Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..

11/13/09

Hart Prairie, 11/11/09

Kim & I left sedona about 9:30 & headed up oak creek canyon.

I was on the wr250x, Kim on his klx250.

The weather was a little overcast, which made the temps a little warmer. We were climbing into the 8500' range, & it would be colder as the day wore on. But if we were going to get up to hart prairie this year, time was running out, unless we went on snowmobiles.

We turned onto fr 535, a nice dirt road that finishes the climb into the coconino nat forest. From here we went north, gassed up at park, crossed i-40, & went down an old section of rt. 66 that's unpaved.

this is in the pines on 535.



Here's some open prairie, with the san francisco mountains in the background.. our destination.



Hart Prairie road.. heading for the aspens. We're approaching the mountains from the west & going around them to the north.



This is along hart prairie road.. the aspens have dropped all leaves. We're about a month late for color, but the look going through them is still pretty cool.. no leaves, very stark.. it went well with the overcast day.





A partial view to the north.



Coming out of the aspens, into hart prairie & the northern meadows.



On the north side of the mountains, viewing north. These are the foothills going toward the grand canyon.



The san francisco peaks from the north, into hart prairie.



We followed the north mountain road until we almost came to hwy89a, then turned toward the south & southwest heading back to flagstaff.. this was along shultz pass road. I took some pics & vids of this on our 4 day utah ride early last month, so i did't take any more.. not much had changed.

We came into flag off shultz pass road & went back down oak creek canyon. No lunch. No more dirt. But it was a fine ride, & no doubt our last one in the high country this year. Snow will be covering everything & the roads will close.

We did a total of about 150 miles, with maybe 50 paved. We were in the 8500' range on most of the loop around the mountains. It's an easy ride.. a nice followup to the gnarly casner mt ride we did last week. This will probably be my last ride of the year.. after thanksgiving, i'm heading to oahu for 3 weeks.. we'll be back before christmas, but might not get a ride in. My poor little wr will be whimpering in the garage, wanting to get out for a nice ride.

11/6/09

Casner Mt. trail, Williams, Perkinsville road, 11/5/09

11/5/09
Casner Mountain trail. Clarkdale to Williams, Az

Tom, Kim & i met in Clarkdale at 9am. We followed the verde river for a while, then took sycamore pass up to the powerline road at the base of Casner mountain. The powerline road is Casner Mtn trail. It goes between 2 wilderness areas. It is open to hikers, bicycles, horses & motorcycles! No 4x4 jeeps, etc.

The riders.. Scotty, Kim, Tom.


If you watch the video clips, you might as well mute the sound. All you'll get is motor & wind noise.. a few words might get through every now & then, but on this ride, they should probably be muted too! I tried to see if i could get some audio to come through in some slower, quieter parts, but it didn't do very well.. there is a mod i can do on my helmet cam to bring a tiny microphone to the inside of my helmet.. but then i'd be yakking all the time & miss a turn or go over a cliff.. probably better to just have the video. A helmet cam is worse than a cell phone..

Also, if you have a fast connection, you can click on the 'HD' button at the bottom of the video. You'll get to see it in full hd resolution! I try to keep them around 2 minutes, but a couple are longer. The stills are still the best!

The road up sycamore pass.


This is open range.. we found the local hangout for the natives. Some of them were pretty well armed.. don't mess with them! I rode through very slowly.


The Mountain.. Casner mountain. Our climb for the day. We'll start at about 3k ft, & go up to about 8k.

If you look closely, you can see the swath cut up the mountain for the powerlines, & the switchbacks.

Heading toward the trail.. we come to the gate which keeps 4 wheeled vehicles out, but allows our dainty little motorcycles!


Beginning the climb..



Part way up.. this is a steep hill.. where i am now is where the switchbacks start. Look how far we've climbed already!

The climb was pretty long.. i broke the video up so it wouldn't be so boring, & so anyone can just watch part if they want. This is part 2 of the climb.



Stopping at another switchback for a photo opp. The turns were pretty gnarly.. you had to slow a lot coming into the turns, & the surface was pretty loose, but it was still very steep. I think had i been on my drz i would have dumped it a couple of times on this hill.


Sedona red rocks in the distance.. The forest service was doing a prescribed burn & there was a lot of distant haze.. later we would get right into the smoke.

..and of course, part 3. The last section had the toughest parts.. the steps were bigger, the rocks were looser, & the turns tighter.. it might have been steeper, too.



Up on the first mesa. We thought we'd reach the top & it would be mostly level.. but the road went up & down.. steep both ways. We were still between the wilderness areas & not on a real road.

Up & down on Casner mt. Ridge roads, steep drops. I've put this & a couple of other in HD.. i think you can change it to standard def so it loads faster. I'm still figuring out how these embedded videos play.


On the ups & downs, we went along a ridge that fell off both sides..
This side was to the west & sycamore canyon.


Here's Tom flying by with a view to the east side of the ridge.


