Thanks for the intro, Nightstalker. Now that I’m back into civilization, I guess I can contribute to this ride report in a more meaningful way. Unfortunately, I don’t have near the quantity or quality of images, so you’ll have to settle for witty prose.
Much like a Tarantino flick, let’s flash back to the beginning…
Nightstalker, Glnn313, ChopperCopper, AZBerg, and I rode day 1. It was supposed to be the “technical day”. Day 2 was supposed to be easier, and day 3 was supposed to be medium difficulty, but long. For the most part this was the case, but days 2 and 3 were much more difficult than
Pics from day 1. You already got most of the details from Terry.
The double-dog-dare was in effect, and Terry was my first sucker.
I was tired of using the buddy pegs, as it had a great effect on my riding technique, so I opted to get it fixed. A nice gentleman in Crown King named Mark (as recommended by mouth from Big Ed for the low price of $20 and a canned PBR) welded my foot pegs to the frame. Oddly, he wouldn’t
permit me to take his picture.
Day 2 involved a subset of riders. Terry booked for PHX on Friday night, so we were down to 4 riders. We left Prescott early and headed for Old Black Canyon Highway to link into Old Fain Rd. The former was a beautiful stretch of dirt and paved twisties through Prescott Valley. Unfortunately Fain Rd. was closed- our first routing issue for the day. We bypassed and headed up Mingus Mtn.
From Mingus Mt. we linked some forest roads to Cherry Rd. The early part of this section was great fun and really rocky. It opened up to some epic views of the countryside. I managed to have another breakage issue when I snapped one of my rear pannier mounts. Cinched it up with some compression straps and continued riding.
Once through Cherry, we booked it to Camp Verde, gassed, rested, and headed to Fossil Creek. We soaked our perpetually pruny feet and enjoyed some shade. I educated all on the native fishes.
We checked out Insurance Hill on Fossil Creek Rd. Apparently Matt is missed. RIP
Had a nice lunch at the Strawberry Lodge. Anything with green chiles and pepperjack cheese is fine by me.
Headed into Payson and jumped on the Fire Control Road for some more dirt. We met up with a local rider, Redeye-AZ, who led us on a lesser-known trail which was great fun and quite technical. (Meanwhile. AZBerg was visiting family in Payson. He missed some good miles.) Unfortunately, I have no photo evidence.
On the Redeye-AZ trail, Glenn popped his rear tube and we spent some beer-drinking time in the hotel parking lot getting it patched. And patched again.
Went to a little-known local establishment called Chili’s. Apparently, it was the only place in town that Matt could order a respectable ladies’ drink. Mrs. ChopperCopper joined us for a late dinner and kindly returned to Mesa with my busted pannier rack and cases. Much lighter for day 3.
Glenn was happy to finally get some food.
Polished off the rest of our beers and teased the locals a bit before sacking out. Day 3 would be a long one.
Day 3 started with a splat as we were geared up to go and realized that the multiple patches installed on Glenn’s rear tube were insufficient. This caused he and I to miss breakfast.
Cyberdos (Julio) travelled up from Mesa to join us for the day. AzBerg headed home, and ChopperCopper opted for a different route. Apparently the trail we chose for Sunday morning was one of ill repute and Redeye-AZ was not eager to join us. These rumors convinced ChopperCopper to take a detour as well. Glenn, Julio, and I pressed on…
We left Payson and slabbed to Rye where we picked up the trail. We thought we’d hit a dead end at 76 Ranch, as the road passes through private property. After some friendly coaxing with Mrs. 76, we were granted access.
And we promptly took a wrong turn and got stuck in the creek.
Once on the proper path, the rumors proved true. It was basically a 4-mile, rocky, steep climb. No major issues except a few wrong turns. Not many pics either.
The trail dumped us into the W side of Young and we fueled and stopped for an Antler burger where we rejoined ChopperCopper. Next on the slate was 609-71 to Punkin Center, but we opted to add Buzzard’s Roost to the list.
This was an excellent choice. The views were spectacular.
Linked back into 609 and made a stop at Mike’s secret cave. Head down, earbuds in, we jammed into Punkin Center jumping off rocks the whole way. Great fun. Julio had a minor get-off, but wasn’t hurt. Glenn decided to leave his supertrapp on the trail. He was forced to run a straight pipe for the remainder of the day.
We again split up at Jake’s Corner when ChopperCopper headed home for a family event. Julio, Glenn, and I pressed on for the final leg of the ride. It was already 4:30pm and we were jumping back on the trail for several hours… it would prove to be a sketchy decision. We knew the consequences and decided to go for it. We exited 87 at Sycamore Creek and hopped on a powerline road which ends at Bartlett Dam.
The “road” was awesome in all ways. It was nearly all off-camber, rocky, washed-out (in some places non-existent), steep, rutted, etc. It winded on for miles. Fortunately, one stretch of the road was a repair-in-progress and we were treated to the leavings of a trackhoe. As the sun was setting, we came to a section of road which was under the present lake level. We hugged the water’s edge and managed our way around, but not before I proceeded to submerge my entire bike in a moment of poor footing and imbalance. Started up after a few tense moments of tinkering.
Found some more wildlife. Discovered that Julio is very fearful of venomous lizards.
Crashed once while staring into the sunset and Julio’s dust. Just a flesh wound.
Finally finished the powerline road and found the Verde riverbed (just downstream of Bartlett Dam) at dusk. Felt our way through the rocky terrain and underbrush to a suitable crossing site. We had to navigate the three bikes through about 40 yards of river ankle to knee deep. The issues
were- 1) it’s now dark, 2) the riverbed is strewn with basketball-sized rocks, 3) everything is covered in slick algae. The moon came out as we pushed the bikes across. One man on the throttle/clutch, one pushing from behind, and another guiding the front wheel over rocks. It was a tiresome, wet, sweaty endeavor. Once on the other side, we eventually found Bartlett Road (paved) and rejoiced. We headed homeward and called it a day at 9:45pm.
Julio was a trooper on day 3. I don’t think he has ever seen such a difficult ride, but he hung in there and performed well.
Glenn deserves the hero award as he stuck with me for the entire 3 days.
Here is an image of the ridden route (red) and planned (grey) routes. I clocked over 600 miles including the miles to/from home.