would post any nudity, did you? This is a family forum!! I waited a long time for my fellow riders to join me, but no one showed.. probably explains why many riders have to get big honkin' bikes to compensate for their tiny natural endowment..
I didn't get many other shots after this.. we went back up and connected to the southern road toward bloody basin. It really wasn't any better, just different.. some of the boulders on it were a different hue.. Tom S. just missed a video of me going down after crossing a creek. I was trying to make a big splash for the camera, but then hit some leaves after crossing & slid out on the turn. He did catch my other drop.. a long hill climb. I got off line & caught a bush, then my back tire kicked right & launched me off the road behind another bush. the hard part was getting back up.. the gravel made it hard to stay still, & the back just slid with very little traction. I walked it up a few yards, then was able to climb out the rest of the way. Fortunately, i bailed on every drop & stayed on my feet. ..don't like having to pick up a 300# bike, though..
the gratuitous nature shots.. the hedgehog cacti were blooming everywhere as we got into the bloody basin area.. Even Tom Shell got caught up into the beauty of the flora.. he'll be a naturist, yet!! err.. a naturalist.. :)
Earlier, the ocotillo's were blooming & leafed out.. but here it started getting lower & hotter, & they had dropped their leaves. This area is a beautiful pristine area for the mid to low desert.. even a few saguaros began to appear.
It was about 30-40 miles before we got to the cave creek fork, where the southern boys would head back to the valley, & us northerners would go back north. Tom B. & I had another 30 miles of winding around on pretty good graded roads, mostly. It was about 6:30 when we got to the freeway. Tom put on his jacket, I got out my gel seat & earplugs, & we headed back home. It was about 50 miles of freeway for me, & almost 7:30 & dark when i pulled in the garage. Nearly 200 miles roundtrip, 100 on the interstate!
I'd still like to go find the mysterious river crossing there.. but it was getting late, & with Tom's brake lever, we didn't want to make the detour to the alleged crossing. Maybe this summer i'll head down from the other side & try to find it.
It was a great ride.. the scenery was spectacular, the riders were fun & dazzling, & there were no major incidents or accidents. Tom's hip enjoyed the magic button on the klr.
We are very fortunate to have great riding places like this.