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Old 01-30-2011, 03:35 PM   #1
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Eh? AZ - Went out to camp at Royal Arch and got Royally Screwed! 2-up!

Royal Arch was a destination of convenience rather than a destination of desire. My wife and I were looking for a place in the desert to camp. Since it's January and even low desert temperatures can drop below freezing we wanted VERY low desert. The most interesting thing on the map in the direction we wanted to go was Royal Arch! So that became the destination.

The intent of this little overnighter was to test a few new things in preparation for a two week long trip later in the year.

First, we intended to test a new stock seat on the KTM 950 Adventure to see if we could stand it all day. We are going from a Renazco to stock! It's backward from the way most people do it, but the previous owner had the big money seat made and I'm usually pretty happy with the factory offering.

Second, we wanted to try out our new home away from home. In the past, we have used a 2 person tent, but find that it gets extremely cramped. It's fine as strictly a 2-person tent. It's tolerable (barely) as a 1 person + riding gear + other junk tent, but not a 2-person + gear tent. We skipped over the three person tents as potentially too cramped and went for the grand masion, 4-person tent! It's only 2lbs heavier than the 2-person tent and not that much bulkier!

Third, we bought two Exped Synmat 9 Dlx mats at REI at a super sale before I went to Alaska last year. While I have slept on mine, my wife has not slept on hers. I used mine all through Canada and Alaska (on the nights we camped!) and got the best sleep I've ever had camping. There were times in hotels I would have rather been on that mat. Since I have been back we haven't done a camping trip, so this would be the first!

I agonized over the routing all week and finally came up with something I thought we could do. The Red is Day 1, Blue and Yellow are Day 2. The Red is pretty much all new to us. We figured there would be some backtracking and exploration. The only part like that on Day 2 is the Yellow.

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Old 01-30-2011, 03:55 PM   #2
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During the week I also played with some wiring on the bike. I wanted a Battery Tender SAE plug to heated liner adapter. It was still chilly at 8 a.m. when we left Chandler, so we were ready to crank up the liners. Unfortunately we were asking for too many electrons to pass through the 10A fuse I installed. Six and a half miles from home we ran into our first problem.

Fortunately the convenience store we stopped at had fuses and we were back on the road in heated comfort minutes later. Quick math said 15A was right and that worked for the rest of the day!

We took a hard right in Maricopa, AZ toward Mobile, AZ. North of Mobile we planned to follow the gas pipeline road. The fence was open (to the left) but there was a faded "NO Trespassing" sign.



Our first detour had us going North to find another way through.



At the north end of the road there's a small airport.



So we took in the personal air show.



It wasn't that exciting. Land, taxi, take-off. Sort of the long version of a touch and go!
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:56 PM   #3
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I saw your planning post for this ride and thought it would be neat to see how you do. I may load up the strom when I get back from CA and do a little camping trip also.
Your title makes me wonder now. SO?
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:02 PM   #4
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:03 PM   #5
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We took a gravel road around the airfield and found ourselves heading West.



A little more West, a little North and we were on the pipeline road after a while anyway. And we didn't see any No Trespassing signs this way!




The pipeline road has a little bit of character. There are dips and washouts that could be entertaining at speed. There was a group that could have been a militia (HUGE crowd of people and vehicles) along the road shooting into the wilderness area to the south. And there are a few cool rock formations off to the sides.



Getting closer to take a peak at the rocks we found ourselves in a cattle pen with a giant, dry tank (earth reservoir).



Eventually along the pipeline road we came to the north entrance to the Sonoran Desert National Monument.
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:09 PM   #6
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The Sonoran Desert National Monument road is pretty nice.



There's not much exciting about it (at the speeds we were going), but it has some good scenery.



It was sandy in places (not here), but nothing too difficult to handle.



The road wound around and dumped us out on a power line road that parallels Hwy 85.



Looking back into the National Monument.



