Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..


Day 3. Pinetop, Az. Home alone.

7/15/09, Pinetop, Az

Even after a hard night of partying, we woke up early & got ready for the ride home. We loaded both hondas into Tim's truck, got some coffee, & headed out.

The final group picture.

Since i was riding home alone, i decided to just take the pavement & not go the route i had planned. It would have been more off road & through unknown parts, some creek crossings, & through the rugged rim canyons. I'll take it another time when there are other riders.

But the ride along 260 is still very scenic. The first part is over 8k' & was chilly in my mesh jacket.

When i started down the hill into the payson area, the weather warmed considerably. The road was wide & easy, & there was not too much traffic. When i stopped & filled up, i had gotten 62 mpg in the drz.. not bad, but all the riding from the previous day had been real easy, & the first part of this day was mostly 50-60 mph.

As i headed down into the verde valley, it got downright hot. This was another 100*+ day, & it was midday. I got off of 260 & cut across fr618 toward sedona.

It was a hot, dusty road, but no one else was out. I cleared the dirt road, crossed I-17 & continued toward sedona. Here's the last bit of road into my home town.

I put a little over 500 miles on my bike. I did have a mishap on the first day. When turning around looking for a shortcut to pavement, i dropped my bike in the ruts on the rim road. The shift lever re-injured the jb weld patch job on my case & oil began dripping out. I thought about fixing it, but the drip was slow, so i just bought another quart of oil & watched the level. I put about 1/2 qt in on the day 2 ride, then the other half on the ride home. But it was nothing compared to Tom's gruesome crash.

I think looking back, it was too long of a ride for Tom (& me for that matter) to ride off road. We took too few breaks, only had a snack, & probably didn't drink enough (except for the margaritas, later!). Tom is a very capable rider, & could ride that section 50 times with no problem. It was just a perfect storm & a moments lapse. But it does show how attentive we have to be when riding. He was lucky it wasn't worse. There is little room for error when riding like we do.. especially when there are long sections where disaster is lurking. Perhaps had we stopped for a short break when we got into the rutted road, we might have been fresher & not had the lapse. It's hard to second guess after the fact, but it is good to learn from our mistakes & know our limitations.


Day 2. Mogollon attrition

We got up bright & early on Tuesday. Another local guy, Tom P. was going to join us & show us around the area. But Tom's thumb, knee, & other assorted parts weren't feeling too well, so he decided to pass. That left Tim, Me, & Tom to ride.

Here we are, ready to go.

Tim began kicking his xr, but it was being stubborn. Finally after much cajoling, it fired up. We gassed up & hit the road. Right before we hit the dirt, Tim was feeling less confident in the xr. He didn't want to have bike problems while out on the trail. So he decided to go back to the room, check on Tom, & see if he needed to go home. That left Tom P. & i for the ride. Tom has had his kawasaki 250 for about a year, & he's already got over 15k miles on it. It is his commuter bike & he rides it! It's a peppy little bike & he controls it very well.

We climbed up a few mountains in the area.. this first one had a spotting tower on it & was occupied by a ranger.. he invited us to come up, so we did!

The views were great.. you could see a long ways off, & there wasn't too much smoke from controlled burns, yet.

There was a family of woodpeckers flocking around the top of this tree.. there were swarming ants there & the birds were having breakfast. I only got one of the birds to stop & pose.. the other were flitting about too much.

We chatted with the ranger for a while, then headed out for more riding.

Here's some of the roads we were on.. they were pretty easy early on, & many of them opened up onto high meadows. This is the approach road to Green's Peak, which is a little over 10k'.

Here we are at the top. Scotty & Tom.

Green's Peak is one of the higher points in the area.. you could see the sunrise ski area, & had 360* views.

Here is the descent from Green's Peak.

We continued riding in the area.. stopped by a nice lake where fishermen were trying their luck, then got on pavement for a few miles & went to Greer for lunch.

