Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..

5/19/10

Sheepsbridge, 5/18/10

I haven't been on a ride in a couple of months.. too much going on, but i talked to Tom last week, & he was game for a ride on the little bikes. Tom & i are riding yamaha wr250's.. his an R & mine an X. He has a larger tank, & mine is stock with about a 100 mile range.. hopefully.. it's 80+ miles from Cordes to Carefree, the nearest fuel.

The weather has been unseasonably cool in Az this year.. ordinarily we wouldn't consider going to the low desert mid may, but it was cool, & this was a ride we wanted to do.

We met at Cordes Jct. off I-17 in central Az about 9 am, yesterday, 5/18/10. We found a back way from Cordes to Bloody basin road, & hit the road. It was about 42 miles to sheepsbridge, & the road was decent. ..washed out in a few places, some rocks, but mostly pretty easy. The views were spectacular.. i'd have never thought we could ride this area in mid May. The cactus & ocotillo were blooming, white waxy flowers on the saguaro's, & wildflowers everywhere.

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The video clips are in High Definition.. none are real long.. nothing over 3 minutes, but they take a while. You can click on the resolution button to make them smaller & faster.



We had a few water crossings, but nothing too deep. My first one covered me with water, though, & left a spot on my helmet cam lens. But we got down to sheeps bridge in good time.. not a lot of stops, no problems.



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Sheepsbridge is a fantastic spot.. even without the cool bridge to cross. It was very narrow, but our little bikes made it across without a problem.

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The riders: Scotty & Tom
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But after crossing, we had a tricky little section to get down to the trail. It was very narrow, with big steps & rocks littering the way down. The only thing worse with this trail would be having to go up it.

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We walked down it, first, to pick out a good line or see if we needed to call for helicopters.



But with sheer determination, tremendous skill, gravity, & dumb luck, we managed to get down. Now we were back on the trail, though we did have some boulders & sand to fight through, first.

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Notice on this video the red packet that is on the ground toward the end, before we get out of the boulders. We would come back for that packet.

We had an easy 5-10 miles of up & down, nice low desert scenery, & good weather. It was windy but cool.. mostly that kept the dust down.. except when it blew straight back. Now we were coming up on the gnarliest, nastiest, roughest, toughest section of trail this side of the pecos... & maybe even the other side. This is deadman's creek. We got off our bikes & walked about a bit.. many big boulders.. some pretty big steps.. some drops over 4'.. we wandered around in dead man's creek for quite a while before deciding on a line. We went upstream (no water anywhere) for about 80 yards, then dropped down to the narrower 'streambed'.

The view across dead man's creek..
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We didn't seen any dead men, but thought it was aptly named.



..only dropped it once.. :( going up over a boulder, stalled, & too high on the right side, so down i went. I stayed on my feet.. just let the poor bike fall.

We got to the other side after a bit more ripping & roaring. We were glad we were doing a loop.. wouldn't want to have to come back this way!

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We got into view of the lake.. well, it's a reservoir, & with the winter rains, it was nice & full. This is horseshoe lake, named, we assumed, after the dam.. horseshoe dam.. but it could have been the other way around.

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We stopped at a nice view spot & took some pics.. resting & relieved that we made it across dead man's creek alive, & that we didn't have to go back that way. I then noticed Tom's rear fender bag was open.. the bungee had come loose, the zipper on the bag was open, & the contents were gone. We lost his spare tube... oh well, we can get another.. but wait.. Tom let out a despairing 'oh, sh**'. His wallet was in it, as well. All his cash, credit cards, ID, baby pictures, marriage license, immigration papers.. anything & everything of value was in that wallet. We had to go back & get it. We would be coming out in maricopa county, & knew that sheriff joe would be there to haul Tom off if he didn't have his proof of citizenship.

We rode slowly, hoping we'd get lucky & find it before dead man's creek. But we got back to the rocky crossing & started across. I closed my eyes, twisted the throttle, & somehow got across without stopping. Tom made a turn into some bigger boulders, & was stuck. We wrestled the bike a bit, then i suggested that i go on with the search, while he rested under a tree sipping on some ice water, or order a long island iced tea from the concierge.

It was nearly 2pm by now, & we were back tracking 10+ miles, which would make my gas situation very sketchy.

I finally made it back to sheepsbridge, & saw this:

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I searched around a bit, found his bike registration in the red packet, the spare tube, ..everything that was in that fender bag. It had fallen out right after the downhill from the bridge. I had taken a different line & had not noticed things flying out of the bag, plus i'm sure i was watching the boulders i had to maneuver through. I packed everything up, then turned back. I no sooner crossed the sandy part after the river boulders, then Tom pulled up. He figured if we had to go all the way back, i'd run out of gas, so he wrangled his bike across & caught me.

Relieved & flush with money & credit once again, we cheerfully headed back to dead man's creek. By now we were practised at this crossing. We mostly yawned & almost nodded off when crossing this for the 3rd time today.



I had come without my gps mounted. I left in a rush, & couldn't find my adapter for the cig lighter. I had the gps in my pocket, but could not refer to it while riding. No problem, the roads had been fairly well labelled, & it was obvious which way we needed to go. Tom had a gps, too, but only for decoration.

We crossed a sign on the right that had a ranch name on it, so kept going south. We got into Davenport wash, which was starting to look a lot like deadman's wash, with more stretches of deep, loose sand. We kept going until we came to a *deep* river crossing.. no way. I got out my gps to check our position. We had gone too far south & missed the turn by several miles. But as i was waiting for the gps to boot up, as luck would have it, we found a horseshoe.. named after the lake, no doubt. I stuffed it into Tom's lucky fender bag, & we headed back north to look for the road we missed. We made it all the way back to where the lake started.. no roads going this way. We must have gone too far back.. it must be the ranch road, so we went back that way, hoping my skimpy fuel tank would hold out.

It was the ranch road.. & it went straight to the Dam.



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This Dam crossing is very cool, too. You ride along a narrow walkway under the water.

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Another nice thing about the little 250's.. no trouble turning them under the dam. We rode them along the walkway, enjoying the cool mist & the roar of the spillway.



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Unfortunately, on the other side was a very steep, stepped rocky path we had to climb. I employed my usual 'close eyes & twist throttle' technique & got on top without dying in a fiery crash on the rocks below. Tom started up, but stalled in a deep hole. We had to dig out some rockes & get him rocked back so he could make the first steep step, then he climbed out without incident.

The ride under the spillway..


The climb after the spillway..


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Tom's climb up..


Safely on the other side.
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Now we were home free. ..nothing but easy, washboarded, wide sandy roads to take for the next 20 miles or so, until we hit pavement & got into Carefree. We gassed up then made a beeline for The Horny Toad, a landmark BBQ place in Cave Creek. Tom generously bought my dinner, so me unhooking the bungee & letting out the zipper on his fender bag really paid off!

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By now it was after 6 pm. We were still a long way from home. Tom had about 100 miles to prescott, about the same for me to sedona. The only road north is I-17. Could the little bikes do it? Would they be able to cruise for 100 miles on the freeway? Duh.. yeah.. these are wr250r's.. they're made to handle pavement. I was home a little past 7:30.. the sun was dropping along with the temps, but i got home, doing the mid to upper 70's most of the way. It was well over 250 miles for me, though almost 150 of that was freeway. The other 100+ was definitely worth it, though. This is a very cool ride, & one we usually think of in the winter. Maybe late next fall we'll do this one again..

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