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Old 04-29-2013, 10:05 AM   #31
7164 OP
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Thanks for following along and chiming in! Didn't you just post a ride report where you took your "cheater" bike out? I read it, looked like fun! If you ever want to get slowed down on one of your rides by a boat anchor nOOb shoot me a message

Thanks again!
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:43 AM   #32
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Once I got the cabin all locked up and myself sorted out for the ADVenture home I fired up the bike and started securing my stuff. The entire time I was getting ready and loading the bike I couldn't stop staring at entrance to the "big" hill.

The problem I was having was that it was REALLY REALLY bothering me that I hadn't made it up the hill. I had spent the morning scouting it and getting the bike fixed and I wanted more than anything to give it another shot. The problem though was that I had sent my safety net home and if I fell and busted up the bike or myself I was stuck......sort of. I could easily call my wife and ask her to turn around and drive all the way back to the cabin to pick up the bike or me or both but that was a call I really didn't want to have to make. I decided that no matter how much it pained me not to ride it I needed to skip it and start the ride home.

After I loaded up the bike, turned it around and threw a leg over it I inched forward, then stopped and stared some more. I even killed the bike and weighed the pros and cons of taking the hill. I sat......and sat......and sat. Eventually I realized that the only thing positive that could come of taking the hill is that I would have a very slight confirmation of improvement in my skills and a drastically soothed but possibly inflated ego.

Remembering what happened the last time I let my ego get inflated...

I kick started the bike with me thumb

and headed down instead of up

This was a really hard decision that I had to make and what ultimately helped me to make it is the realization that I needed to change my mentality a bit. If I am going to take on ADVenture riding there is already an elevated amount of risk involved (which is half of the appeal!) and I need to consider how much more risk I am willing to factor in....probably on an almost constant basis.

I ended up thinking of this situation as though I was on an unsupported ride in the middle of nowhere, not on a hill right next to the safety of my cabin and a phone call to a recovery vehicle. If I were to be doing the TAT or some some other epic ride would I take the much riskier option that gains me nothing, or the safer option that almost guarantees the continuation of my ride. It was a bitter pill to swallow but after I did I was extremely happy that I had let myself make the smart decision instead of the one I wanted to make.

That is not something that happens very often!
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:37 PM   #33
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My ride plan for today was to take the the Poland Rd, which I believe is trail 261 but don't quote me on that, down the back side of the mountain my cabin is on to the community of Breezy Pines. I was hoping to find the entrance to the Poland / Walker Tunnel and get a few photos before making my way to a back road to.....well, I still wasn't sure, I guess I'll figure it out when I get there....this adventure riding stuff rocks......then I wanted to make my way to Table Mesa Rd and jump on the North El Paso Gas Line Rd that runs from about there all the way to Carefree Hwy and Lake Pleasant Rd (formerly 99th ave) right outside of Lake Pleasant and a few short miles from home.

The Gas Line road was a goal of mine because it is visible from the I-17 for large sections and I have looked at it for years and thought, that would be fun. While getting the break in finished on the WR I was super slabbing it on the 17 a few times and it was killing me not to be on it. With the help of another inmate on here, DirtKlod, I got some extremely valuable information on where it was, how to get onto it and the level of experience I needed for it.

Hey DirtKlod, not sure if you'll ever see this, but thank you very much for your help and advice. The road was great and I've done it a few times since then!

Anyway, that was the plan so off I went....

On my way to the junction of Senator Hwy / Senator RD / Poland RD I decided to make a quick swing by Hassayampa Lake....

The lake is a man made reservoir that was used as a water impound for the city of Prescott a long time ago. The city started getting water elsewhere and it became a public lake owned by the city. I'm foggy on how's and whens of it, but the city didn't like the liability of it so they sold it off to a developer and it is now private property and fenced off with three huge houses on the adjoining hillside. It sucks that it is private property but it is extremely scenic in person or in photo's by someone more skilled than I.

Here are a few photos that I took while I was stopped to get the lake....

I don't know why I like this photo so much, but I do....

