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Rman237 12-02-2012 04:07 PM

Florence Coke Ovens
After riding the LA-Barstow to Vegas we decided to stop by Florence, AZ on the way home and ride the Florence Coke Ovens. We arrived in Florence late and wound up at the delightful Blue Mist Motel for the night.

ThrasherG developed a flat on the home stretch while returning to Palmdale (his 2nd of the ride and rode it on in. Kudos to the 606, I've ridden mine flat a few times and it actually performs quite admirably.

So off we go... We trailered to a parking area off N. Box Canyon Road and rode in from there. Ah, the mighty Saguaro Cactus, millions of 'em out there.

Vid 1, mind you, I was foolishly riding with a broken kick starter and real tall gearing the whole time which wound up being a disaster waiting to happen. This is only the beginning of where the gearing became a problem, add that to a 13.5 to 1 piston and low RPM backfires. Luckily we planned for it and had a tow rope in the pack. It came in real handy more than once.
<table class="tborder" style="margin:10px 0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="1" width="425"> <thead> <tr> <td class="tcat" colspan="2" style="text-align:center"> Florence Coke Ovens-N. Box Canyon Rd. 1 - YouTube </td> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="panelsurround" align="center">
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They don't call it 'Box Canyon' for nothin'.

Here's vid 2, edited slightly for colorful language.

<table class="tborder" style="margin:10px 0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="1" width="425"> <thead> <tr> <td class="tcat" colspan="2" style="text-align:center"> Florence Coke Ovens-N. Box Canyon Rd. 2 - YouTube </td> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="panelsurround" align="center">
</td> </tr> </tbody> </table>

OK, here's vid 3, edited extensively due to very strong, offensive and scathingly blistering language!!

<table class="tborder" style="margin:10px 0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="1" width="425"> <thead> <tr> <td class="tcat" colspan="2" style="text-align:center"> Florence Coke Ovens 3 - YouTube </td> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="panelsurround" align="center">
</td> </tr> </tbody> </table>

Now people, hear me out, God love the video camera, but the latest modern day version of it simply lacks the 3 dimensional aspects to show basic elevation grades. At one point you can hear me say "I can't kill it", that was because if I did at that point there was NO push or pull starting options and if I went down and the engine died I was screwed, it was straight down or straight back up so I put it in neutral and held in the clutch in case it was knocked into gear and walked it down. Thrasher had a much easier go at it due to his extra 8 inches of leg.. hence my platform shoes comment above.^^ At the end of that vid I was on the verge of blowing spit bubbles out of pure muttering delirium but, by golly we'd made it!

Someone owes me a for dragging this sign all over ****'s Half Acre.

We met up with this group of side by sides and they were all scratching there heads asking where in the world we'd come from?

We replied "From up there".
They looked at us with this incredulous stare of disbelief and I immediately knew there was a much easier way to get to where we were. Needless to say, we asked them for directions.

We spent some time looking for a way over the RR tracks but if you look at the Ovens on the Satellite map this is the trestle just to the south west. We couldn't find a river route so we wound up dragging the bikes over the tracks at the top.

I might also add that if you look at the satellite map you'll see that the RR trestle is only about 100 yards from a tunnel leading right back to the other side of the mountain on the same side of the river that we'd started. But, as luck would have it, the tracks were booby trapped with spikes along the inside and both outsides of the rails, apparently to keep like minded folks such as myself from cutting 25 miles off the return trip.

From where we had parked it was about a 15mi run but the detour was about 35mi. Whatever, we'd done the hard route so we figured we'd return via the "easy" route. Oh yeah, it was easy all right, it was quite fun.... up to a point that is. What happened was, we missed a turn and wound up at a locked gate at some kind of municipal looking facility and tried to detour around the perimeter along the fence. After looking at the satellite maps we had only missed the road by about 1/16th of a mile but due to our 'detour' we wound up on the Gila River bottoms. As we could see the river crossing less than 100yds away and the river bottom was apparently dry we rode along the bank up against the brush. Well, that wound up being a BIG MISTAKE!! It was only dry on the surface and we had one heck of a time getting through there. I had the easier time of it cause I went 1st and took the high line along the bank, Thrasher followed along the route I took but I had already sunk in so bad that he got stuck in my rut.

I parked my bike on the bank..

...and we spent the better part of an hour getting his bike out.

And the whole time we were less than a mile from the truck.

Adding the LA- Barstow to Vegas and our ride back to the trucks via Death Valley in CA our total GPS mileage 'on the bike' may differ a little but mine shows 828 miles. So think about it, 828 miles of the most arid, parched and unforgivingly dry terrain I've ever ridden in my life and we go off and get hopelessly stuck in the mud at mile 827?!! Seriously, we were 1 mile from the truck!!

From there we loaded up and parted ways, ThrasherG headed back to Seattle and M and I headed back to Fayette County, TX.

As Leon Russell once put it so eloquently,.. we were "Strangers in a Strange Land". Indeed we were.


noshoes 12-02-2012 05:14 PM

Sweet. Thanks for sharing.. :thumb

Rman237 12-03-2012 04:18 PM

Yeah, Arizona ROCKS!! Last time I was out there I was on a TW200 on the border around Alpine. I was on my XR4 at the Coke Ovens, WOW!!! We came from the north from Box Canyon Rd. :D Easily the toughest thing I've done on 2 wheels since my hare scramble days. :lol3

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