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dave6253 05-21-2008 09:36 PM

Arizona's Mt Graham and the Coronado Trail...
...and Orange Bikinis :eek1

Sunday, May 18th, 2008 1:20 PM
Phoenix, Arizona U.S.A.

A lone rider mounts up for a two-wheeled adventure.

The wife begrudingly snaps photos before I leave. She can't understand why I need more photos of the same bike.

I scoot through Phoenix during an early season HEAT WAVE. It's 105 degrees.

After more than an hour on the freeway I'm almost out of town.
I stop for gas off the US60 at Idaho Boulevard.

Finally out of town the desert scenery begins.
The Superstition Mountains

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

There's more to come.

dave6253 05-21-2008 10:02 PM

The Plan
Okay, I must admit I have no pictures of the orange bikinis, but stay tuned for how they become relevant to this RR. :wink:

I have lurked on this forum long enough. I've decided to become a contributor. I am planning a long tour of Western North America in July. This RR is about a short ride through Eastern Arizona during a shakedown cruise in preparation for the longer one.

I leave Sunday afternoon with plans to camp on the 10,700 foot Mt Graham near Safford, Arizona. On Monday I will ride the Coronado Trail before returning home through the White Mountains and the Mogollon Rim Country. The Coronado Trail is US 191 between Morenci and Alpine. This was formerly known as the US 666 before the DOT removed the satanic curse and redesignated it the US 191. It is considered one of the least traveled US highways. There are over 100 miles of continuous mountain grades and curves. Definitely one of the best motorcycling roads in Arizona.

This is my first RR. Feel free to add constructive criticism. Enjoy!

Queen Creek Tunnel

Oncoming Wings

MikeCaz 05-21-2008 10:21 PM

Thanks for the pics and info!

GB 05-22-2008 06:17 AM

Beautiful intro! :thumb

Bring on the orange bikinis... :deal


dave6253 05-23-2008 08:09 PM

It Gets Better
Mt Turnbull, San Carlos Indian Reservation

Ready for More Action

My Studly Self

Mt Graham and the Pinaleno Mountains come into view while riding US 70 through the Gila Valley.

I stop at a Subway in Safford. The twin towns of Safford and Thatcher make up a decent sized farm town in the Gila Valley. (elevation 2900 feet)I'm not really hungry yet so I toss my foot long dinner in the tank bag. I had three frozen water bottles in the tank bag that kept everything cold for two days of intense heat.

I turn onto the 366 about 5 miles South of Safford. Riggs Flat Lake is a high altitude lake locals say is good for fishing. The road dead ends at the lake. As you can see in this photo the road is very straight as it begins up the base.

10 minutes from town the scenery changes drastically.

About 15 minutes from town the temperature has dropped from 98 degrees to 65 degrees. I think this place was called Wet Canyon Bridge. It feels like a million miles from the desert already.

The twisties on this road are great although some are very challenging. In fact I would say this is the most challenging asphalt road I've ever ridden. There are some corners so tight you need to be comfortable making sharp first gear u-turns with elevation changes. Many of the corners have a decreasing radius and don't look too bad at first, so make sure you can see the corner exit before charging in too fast. Also many corners had loose gravel and sandy patches. Lots of exposure with no guardrails.

Don't tip over here...

I'm riding towards a sharp right corner when I notice a Jeep Wrangler stopped at a pullout on the left side of the road. I spot a smokin' hot blonde chick walking up to the passenger side of the Jeep. She is wearing tight blue jeans and an orange string bikini top. Needless to say, she gets my attention. She pauses and turns to watch me pass. In retrospect, I think she was only interested because she thought she would get to see a motorcycle crash! I finally decide I should look back at where I'm going. I've started my right turn far too early! I'm heading towards the rock face on the right edge of the road. I'm thinking about how much it's going to suck, crashing with an audience!
I managed to change direction abruptly and save my sorry ass.

I scoot around the corner and get my first view of the desert to the south. I start looking for a spot to stop and get a picture, but there are no safe spots with a good view through the trees. I do a U-turn to go back to get the shot I missed. The Jeep carrying miss orange bikini passes me going the other way.

"Hey honey, that pervert turned around for another look!"

I stopped here to get the previous shot. You can see the corner I almost missed in the far right of the photo.

It's green here.

I catch up with the Jeep again a little while later.

"Look Honey, that pervert is now tailgating us."

The Jeep driver pulls off the road. Either to let me pass, or see if I'm really stalking them. I need to find a place to sleep and they had stopped across the driveway to the Shannon Campground. I wave my thanks and pull around the Jeep into the campground. It seems like a nice spot. There aren't many nice views with the trees close to the sites. There's only 8-10 sites and 3 are taken. I've got a little daylight left so I decide to ride further and see what else I can find.

