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Old 02-13-2012, 11:01 PM   #1
kobukan OP
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A Maine Riderís Arizona Day Trips

OK, so how exactly does a Maine rider do day trips in Arizona you ask? Well, it helps if you have a brother who lives in AZ and has a spare bedroom and a little extra space in his garage. Then you buy an extra bike to keep at his place and fly out to visit as often as you can. See, itís really not that complicated!

So, I started shopping for a bike in the fall of 2011. This was probably the hardest part since I was in ME shopping for a bike in AZ. But, after a few months of diligent searching, in December I found exactly what I was looking for and purchased a well set up DR650 from a very nice gentleman in Phoenix who was very helpful and understanding regarding the 2,500 miles between us. We worked out a deal and I arranged for the bike to be stored at a shop in Phoenix for a few weeks until I could fly out to pick it up.

Along with a lot of day trips, I hope to have some longer adventures throughout the Southwest. Those adventures will be chronicled in separate ride reports, but I hope to update this thread with ongoing day trips.

And so, the riding begins . . .
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:09 PM   #2
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1/4/12

I arrived at the airport in Phoenix at about 1:45 pm and grabbed a taxi to go pick the bike up at the shop where it was stored. I had shipped a tool kit to the shop, ordered a helmet from them that was waiting for me, and brought with me everything else I’d need for the first day trip down to Sierra Vista where the bike and I will be staying while in AZ.

I wanted to take the scenic route and as many dirt roads as I could, and I didn’t really want to ride at night, so the plan was to spend an hour or so prepping the bike at the shop then try to make it to Globe before dark and spend the night there. Then I’d have the whole next day to get to Sierra Vista the back way.

It took 45 minutes just to get to the outskirts of Phoenix, but after that the rest of the ride was pretty scenic and I reached Globe just as it was starting to get dark. I got a cheap room at the Motel 6, but I felt like I was in heaven.

Outside the shop . . . ready to roll.


Finally out of the city and getting a taste of what I came for.
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Old 02-14-2012, 12:08 AM   #3
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1/5/12

Heading South from Globe to Sierra Vista . . .


Route 77 about 10 miles south of Globe


A little further down 77 headed toward Winkelman


Picked up an unmaintained dirt road in Winkelman that ran just west of 77 for about 20 miles to Mammoth. Looked like this . . .












In Mammoth I crossed over to the other side of 77 onto another dirt road that ran about 65 miles all the way down to Benson.


Saw a lot of these signs . . .


. . . some folks apparently don't read them.

Yes, those appear to be cars that were washed away when they tried to cross after a rain.

more dirt . . .






. . . eventually, I did hit pavement again


Oh look . . . is that an actual town off in the distance . . .


From Benson I rode pavement down to Tombstone and stopped here long enough to read a few headstones.


The old west was an unforgiving place.




If you ever get to Tombstone I highly recommend the "Outlaw Burger" at Big Nose Kate's Saloon to wake up your taste buds after a day of eating dust.




It's just down the street from . . .


From Tombstone it was a 20-mile ride to my brother's house. I made it just in time to go out to dinner to celebrate his 10th wedding anniversary with him and his wife.

Oh, and for those of you who are into bikes . . . this DR650 was set up by an older gent (retired mech eng) in Phoenix who has owned numerous DR's and spends all his time riding and wrenching. He set it up for his brother to ride the TAT with him, but his brother is 70 and decided he wasn't up to it. So he bought a Tiger and sold the DR. I was a little nervous buying it without seeing it, but it's awesome. I've come to really like the DR650's for two main reasons; on the road I don't feel like I'm riding a dirt bike, and off road I don't feel like I'm riding a street bike.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:07 AM   #4
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1/7/12

Another day of riding. Had to endure miles of this just to get to the good stuff. It was a tough way to start the day, but somebody's gotta do it, right?

About a mile down the road from this pic I passed a string of about fifteen Corvettes headed the other way. There wasn't many cars on the road and I was surprised to see them come around the corner. They looked like they were having fun.

As for the good stuff . . . it started just East of Tucson on Redington Rd. A nice little winding dirt road that rose quickly up into the mountains in Coronado National Forest overlooking Tucson.




I decided to take one of the side loops off Redington Rd. and the further I went, the better it got . . .


The road got narrower . . .


The hills got steeper . . .


The views were always good, and I just kept getting further & further from civilization . . .






The road became quite steep and rocky in places with some long hill climbs. In the middle of one such climb I rounded a turn and had a cattle gate in front of me. Nothing like stopping in the middle of your climb to open and close a gate.
After about 35 miles of this, which took over two hours to cover, I eventually came back out onto a main road, albeit another dirt road, in the middle of, well . . . a lot of dirt and more mountains.
About ten miles down that dirt road I split off onto another dirt road. I was running a little late, but I was on a mission . . . wanted to make it out to Jackson Cabin in an entirely different area of the Coronado National forest further East and North. It was already 1:00 pm and the cabin was 45 miles into the mountains from where I was at that point, but I decided to see how far I could get. Unfortunately, there wouldn't be a lot of picture taking as I was racing the sun now. The first 30 miles was smooth dirt road and I was making good time . . . maybe I'll make it. That road ended and something resembling an old dirt road started winding thru steep mountain passes and canyons.