We finished our lunch & Tom wanted to show me some nice quad trails in the area. He said they were narrow, a little more rugged & went through some nice pine forests. We got to the trail, but it looked like this:

Loggers had entered Tom's trail & made wide logging roads. They were thinning the trees & had the area pretty torn up. It would recover, but we'd have to look for another more interesting riding spot.

So Tom thought it might be fun to go spelunking. He knew of a lava tube nearby, so we stopped for a bit of caving.

It was a small sink hole with a tube going back.

The main room only went back 30-40', but Tom said it went back a long ways further, if you weren't too claustrophobic.

It was very dark, & i only had a small light. When i took a picture, Tom's eyes glowed with a manaical gleam.

We got out of the lava tube & continued down the road. We were getting into some smokey areas.. controlled burning..

Then Tom wanted to show some of the more gnarly trails.. we got on a powerline road & followed it for a while.

We came to a long, steep hill on the powerline road. I tried to climb up, but about halfway i lost traction, started fishtailing, slid in a rut, bounced sideways & came to a stop.. i don't know how i stayed upright. Tom had to stop while i blocked the trail. I knew i couldn't get enough traction to climb from a stop, so told tom i'd have to go down to get another run at it. I knew if i were to climb to the top, i'd need all the momentum i could get. Towards the top, the trail became more 'v' shaped, with loose cinders on top. It also got deeper, & off camber. I graciously offered to get out of the way so Tom could finish his climb, but like a good riding host, he insisted i go first. I studied the top some more from my halfway point, then decided i would not push my luck.. i hadn't gone down, yet, but another climb attempt would likely result in a fall. Plus, Tom still had to work this afternoon. We needed to get back so he would have plenty of time to clean up & make it to work. These are all fine excuses to not climb this hill, so off we went on an easy forest road back to town.

We parted, Tom making his way to work, & me going back to the room, wondering if tim & tom b. would still be there. They were!

My drz doubles as a clothesline..

Here is our cozy little man-cave.. i got the rollaway.

I'm not sure what Tom & Tim did all day while Tom P. & I were on a grueling ride.. they said they went shopping... shopping? I wasn't sure i wanted to spend another night with these guys.. shopping? So they spit & scratched some & wanted to get some mexican food & margaritas.. ok, that's better. We went to a mexican restaurant a few blocks down & watched the all star baseball game on the big screen.. no shopping for us!

Hard core drinkers like us can go all night. Tim didn't care for his margarita, but Tom & i ordered another with our dinner. About halfway through the second one, i started to slide under the table. Tom wasn't faring much better. We finished our dinner & margaritas, then Tim thought he'd better get us back to the room before we passed out or tried to pick a fight with the waitress. We staggered back to the room, & turned on the tv to watch the rest of the game. I made it to the bottom of the 8th, before i faded. Tim & Tom had already crashed. We are party animals & Pinetop was trembling. But hard partying like we do is very tiring, plus it was a little past 8. We all fell asleep with the tv on. Tom woke up about 10 & turned everything off.

Dramatic end of day 2.


Pinetop, Az rim road ride, 3 days, 7/09

Here's the ride report for the 3 day pinetop ride that featured Tom, Tim, Tom, Monte, & me. Tom B. met me in Camp Verde on Monday, 7/13/09 at about 7:30 am. We rode up 260, then cut over to the rim road. It was about 1/2 hr on pavement, then mostly dirt the rest of the way.

At the start of the rim road.

The rim road follows the edge of the mogollon rim (pronounced 'muggy-on'). It was also an old army & indian trail.. part of it was used by general crook for the forced march of the Apache indians to the white mountains.

The riders: Tom & Scotty.

The views along the rim road are spectacular.. even though this day there was some haze from burning.. both some small forest fires they were letting burn, & some controlled burns to clear the forest.

But all along the rim road are terrific view spots. The road is dirt, but fairly easy.

The firecracker penstemon's were blooming everywhere.. the reds on them are unbelievably bright.

Were it not for the distant haze, you could have seen for 100 miles.

