Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..


Cherry to Crown King to Prescott loop, 6/22/2009

Tom & i met at cherry road & hwy 169 at 8:30am. He rode over from Prescott, I came from Sedona.

Cherry Road is about 10 miles west of I-17 on hwy 169. We went north on Cherry road to the intersection of the Great Western Trail, which continued on down Cherry Road.

The riders: Scotty & Tom.

This first part of the great western trail was open with great views.. through mostly chaparral.. it was rocky & rutted in spots, but nothing too difficult.

We followed the road back down to hwy169 near I-17, where we crossed & continued on dirt. the road got a little more primitive, but still easy for us.

This guy kept following us.. maybe he'd seen us ride before & was hoping for a snack!

We had a total of about 10 water crossings.. the deepest was at Dugas, which was about axle high with some loose rocks below & out of sight.. Most were in 8" or less. This was a wider crossing. It's a very pretty riparian area with a lot of green.

Tom got the better pics of water crossings.. he even made me go back & cross again to get a better shot!

Next came the unexpected.. but i was expecting it. Whenever you ride with Tom, he will carry on how easy the trail is.. but he forgets the tough sections.. maybe because they're so easy for him, or maybe it's a little mean streak in him. We had 3 or 4 little crossings along this creek, when the trail started going back up. I go around a turn & face a steep, rocky climb with big basketball sized boulders strewn throughout the trail. There was no line you could take, but just keep the throttle open, & ride it out. I managed to go up a couple of 12-16" steps & stayed upright. But no time to rest, no sooner up that section when the trail switchbacks up into more jagged volcanic rock, not as big, but with more loose gravel & softball sized rocks to climb up. This is evidently a popular 4x4 jeep climb.. plenty of ruts, broken up boulders & a nice steep climb. This climb switchbacked back & forth up the hill for about 1/2 mile until it flattened out. I got my camera & tried to go down to record Tom's riding expertise, but i was only part way down when he roared up.. wondering what all the fuss was about. So i only got this wimpy shot of the carnage:

We continued on this road until it came to bloody basin road.. a great name for a road, but very wide, gravelled, & easy. We got past the worst of this road, but the rest was not easy. For another 25 miles or so we climbed up & down, through washed out arroyos, & a few tricky sections.. but nothing like the climb earlier.

Bloody Basin was another 15-20 miles, but wide & easy.. but it had a few sharp curves you had to be careful with. We went under I-17 & headed toward Crown King. The road to Crown King was also pretty easy.. some washboarding, but mostly graded gravel. The main problem with this road is the elevation. When you see these guys, you know it gets hot, especially in June.

It was after noon & getting hotter. The road to Crown King is very scenic.. it climbs up with beautiful vistas of the lower desert floor.

Tom's front tire was new, & he was not comfortable with it on the gravel. But he kept upright & managed fine. Here's a closeup action shot of him coming up the switchbacks on crown king road.

Finally we got into the pines, cooler weather, & the old Crown King bar & restaurant.

We arrived at crown king a little before 1pm. Tom was getting low on fuel, so imagine his dismay when he saw the 'out of order' sign on the pump. :eek:

We parked under the trees by the picnic tables, & Tom started talking to the guy who runs the gift shop & the powersport shop.. he happened to have a little over a gallon of premium, which Tom jumped on. While his wallet was open, he got a spare tube for the rear of the honda. Tom likes to be prepared for flats, even though his last flat he just rode home on.

But we had a couple of beers, a nice lunch & chatted with some of the other patrons. We left the saloon & headed back into the pines.

I've always thought the road from prescott to crown king is a delightful variety.. there are sweeping vistas, windy roads, steep ups & downs, creek crossings, & a variety of elevations. Tom has probably ridden this road about 20,000 times.. he could do it with his eyes closed. I think he might have slept through the first part of it..

One of the wide vistas when coming out of the pines from crown king..

The view to the south.. probably phoenix air, but might be from a distant fire..

Back into the pines.. a cool, tranquil dirt road.

Nice water crossings.. this time of year they are easy..