After snapping a few photos of the area around the lake I road up to the junction and peeled off towards Poland Junction. The first mile or so of the road was a smooth fast, for a dirt bike, road through the tall pines and was a lot of fun. When that mile ended I was at the entrance to the Mt. Union Look Out run by the forest service. I was going to ride up to it, but the gate was closed meaning I would have to hike it. I was on a ride not a hike so I skipped it and went on. I do plan on going and getting some photos at some time. The look out tower is on the top of Mt. Union and has an observation tower that is several stories tall. If the tower is manned they will allow you to climb up and take a look and chat. From what I understand you can see the entire Bradshaw mountain range and then some. I bet it's great, but not for today.

After the junction for the Mt. Union L.O. the road gets rocky and rough and starts to drop in altitude. I was glad to have had my Ah-Ha! moment the day before because this road was a LOT like going down the "big" hill that I skipped earlier. I was having a lot of fun testing my skill and came around a bend and decided to grab a few photos and check the hose repair....

Not a drop....

I'm standing out on a rock past the tree's. The view to the left....



I bet the view from the lookout tower is spectacular.

Onward then.....

According to this sign the rocky downhill stuff was about 4 miles long...

After that you end up going down this wide, smooth, gravel covered road. It is probably a fast road for most, but for me these types of roads zap the confidence out of me. The front end seems to want to slide out on me a lot and I'm sure once I get better tires than the stock ones it will get better....but for now it's sit back, putt along and enjoy the ride. This road gave me another reason to want to get a GoPro as soon as I can. As I was rounding a corner there was a heard of about 5 white tail deer in the middle of the road. I hit the kill switch and tried not to spook them so I could get a photo but they were having none of it. If I had been wearing a GoPro I would have had some great video or photo's of them.

I went down this nice smooth road and into the community of Breezy Pines. I originally wanted to try and find the Poland / Walker tunnel entrance to grab a photo or two but as I was riding through I stopped to look at a community bulliten board and I lost the desire to get off the bike and go hunting around. Really the problem was that I had the directions in my phone which was in my camelback and that would mean having to get off the bike, take off the camelback, dig around in it to find the phone and fire it up then search for the directions and hunt around for where they were compared to where I was. It would have taken all of five minutes to do, but I just really didn't feel like doing it so, I didn't!....and off I went.

A few more miles down the road and I rounded a bend and saw this....

Hmmmm, I wonder where that goes? Why not....

I took it and followed it for a mile or more up an down some small hills and around a few bends. I crossed a dry creek bed or two and was having a really good time. I made a mental note to come back and explore it even more when I had more time and see where it dead ends or pops out and I started looking for a place to turn around. I came to a spot that was big enough and noticed that there was another trail that broke off of this one and was much narrower and less traveled. Hmmm, I wonder where that goes? Why not....

I took this little off shoot and it went a few hundred feet then climbed a soft loose hill and became another junction. From here one turn went up and looked like it hadn't been used in some time and another turn went down and looked like it dead ended. I decided a little hiking / scouting was in order.

This is what I came up....

And where I stopped...

From that angle the trail looks wide and great, but from this angle you can see that it is starting to get much less use....

I hiked up it a little more and found this hill. Hard to tell but there is even more growth on it and it is getting narrower....

But why is it here? There has to be a reason. So I hiked up it some more. Not exactly an easy task because the soil here is very soft with an almost loam soil texture to it but I was curious. I topped the hill and the trail became super narrow and went up the hill some more....

Ahhhh, thats why this is here and where it goes.....

That grey pile in the middle are mine tailings. There must be a small mine shaft up there. COOL! (mental note to come back and check that out).

What a great view from up here......

Hmmmm, what is that over there?....


Zoom a little more....

Cool! The travel trailer there makes me think it may be a small working mine. Or it could be a Storage / Doomsday bunker of some sort...I remember seeing the turn off for that and I don't think there were any "No Trespassing" signs...I wonder if they are friendly......probably not....Mental note to come check it out another time.

Hiking back down to the bike I saw this and thought it would make a good photo...