More along the Casner ridges..




Too bad the smoke made the more distant shots hazy.. you could have seen all the way to bell rock in sedona.




Once we got past the ridge, we started another steep, rocky climb. We thought it couldn't get worse than the first part we went up, but we were wrong! The boulders were bigger, the steps were higher, & the loose rock was deeper. But once we got on top, we were rewarded with some fantastic views.. this was the view of sycamore canyon to the southwest.


Kim gets tired of me always taking pictures, so he wrestled my camera away & took one with me in it.. You could bring your own camera, Kim..


Climbs & rocks.. & through the north gate. We also start getting into a lot more pines in this section.



We went up & down a few more times, but the terrain got easier. Then we got into some burned sections.. we were planning on going up here earlier this summer, but the fire made us change to another ride. It was pretty burned up.. lots of fallen trees, & cleared sections to protect the powerlines.


Into the pines..


Remnants from the fire last summer..


Now we got out of the pines, the fire, the powerlines, & into the open meadow of Garland Prairie. We were able to open it up on this graded gravel road.. don't look at my speedo..


Finally we made it to our primary destination.. Lunch!! The is the old 'Route 66 cafe'. It's ok.. kinda pricey.. but the food was fine. Here you can also see all our trusty steeds lined up: Tom & I on wr250r/x, Kim on klx250. We've all changed recently from a bigger bore bike, & don't see any reason to go back. The 250's took all we could throw at them, & on this ride, we gave them a workout!


On the road back.. old perkinsville road.


This road connects to perkinsville road.. it gets pretty gnarly..


The old perkinsville road has some pretty rough sections in it. It was all downhill, but some of the steps were pretty high, & there were still a lot of rocks. We didn't really get a break from what we had in the morning.


Vids on the rocks..




But we finally cleared all the downhill rocky stuff, & were in chaparral.. lots of junipers, pinons, & high desert flora. This is near the bridge over sycamore creek. The cottonwood trees along the river are changing colors.


The road to jerome..




Crossing the bridge.. the road is graded from here on..


Tom ran into some road construction between jerome & prescott, so he wanted to take another route back home. Kim & i were heading toward sedona, so wouldn't have to deal with the stoppage. I will let him describe in gruesome detail all he encountered on the trail.

One last shot looking back from where we'd come..


I had over 170miles on my gps when we got back. Kim said this was the roughest ride he'd been on since Martin Canyon, which was a lot shorter, just bigger boulders. The sun was pretty much gone when we got back to Sedona.. it would be past dark by the time Tom got home..

I'll definitely want to do this one every year.. maybe incorporate it into the grand canyon ride in early summer.

11/2/09

strawberry, fossil springs road, 9/16/09

This last wednesday, Tom Kim & I decided to try out Kim's new klx 250 & my wr250 & ride up to strawberry.. it's an easy ride on dirt roads, but they wind around a lot, have lots of switchbacks & slippery gravel, & are good roads for testing out a new bike.



We met in Camp Verde & started down Fossil Springs road. Kim was taking it easy.. trying to get to know the new bike.. an '07 klx.. first time he's taken it on a real ride.




I didn't take a lot of stills, because i was also testing out my new helmet cam.. the contour hd. A small camcorder that writes to an 8g. card. It's pretty cool, & i'm real impressed with the picture quality I'll post a few i uploaded to youtube.



We didn't stop much.. nothing much to see or do along this road. ..just twist the throttle & head up the hill.



wr going up video.. 46 seconds



If you've got a fast computer &/or a good video card, you can watch it in High Definition.. let me know how it looks.. i only have my feeble netbook.




Kim on wr, Tom on klx, me on xrl vid. 2:32



I read that it takes the shadows to bright sun very well, & the colors are much brighter than my old one. Now if i can get a computer that can edit the videos so i don't just have to take short clips all the time...



Me on Honda, catching Kim on wr. 1:42



Once we got on top, we stopped for lunch.. Tom was looking very closely at Kim's klx.. He was the one who started talking about this bike.. Weeks & weeks we've listened to him wanting a lighter bike.. don't need the power of the honda.. too old to go fast.. time for a change.. Kim must have agreed, because he went out & bought one. However i beat them to it with the wr by a week.








The old strawberry lodge for lunch! We had a nice lunch & talked about the merits of the bikes.



But now it was time to go. I wasn't sure how the videos would turn out, so didn't bother taking any others on the way back.



We got back to Camp Verde, & Tom turned toward prescott. Kim & i headed down fr618 toward sedona. We crossed beaver creek at the ranger station/campground & i got a couple more stills.








I had used my camera to take some pics of stuff i was selling & forgot to raise the resolution.. so all these were 640x480.









Kim on his new KLX.. he's going to have to get all new riding gear!







It was a good ride.. only about 100 miles for me & Kim.. probably double for Tom. My bike needs some suspension tweaks, i found out.. very stiff. Both the honda & the klx were softer.