Tom just roars by scenes like this.. not me. 'Ooooh! Lookit all the purty flars!!!' 'ahm takin a pitcher'..

Somewhere between the flowers & the next water crossing, Tom woke up from his nap & noticed his back brake was going down too far.. almost hitting the stop. He got his handy honda wrench & made the quick adjustment. Then, back on the road.

This was the easiest water crossing, but also the only one that i got ahead of Tom & took his picture. He tried to power through it to make a big wake, but this was all the creek could muster..

'Oooh... looky, looky Tom.. more purty flars!!!'

Finally out of flowers & water crossings, we got back into prescott. Tom turned to his house, & i went back the 50 miles further to sedona.

It was a fun loop. 11 hrs, 240 miles. For me, about half that pavement. Most of the loop was gravel, with about 2 miles of it very nasty, steep & rocky. I haven't uploaded the track from my gps, but i'll post the map & maybe the track if anyone wants it.

Next big ride:
Mogollon rim, Strawberry to Pinetop, 3 days, July 13-15 tentave..


Grand Canyon 6/09. Day 4, The Return

Day 4: Going home.

I woke up too early on the last day, so i got dressed & went for a walk. The sun was not yet up, & i took a few night shots of the canyon with the very dim beginnings of dawn on the horizon.

Near the El Tovar hotel, there were some elk grazing in the grass.. not too many people out, but they weren't afraid, anyway.

I had on my black jacket, a black hat, & pants.. i guess this bird thought i was a relation. He was following me chattering away. This is with a flash, not zoomed in.

I wandered aimlessly in the park, taking pictures of the nearing sunrise.

Even the birds have something to say, here.

I stopped by the front desk & checked out, then went back to the room about 5:30am. Tom was ready.. even had his boots on! So i quickly dressed up & packed everything, loaded the bike, & off we went. It was still pretty chilly, & i had to stop & put on another shirt under my jacket.

We passed these mule deer on the way out of the park.

After gassing up again at desert view, we went down hwy 64 about 15 miles to the gray mountain truck trail.. a reservation road. It was pretty rocky, but wide. Some of the switchbacks had some steep turns, but we stayed upright.

These were more wide open spaces.. no traffic. a few horses & cows every so often, but mostly open rugged roads.

We made pretty good time, & with our early start got to 89a at grey mountain about 10. We decided to ride up to Cameron, about 10 miles further north, cross the little colorado river, then follow it down another reservation road to the wupatki crossing. This was another great ride.. long, straight sections of flat gravel, with some deep sand mixed in. There were painted desert hills to the east, & the San Francisco mountains to the southwest. It was pretty windy & dusty, so we had to space out quite a bit.

I found by going between 40 & 50 mph, i could cruise through the deep sand without trouble. I did have to slow down a lot for some of the curves in the road. We could see the treeline of the little colorado river on our right, but the road never got close enough to see the river or any canyon.

This was no place to have vehicle trouble.. miles from nowhere..

We finally came to the spot that the gps said another road intersected that would take us across the river to the other side. We rode up & down the road for a couple of miles looking for a road, but found nothing. There was a downed sign at the spot the road was supposed to be, but it looked like a lot of baked clay & gravel with no sign of tire tracks. So we headed out across a big flat section & finally came upon the right BIA numbered road.

There was the river, with the mountain beacon in the background. That was our destination.

I was a little nervous.. what if the little colorado river crossing wasn't a bridge? These roads didn't look very well traveled, so it was likely it would be a low water crossing. We approached the river & carefully crossed, hoping the bikes would not disappear in a deep hole..

The Little Colorado River:

It was a dangerous crossing, but luckily we made it..

Once across the raging river, we entered wupatki national monument.. an historical spot with ruins & native american history & folklore. But Tom had an important meeting in Prescott at 5, so we just drove through. The road became paved, & our dirt riding was officially over about noon on the 4th day. We rode into Flagstaff, stopped at kfc with our mountains watching over us, then headed home.

