once my wife finally decided that she was going to let us leave, we started off at 8am for the east side of tucson. we were heading for reddinton pass which was the old stage coach line into tucson back in the days. now it's a washboardy, graded road that normally has way to much traffic, trying to go way to fast on the weekends. luckily is wasn't bad this sunday and we made good time. after a quick 20 mile trip across the north of tuson and a quick stop and Bud's house, we hit the dirt. temps were already starting to hit the 90's and we knew it was going to be a hot day.
the ride through reddington was nice, we met a few adventures along the way as we dropped down toward the san pedro river valley, they were on a day ride up to mt. lemon to get out of the heat. we stopped and said hi, then hit the road again to mammoth.
when we got to mammoth the plan was to follow the old tiger mine rail line that supplied and hauled rock out of the old mines. there are several epic, old wooden train bridges that i knew my daughter would love to see. we stopped at the biggest and had a quick break. 40 miles in and we were feeling good.
the next bit of trail i was a little worried about due to some sand and rough spots. i almost bailed back onto the highway but i'm glad we didn't. we were making good time and i decided to just take it easy. turned out to be no problem as we made our way up to duddlyville. at this point we ha no choice but to jump onto the highway for the ride to globe. it had been a long time since i had done this route and it turned out to be a nice ride. being on a bike sure makes life a lot easy when it comes time to pass some of the slower traffic. we were able to blitz by everyone and cruise into town.
in globe we did our first gas stop and decided to have some lunch. nice little local diner on the main drag, then we hit the road again. the next section was all new to me and i wanted to make sure that we weren't going to run short on time. i also did not want to kill the kid on the first day.
we cruised out of globe and followed a small sate highway up to the salt river. after that, we were back on the dirt. this was a little slower going and the temps were really starting to climb. since i did not know the road, we were taking it a bit easier than normal just to be safe. it was amazing how the terrain and plant life was beginning to change the further we got from tucson. still had cati, but a lot more trees. after several miles we came across a river and decided to stop and rest our butts. the last few miles had take longer than i had anticipated and the gps mileage was nothing compared to the "actual" mileage.
after a little rest and some more pics, we hit the road again hoping that it was going to open up and we could make better time. just when it appeared we were in luck, the gps pointed us up a long, rough, uphill section. i knew this was the place Bud had warned me about and i had been to stupid to listen. since i wasn't sure where the other road went, we sucked it up, and up we went.
this was by far the most challenging section of the entire trip. thankfully it looked like it had just been graded so it wasn't in to bad of shape on the way up. once we reached the top though, it got even worse. the decent back down was nothing but rocks, ruts, and more rocks. we were running behind and our behinds were really beginning to ache. finally after one last rocky decent it appeared we had made it through the worst of it.
looking at the gps we knew we still had about 45 miles of dirt before we got to our first camp site. we decided it was time to hit it and make some distance. after a small navigational error (gps was pointing me to someones ranch house and i wanted to make sure it wasn't the other road before i went threw their gate) we were back on track and the roads were getting better every mile until we finally popped out onto a major forest road. it was a short trip up to the state highway, then just a few miles to north canyon lakes.
by this time we were both tired and grabbed the first site we found and set camp. what was supposed to be a 190 mile day had turned into 243 actual miles and we were tired. thankfully our packing and prep worked out well and we were able to set camp quickly, then have a wonderful, freeze dried, hot dinner. by 6:30 the kid was whooped and ready to crash. both of us were in our sacks before the sun had even set. thankfully the ground didn't have any rocks sticking in my back (we didn't have room for 2 sleeping pads) and we were both able to get some rest.
more to come....