Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..


Williams, oak creek canyon. 9/4/09

I finally got tires & a skid plate for the new bike, so i wanted to take it out & get dirty. This is my first off road ride on the yamaha wr250x. Tom, Kim & I were going to ride up to jerome, then over to sycamore canyon, williams, then across to the top of oak creek canyon. It's a ride we do every year, & is usually a lot of fun.

Well, Kim went out & bought a new bike, too. He got an '07 klx250 with 170 miles on it. So naturally he had to take it all apart to see how it worked. Yesterday morning he called saying he was not riding.. he was wrenching. I had been working on my tires.. i decided to try a tubeless setup i had read about on TT. I was having problems with leaks around the spokes, but got them fixed about 8:30 yesterday morning. We were supposed to meet in Jerome at 8. I had called Tom about my tire problem & Kim's cancellation, & he decided to get out & ride, anyway. Cell phones & motorcycles are not a good combination for keeping in touch, so Tom ended up riding over to my house for the start of the ride. It was almost 11 when we finally got on the road.

We gassed up & started climbing Oak Creek Canyon. It has some nice twisties to test any tire experiments. My conclusion? Smaller width dirt knobbies don't hold a bead on an sm rim. Going around a curve, i heard a 'pop' & my back started fishtailing. I slowed, staying upright, & tried to honk at Tom who was in the lead. I pulled off right at the cave springs pullout & waited for Tom to notice i was no longer behind him.

The green stuff is some slime i put in to aid in the sealing of the 'tubeless' setup.

The car behind me noticed my blowout, & followed Tom, honking. There was a harley guy in front of Tom, & he thought the car wanted to pass, so just flipped him off. After a while, Tom got tired of the guy honking & pulled over to let him pass. The guy stopped behind him & told Tom of my mishap. Nice guy... risking the wrath of the harley guy & Tom to tell of a fellow biker's misfortune.

It was several miles down the road, & almost an hour before Tom got back. I had tried to call, but my ATT cell wouldn't get out of the canyon. Tom had Verizon, & had a signal. Who could we call? Who could help us in our time of need? Kim!! He had a truck. He had a compressor. He could go by my house & get my tubes. He didn't need to work on his bike all day, he could come help work on mine! So i called Kim, & after much pleading, cajoling, whining & tears, he agreed to bring out the tubes. He offered to help without hesitation, actually, but i thought the description of me crying on a cell phone was more picturesque.

While waiting, Tom & I propped up the wr250 & pulled the wheel. I cleaned out the gunk i had put in the tire, & got it ready. In a little over 2 hours, Kim made it to our stopping place. I had the tube in before Kim & Tom could get a good conversation going. It was now about 2:30 but Tom wanted to go on a ride, still. We thanked Kim profusely, & continued on our ride.

Tom had put some lowering links on his Honda, & could now stand flat footed. He was looking forward to testing out his new setup, too. We got to fr 535 & made the turn onto dirt. It had rained some, earlier, but the rocky switchbacks on 535 were no problem. We made it to the top & continued on to Williams.

The prairies & meadows on top had lots of puddles, ruts, & a thin layer of mud on top of the roads. We were fishtailing a lot, but rode through the wettest parts with 12" deep 'water crossings', long ruts full of water, & curves with slick mud. We climbed up & got into some rocks, where we could pick up some speed & clean out the knobbies.

Then we came upon a curve with a couple of ruts & a coating of mud. i was slowing going into the curve, but still too fast. My back tire slid left in a rut while the front was going straight. The bike went down & slid in the mud. It wasn't real wet, & at least the mud was soft to land in.

We went through about 20 miles of mud, with an occasional rocky reprieve. We were glad to reach garland prairie, with a bit of pavement, then gravel the rest of the way to williams.

The view from garland prairie, with the san francisco peaks in the background.

Almost forgot.. the riders: Tom & me.

After a long grueling day of riding, working on bikes, waiting, & sliding around in the mud, we were hungry! Twister's in williams.. an old fashioned 50's style diner/soda fountain. It was after 5 when we finished 'lunch'.

Since it was getting late, & was cooling off, we both headed home on the freeway. I went east to flag, then back down the canyon, Tom went west to 89 then down to prescott. It was a short ride.. we didn't get to sycamore canyon or buzzard point for any scenic views, but we did try out tires, skidplates, lowering links, & safety gear.

I got my new bike nice & dirty.. it did well in the mud. ..plenty of traction with those knobbies on 17" sumo rims. No problems in the rocks or ruts, either.. at least no more than usual.

I like the gearing on the wr.. & it had plenty of power for everything on this ride. I kept it in higher gears to minimize slipping in the mud.. & tried to keep some momentum. The knobbies hooked up pretty well, too.. they cleaned themselves up well & got me decent traction. I went about 30 miles on the freeway, but kept it under 70. No problems with the twisties coming back down the canyon, either.

We need to do this ride again, when we can go to some of the overlooks, & make the loop all the way to jerome.

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