Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..

4/19/08

Rarick canyon death ride, 4/18/08

This last tuesday, Tom & i rode with some of the valley boys down dugas road to the verde river.. it was a rocky, tough, grueling ride. Our riding buddy, Kim, missed it, so wanted to go on a ride friday.. yesterday. He suggested we go up rarick canyon, off the old stoneman lake road, near the beaver creek wilderness area. Tom & i had never been on it, but we'd already ridden a pretty rough road, so we figured, 'ok, why not?' Tom was going to ride his honda 650, & rode dirt roads all the way from prescott! He left about 6am!

We met at the I-17 & 179 exit about 9am. We rode up fr 618 about a mile, then headed north on the old blue grade up toward stoneman lake road. After about another mile, we turned down toward the rarick canyon road, that climbed up near apache maid mountain, between stoneman lake & the beginning of the beaver creek wilderness area.

I knew of some petroglyphs in the red tank draw, which we had to cross going up rarick canyon. Tom hadn't seen them so we took a short side hike to them.




Tom descending into the red tank draw.


There were a lot of petroglyphs along this canyon.. some of these here had collapsed. You could see some of the rock layers that had fallen still had drawings on them.


This should have been the first warning.. Kim didn't leave the bikes. He knew what was coming & wanted to save his strength.


Tom ascending from the depths of the canyon.

After the petroglyphs, we headed back down the road to rarick canyon. We came to the crossing of red tank draw.. Kim said this was the hardest spot, & we could just walk the bikes across.


Kim helping Tom get his big honda across.


Kim decided to ride his through the boulders.. he made it across!

I walked my drz over..no pics. i had the only camera.

We ran through some more pretty rugged terrain.. about a half mile, then came upon this long rocky grade.


Tom was geared too high for this ride.. he would have made it pretty easy on the husky 250.

But he didn't have the husky, & the honda kept stalling. He couldn't get the speed up enough to keep it from stalling, & the back tire would spin in the rocks taking off up hill. He crept along up this hill for about 45 minutes.


Kim & i waited in the back. One time Tom's bike went down in the rocks, & i helped him get it back upright.

After a lot of struggle, Tom walked up the hill a bit to see around the turn.. to see if there was any hope of a better road. He said it went on as far as you could see.. steep & rocky. :(

Reluctantly, we decided to turn back. It was already after noon, & we had a long way to go. At least going back was downhill.






We got back to the creek crossing. I walked mine across first, then Kim came. Tom's 650 was the last across.




Finally we made it back! But it was hot, we were low on water, & exhausted!


Kim didn't want to get up, or even go on to lunch. He was ready to go home! But Tom & i wouldn't let him.. we rode out & cooled off a bit, then continued the climb up to stoneman lake. The rest of the road would be easy gravel & maintained dirt.. so we thought..

We headed up the blue grade toward stoneman lake. It used to be a nice rocky climb out of the verde valley, but they had graded it. there was a lot of big chunky gravel, so it was a little wobbly going through, but it was ok.. not as fun as it used to be, though. We got up to stoneman lake.. the largest natural lake in Az. It had water in it! The winter snows had made it look like a real lake.



We took the secret pass Kim & I discovered last year from stoneman lake road through the pines to morman lake. We were climbing, & got up above 7k ft.. there was still snow on the ground, & even on the road.




We found quite a bit of mud, & some more rocks. :/


No problems with this, though.. we rumbled through the rocks, & wallowed through the mud to our primary reason for riding: lunch!!


Morman lake also was full of water.. it's not really a lake, just a low meadow. but when the snow melts, it makes a big pond that looks like a lake.

Everyone was starved.. it was near 3pm, it was hot, it was cold.. we were glad to get some real chow.

We planned to go up to the main forest road toward munds park, but even Kim couldn't get through the gate that was ahead.


We went down pavement on lake mary road for about 20 miles, then cut back across the dirt stoneman lake road to I-17. Tom went back to prescott, Kim & i headed back to sedona. We did 80-90 miles, & Tom put on about 200. Elevations ranged from 3-8k ft, & the temps were in mid 80's while pushing bikes, to upper 50's in the mountains.

FR 219 to morman lake was plenty of off road terrain for me.. I'll let Kim lead rides up rarick canyon. ;)

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