I couldn't position myself in a way that I could get the shadows inside the plant without my shadow being on the ground next to it. I figured I could crop the photo later so just the plant was in it with minimal ground around it for a cool effect, but I can't seem to crop it with my limited skills. I still liked the photo enough to post it though.

I finished the hike back to the bike, turned it around and back tracked to Poland Rd. The road continued to be a wide fast gradual down hill and was uneventful. As you near the end of the dirt road a mile or so from where it connects to the pavement (HWY 69) there is a decent sized working mine, but I don't find those nearly as interesting as the old abandoned mines so I didn't bother to stop and take a photo.

A few minutes later I hit the pavement, made a right and rode into the little town of Mayer to grab some gas and get directions to the next destination. I decided that I would head back to the almost ghost town of Cleator and grab a few photos since I didn't when I went through a few days ago.

The town of Mayer has two gas stations. A Circle K on one side and a family run place on the other. The family run place is usually a few cents cheaper and I figured I would support the local rather than corporate place so I pulled in.

They don't have pay at the pump.....

But home made chilly more than makes up for it!

A little side note: The next day I almost shit my pants trying to make it to the can in if you looked at that photo and thought Gas station chilly doesn't sound like the best were right...

Still not a drop!....

Still full. The Hyper-Lube ruined my super cool blue colored coolant, but the green sure is a lot easier to see....
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:05 PM   #34
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The folks that run the gas station were pleasant enough and the chili was....well, really not that great. It tasted okay, but wasn't hot enough to melt the cheese on top and tasted like it most likely came from a can. Oh, well, whats the harm.

the harm is you almost shit your pants the next day Oh yeah, oops

Oddly enough though not one of them could give me directions to the road I needed to get to Cleator. I thought this was REALLY odd because Mayer is a very small town. I know for a fact that the road I needed was in the town I just couldn't remember the name / number of the road. I also recall it is a very wide and easily traveled road, not some dirt trail....weird....maybe I made the wrong choice and should have gone to the Circle K.

While I was finishing up my bowl of disappointment a truck pulled in and the man and lady went into the store. A few minutes later one of the employees of the gas station / market came out and told me that the trucks occupants live in Cleator and they would know the way! Wow, that was super cool of the guy to take the time to come out and tell me that. I guess I did make the right choice.

A few minutes later a guy that looked like he was probably the second cousin to the Crown King Mountain Man walked out and started pumping gas into the truck. I told him the employee had let me know that he lived in Cleator and that I was looking for directions on how to get there on the back roads, not by going to I-17 then down to the Bumble Bee exit and back up. Well, this really threw the guy for a loop. He could not figure out what I was talking about. The more we discussed it the more he seemed to get confused. He told me there was definitely a road and that he takes it all the time, he just can't remember the name of it. I told him that the name didn't matter, but if he could give me directions to where to get onto it I'd take it from there.......uuuuuhhhhhhhhh........this guy didn't say "YUP" one single time, but if he had I wouldn't have been surprised in the slightest.

Really nice feller' but holy shit, this isn't rocket science. I'm looking for a "head down this road to your second right then make a left" or SOMETHING. I know for a fact that when this guy drives from Cleator down to the big city to shop at the Mayer Market he HAS to come the back way that I am talking about. Going to I-17 and around to HWY 69 would almost double the mileage! Odd!

A minute later the lady walks out and he tells here what I'm asking and she instantly points and say's "go down this road (HWY 69) and as soon as you go over that hill there will be an old abandoned gas station on your right. Turn there and make a left. The road turns to dirt and follow the signs"........

she was spot on correct!

For anyone that cares the intersection you would be looking for is HWY 69 and Antelope Creek RD, which turns into the Old Black Canyon Hwy and leads to all the places this sign says it does....

The only reason I am putting this in at all is because it seems to be such a long lost road or closely guarded secret that if you find yourself in Cleator looking to get to Mayer or Mayer looking to get to Cleater you just might not ever get out of the mountains alive!