I knew it couldn't be much more than 15 more miles to the cabin, but progress became very slow. I kept looking at the gps track, the time, the trip meter . . . can't be much more than 7 or 8 miles to go now . . . what time is it? . . . how fast am I going? . . .


Damn, the views are spectacular, but I'm probably only averaging about 15 miles an hour thru this steep, winding, rocky old trail. OK, at 2:00 o'clock I need to turn around, can't risk it out here any later on my own . . .

. . . 2:00 o'clock comes and I know it can't be more than a couple more miles . . . I'll go until 2:30, but I'm going to have to turn back then even if I can see the cabin . . .


At 2:15 I rounded a corner overlooking what turned out to be Jackson Canyon, and the cabin in a small clearing.

Five minutes later . . .


Did I mention there's only one way in . . . and one way out. The sun was getting low and I still had a long way to go so I stopped only long enough for a couple pics. This is a place I'll definitely have to return to when I have more time, but I'm glad I at least got to see it today.
. . . and so the journey back out begins


These pics really don't do this ride justice. This may well have been the best day of riding I've ever had.

Made it home just as the sun was setting behind the mountains to the West, and a full moon was rising over the mountains to the East.
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'04 R1150GS, '97 R1100GS, '99 DR350, '02 DR650, '03 DR650
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A Maine Riderís Arizona Day Trips
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:22 AM   #5
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Great report. Being able to keep a bike there is sweet and you have so many good areas to explore!

Cheers
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:30 AM   #6
Jick Magger
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Right on. I will have to try my GS on some of these roads. I have it parked down in Phoenix. Where did you find these tracks? Books? inmates? Thanks for posting.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:37 AM   #7
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You're definitely doing it right. Should take you awhile to do Arizona!

You do know that the junk cars in the wash are to armor the bank, yah?
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jick Magger View Post
Right on. I will have to try my GS on some of these roads. I have it parked down in Phoenix. Where did you find these tracks? Books? inmates? Thanks for posting.
Many, many, many hours of research. I've acquired quite a few tracks here on ADV, along with a few other places.

Read all the ride reports you can for the area and you'll start seeing the best places mentioned regularly - then start accumulating info on them. Follow the West region threads and you'll see posts of where the locals go riding. PM some local inmates if you have specific questions - some will be very helpful, others will give you advice like "just start familiarizing yourself with the main dirt roads and than start exploring" - yeah, that wasn't very helpful. Post on the local threads when your coming down and maybe someone will show you around. I had a fantastic ride with a local inmate that was was very knowledgeable about the area and willing to show me around down near the border where I might not have gone on my own - actually that's the next ride I need to get posted up. And, remember, when people come to your area, show them around!
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:19 AM   #9
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. . . You do know that the junk cars in the wash are to armor the bank, yah?

Well, no, no I didn't. Actually that thought never crossed my mind. They just looked like the water swept them over there. I guess I can stop wondering if those poor folks survived.

Back east our rivers actually have water in them and we try to prevent people from tossing old cars in.
In fact, they'd probably call a hazmat team to have them removed before the entire eastern seaboard's water supply had to be shut down due to possible contamination. Things sure are different out West.

I'm learning though . . . when I first got here I was slowing down to about 5 mph at every cattle guard. After a couple days of that I figured it out and started trying to get air off them like everyone else.
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:40 AM   #10
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1/9/12

Something a little different than the previous rides today. The AZ landscape is very diverse.
I met up with a local ADV member who's very familiar with the area south of the Huachuca Mountains along the Mexican border and we rode some great areas. Very different than the canyons and mountain passes I rode the other day, but just as interesting.

We started out on Montezuma Canyon Rd which soon turned to dirt and climbed quickly thru a series of winding switchbacks to Montezuma Pass at an elevation of about 6500 ft.


The other side of Montezuma Pass overlooks the US/Mex border - can't really make it out from here, but It's out there. Most of what you see in this pic is actually Mexico.


I didn't get a pic of it (I'm sure they got one of us), but there was a big Border Patrol truck parked at the top of the pass with a very large camera setup in the back. I was told there's an unbelievable amount of smuggling (human and drugs) taking place in this area daily. Half the people I talked to out here think it's too dangerous to even go into this area and the other half didn't seem too worried about it. The guy I was with was very knowledgeable about the area and seemed confident we were safe where we were riding. I probably wouldn't have gone down so close to the border in such a remote area without him.

Once we descended the other side of the pass into the valley we turned south onto border patrol roads and were soon riding "International Rd", which technically is not a road - it runs along the border for miles and was created for use by the Border Patrol. Along with fences and cameras, they have motion sensors to detect movement in the area. They also drag the road regularly to erase all tracks so they can detect any new footprints. Interesting stuff. Here's a few shots of the border fence.






