Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..

6/13/10

Bodie mine, Crown King, 6/12/10

Mayer, Bodie mine, Crown King. 6/12/10

We met in Mayer on Friday at 8:30. It was freezing! I had on mesh jacket & pants, & my fingers were numb riding through the pines. It did warm up some as the day progressed.

It was easy gravel for the first part.. down Poland road unti it became very rugged.

Here's a short clip on the post Poland road. We criss crossed a creek a few times.. nothing too deep, but the rocks are always slippery & tricky. We were going up & down all day.. some of the hills were pretty steep.. they seemed to get rougher & steeper further into the ride.



Tom had some tracks for this ride.. he had also ridden part of it the month before. I made a few waypoints on my gps before going out.. just in case we got off track.. but that wouldn't happen, would it?

Lots of good, challenging riding. We were in the pines early.. nice & cool.. too cool. We were looking forward to getting into the open desert so we could warm up!



I forgot to lower my tire pressures after my ride home from moab last week.. it's like a different bike when you lower the pressures down to 10# or so. The steering feels better, the suspension feels softer, the wheels don't jump around as much.

Stuff like this is easy on the wr with the right air pressures!



We rode along the pines for a bit.. then the flora began to change, as it often does in Az. We were getting into some very dense manzanita, & it was blooming. You can see the brown bark in some of the videos as we wind along the trail. This section of trail was for motorcycles & below.. no quads or jeeps. The path gets pretty narrow in spots.. a branch hit my mirror & spun it loose.. i didn't get it back to functional until i hit the freeway later in the evening.



Tom had told me we were going to have a big hill climb.. i thought this was it. But no, this was a wrong turn. So we went up it, then came back down. Gluttons.

For some reason i don't have audio on the climb.. don't know why. All the other vids are fine. You can see the hill as we approach.



Tom coming down 'wrong way hill'.


My descent..



So we tried turning on another 'road'.. this was not the right way, either.



We were trying to follow a gps track that Tom had gotten from someone. But we weren't sure if it was the right track, or if it was the one Tom had ridden before. No problem. Part of the fun of rides like this is exploring new areas.. taking the path less traveled.

Here's Tom coming down that path!


We dead ended at a steep, rocky, gnarly climb.. even worse than what we had done so far, & more than what we wanted to do. I went up the trail a bit, but it got steeper & rockier. I walk it a little, & saw some 12-16" steps right on a steep uphill curve.. we opted to go back.



I studied my gps map, & it look like we missed the road we wanted back about 5 miles. So we returned down the 'path less traveled', & made it back to the main trail.







Finally we got to where we wanted to be.. but my water supply was dwindling.. i didn't bring extra gas..Tom's power bar had fallen out of his pack or he forgot it. We were only about 30 miles into the ride.. about 60 more to go.



This is supposed to be the easy part!



Some nice water crossings broke up the rocky steps & steep up & down hills.



Tom had said we'd just do an easy ride to Crown King & have lunch.. now it looked like we might be lunch for some buzzards. The tougher part of the ride was still ahead!

We were still in some pretty grueling ups & downs.. lots of loose rock, off camber trail, big steps, & boulders littering the road. We went in & out of the pines, some more water crossings.. lots of variety, something for everyone!


Here's another of the tougher climbs.. the steepness of the hills don't really show up on video.. but you can tell sometimes by how the engine is winding out.



As usual, on these embedded videos, you can change the playing resolution by hitting the button after play starts. I try to keep them in the 2-3 minute range.. some are 5 min, some are 1 min or less.

We got out of the pines again, & got into more open chaparall.. more manzanitas, scrub oak, & open vistas. I was following Tom on this next clip, when i came upon what looked like a small stick across the left side of the trail. It was not a stick.



You'll see me pass this guy, then stop & come back.





I'm not going to kill a rattlesnake in a remote area, doing what he is supposed to do. He wasn't bothering anyone, & other than an occasional papparazzi, no one was bothering him. Live & let live.

Tom didn't notice the guy. ..too busy looking ahead for a good line. He waited until i caught up, & we continued along the open country trail.. nice views, fun rocky road. We were heading steadily down from the chaparal. ..back down to sand washes & river bottoms.



The road disappeared in places.. we followed the river in several spots. The road varied between rocks & deep, loose sand.







It was nice & cool along the creek.. just had to watch out for soft, deep sand & gravel.. don't want to sink in that stuff..