This sign says:Old Black Canyon Hwy Old Cordes 7mi, Cleator 15mi, Crown King 29mi, Bumble Bee 15.5 mi.....

I wonder if adding Bumble Bee was an after thought.

A very short minute or two on this road and I came to an T intersection for a road called "Blue Belle Mine Rd". This road heads into the mountains and in the future I think I will try to run this section. Google maps tells me it is possibly a back, back way to Cleator....Maybe this is what Mountain Mans 2nd cousin was trying to remember to give me directions to. For a minute I thought about doing some exploring on it and seeing where it goes, but the vague memory I had of this road from a map I looked at a while ago was that it went a back back way to Crown King and I knew I wouldn't have time to do all I wanted to do if I went that way.

But.......there was this nice looking power line road that was running in the same direction i was needing to go.....

Just past the forest service gate I took this photo and thought this is much better than a graded dirt road

Hmmmmmmm, this doesn't look good. Better scout it on foot.....

Well, it was fun while it lasted (about 1/4 mile) but I'm not going down THAT and the trail looks to end not much further into the draw.....

Oh well. Back through the gate and back onto the dirt road to Old Cordes.

The dirt road was in great shape and was fast. I saw gps speeds of 60 mph. Not exactly Bonneville Salt Flats land speed record stuff or KTM 990 stuff but for a nOOb on a 250 on a dirt road I will say it was fast. A lot of fun too. I will definitely run that stretch again!

I slowed down when I realized I was entering Old Cordes and eventually stopped and started taking photos....

Welcome to Cordes. Established 1883. Population 11.....

Need a GoPro to catch animals #3 happened while I was in Old Cordes. I had just finished taking some photos and put the camera away and was starting to drive away when I looked down this main dirt road that eventually leads you back to the I-17. Walking down the middle of this road without a care in the world was a beautiful brown and white horse. By the time I killed the bike and got the camera out the horse had turned off the road and went behind a barn. Some HD video of this horse lazily walking down a dirt road in the setting of this almost ghost town would have been awesome.

You'll have to settle for some photos I took after I drove up the dirt road and found him again...

And away he went back the down the dirt road....

I jumped back onto the bike and started climbing out of the valley. A few minutes later I came to here. Way off in the distance is the I-17....

Zoom.....there it is.....those little white dots are semi's....

A little further out of the valley you come to the highest point and the views are SPECTACULAR!! The way the sunlight was shining into row after row of desert mountains as it was getting lower on the horizon made for a great effect, but for not so great photos. It washed them out a lot so you'll either have to use your imagination as you look at the photos I took or you'll have to take a run up there and see for yourself. Much like Crown King Rd which goes to Crown King, this road is very well maintained and can be done by even the biggest of bikes with ease. It is actually an off shoot of Crown King Rd and if you are on your way up to Crown King it is worth a quick detour.

I took a small little detour up a ranch road to this spot for the photos. You can barely see the main road on the right in the middle. Any bike would be able to get to this spot too....

Looking waaayyyy down into the valley. This was taken from where the bike is in the photo above.....

After snapping the photos I took a very scenic ride down into that valley and came upon the junction at Crown King Rd. Right would take me to Cleator and left would take me to Bumble Bee. The sun was getting low and I had a lot more ground to cover so I decided to skip what I had already seen and turn left toward Bumble Bee. The road was very familiar as I had just ridden it two long days ago and I made excellent time.

The plan was to take this road back to where it connects to the twisty pavement and ride it past here....

and here....

to here....

and get back on the I-17 and take it to Table Mesa Rd where DirtKlod had given me directions to get onto the N El Paso Gas Pipe Line Rd that I was wanting to ride.......but.......just as the dirt road connects to the pavement I saw another dirt road that looked to keep going south. This looked like much more fun that burning up the asphalt so I went straight and figured it would take me to wherever it went. I could always turn around and come back. After about a mile or so on this road I came across a group of guys on quads and UTV's sitting by the side of the road hanging out. I pulled up, killed the bike and asked "where does this road go?"

"Black Canyon City"

"SWEET! Sounds fun, Thanks guys."

