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dave6253 02-23-2009 10:36 AM

Box Canyon Road - Just a Short Ride East of Phoenix
I was told this was an easy ride... :dunno

Okay, So I'm a pretty experienced rider... on street bikes. I bought my first off-road bike ever about 1 month ago. I have no experience in the dirt, except on street bikes.

I turn off the highway onto Price Road. It's pretty easy stuff at first.

The desert scenery is great.

I never tire of looking at Saguaro Cacti.

ArmyMedic 02-23-2009 11:45 AM

Nice pics. Watch out for those teddy bear cacti! That is death, landing on one off those.

dave6253 02-23-2009 12:29 PM

Box Canyon Road
ArmyMedic, You're right. The Teddy Bear Chollas (aka Jumpin' Cactus) are nothing to play around with.

The road narrows...

It was a pretty easy ride until I got to this set of obstacles. I take a hike to scout out a line through the boulders of the dry creek bed. I've never ridden anything this technical. I have repeatedly watched both Dual Sport Riding Techniques DVDs, and have even practiced a few drills. I decide to go for it.

After carefully riding several hundred feet the road gets easier. I decide I don't wish to return this way. This decision may cause an error in judgement later. :dunno

I chat with the Toyota driver a little. I had tentatively planned to ride Price Road to Box Canyon Road to Ajax Mine Road to Telegraph Pass Road. I explain my route to the Toyota driver. He assures me the section I had just ridden was the most difficult. He then scratches his head with a puzzled look on his face and says, "Well it's been awhile since I've been here...:scratch "

slide 02-23-2009 12:36 PM the tension rises....

dave6253 02-23-2009 01:00 PM

The Obstacles Get Larger
Never trust a guy driving a Toyota...

The technical terrain kept coming. I was far too busy riding to take many photos. I did have a tip-over after losing momentum climbing a ledge with loose rocks. A family sat in their large ATV and watched as I hefted the bike upright. I was standing below the bike now with no way to climb back onboard. I started the engine and worked very hard pushing alongside to get the bike up the ledges and back onto flat ground. Just as I got the bike on flat ground the ATV rider finally steps out to be "helpful". The only thing I wanted at that point was to know the easiest route out of here.

I don't have a pic of the area I tipped over in, but here's a couple shots of the damage;

Busted Pride...

...and a few scratches.

I did it! I made it to the top of this obstacle unassisted! Doesn't look to bad?

How about this perspective?

I'm sure I didn't look like a pro, but I DID IT!

I lost momentum here in the loose rocks and stalled the engine. I paddled the rest of the way up spinning the rear tire.

I actually reached this obstacle just as several ATVs and a Jeep crawled up. Several guys were standing in the rocks helping their friends up. I surely would've chickened out if I had time to think about it, but I wanted to take advantage of the help if needed. When it was my turn I simply went for it without hesitation. (I really didn't want to return the way I had come.)

dave6253 02-23-2009 01:00 PM

The Obstacles Get Larger
*edit* Oops... Double Post

Here's a new photo

Johnny Drunkard 02-23-2009 01:03 PM


Originally Posted by dave6253
After carefully riding several hundred feet the road gets easier. I decide I don't wish to return this way. This decision may cause an error in judgement later...

Cue pics of the staircase...


edit: Yep, you posted them as I was replying

Mike955i 02-23-2009 01:26 PM

Nice ride report. I did this run the prior weekend on the little bikes and that same stairstep got me due to lost momentum. Plenty of easy sections out there but also plenty of "challenges", especially for a new dirt rider. DO NOT return and attempt to do the Coke Ovens or Martinez Cabins/Mine. Maybe it's time to re-evaluate the advise of your "friends". :photog

Congrats for staying with it, see you out there some day!

ps - scratches on a 950 just make you look more badass! :evil

DirtyDog 02-23-2009 02:02 PM

You got punk'd. I'm with Mike on this- consult with more locals before attempting solo dirt rides in the future. Had you been alone and a bit less fortunate, you might have left in a chopper. Nice pics though. Now you can go back and know what to expect.

Box canyon (and surroundings) is a blast.

supercub 02-23-2009 02:21 PM

:clap great job off road. i love that area. i was fortunate enough to live in mesa for a few months and got out that a few times. some day i would love to ride out there.

dave6253 02-23-2009 02:38 PM

I realize I should've checked with a reputable source about the road conditions, but I really didn't plan this day very far in advance. I could have turned around when it first became technical. I was really out for a leisurely Sunday ride. Had I known how difficult this road was I would have never tried it...

...and never learned how capable this bike really is.

The Superstition Mountains and Weaver's Needle are in the distance.

Cottonwood Canyon Road continues to be pretty rocky and technical for a few miles. I am now very comfortable standing up and blasting through the rough sections. The suspension on this bike just soaks up everything, but the sharpest edged rocks. I didn't bottom out the skid plate all day.

Cottonwood Canyon Road eventually turns into a wide smooth thoroughfare. I race back to the asphalt and back to North Phoenix. I've never been as tired and sore after a ride. Looking back at it I really had a good time, but I certainly felt as though I was in over my head at times.

viola-tor 04-06-2009 09:50 AM

Into the fire!

You're getting that 990 broken in fast! That looks pretty awesome. It's easy to look at the pics and say to myself "I could do that, I'd chose that line, some speed, and up I go!" but we all know the the real thing is 75% more gnarly than the picture, right? :eek1

Good job on sticking it out on that orange beast! :thumb yeah, my impression of the suspension coming from street bikes is similar to yours, it seems to soak up everything! Cool... 990!!!! :super

pgup 04-06-2009 10:41 AM

Good ride report. Great place to ride. Love Arizona in the winter. That trail is easier the other direction. I would rather go down those stairs than up them. I started with a new bike myself. If I had to do over I would have went with a used one. Probably dropped it 30 times the first few months in Colorado. Your bike is to nice to drop a few times a day.

Gester 11-20-2009 08:25 AM

Awesome RRs
Your RRs are some of the best I've read here (and trust me when I say when I've read a lot :nod:lurk). The photos are top notch and the accompanying text keeps me reading every word. Excellent work! I would also like to extend a special thanks for the helpful tips you include. The Gear Keeper and DSR Techniques DVDs suggestions are great. Thanks again for taking the time to share your passion and growing dual sport riding experience with us! Now if you'll excuse me I have more of your RRs to read... :thumb

Nightstalker 11-20-2009 07:32 PM

Very nice! I haven't been out there since last year. I had better get to planning.

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