Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..


Cherry to Jerome through Martin canyon, 5/7/09

We met at 9 am at the intersection of cherry road & federal mine road on May 7th, 2009. Kim & I came up cherry road from sedona, Tom from prescott met Harry who came up from phx. Harry, Kim & I were on drz's, Tom rode the lonely honda 650L.

The riders:

Harry, Kim, me, Tom.

We took federal mine road over to 89a. It ranged from 6-8k ft, & has some nice vistas. There were a few rocky sections & dried ruts, but fairly easy riding.

We made good time on this section.. no stops.. no breaks. But we were glad we changed the ride from crossing the verde at horseshoe dam.. it was hot enough here in the mountains!

We crossed 89a in search of martin canyon.. which was not on any of our gps maps, but Tom had remembered reading about it in a 4x4 book he had read (probably hand inscribed on papyrus). We followed the main dirt road to this single track trail.

Harry was pumped! He wanted to fly down that trail right then. It was permissible for bikes, but not quads! But some of the elderly gentlemen in the group wanted to take a break & have a snack.

After the snack Harry led the way. He was gone in a few seconds & we could no longer hear his motor. The rest of us putted along the nice trail.. it had been used by horses since the last rain, but was easy enough.

We went down a long section & the 'trail' abruptly ended. Now it was just rocks. We could see Harry a little ways down, turning his bike around. It got *much* steeper, rockier & difficult. Harry realized he'd be going on alone, so figured he'd better turn back.

This is what Harry had to climb back up:

Kim seemed disappointed that Tom & I were so terrified of the steep trail, but he finally agreed to sacrifice his personal thrills for our safety & peace of mind, and reluctantly turned back.

Here's a clip of Harry riding up the single track section where we turned back.

Our backup plan was to go down 89a a few miles & tie into the powerline trail, if we couldn't find the martin canyon trail. But on the way back, we saw a side road that looked well traveled by jeeps, & it was going the right direction, so we headed down.

It turned out to be the right road. Before long we were in the bottom of the canyon.. it *was* the road. It was mostly boulder fields & long sections that followed a steep wash. Some parts had to climb up & over dropoffs. Harry was ecstatic! He would ride up & down the boulder fields while the rest of us were creeping along happy to stay upright.

Here's Harry again riding through one of the early, easier sections in martin canyon:

Every one except Tom dumped their bike at least once. I went down hard, bouncing along the boulders, when my front tire jumped to the left bank, then turned hard right. My brake lever bent & my case guard took a big hit, but did it's job. I landed pretty hard on my right elbow & forearm. ..banged up, but alive..grateful for the gear.. Harry dropped his in the most difficult section of boulders. His left case guard was sheared off, but nothing broken.

Kim fell over on a steep, loose rocky hill & had to muscle it back upright. It was a workout. No easy ride, here.

My elbow got banged up a bit after my drop, & i no longer wanted to ride through the boulders, especially since we were now in the longest & hardest part of the canyon.
Here is Harry riding his drz through the most difficult part of martin canyon:

I walked my bike for about 50 yds, using the clutch & front brake to control it through the rocks. But that is even more work than riding, so i quit to watch what Tom & Kim would do.

Kim was a little fatigued after wrestling his bike around, & was happy to let Harry ride his drz down through the boulders. It was only about 1-200 yds, but it was gnarly. Harry rode down to where i was without a problem. I cheerfully offered Harry an opportunity to ride my drz the next 50 yds or so through the worst section. Harry didn't want to miss an opportunity to ride such a classy machine like my drz, and accepted.

The hard part for Harry was having to walk back through the boulders, uphill, & ride our bikes down.

Here is Harry riding Kim's drz through the same section.

Now you may think all we did was watch Harry.. well, yeah.. that is what we did, mostly.. but the rest of us actually rode our bikes, too. No, really.. we did. Here's Kim riding through one of the trickier sections:

When it came to Tom's turn.. he hesitated. I don't know if it was because he thought Harry couldn't handle the raw power of the honda, or if he thought Harry would drop it & scratch up his pretty red bike. Or maybe it was something deeper.. Tom had pride.. he knew he was a good rider.. if Harry could do it, so could he. Kim & I had no problem swallowing our pride & let Harry cuckold us by riding our bikes.. we knew he had the balls & we didn't. But Tom knew he had as big cajones as Harry, so he hopped on the honda & started down the boulders.

He made it! No drops.. no scratches.. a spectacle of awe for me & Kim! He did let Harry take a token ride through some of the boulders.

Tom riding through an earlier section, with a hearty 'attaboy!' at the end.

Please excuse the shakiness of the videos.. it's a new camera for me, & so far i really like it.. it's the new pentax optio w60, which is waterproof & does hd video clips, though at 15 frames per second, so it's not that great, but it does ok. But holding a little compact camera still when you're panting & shaken up from a grueling crash isn't that easy, so some of my vid clips weren't that steady.

We had made it through the roughest sections of Martin Canyon. Anything else that came would seem easy. We rode uneventfully through the rest of the canyon, which was still pretty challenging, then turned on fr 318a over to the perkinsville road, which would take us to Jerome. It took nearly 2 hours to get through the hard parts of Martin canyon, & only about 1/2 hr more to get to Jerome.

This was along fr 318a:

As we neared the perkinsville road, we could see the distant red rocks of Sedona, & the San Francisco peaks in the background.

But like Kim always says, the only reason he goes on these rides is...


After a nice lunch, we parted. Tom rode back to Prescott, Kim, Harry & I rode down the hill to cottonwood, then Harry continued down hwy 260 to cherry road & back up the hill to his staging station. Kim & i went back to sedona.

Kim & I went a little over 100 miles. IT was a nice loop, but next time, i'll take the powerline road & skip martin canyon! But it would be a good loop for mixed skill riders for that reason. The better riders could enjoy the challenge of martin canyon, while the sissies could go down the powerline road & meet up with the big boys at the end of the canyon. I'm still tweaking my nuvi gps for riding (mounting issues, mostly), & didn't have it on all the time, so i don't have the gps tracks. If one of the other guys would email them to me, i could post a map of the actual track we took, as well as upload it for anyone else who is crazy enough to want to go on this ride.

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