I kick started the bike with me thumb and off I went. I could here them laughing right as I was starting the bike. It was friendly laughter and I'm pretty sure it was in recognition of some guy on and ADVenture.

I've since found out that the road I was on was Maggie Mine Rd. It was a very fun and medium fast (for me) road.

This is looking back up the road from the direction I just came. The junction with Crown King Rd is a few miles back....

The sun really washed this one out, but it was very scenic in person...

I followed Maggie Mine Rd until it became pavement, but just off the side of the road was a little dirt trail that went up the hill and was marked as part of the Gas Line Rd I was looking for. I decided to follow it a bit and it was a series up semi challenging up and down hills for a short way before it came to a T intersection of its own. Left looked to keep on the gas line Rd and right went down hill to a paved road. I went left and after just a few hundred feet I came to an area that said "Closed for soil"....something or other. I got the point and took a little trail that went under and around a tree to my right hoping it would cut around the closed area and re-connect with the trail I was on.

As soon as I turned the corner I was completely surprised to see this.....

It was HUGE and had literally come out of nowhere. The picture doesn't do it justice for how big it is or how surprising it would be to come upon it all of a sudden. That photo is easily from 500 or more feet away. It ends up that I had unknowingly crossed into the fenced area of an old dog track that has been closed for decades. From the I-17 it is easily spotted and I have driven by it thousands of times without thinking anything of it.

I skirted the edge of the grounds inside the fence line hoping it would pop out onto the trail again, but no dice. All I could find was a set of locked gates that went to a paved road. As I was looking I saw a small truck on the pavement make a U-turn and start heading towards the gates. I figured that this guy saw me in the fence line and was coming to yell at me. I was prepared to beg his forgiveness for trespassing onto his property and if need be explain that I was just making my way out. Ends up the guy was some super nice local that saw me wandering around lost in the fence line and stopped to offer me help! He told me he thought the fence had been cut a short distance from where I was and I could hop back onto my trail there. We chatted a bit and that's how I found out it was a dog track. What a nice guy!

Ends up the cut in the fence had been recently repaired and a dirt berm built to further deter people so I reluctantly went back the way I came and backtracked to the junction where I could get to the pavement and I took the pavement to the I-17.

For anyone who has been following along for my Ansel Adams like mad photo skills and not for my Hemingway quality writing you may want to shut down now because, unfortunately, the dog track was my last trail photo of the trip

It was getting late and it was time to start making some distance so the camera was put away and not touched again. One of the things I wanted to do on this trip was ride the Gas Pipe Line Rd and I was hoping to get some photos and put some more information out on the road for others that are wanting to ride it. I'll do that road again and get some photos for those that are interested.

The Gas Pipeline road can be accessed easily from the Table Mesa Rd Exit on I-17. If you are going north on the 17, exit at Table Mesa and turn left to go West. Cross over the I-17 to the west side. If you are going south on the I-17 exit at Table Mesa and the exit loops back on itself on the west side of the freeway. At this point, for whichever direction you were coming from, you will be on the west side of the freeway and you have a couple of options.

1) The easiest route is to go up a small hill just west of the access Rd on the west side of the 17. Go through a gate (closing it behind you) and follow that road around a bit to a 4 way junction. You can't miss the junction, it is lined in all four directions with huge boulders. Turn left to go south and you are on the Gas Pipeline Rd heading toward Phoenix. If you turn right and go north you are still on the Gas Pipeline Rd but you are heading toward the more difficult section that you bypassed by not taking route number....

2) Take the access Rd on the West side of I-17 and head down hill which is North. Follow the access Rd around and stay to the left if you come to a Y. This part of the pipeline road boarders a Cemex plant which is private property. You have to go between some boulders that have been placed there by the Cemex plant, I think more for decoration than to deny access, but it does a decent job of both if you are on anything other than a dirt bike.

You cant miss the trail that is the Gas Pipeline Rd. It is the big hill right in front of you and heads south. This hill is the only hill on the entire road (between there and Phoenix at least) that doesn't have an easy-out go around for those not looking to climb or go down tough hills. I have taken the road from the south all the way to this point and a little bit past and it is really fun.