My passenger!
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:26 PM   #7
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The power line road is mostly in good condition. There are a few spots that could really cause big problems at speed though. Numerous small washouts could bottom out (or break! ) a bike. And there are larger washouts that could transfer all your forward momentum into rotational momentum instantly.

Fortunately we were being cautious and made it through without incident. Just a few miles from the end of the road we were in downtown Gila Bend! We knew there was an ADVrider approved eatery in town and we had to check it out.



Going North and West from Gila Bend after lunch, we stumbled onto a puddle in the road -it hasn't rained here in a while! I immediately thought of the Nightstalker quote, "The muddy road continued on like a bad chinese King Kong movie." I think we stumbled onto that road. Further west it looked worse and we turned around to find a different route.



Parts of that road and areas of the surrounding desert are stained white.



We found a few more dead-ends while tracing outlines of fields in the area.



Eventually we found this road through a swamp!



This road is probably 8-10 feet above the surrounding ground! To the left is swampy, stagnant water. To the right it's dry. Strange place out in the middle of the desert!
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:35 PM   #8
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:40 PM   #9
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I missed out on the 1-1-11, Oatman Massacre Ride through parts of this area so I routed us through some of it. We couldn't get very close to Painted Rock Dam. Damn!



We did go to the Petroglyph Site nearby.



Pre-graffiti graffiti!



Those must have been some bored natives. These rocks are covered to the point that some drawings start to melt together.



A precursor to Tic Tac Toe?



Darts?



Back to the bike to ride on!
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:46 PM   #10
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We also went to the Fourr grave site not far away.



These are right next to active farming fields.



Interesting multi-sided grave stone.



Three of the Fourr are buried here.
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:53 PM   #11
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Six members of the Oatman family are buried nearby. I started to wonder if anybody else might have been buried where the farm fields are now!



We couldn't quite decide if this was supposed to be respectful or not.






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Old 01-30-2011, 05:02 PM   #12
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Rocky Point Road lived up to its name. It wasn't full of big rocks, just gravel that gave the feeling that if you had to panic stop it would be like panic stopping in marbles.



Still, we kept a decent pace.



The GPS couldn't keep up with the speed changes.



Following the Union Pacific Rail Road line south I worried that the train, sitting still on the track, might be in the way of going North as we intended. But the train ended well before we turned north at about Dateland Road.


Part of the reason we like to ride on our own when we ride 2-up is the dust from other riders. We kick up plenty of our own too!



Notice the surprises inside the cloud!
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:40 PM   #13
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The road turns into Palomas Harquahala Road as it goes North. For the most part it is a quick road with few twists and turns. We didn't see many people as far west as we were.

I had other tracks in case we ran into trouble with one road on the way to Royal Arch. At one "Y", where I had an alternate that would take us through the Yuma Proving Grounds, we decided to continue on the route I created.

Initially it seemed like a good decision. Shortly after though, the road degraded slightly and crossed some deep sandy washes. We were seeing more large rocks too. The two tracks in the road seemed deeper in spots and the tires would claw at the sides. Between the rocks, sand and ruts, I was getting used to the bike squirming around underneath us, but still keeping up a decent pace at around 25-30 mph.

Entering a sandy section of the road where there were some large rocks everything went haywire! It was like a full-on tankslapper at 30 mph in rocks and sand on the big Adventure with luggage and a passenger! I don't know how I held onto the bucking bronco! Immediately, I knew what happened. We had a flat! Before the wild ride stopped a thought crossed my mind, "Shit! I didn't transfer the tire irons from under the seat of the Super Enduro back into a pannier!"

Now what?



We're screwed! Royally screwed! I tried riding the bike off the road and couldn't get it to cooperate. We were stuck with no tire irons!



Looking back at the section of road where it all went wrong.



Amazingly, we both had cell coverage at N33 07.495 W113 28.588. I even had a strong enough connection that I thought about posting for help on Adv from my phone!