After one last, long, deep, steep water crossing, we came to a clearing & took a break. I finished the last of my drink, & we considered going back for the snake for a snack. But our fuel would be a problem soon, so we decided to continue on to Crown King.



We still had some ups & downs to contend with.. some long sand washes.. rocky, steep hills.



Sand washes can be tricky.. best way it to keep your speed up & your weight back. Some of these were pretty deep & would toss you off the trail pretty easily.



We were finally coming to 'The Hill'. As we came upon it, it didn't look any steeper than what we'd already done.. but as we got into it, i could see why Tom described it in ominous terms. ..loose, big rocks, a couple of turns.. easy to lose it here. About halfway up, i lost my line & the right bank tossed me into a mesquite to the left. I didn't drop it, but had to pause a bit to pick a new line. Tom, as usual, went right up without a problem.. though he did pause at first with a little trepidation.



Still flustered by the last hill climb, i didn't keep my momentum up & stalled going through this ditch.. i didn't drop it, but had a few stalls in this ride. This also turned out to be my last video. I didin't know if it was full, or if the battery didn't get fully charged. But it beeped & turned itself off. I just packed it away. Too bad. There were some really nice clips to be had ahead. We were only about halfway, & the toughest sections were still ahead.

We came out to the main road that went to wilhoit. There was no gas there, so we wanted to take the turn off to crown king. Tom thought (i know, a dangerous thing to do..) there was a 'shortcut' to wagoner road that took us to the crown king turnoff. So off we went on another adventure. The road wasn't on the map, but that didn't necessarily mean it wasn't there. But this road did fizzle out into another wash. We tried to follow it for a bit, hoping it would turn back into a road. But it didn't. It became more & more 'washlike' as we went along.



Eventually, we acknowledged defeat & turned back. We went through a few gates & got to a nice graded road.. wagoner road. We cruised along it for a few miles, then made the turn north again toward crown king. Here the road got very rough.. steep, rocky, rutted.. all the things that are fun in moderation. But it was almost 3pm, & we have been having fun all day. No water. Hungry. Low on gas. All the ingredients for an exciting riding adventure!

Our trail began to follow a small stream.. nothing too deep, but littered with rocks, some big steps & tricky lines to go through. Fatigue, hunger, & dehydration was starting to take it's toll. Tom got tossed off line & dropped his bike.. twice. His gps mount broke, but everything else seemed ok. We pressed on. ..either that or wait for the buzzards.





I didn't take many pics through here.. the video spoils you some.. don't have to stop for pics, just turn on the cam & get it all. We were also trying to get to crown king alive.. pausing for photo ops wasn't a priority. We finished going through the creek road, then got into the usual up & down, rutted, rocky hills that are common in this area. This is a very cool ride..

We finally got on the road to crown king.. here we ran into the first contacts with other humans on the ride. Quads & jeeps were tooling along the road, kicking up dust, oblivious to anyone else being on the road. Several times i had to come up right on their left side & beep my horn to get them to see us so we could pass safely. I guess they are on vacation, & are the only ones in the universe.



My reserve light had come on a while back, so i was very relieved to come to the crown king gas pump. There was a quad parked in front of it, with a tatooed gal yakking to another couple on quads. We pulled up, stopped our bikes & waited. She kept yakking.. the quad still blocking the pump. They talked about this & that & seemed oblivious to Tom & I. I guess you really are invisible on a motorcycle. Finally Tom got off & went inside to pay for the gas. I got off my bike. Took off gloves, helmet, jacket.. waited.. watched.. went over to the gas pump & jiggled the handle.. looked at the price. Finally i heard her say, 'i better move my quad, I need to go, anyway'. Talk some more.. heartfelt goodbyes, exchanges of eternal love.. within another 10 minutes she managed to get her quad started & moved out of the way. Tom & i both marveled at her inconsideration & self absorbtion. The other 2 were equally indifferent to our plight. ..hard to figure some people.

But we did get gas, then went over to the saloon for a crown king ale.. just a rebranded red hook, i think, but it was very good after the long day. It was now after 5pm, & we were just having lunch! We had some mexican food.. single tacos & burritos, then got back to the bikes & headed home. We decided to take the direct way home. It was still a dirt road, but improved, so we made good time. We got to the mayer turnoff, & Tom headed toward mayer & prescott, while i turned toward i-17 & north to sedona. It was neary 8pm when i got home. My odo read 200 miles.. about half of it pavement. The other 100 miles are some of the roughest, toughest trail riding around these parts. We basically did a 2 day ride in one day. I would recommend to split it up so it can be savored a bit. But we made it unscathed, & will live to ride again.