The first part of the rim road ended back on hwy 260, & i thought we could cross to the dirt road on the other side of the highway & connect back to the rim road. But we got on another road that was taking us further west & south along the young/heber road. So we made our way back to 260 & took it about 7 miles to where the rim road continued to pinetop. We did stop for gas at a small station there.

Tom wanted me to ride his honda & see what a real motorcycle is like. It was very nice. The suspension is plush & the seat is like sitting on a lazy boy. I rode it for a few miles, then stopped & waited for Tom to catch up.

We were about 25 miles from pinetop at this point. Tom had ridden about 80 to camp verde, and we had ridden another 80 or so to here. But we started getting into the dried ruts in the road.. evidently some 4x4's had ridden on this road after the last rain. But the ruts were very hard, steep, & had loose sand & gravel on them. There was enough room to miss them, so we were able to keep our speed up.. probably around 30mph through them. Tom was back on his honda leading the way. I was keeping up, about 50 yds back when he got into a rut. His back end started kicking from side to side, then he flipped sideways & started doing cartwheels. It was tom-honda-tom-honda for a while, then tom got spit out to the left, rolled a few more times & the honda skidded to a stop. I was horrified. I got up to him as he was trying to get up. I told him to sit there & see where he was hurt. I picked up the bike so gas wouldn't keep leaking out & engulf us in flames, & returned to tom to assess the damage.

If you would have seen this crash & i told you the rider sustained multiple fractures, you would believe it. But amazingly Tom had a few lacerations & a tweaked thumb & knee. He got up & walked around. After seeing him go down, i thought we might have to airlift him out. But he was more worried about the bike.

When the bike started flipping sideways, it did a couple of full flips going down the road. There was some damage to the bark busters, a turn signal was broken off, the seat popped up from the hook to the bike, the mirror broke off, but everything else was ok & working. It is almost as tough as Tom.

This was the worst laceration.. a nasty scrape along his arm. His jersey has a big hole in it, as well as the shirt underneath.

It's the first time i've used this.. hopefully the last.

We washed off the scrapes with drinking water, but since we didn't have enough antiseptic cream or spray to get everything, i just taped some gauze pads on the wounds & he put another shirt on & started working on the bike.

We had to take off the bracket for his rack in order to get the seat back on.. plus the front forks were twisted, so we had to loosen the clamps to set them straight.

The ruts along the road continued for miles.. we decided to cut over to the pavement a few miles away & continue in to Pinetop that way. But the first road we took fizzled out in some burnt & fallen pine trees & we had to double back. Our water was mostly gone, Tom was shaken & a little woozy riding along, & it looked like some monsoon rains might start. But we finally made it to the hotel in pinetop. It took us about 3.5hrs to go the last 30 miles. It was about 2 pm when Tom went down, & nearly 6 when we checked in.

We got our room, & soon after Tim pulled in with his truck & bike in the back. He had some back issues & didn't feel he could ride for 3 days, but decided to truck out, ride one day, then truck back. Tim is a retired health care professional, so be sure to have him along when you crash. we went to the pharmacy while tom showered & cleaned up his wounds, then Tim cleaned them up more with some antiseptic ointment, taped some gauze pads on the scrapes, taped up his thumb, & gave Tom one of his pain killers. Tom was out hobbling around in no time.

We had set it up with Monte, a local guy, to meet for a beer & look over maps for the next day's ride. He couldn't get off work, but was real nice to stop by & give us some tips for good riding areas. Monte has a nice klr 650 that he goes everywhere on. He has it rigged up for long distance riding, but it's always amazing to me where these 650 guys can go. We met at the chinese restaurant across the street, told some stories, recounted Tom's grueling crash, & pondered the next day's ride. It was great to meet Monte, & i'll recommend him highly for his knowledge of the area & great personality.

Tom was pretty wiped out from the crash & Tim's pain pills, so we pretty much went straight to bed after we got back from dinner, though it was past 9..

End of day 1.

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