Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..


grand falls, az 4/28/09

Kim, Tom & I met at the bottom of schnebly hill road in Sedona at 8:30 wed. morn 4/28/09. It was in the 60's but warming up. We climbed up schnebly, which is pretty rough, but it's wide & this early there weren't a lot of jeep tours going on. The vistas are always great here, & the visibility was pretty good.

Here are the riders:

Tom, Kim & me. Tom is on a honda xr650L, & Kim & i are on drz's.

We started at about 4500' & climbed up into the pines on the rim at about 8k'. There hadn't been much rain lately, so the roads were dry.. maybe a puddle in spots, but no snow patches like Kim & I saw last week.

We continued into the pines & got into some of the more rugged roads. Kim & i had found a shortcut from fr226 over to 91, which connected us to mormon lake, lake mary road & points north. There are spots that get pretty rocky & steep, but nothing we couldn't handle. About an hour into the ride Tom was taking off his jacket. Even though we were higher up, it was warming nicely.

Here's the shortcut: A trail across a levee that made a big pond on one of the upper meadows.

We meandered around the connecting road that goes to lake mary road.. the maps are not right, & the gps just shows us where we are. But after a few dim roads we got back on track. We got on pavement by mormon lake, then took lake mary road up to another forest road that would connect to wynona ranch road & cross I-40. The pavement was about 10 miles, then back on the dirt.

Wynona ranch road was very challenging.. it had spots where we were lumbering over volleyball sized boulders, spots with deep dried ruts, & spots that were easy.. it's a nice road. You get a break from the very gnarly stuff, but still get it. There are sections that are comparable to camp wood by prescott, for those who know the area. Some places we were riding in a wash.. with 18" drops and big boulder fields. We didn't take many pics, just tried to keep moving & stay upright!

This is about a 30 mile section up to I-40. It was also open range & we saw a few cows.. many with spring calves. Kim had ridden ahead, but these young'uns seemed intrigued by Tom & I.

I could have patted this little fellow on the head, but when the bikes roared to life, they scampered off. Tom said the guy checking me out liked moo-zuki's.

Then the maps & roads started getting confused. We'd go one way, only to back track because it was going the wrong direction. We got on a very dim road that seemed to end in another wash. We followed it until it made too steep of a drop & left us in the middle of high desert. We tried to cut over to where the road was supposed to be, but were stopped by fences, deep ravines, & fear.

Finally we found a crossable spot in the wash that wasn't too steep. We had to maneuver through trees & rocks, but made it down into the wash & climbed up the other side.

Kim & Tom let me go first.. they were hoping for a good crash shot!

It was past noon by now, and the road became more improved. We made better time the rest of the way up to townsend wynona road, & took it about 10 miles into flagstaff for lunch. We stopped at Mary's Cafe.. a nice little restaurant. Kim had missed seeing the cows, & ordered a turkey sandwich. But something in Tom & i must have triggered a deep primal yearning after our encounter with the cows, so we had hamburgers.. doubles!

By now it's about 2, so we top off the tanks & head into the navajo reservation.

Leupp road turned out to be paved all the way, so that 15 miles was fast & easy. We turned on bia 70 which was loose gravel & sand, with lots of washboarding.

There wasn't much traffic.. none on the way up.. so we could cruise right along. It was windy & very dusty, so we had to space ourselves out quite a bit.

It was about 10 miles & we came to the Little Colorado river, which runs down from the white mountains & to the Colorado river. The crossing was wide, and there wasn't much water in it.

Finally our destination!

There wasn't much water in it, but it wasn't muddy, either. We'll plan a trip earlier in the spring & see more of the snow melt. But it is an impressive canyon with terrific views.

Had the water level been up, we would have viewed the falls from the other side & not been able to cross. You could see the san francisco mountains in the distance, with some patches of snow. It was a little hazy.. we saw smoke from a distant fire blowing from west to east.