6/8/10

Moab, Ut. 1000 miles, 4 days

Moab, Ut. 6/10

I got invited to join a group of riders from the southeast (mostly Florida) to join them in Moab for a few days. I was behind in my work, had 2 vacancies, was in the middle of moving, & didn't really have the money. So of course i went! I rode up on memorial day, starting from sedona to moab, about 360 miles of pavement. I left about noon & got there by about 8pm, moab time.

I went up oak creek canyon, through Flagstaff, then up through the Navajo reservation to Mexican hat, ut.



I rode pretty easy most of the time.. did the speed limit or less, mostly in the 60's. I had a little bit of a tail wind, & got about 70mpg for a lot of the ride up.

I always enjoy riding through monument valley.. it's different every time because of the shadows & different lighting.





Here is my adventure bike.. a yamaha wr250x. I put a windscreen on it for the long slab rides, but took it off in the dirt.


Here's a spot where i opened it up a bit.. got up to 86.5mph before slowing down. There was still some room to go. I've had it over 90 before without luggage & screen.



After you hit the play button on the vids, you can change the resolution if you have a slower connection.

Here's a short clip in monument valley.


I didn't bring any camping gear, since i was staying with the guys in a condo. I had my tank bag & the tank panniers for all my gear. Shorts, shirt, flipflops for casual wear, & mesh pants & jacket for riding.. it was moab in june. I brought the rotopax for extra fuel. One of the rides would need about 150 mile range.. i can get ~ 120 with the stock tank, so had to bring the rotopax.

I ran ~ 30psi in the tires on the slab ride up & back. For dirt i dropped it to 10-12psi.

Overlooking Mexican Hat, Ut.


Going up from Blanding, it started to get a little chilly, so i put on my rain outer cover on my mesh jacket.. it gives me a little more range in temps. It was probably in the low 60's through the mountains.. might have dropped to the 50's in some spots.

It was nearly 8pm when i got into moab. The guys i stayed with had dinner waiting.. they were waiting to eat until i got there! I got my civvies on & had a nice steak with them. There were 5 of us staying in a nice condo outside of town. 3 of us had wr250x's! The other was a KLR & a DRZ. A nice group of guys.. all from Florida.

Outside of the condo.. 3 wrx's!


tomorrow we were heading for the famous white rim trail.. a classic off road ride!


Day 2. White Rim Trail, Ut. XX rated with 2 wrx's! Also several Klr's, a super sherpa, & misc. others.

We met some other riders at a campground in moab. There were a total of 8 of us, but only 3 from our condo. Tom had tweaked his knee, & Ron stayed to drive him around & keep him company.. they would ride with us the next day.

On the paved road, heading to wrt.


We met about 8 am, & were on the road before 9. We rode out the north side of moab & came down mineral bottom road into the white rim trail.

..at an overlook before we got into the canyons.


Going down into the green river canyon.


Here's a vid clip of going down into the canyon.


After you start the videos, you can hit the resolution button to change it to a lower resolution, faster download.. but if you have a fast connection, it's nice to see them in hd.

The road was pretty easy for the first 30 miles or so.. There was a total of about 100 miles of dirt on the white rim trail, with another 50 miles back & forth to town. So we needed a range of 150 miles, which is why i brought the rotopax. If IMS comes out with a reasonably priced 4.5 g. tank, i'll be all over that.

We had some fairly new riders in the group, & somehow i ended up riding sweep at the end. But this way i could drop way back, let the dust settle, & enjoy the scenery.. i could also stop & take a few pics & still catch up. It was overcast, not too hot, & very scenic along the river.







We had 2 Marks.. both on KLR's. Treeman Mark was a racer, & rode the camo klr. We called him 'fast' Mark.. But my homie Mark was no slouch on his big KLR, either. Mark & i were putting along the river, enjoying the view & the ride when we came upon a fork in the road. Fresh tracks were on both roads. Fast Mark had the gps tracks, & took us to the right fork, where we caught up with Mike on the super sherpa, and another of my homies Wolfgang on the other wrx. But there was some pretty deep sand washes we had to cross first..



So across the sand wash, there were now 5 of us. We waited for about 1/2 hr, then fast Mark went back to check on the others. They must have taken the other fork, which was a dead end.


