Well, a rabble of AZ inmates managed to organize for a ride in the Sierra Ancha Mountains on Sunday 3/30/08. Robnoxious has graced our presence for the last few weeks and we managed to send him back to Wyoming with a proper farewell ride.
Pictured L to R: ChopperCopper (640), Robnoxious (950 Super-E), DOD (950 Super-E), Crilly (KLX250), and myself (DirtyDog, KLR) departed Mesa, AZ at 730am.
We hit Apache Trail (AZ 88) for a nice, morning dirt ride without much traffic. Apache Trail is a 40 mile, twisty, scenic, dirt highway which follows the lower Salt River. We drifted through the turns like pros and even managed to stop for some pics.
The weather was crisp and sunny. Wildflowers were everywhere. Traction was good. We reached pavement at Roosevelt Dam and headed NW to Punkin Center. Yes, that's a real town name. From there, we got back on the dirt and took one of my favorite rides through Greenback Valley (Tonto NF, FR 71 to 609). This road climbs over 4,000 feet through desert and forest and includes all types of terrain from jagged tire-biters to high-speed hardpack to twisty, narrow two-track to 18" deep mud ruts. Fortunately, the tracks were dry and the whoops were plentiful. There was only one significant water crossing...
Photographic tip- make the water look deep by photographing the smallest bike.
Water crossing video HERE
Out of many "near-misses" with disaster (several acrobatic attempts were made by yours truly), only one victim was had by the terrain. Crilly biffed once and bravely endured a sore foot/ankle for the remainder of the day. Luckily, he had the lightest bike, so Robnoxious gladly offered assistance.
Ok, DOD, go left then...
We gather on the trail to tell stories and ChopperCopper relates a tale of a mystery cave nearby...
He requires that we swear a vow of secrecy as to the cave's location, so we comply.
It does exist. Right next to the trail, even. I have ridden by it numerous times before.
We had our fun spelunking, but we were hungry and anxious to get back on the trail. We zipped over to 288 and headed up to Young for food, fuel, and ice for Crilly's bum foot. We enjoyed coffee and "Antler Burgers"- patty melt with diced green chiles. Good as usual.
Next on the agenda was a run up Aztec Peak to see Workman Falls. Apparently, these are the highest waterfalls in the state. Too bad we were a bit early. Road closed till tomorrow.
Oh well. After much pleading, the guys agreed to jettison the bikes and proceed on foot. Crilly stayed back and guarded things, as his foot was aching. Interestingly, he was the only one not whining. "Are we there yet?" "How much farther is it?" It hurts to hike in motocross boots?"
One half of an agonizing mile later, we reached the payoff- Workman Falls. Like a bunch of dorky tourists, we all carried cameras and replicated every shot four-fold.
Yes, that's ice at the base. We were over 7,000 ft and there was a bit of snow left.
"It's SOOOO much easier hiking DOWN."
Finally, we left Workman Creek and headed S on 288 homeward. But not without a few photo ops. We parted ways with Crilly here. He did a great job hanging with the big bikes today, and despite his injury, he was a trooper.
And, the uber-photo. Here is a pic of Robnoxious who is simultaneously taking a pic of me. It's a delicate ballet, really.
We again took Apache Trail to get back to Mesa. It was exhilerating for some (DOD), and terrifying for others (me). Traffic was exponentially higher than our morning ride, but we all survived. Got home at about 6pm for a decent day's worth of fun on two wheels. Till next time.
Happy trails, Robnoxious.