It was kind of cool how we were just riding along, crossed a little creek, then this just opened up in front of us. You couldn't see it from a distance.. in fact, the area was pretty desolate.. we were on the leeward side of the mountains & it was very dry. Even the little scrub grasses were brown.

By now it was after 3, so we made the decision to skip the upper loop to shultz pass & take the pavement home. It was about 90 miles to Sedona, & another hour for Tom to ride to Prescott. All the coconino county trucks were going home, too. They left nice dust clouds on the road out.

We went through flagstaff in rush hour traffic, then rode down oak creek canyon to sedona. It was getting chilly in flag, but warmed back up when we got to the verde valley. Tom waved & continued on his way to home.

There were no mechanical issues.. except Kim's windbreaker got caught in his rear sprocket.. good think it didn't get cold or wet.. No one crashed.. i had a near miss when i went around a gravel road too fast & couldn't make the turn.. i went through the ditch, jumped up & turned into a wash, hopped through some big boulders & somehow got back on the road as it crossed the wash. I thought for sure i was going down, but managed to stay upright.

Kim & I totalled over 180 miles, & Tom added another hundred on that. The best part of the ride was from the start to I-40. The best views were at the grand falls, even though the flow was down. I'm definitely going back.. earlier in the spring, next time.


N. Az Sedona mountains

It's been quite a while since i posted a ride report. Other than a few mini rides, i haven't been riding much. But even with the economy, i'm not getting any younger, so Kim & i decided to make it happen & head out. The mountain roads had been closed for the winter, but have opened up. This ride is one of our favorites. There are a few spots with lots of rocks, some mud, good vistas, & of course, Lunch!

So yesterday we headed out & climbed up schnebly hill road.. a classic view ride. Here's the view from the top..

We continued up schnebly hill, crossed the freeway, then into the pines.

I was surprised to see some snow & ice still around. Yesterday was the first 100* day in phoenix, & it had been warm all week. But in the mountains there was still some patches of snow.

It made it a little muddy in spots, & there were a few wide puddles we had to ride through, but nothing too bad.

oh.. here's the riders. Kim & me (scotty).

I lost my garmin 60csx on a canoe trip down the verde in march, & had a nuvi big screen to take, but no where to mount it on the bike. I carried it in my fanny pack & pulled it out every so often to see if i was on the right track. Unfortunately, i had missed a turn about 2 miles back, & had to backtrack. Kim had made the turn, so i thought i'd catch up eventually. But i missed other turns & ended up on some dead ends. I finally backtracked & got back on the right road fr 90h, & followed it to mormon lake. Fortunately, Kim was there. He had gotten off the road, too, but managed to follow his gps & get to the lodge.

This is the highlight of our trip.. food at the lodge restaurant!! Imagine our disappointment to find it was only open on weekends until May 1. We dejectedly went into the little convenience store & bought some frozen chimichangas, nuked them & sat outside to eat. Then a big pack of harley dudes came up, heading for the bar, which was also closed. They were careful to park their bikes the same way Kim & I did.. I'm sure they wanted to look like real bikers.. like me & Kim... & they didn't want to get us mad, either.

No beer at the bar, so the harley guys all left to continue their search. Kim & I finished our tasty lunch & got back on the trail. We were going back a different way.. a shortcut we had discovered a couple of years back from the mormon lake area to stoneman without having to take pavement. Since Kim had the mounted gps, he led the way. Unfortunately, he couldn't see it very well, & led us down the wrong road. After a couple of miles detour, we managed to find our way back to fr700, then fr127 to our secret passage.

Well, it wasn't that secret anymore. I guess woodcutters were using it to get firewood, & it wasn't singletrack anymore. But it was still rocky, muddy & challenging. We made it uneventfully to stoneman lake road, then headed down the switchbacks to the verde valley & home.

It's a fun, easy loop with some challenging spots, but no crashes for us, this day. From our start in sedona, it was about 75 miles, maybe 20 of that pavement to get to the trails.

We're going to try to resume a regular riding routine.. maybe next week we'll do another.

Scotty's info

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