A little warning about the Gas Pipeline Rd before I continue on with my RR. A week after I took this ride I took the Pipeline Rd from the south to the North on my way back up to the cabin. There is one hill on the Rd where the rock is a noticeably different color and texture. It is white'ish and looks almost like solid rock instead of dirt trail. I was going from south to north and was at the top of a hill when I noticed this and paused for a bit. I noticed that from the top of the hill there was an easy out trail that connected to the easy out trail that went all the way around the hill. I decided I didn't like the looks of the rocks and the second easy out must be there for a reason so I took it. I was super glad I did! It looked to me that the white rocks were large boulder drop offs and I would have been royally screwed! Going from the North to the South you will easily see the hill and can decide if you want to try your way up it. But from the South to the North this hill could sneak up on you and be a problem. This white rocked hill is located in between option 1 and 2 and if you enter or exit the Pipeline Rd from the 4 way intersection described in option 1 you will not come across it at all.

Back on topic..............

After I made my way to the I-17 after the dog track I took a quick hop down to Table Mesa Rd and exited. I was actually going to get off and take a photo of the gate you go through in option 1 to help others find it in the future, but when I came around the corner there was a guy in a truck just opening the gate so I took the opportunity and just rode past with a friendly wave to the guy who was holding it open for me. Once I got onto the Pipeline Rd I found it to be exactly as DirtKlod had described it to me............A Medium fast road with several hills to climb or go around and lots of little jumps in the road. Be careful with the jumps because you never know what you're going to get on the other side (the road has eroded away a lot and there is a lot of exposed rock)......

This road was a BLAST but you do have to be on your game with the exposed rocks popping up all over the place. I had another Ah-Ha! moment here that tied into my down hill Ah-Ha! moment. This one involved weight shifting on the pegs at high speed. I again felt like I was riding a fast downhill on my mountain bike and it just felt natural. I hit a few of the dirt jumps with enough speed to wheelie away and a few more with enough speed to get both tires off the ground for some small jumps. I chased a Jackrabbit down the trail for a while and wished again for a GoPro.

I also began wishing that I had a SPOT GPS Messenger. I realized that I had left my cabin at close to 2 and it was now almost 8. I left the cabin around 6 hours ago and I figured my wife was probably starting to wonder where I was. I really hoped she wasn't worried. I thought several times about how as soon as I hit the asphalt I should stop and call her to let her know I was okay and would be home in 20 minutes, but if I had a SPOT I could stop, hit a button to send her a message and be off again in a matter of seconds. The other thing I realized is that while I had given my wife a rough sketch idea of what my route was she really wouldn't have any idea where I was at any particular time and if I didn't show up this would be a tough search and rescue.

I realized that I had a little money to burn and that I could buy the GoPro that I wanted, or the SPOT and one year of service that I wanted, but not both. The more I thought about it the more I realized that the SPOT is well worth the cost and is a more important piece of equipment than the GoPro. The GoPro is great if you make it out alive and can show your videos to people. But if not then it just becomes a way for rescuers to reconstruct your accident and a way for you to record your final words.

When I made it to blacktop I realized that It would take me at least 15 minutes to stop, gear down, find my phone, fire it up, wait for a signal and call my wife. Or I could be in my garage in 20. I decided the 20 minutes was faster than the 15 and the spot would be purchased before the next ride (which it was).

I had an absolute BLAST on my first "real ADVenture ride" and I am solidly hooked. I learned a ton and I look forward to the lessons I have yet to learn. I made the Rescue Tape a must have tool for the ride kit and when I got home I looked and the repair hadn't leaked a single drop.

I hope you enjoy'ed my ride report and maybe we will cross paths out on the trail.

7164 screwed with this post 04-29-2013 at 05:18 PM
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:42 PM   #35
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Location: Back in Superior, Colorado!
Oddometer: 113
very good RR, and stick with you'll get the hang of riding in more rough terrain
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