I had over 520 miles on my odometer, & Tom had at least another hundred. It was a pretty cool loop altogether, & the great majority of it off pavement. We got sprinkled on a couple of times, got hot in the lower parts of the reservation, & basically had a blast with this epic ride to probably THE most spectacular natural wonder of the world.

Grand Canyon 6/09, Day 3: The East.

Day 3. Go East!

We were heading east this day, into the Navajo reservation & along the little colorado river. We got up around 6, went into the big cafeteria at the yavapai lodge, suited up & headed for desert view.

The views were a little different.. the shadows changed, but the vistas were no less spectacular.

Down below from this overlook, you could see the mighty Colorado river & roaring whitewater rapids.. of course from this distance, it looked like a gentle brook.

I even let the drz take another picture..

We arrived at the desert view tower, at the east entrance of gcnp. It's about 25 miles from the village where the lodges are. The tower is an old structure but still in use.

This was where our next ride would be.. Across the gorge there was a road with our names on it.

Tom was having important calls come in.. i think it was problems with kids or grandkids.. but it might just have been his broker..

But the phone calls ended, we filled our tanks & headed down the dirt road to the switchbacks. This was THE grand canyon ride. The road was rocky, gnarly, & difficult. The views were magnificent & changed at every turn. I think this few miles was the most complete ride.. we even took some pictures of cactus flowers.

Here's Tom coming down the switchbacks, with the Grand Canyon views to the west.

Tom took my video, too!

Here's Tom coming down the switchbacks, & stopping at an open overlook. The videos are in HD, so you can go to youtube & view them in higher resolution.

I tried to connect the camera to a minipod strapped to the handlebars, but it still shook too much.. a helmet cam is the only realistic way to keep it relatively still.

Right above the drz you can see the desert view tower. We were heading to the intersection of the Colorado & the Little Colorado rivers..

But right when we got down to the plateau, the road acquired an addendum... no motor vehicles, pedestrians only. The only road now headed further east, deeper into the Navajo reservation.. the desert view tower getting further away..

We were prepared to turn back, but new roads opening up before us were too irresistible. There were a couple of dead ends.. one led to this old hogan ruin.. judging from the weathered logs, it was probably built in the 20's or earlier.

We got into the most difficult trails of the trip on this day.. both from designated roads on the maps, & side roads we set out to explore. We had some near misses, but no crashes or major problems.

Another dead end, but open views. The big crack in the ground you see is the little colorado river canyon, heading north to the colorado river.

There were several herds of horses around.. many with young foals. It was interesting to see them react to us. They galloped into the steep rocky hills.. i think they were wild & used to being herded by quads & bikes.

There were also ruins of old hogans everywhere.. some may have been relatively recent, but many were probably hundreds of years old.

We didn't see very much traffic on this trip.. not off road, anyway. Out here it was very desolate.

There were also the usual cows.. & they would run from us, but down the road. We couldn't pass, & they kicked up more dust than the bikes.

We stopped for lunch, & decided to head back. It was at least another couple of hours up to the point at the colorado & little colorado, & it would be too late when we got back, plus we might miss the beers & long island iced tea if we dawdled along these remote back roads.

As we neared hwy 64, we began to climb. The rocky roads had some pretty steep switchbacks we had to go up. But it was fun seeing the views open up again.. the little colorado gorge became more pronounced as we went up in elevation.

We crossed hwy 64 & continued on the dirt. We got on some pretty old roads.. another old stage road that headed to the reservation. It went through some beautiful pine forests.

The road connected to grandview road, which we had ridden into the park a couple of days earlier. It was only about 3pm, so we had plenty of time to get changed & walk over to the bar & restaurant.

The sun was hanging low again, creating more shadows & different lighting for this wonder of the world.

Strangely enough, there was another guy wearing this exact same shirt walking around. Tom was afraid he'd be mistaken for Jerry Lee Lewis, but he was never mobbed by groupies.

After dinner, we again hit the hay early. Here's the room inside the park boundary. They weren't anything great, but they were reasonable, clean & comfortable.

End of Day 3.

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