The crossed steel barrier section of the fence is actually made of cut up railroad rails - pretty rugged. Behind that is a barbed wire fence.

We traveled along the border for quite a few miles and eventually came to Lochiel, a ghost town right on the border.








Across the fence from Lochiel was what appeared to be Mexican ranch land.


Just up the road was a monument to the first European to set foot West of the Rockies in 1539.


A little further down the road was Harshaw, another ghost town with little remaining.




We never knew what we'd see around the next curve. A lot of the area is open range.


The next stop was Patagonia an interesting little town with a population of about 900. When we first rode into town I noticed a tiny little building with a sign that said "Marshall's Office." I thought it was just another historic site, but it was actually the Marshall's office. Sorry, no pic of that, but this place had good eats.


We had a good lunch then hit the road again around 2:00 pm. We headed up 82 toward Sonoita and back to Sierra Vista where we started. A ways past Sonoita Brian stopped at a powerline road and said he and his riding buddies had been trying to find a way into it from the other end in Huachuca City and asked if I was up for a little exploring - sure, what the heck. So we headed up the powerlnes.


After numerous cowboy gate crossings and some fun riding for a while, it looked like we might actually make it thru to an outlet. Then we came to this . . .

. . . note the padlocks.

We knew we were near the end (at least within a few miles) and noticed another little side track so we decided to take a chance on that one. We followed it for what seemed like a couple miles and we could see it was headed right out to the main road - we could see the cars going by - looks like we're going to make it out of here without backtracking.
Well, we made it to within about 30' of the road when we hit another locked gate. All we could do was sit there and watch the cars go by.

Oh well, we had a fun time exploring anyway. Backtracked out to 82 and headed for home. Made it back just as the sun went down behind the mountains, again.
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A Maine Riderís Arizona Day Trips
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:59 AM   #11
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Saco!?!?!

I'm originally from Biddeford and now have relocated to Los Angeles after a while in Boston.

I do miss Maine, especially in the Summer, but you just can't beat the 12 months of riding we get out here.

Have fun in AZ and be careful. If you're ever in SoCal...
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:05 AM   #12
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I'm originally from Biddeford and now have relocated to Los Angeles after a while in Boston.

I do miss Maine, especially in the Summer, but you just can't beat the 12 months of riding we get out here.

Have fun in AZ and be careful. If you're ever in SoCal...
Hey, my office is in Biddeford - but I try not to spend much time there.

Yes, the summers in ME are great, but you're absolutely right about the riding out here. Can't beat it!
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:12 AM   #13
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:27 AM   #14
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Great report. I keep a Yamaha wr250R in Cave Creek AZ. I just got back from visiting it for a couple weeks. The only bad thing was I had to suffer the Superbowl in Steeler's bar.

I'll go back for the month of September to ride north to maybe Idaho and loop west through Nevada and back. Plus I want to take your route to Benson from Globe. There is a dirt path to avoid most of 77 I want to try.

Have fun and post some more day trips. I need some ideas.

Thanks
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:55 AM   #15
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1/11/12

Today I headed East to the Dragoon's and the Chiricahua's for something a little different.

Heading up Middlemarch Rd toward the Dragoon Mountains.


getting closer . . .


Into the Dragoon's - just another winding mountain road . . .


After about 20 miles of that I had descended into the valley on the other side of the Dragoon Mountains headed further East for the Chiricahua Mountains near New Mexico.




Passed thru what remains of Pearce along the way.








. . . and kept on truckin' toward the Chiricahua's


Finally, the road I've been waiting for - Pinery Canyon Rd. This would turn out to be one of my favorites.


Just after the turnoff it turned to this.


It was different to be riding thru a wooded area out here, but the elevation in the Chiricahua's allows trees to grow in the cooler temps.


And there was even water flowing in mountain streams. This was a sign of things to come.


At about 6,000' I saw the first trace of the source of the flowing water.


At about 6,500' things got interesting.

Sections of the road in the shade were covered with a hard pack of snow & ice. I crossed cautiously, making sure I didn't go up anything I couldn't go down. The road was still climbing and I wasn't sure what was up ahead, or how much higher the road would climb.

At this point the road also began to wind tightly up along the mountainside.








This was at about 7,000', and still climbing. I began to wonder if I'd make it over the pass to the other side.


Luck was on my side. The elevation topped out at 7,614' and I didn't hit any more snow or ice . . . and so the decent down the other side began. Most of what I could see from here was New Mexico.




Even at this elevation and with all the snow around it still wasn't cold - I had to stop at about 7,000' on the way down to peel off my sweatshirt.


At this big old tree at the base of the mountains I was only about ten miles from New Mexico.


About 10-15 miles later I was on this dirt highway headed for San Simon.


It took quite a while to get thru the mountains and by the time I reached San Simon I had just enough time to run the 100 miles back home on pavement before nightfall. This was my last long ride out here this trip before flying back to ME.

Hopefully, I'll be back in AZ soon, but for now it's back to ME winter . . .
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A Maine Riderís Arizona Day Trips
A Few Days Solo in Baja
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