The pavement ends...

After about 2 miles of decent gravel road I'm rewarded with this campground.

I've got the place to myself!

Apparently I'm not the first adventurer in these parts.

Historic Marker

Clean pit toilets. No running water.

To be continued.............

Tucson Jim 05-23-2008 08:31 PM

Nice RR. Our first overnight ride on my new KLR was from Tucson, up the Coronado trail to Springerville and then to Show Low. My Mother used to live in Safford and we haven't been to Mt. Graham in ages, time for a ride!!

dave6253 05-23-2008 09:11 PM

Still interested?
I make myself at home.

Yummy! I'll bet the bears love the smell of Subway.

After the lights went out the meadow around my tent was filled with deer. They didn't seem to mind my presence at all when I lit them up with the LED headlamp. I crawled into the tent and started a Micheal Connelly novel. It was a very quiet night with no wind. The only sounds, the water from the stream running through the meadow, and an occasional deer snorting.

Good Morning!

My favorite breakfast bars. Hmmm.... what flavor? Delicious!

I get to try out the new Tourmaster gear!

Going down the mountain.

I left the campground with the temp gauge reading 52. After about 10 minutes of riding it's 75. I stop here to strip down to my skivvies and get back into the mesh gear. I was sweltering in the textile gear. I had no liners in and every possible vent open, but couldn't handle it anymore. I don't understand how some of you guys can wear textile riding gear above 80 degrees.

I had no T-Mobile cellular service at the campground, but I do here. I call the wife to check in. She warns me it's forecast to be 110 degrees in Phoenix today!

Heading east out of Safford I stop to get a picture of paradise in the sky. It's in the mid 80s already.

It's Farm Country

On the US 191 Approaching the Morenci Mine

I enter the small town bewteen cliff walls, named Clifton. Look closely in the photo and you can see the reason for the traffic jam.

That big yellow thing is an oversized load. A flatbed is slowly being escorted through town carrying a new bed for a GIANT DUMP TRUCK.

I stop in Clifton for gas.

I meet and old guy who is wishing he was here on his Yamaha FJR 1300 instead of with his wife in an old Ford Taurus. He said he's coming through here next month with his riding buddies. He agrees to snap my photo. I didn't even get his name. :dunno

The US 191 basically drive right through one of the largest open pit mines in the world.

Looking back down into Clifton.

Next... Photos of the mine and LARGE DUMP TRUCKS!

dave6253 05-23-2008 09:19 PM

Great Ride for a KLR
Tucson Jim,

Mt Graham would be a great place to explore on a KLR. Many Phoenix area riders know of the Coronado Trail, but Mt Graham is widely overlooked I think.

gasandasphalt 05-23-2008 09:49 PM

Great RR, did you get any close-up photos of the copper mine?? enjoyed!!!, not sure i would be intrested in going home if it was 110deg. might be a good time for a :1drink

dave6253 05-23-2008 10:10 PM

If it can't be grown, It must be mined.
Copper Mine Operations

Ore crosses the road here...

...and up those conveyor belts back there.

Final destination for the over-sized load.

Looks like they assemble the new trucks here.

There is a mine overlook just off the road with shady MC parking.

And Camera Ports

Looking Left

10X Zoom

Looking Right

10X Zoom is Sweet!

Busy Like Ants

Time to put my head down and have some fun in the twisties of the Coronado Trail.

dave6253 05-23-2008 10:13 PM


Did I answer your question with the Mine Photos?

But it's a dry HEAT. :D

dave6253 05-23-2008 10:41 PM

The Coronado Trail
I was having fun in the twisties and only slowed down to snap a few shots, one-handed.

Lean Left!

Lean Right!

Sometimes the road is straight... For a little bit.

A Buell with New Mexico Plates waiting for an opportunity to pass an idiot riding one-handed...

The View From Blue Vista

The area of Blue Vista has experienced a fire since the last time I was here.

I think this sign used to say "Blue Vista 9100 feet".

Snow!!! It won't last long at 75 degrees.

Quaking Aspen

The Area Around Hanagan's Meadow

Nelson Reservoir

Will there be another orange bikini?


AZbiker 05-24-2008 12:12 AM

Great RR!

Since I'm taking 2 days to get to West Fest, I might have to go up Mt. Graham before I take Hwy 666. Thanks for the idea!

Tucson Jim 05-24-2008 07:38 AM

Nice pics, and since they already probably thought you were a pervert, we would have liked to see some pics of the orange jeep bikini!!

Chanderjeet 05-24-2008 08:14 AM

Wow, this is great RR. I like your pics and your bike is really kool. Havent seen so many people riding a sportsbike off the tarmac. Really good pics mate and thanks for sharing :thumb :clap

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