Pretty soon Mark returned, saying they were on the way.. they had gotten into some pretty deep sand & had some trouble.. losing a camelback along the way. We waited about another 1/2 hr, & voted for Mark to go back across the sand again to see what was going on. He did, & found that a couple of the guys were pretty hammered fighting the sand, & were ready to call it a day.

Now there were 5 of us, & off we went. I stopped to tweak my helmet cam, & the other guys were long gone.. no waiting in this group..


We got into some pretty gnarly, loose & steep terrain toward the end of the above video. Homie Mark stalled part way up, & i helpfully passed & left him to fend for himself. Not much later, he finished the climb.. not an easy task when stalled on a steep uphill in loose powder & rocks on a big bike. Fast Mark & i waited until he caught up..


Now we rode along a rim wall above the river.. very nice!




I'm following Mike on the super sherpa & Wolfgang on the wrx.. Mike & i went on down the steep downhill toward the end, but homie Mark hit a big rock & went down on his KLR.. he got it on video! Maybe he can post it here.. This was the only drop of the day for our group, & we would get into much more technical terrain before the day was over.



We were starting to get to some 'rim' parts of the white rim trail.. but we had a few spots of winding around, up & down, rocks & powder, steps & drops.


We weren't to the halfway part of the ride.. maybe about 1/4 to here..

This part of the white rim trail was how it got it's name. The white rocks along the rim of the canyon was the road in some sections.


Sometimes the road went right up to the edge..






I'll embed the vids in a smaller, lower resolution.. if you want to see them in HD, push the resolution button after you start them & it will switch to 720p.



This is a very short one that ends on one of the canyon overlooks.. the road winds along these canyons for miles. Most of it is pretty easy riding.. some rocky parts.. a little loose in spots, but nothing too technical.



Here's another longer clip with some bumpier sections..


We stopped at a lot of the overlooks.. took lots of pics, ate & drank all our supplies. The views were stunning & the riding was fun & challenging. This is Mike coming up a pretty gnarly hill on his super sherpa.. he just rode it up the tough sections like a mountain goat.




Sometimes the road was tricky to find.. along this section i wasn't sure where the road was.. it followed along the canyon rim.


Now we were about halfway.. the road started to climb again, & we came upon some pretty steep, rocky steps. Mike & Mark were ahead of me, with fast Mark & Wolfgang bringing up the rear. Toward the top, i came upon this:


Mark had dropped the KLR earlier, & wasn't too keen on riding it up this stepped, rough part. A couple of Nat. Park ranger/employees were watching above, hoping, i guess, for a fiery crash. There were also a couple of guys on bikes going the other way.. coming down the hill. They were waiting for us to clear.


I surveyed it for a bit, after i caught Mark, then went on up.. it's on this video toward the end.


Mark decided to wait for fast Mark to come & ride his KLR up.. better to be safe than sorry.. He was pretty hammered from all the riding in the day, & didn't want to risk going over the edge.

After a while, Wolfgang & Mark caught up with us.. they cruised up the hill without a problem.


Wolfgang on the wrx.


The view from the top:


We rode along the top for a while, then it turned into a long, powdery downhill section.. there weren't any sharp turns going down, so gravity does most of the work.






Here's one of all the riders: From left to right, Mike, Mark, Wolfgang, Scotty, & (fast) Mark kneeling.


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..a short clip riding along one of the rims.


One of the guys took my pic with this nice view.. i'll probably use this for my blog front page..




This is my last video of the trip.. i forgot to empty the vids from my last ride, so there wasn't much room on the camera. I also didn't bring an extra microsd card i could use in the camera.. too bad. There were some nice spots the next day i could have gotten on video.



We continued along the rim.. it was still the white rim trail, after all.


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We rode on for several hours uneventfully.. lots of rocky, rough roads.. some windy ups & downs.. we didn't stop a lot after we got away from the rims. There were a lot of wildflowers blooming, so i had to stop & get a few pics of them since they were so purty..



Finally we came out to the pavement, & rode along a very scenic road back to moab.. it followed the colorado river, & had tall bluffs along the river road.


That's it for Day 2, the white rim trail.

Day 3. Gemini Bridges & more.

This ride was supposed to be a real easy, novice ride. One of our housemates had tweaked his knee, & didn't want to get into anything too technical. A couple of others hadn't been riding long & were still getting used to riding in rocks.

But this was an historic ride... there were 3.. yes, THREE wrx's with knobbies going on this ride.. 3 supermoto 250's fitted with dirt tires.



