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Old 06-04-2009, 02:28 PM   #1
Freaky_Friday OP
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Cool2 Southeast Arizona - Up & Over the Chiricahuas!

Hello fellow FF's wanted to share this ride report with anyone, especially our Arizona & New Mexico neighbors. Anyway, my wife and I were feeling pretty spontaneous Memorial Day so we took a two-up ride over the Chiricahuas in to Portal, NM and Stayed up in Silver City overnight.

Here's the route we took from our home just north of Sierra Vista.

Ride was amazing, especially the mountain twisties and dirt in the Coronado National Forest. My lovely wife took some pretty good pictures throughout the ride and said that she loved being able to relax. There was a great mix of dirt fire roads, mountain sweepers, and long straight stretches (our least favorite) spread out through the two days. We actually decided to come back to the Chiricahua National Monument and drove up to the top for a picnic on our way home because it was so beautiful. It ended up being a close second place to our favorite part of the ride.

Our ultimate favorite was the dirt pass from Pinnery Canyon to Portal, NM. We took our time on the gravel roads and she did a great job standing up on the footpegs whenever I stood up and leaned with me around the hairpins. On to the pics & report!



-- Day 1 --



Stage 1- Home to Sunizona, AZ
Easy warm-up stage, we decided to get a little practice on dirt so we took Gleeson Rd from Tombstone to Elfrida.


Stage 2- Sunizona, AZ to Coronado National Forest
Filled up at the gas station on the northeast corner of the intersection of 181 & 191. Nice open roads with decent farming scenery, superslab at its best.


Stage 3- Coronado National Forest to Portal, AZ
Here's where the fun started!

We checked with the lady at the little guard house, she stated you don't need a pass to access the Coronado National Forest, just the Chiricahua National Monument. The pavement ended pretty quickly after the sign for Pinnery Canyon and we were quickly in the forest. I loved the smell of Pine trees and the feel of moisture in the shade. It sure feels alien after living in the desert for a few years! We stopped for lunch at Onion Saddle, there was a great little pull-off to the side of the crossroad.


On the way down the vista was equally beautiful.

Keep an eye out for traffic, there aren't many vehicles on this single-lane road and we got some weird looks as they drove by.

Once we came down to the plateau and back on to pavement, there was another great camp site that we will definitely be trying out soon.


Easy superslab from there on to Portal.

Stage 4- Portal, AZ to Silver City, NM (overnight)
Nothing much to say about this road, we filled up and took a little breather at Lordsburg before deciding to push on to Silver City. Another looong straight stretch of road on NM hwy 90, but fought the temptation to open up the throttle 100%. Most boring part of the trip I'd say.

Drove by Tyrone, a large open-pit copper mine. Not too much to see from the road other than huge mounds of dirt.

Driving in to Silver City, pretty small town that looks like it's trying to build up some tourism. We were able to get a clean, quiet room at the Econo Lodge for $100- not horribly overpriced for Memorial Day weekend walk-in rates.

We decided to get some dinner & supplies for the next day and enjoyed the hot tub before laying down for the night.


-- Day 2 --

Stage 1- Silver City, NM to Safford, AZ
Left the hotel pretty early after ingesting their "hot breakfast". Nothing like a gut bomb to get you started on a long day in the saddle! Filled up at the Chevron in Silver City on our way out, once we got out of town the scenery was very pretty. Lots of rural farms and great open road. Once we turned on to NM hwy 78 we saw a pretty cool sign discouraging trucks to travel that route due to twisty roads and high grades. SWEET!

The next hour or so was a great stretch of highway with lots of mountain hairpins & sweepers.

Then, just outside Safford there's another loooong straight stretch that makes your right hand twitch.


Stage 2- Safford, AZ to Chiricahua National Monument
Filled up in Safford and decided to go for lunch at the Chiricahua National Monument. We liked the back side of the mountains so much we thought we should go up to the top and have a little snack. Boy are we glad we did, those rock formations are amazing!!




Stage 3- Chiricahua National Monument to Home

Same somewhat boring road all the way back, but on Gleeson Rd we decided to stop and get some pics in front of the Rattlesnake Art sign. Pretty neat, we'll have to check it out some day.

I can't wait for our next trip this weekend where we plan on going around the Huachuca Mountains, up and over the Coronado National Memorial, skirt the Mexico border, and back up through Parker Canyon Lake. Should be fun!

-Aron & Aaron
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:52 PM   #2
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Old 06-04-2009, 03:04 PM   #3
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Wicked Hey Brian!

Have anything in the works?

Wifey likes to ride two-up, and I think as long as we stay away from the baby-heads we can ride pretty much the same route we took last Labor Day.
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Old 06-04-2009, 03:44 PM   #4
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we are getting ready for Top Of the Rockies... 3000 miles over 6 days thru AZ,UT, and CO... until then, I will be spending the summer riding with Boy, and working on a return to Bi-cycling.

motor-cycling has left me a bit fatter than i like to be.

I'll set you up with the gps tracks for the border... i should have an expanded version of the ride we did, that will spit you out in patagonia via harshaw and some other ghosttowns...
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:36 PM   #5
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Good stuff! I'd like to do some more exploring on the east side of the Chiricahuas and in Coronado National Forest. One o' these days we'll go back...
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:29 PM   #6
lightfighter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aronfreitag
Have anything in the works?

Wifey likes to ride two-up, and I think as long as we stay away from the baby-heads we can ride pretty much the same route we took last Labor Day.
by the by, this weekend i gotta work, but melanie made me buy her a back rest, so she can ride more/ in more comfort... i'll drop you a line for our next two up foray. last week we did mt lemmon. next (dont know when)i think will be silverton or maybe alpine for lunch.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:49 PM   #7
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Excellent report Aron, Thank you. Next time you ride by my place twice in one trip you better stop for a beer or some GS company.
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:22 PM   #8
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Thumb You bet

I'll take that offer any day!
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:47 PM   #9
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good stuff!

Nice photos. I remember riding across the San Pedro River Valley sweating my ass off then wishing I had a jacket on top of the mountains. By the way, upper or lower Huachuca City? I lived in upper in the late 80's/early 90's while in the service of our favority Uncle.
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:50 AM   #10
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Actually, just north of Huachuca City in Whetstone, on the edge of Sands Ranch.
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