Now we're gearing up for the Big One. 4 days in N. Az & S. Ut. Probably leave around the 28th. monument valley, navajo reservation, burr trail, halls crossing, smokey mountain trail, hell's backbone.. & more. I should get lots of nice videos, & plenty of stills. I've been looking forward to this ride all year, & we decided today to just do it.


Tom, still thinking about that KLX.. "Hi Paula.. Can i get a new bike?"




scotty

Clarkdale exploratory ride, 10/19/09

Tom (AZTom) & i met in clarkdale for an exploratory ride. We were checking on a powerline road up to the rim from the verde valley. The only other way up on the west side is off the perkinsville road toward williams. I had seen this road a couple of years ago, & we thought we'd take a closer look... plus Tom needed to take his new wr out on it's maiden voyage.








We crossed the verde river at tuzugoot, went down sycamore pass road & started climbing.







We had a short staredown with this guy.. he was on the side of the road, but i didn't feel like passing until he gave way a bit more.



The riders: Me & Tom.




This was where we stopped for a hearty lunch.. : Tom had a powerbar & i had a banana...





Here's the road we wanted.. it's not on my citinav 2010 map, probably because it's closed to 4 wheel motorized vehicles.. that's right. 2 wheels are ok!







This is a really steep road.. loose rock, off camber.. sharp switchbacks.. lovely!












Tom had an electrical problem.. lost his headlight & blinkers.. so we decided we didn't have time to go up to williams this day. We'll go up in a week or so & test the climb. I'm planning on adding this to the grand canyon ride we do in early summer.. if it goes through, & it looks like it does.







Tom backtracked through sycamore pass road back to jerome & prescott, while i turned off before clarkdale & headed back toward sedona.




A very short ride, but fun & informative. Tom's new wr is great! His has the Fuel programmer, pipe & exhaust.. much more responsive than my stocker.



scotty

cedar flats. 10/30/09

2 klx250's & 1 wr250x


The weather changed & got cold this week, but it warmed slightly toward the end of the week. Tom had to go to Boise, so Kim, Brian & i decided to take a short ride while the high country was open.


We were planning on going up cedar flats, which runs between the west clear creek & beaver creek wilderness areas, but they were paving some of the road that crossed the creek by the beaver creek campground, so we changed our route & went up the old blue grade toward stoneman lake, then past apache maid lookout & across to long valley.




Brian on his new klx.. he's been riding very well! We had to climb through some rutted & steep sections past apache maid, & there were no problems with anyone.




After passing the apache maid lookout, we got on fr229. It was very rocky at first, but later it smoothed out. We had about 10 miles of pavement on lake mary road to get to this primo destination.



We got a fairly late start.. since it was pretty cold.. it was nearly 11am when we got on the road. We left the cafe about 1:30, & decided we'd go back to cedar flats & cut across the other way, then come back to sedona.




Out of the pines, & into the juniper & cedars..



We had some fall colors in the washes & spots where some hardy deciduous trees could find water. It was elk season, so they were all hiding, but i did see a fox run across the road & some deer bounding away. Of course they never stop & pose. This area has a lot of magnificent alligator junipers.. some are more than a hundred years old.




We were heading almost due southwest.. right into the setting sun.



Cedar flats is fr 214 between apache maid mtn & west clear creek. It is a pretty rugged road, with a lot of washed out parts, miles of jagged rocks, & a few spots with steep rocky climbs & descents. There were some pretty big steps we went up & down on this road. Some you can maneuver through, some you just close your eyes & give it throttle! (don't really close your eyes..)




I didn't get any pictures of the gnarlier spots.. too busy hanging onto the bike. No video, either. I didn't even bring the helmet cam this time. Too bad. There would have been some good spots for video on this ride.



..Kim demonstrating how to climb a cobby section on a 250.





By now, it was past 4pm & the sun was starting to set low in the sky. We were still approaching the west clear creek wilderness, & you could see some of the canyons of that area in the distance.






We followed the edge of west clear creek canyon back down to fr618, which went back toward sedona.




The sun behind us & the moon before us, we made good time back to the pavement.







I had about 110 on my odo, with about 30 of that pavement. We had climbed into the 7k ft range. Not many more days of riding at this altitude until next spring. I'm still hoping next week the weather will permit us to climb casner mtn between clarkdale & sedona.. we'll see!


All of us have been most impressed with the 250's. They have plenty of power for any offroad venture we get into, are much easier to manage & maneuver through the tight places, & are fine on pavement. Everyone went the speed limit (at least!) on the highway, & we could keep a pretty good pace in the rocks, too. The last time i had ridden cedear flats i was on the drz. It was much more difficult on it, with the higher profile & added weight. It seems like the suspension is better on the wr, but it's probably just because it's easier to handle, being lower & lighter. I'm still quite pleased with the change.. & am very impressed with the wr's performance.


scotty

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.