So we met at the camground where all the klr guys were meeting. There were 11 of us. Eventually everyone got their helmets on & bikes started, & off we went, terrorizing the town of moab as we passed through.



We rode out of town, then climbed up into the high country..




I'm not usually too fond of riding in big groups.. & somehow i got to ride 'sweep' again this day. My 2 homies who were fairly new to riding were at the back, & usually a more experienced rider is assigned to ride sweep.. but usually they are the ride organizers.. not some yahoo off the street who just showed up for the ride. I wasn't asked to ride at the end, but wanted to take care of our newbies. I didn't mind.. except we crept along like a giant slinky because the ride leaders were worried that the guys in the back would miss a turn or get lost. With all the riders, there was a lot of dust kicked up. I dropped way back to avoid it, which made the 'slinky effect' even worse.

Still, there were great views, & some pretty tough riding sections..





We made it to the top, & got on some pavement for a few miles before turning off into the dirt again.


No secret why i wanted to drop back.. also no problem following the groups.. just look for the cloud.


Then we came to a very cool down hill section, with lots of switchbacks & turns. I got to stop a lot & take pics, enjoy the view, & still catch up with the group. You can see Ron on one of the wrx's on the road down.




We were going down to the road you see below.


Here's Ron again cruising down the switchbacks..


Caught up with the group at the bottom of the canyon.. we'd follow the green river & ride along it for a bit.




The canyon walls rose above the river. This road got pretty rough for some of our newbies.. some tricky, rocky sections gave them quite a challenge. Most of the road was pretty easy, but it had it's moments..




Then we came upon a nice deep water crossing. My 2 homies felt that was a good time for them to turn back. It was about 2' deep, with pretty steep sides. I didn't get to see anyone cross it, so hit it with some momentum. It drenched me pretty well.. a nice cooling bath, but i got across with no trouble, & caught up with the rest of the group. They had gone another mile or so, then got into even more technical sections, so decided to turn back. I was now behind fast Mark & Wolfgang, so could open it up a bit running along the river trail.


We crossed the water again, then waited for the rest under a cottonwood. We all had some fluids & snacks, then were ready to go again. Since my beginner homies had gone back, i didn't feel i needed to ride sweep again. So i took off with Mark & Wolfgang & we motored up the switchbacks. I caught them at the top & passed them while they were admiring the views. I was now on the long gravel section, so opened it up so the followers wouldn't have to eat my dust.. That's a good justification, isn't it? I made the pavement in about an hour, & waited for the rest to show.

I saw more purty flars with lots of spring blooms from the winter rains..




there were still plenty of nice views.. even if the flowers weren't blooming.






After about 45 mins, i got bored snapping flowers & decided to head back. This was all the ride was supposed to go, anyway, so i meandered on down the hill, enjoying the views & the nice twisties!

By the time i got to hwy 191, Wolfgang had caught up to me. We stopped to fill the tanks in Moab, grabbed a 6 pack of polygamy porters, & went back to the condo. Ride over.

End of Day 3.

Day 4. Back to Sedona

When i got up in the morning, i was going to join the guys on another big klr ride. But our 2 newbies didn't really want to get into tough riding again, & Wolfgang wasn't too keen on riding with the big group again. I wasn't either, plus i should really get back & work, so i reluctantly decided to go home.

It's still a great ride, the 360 miles back to Sedona. Both my tanks were full, so i decided to see how far i could go with both of them. There was a horrific headwind all the way back.. my mileage suffered & was mostly in the low 60's.. one tank where i pushed it was ~ 58mpg.. the worst of the whole ride. Mostly i resigned myself to riding easier & just taking the wind.. i tucked down & stayed behind the screen.. it really helps for long road rides.

Here's where i ran out of gas.. past monument valley, but short of Kayenta. I filled it up with my rotopax, & after a break looking at flowers, i hit the road again.


Here the cactus's were blooming in fuschia..


I also really liked the blue fields of wildflowers with monument valley in the background.




The winds kicked up dust & made a haze in the distance.


The red rock vistas never get old..


I had to fill up again outside of Tuba city.. the wind knocked my mpg's down. There's a dirt shortcut past tuba city that comes out near Cameron. It's a little rough, but that's what dirt bikes are for!


It was still windy all the way through Flagstaff & down the canyon to sedona. I had left Moab about 10 am az time, & got home a little after 6pm. But i rode easy, & except for the wind, it was a nice road ride. The little wrx handled it fine, too.

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.