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.
Clean pit toilets. No running water.
To be continued.............