We thought for a few minutes. Who do we know who could come help us? I was already feeling like an idiot for not bringing the most basic of tire tools. We didn't really want to inconvenience anyone, but we didn't have much option. AMA Roadside? They might make it out there... On Tuesday (it was Saturday). Alright, who can we inconvenience the least? Preferably someone who wouldn't mind helping a stranded rider. Someone who would enjoy the ride out anyway. Someone on the West side of town... That narrowed the list and we started out by calling KTMSER!

The gist of the conversation went like this:

KTMSER: Hello?
Yardstick: Hey, how's it going?
KTMSER: Good!
KTMSER: How's it going with you?
Yardstick: Not so well! We're stuck in the middle of the desert with a screw in our tire and I forgot to pack tire irons!
KTMSER: Shit! Do you have a spare tube?
Yardstick: Three! One in each fairing and one under the seat!
KTMSER: How old are they?
Yardstick: uhhh....
KTMSER: Where are you?
Yardstick: The middle of the desert! Here are the coordinates... No hurry though. It's almost dark and we have camping gear.
KTMSER: Lemme jump in the shower, gear up and I'll be right out!

I felt like a moron. We were fine for camping for one night. We could have probably even stretched the food and water for two nights. But without tire tools, we were stuck! Most wives might get angry about such a stupid mistake. Mine... She felt guilty!

Her reasoning was that if she wasn't on the back of the bike, I would have the other tools I carry in a big Kriega backpack all the time, which includes a set of irons, pump, patch kit, tube... We had the tubes, pump and tools, but no irons.


At least we can get the tire off and ready for repair!
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:15 PM   #14
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I started thinking that maybe I could improvise something. The hard part of the Adventure's tire change was done for us. The safety bead on the rear wheel is supposed to contain the tire if it goes flat. It didn't! I think I know why too. Certain types of bead lube used in Fairbanks don't completely dry... That's why we went so wildly out of control. The bead completely unseated and we were riding partly on the flat tire and partly on the rim. The huge drop center on the Adventure's rear wheel and the width make it one of the easier tires to change once that safety bead is out of the way.

I almost wouldn't believe this if I didn't do it. Those are the ~4-inch long axle tools removing a 150 width Mefo Super Explorer tire from an Adventure rim! They have sharp edges and cut into the bead a little, but it was a remarkable success!



There's your problem!



About a half hour later, KTMSER and Nightstalker had collaborated on a route to our location and he was loaded and ready to roll! Back on the phone with KTMSER, I explained what I did. Still concerned with the age of our spare tubes, he stayed ready for another distressed phone call.



The tube under the seat was a 21" front. It would work, but I thought the ones in the fairings were rear tubes. The tube in the left fairing is one I have never checked since we bought the bike used a couple years ago. The previous owner had put it there. The one in the right fairing is one I put in before the Alaska trip last year. I would pull both if I had to, but went for the left one first. It was a rear! But it seemed a little stiff and wasn't all black anymore. Hmm... We can at least use it until it goes flat, right?

I plugged the pump into the SAE plug I wired and had to fix earlier in the trip. All plugged in and attached to the tube to check it for leaks and we got NOTHING! That meant even if we could get moving we wouldn't have any heat! I could sense my passenger's stress level rising! At least the pump can always go direct to the battery. Down came the skid plate. The Battery Tender cable's ring terminal broke off from vibration! I stripped the wire and fastened it under the braided cable terminals in the battery box as a temporary solution. The pump was alive!

The tube held air and didn't seem too stressed. Stuffing it into the tire took some effort since the other safety bead did its job. I got the bead started back on the rim by carefully using one of the axle tools and then stepping down hard. I managed to slowly work the bead on the rim all the way around with just my foot! I didn't need heat! I was sweating!

The whole ordeal took some time, but in the end we had a fully inflated rear tire to ride out on!
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:16 PM   #15
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I have to here the rest of this one Yardstick...........
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