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Old 02-20-2013, 06:09 AM   #1
TommyDuncan OP
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Arizona Strip-Whitney Pockets to Savanic Mine

Our ride started at Whitney Pockets after a later than planned start. I was up half the night shivering and sweating so I decided to sleep a couple more hours than planned.

Technically we started at Carl's Jr.

Whitney Pockets

The first 20 or so miles are nicely graded dirt roads with warning signs and cattle guards. Soon things would be much different.

We started in Nevada but crossed into Arizona before long

Other than a few washouts and ruts the first half of the ride is fun desert cruising with plenty of scenery and a lack of power lines, people, or... anything!:)

First we climb Whitney Pass, then back down. Soon we get to The Grand Wash, which I have seen 100 feet wide during heavy rains. Today it is just a minor obstacle. If there was any sign of rain I would be concerned about getting back across it later. Been there, done that in a Jeep...

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Old 02-20-2013, 06:11 AM   #2
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Soon we are climbing again, but slowly.
We are headed for the Grand Gulch Canyon, which used to be one of our favorite roads and a good way to get onto the plateau. A few years ago it was washed out and today we weren't going to fight that battle. Perhaps another time?


The roads out here are relaxing:)
...as soon as you let your guard down and get a little too comfortable riding one handed taking pictures (or blowing your nose, the cold was kicking my aspirin)...


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Old 02-20-2013, 06:16 AM   #3
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The reason we went to Grand Gulch Canyon even though we had no intention of attempting it?
The old way to the mine would have us go south, almost to Tassi Springs, then east through the Gyp Hills.
The folks who manage this area closed the Gyp Hills to vehicles of any kind.
Normally this makes me want to go on a rant but...
We have been in contact with the rangers who manage this area for years and they have gone above and beyond to inspect and mark alternative routes so we can still access our favorite areas.
The best part is some of these roads are very old and not very maintained, which loosely translated means... FUN!


While on this occasionally barely discernible road we came upon a surprise...

LIQUID GOLD!

An 18 pack of coronas... none of them broken. Mark doesn't drink and I have a cold but we couldn't resist grabbing what we could easily carry. A couple a piece outta do it:)

We are nearing the plateau but until you get close there doesn't seem to be a way up.

Now we are getting somewhere!

After a climb up a wash there is a saddle. This is the last smooth, easy surface before entering the narrow canyon. Someone left a pretty nice load of firewood here.

We enter the canyon and decide to have lunch.

At this point I realize that I am becoming slightly light headed (more than usual).
This cold is really wearing me out and up ahead is narrow 2 track with a certain death cliff on the side. We decide to backtrack a little ways back to the firewood.


I was so dog tired I threw my tent on the ground, wrapped up in it, and took a nap.
I awoke to a nice fire! Thanks Mark!
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:30 AM   #4
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With a nap and a warm fire we decided to open our liquid golden trail treasure...

...except we don't have a bottle opener. Oh wait...Yes I do! I have a multi tool...that doesn't have a bottle opener.

After trying every possible tool I realized that the pliers do a fine job of removing caps.

The beer was cool enough to drink by now so I took a swig.

...and it was skunky and yucky

I thought maybe it was the trail dust combined with a cold and the fine tuna snacks we had for lunch...

So I tried again...

Nope... this beer is rotten! One small burp confirmed that it wasn't right. I was already sick. I guess I didn't have much to lose?

I didn't take any pics of this episode... I was too busy trying not to wretch

Mark climbed to the top of the hill to see the view and I relaxed.
Then we enjoyed the amazing sunset and some delicious chili Mac(a tribute to the KTMs owner before last, Skidmark).



That night, while tossing and turning and shivering from my stupid cold the strangest thing happened.
I woke up at least 20 times stressing out about dragging it up the hill and using an Indy(?) adapter under the flanges and springs and welded double nuts over that. The strange thing is I have no idea what any of that means... and I was genuinely worried, every time I woke up. There were signs of an old building possibly being on the spot we camped at. Maybe the ghost of a former resident got inside my head so I could finish the job?...

...or maybe cold medicine combined with skunky beer of unknown origins causes hallucinations?

I'm not dead or naked so things could be worse I guess?

Anyways, it's a beautiful day and I'm feeling better so we decide to leave our stuff and finish the last few miles.


It's a little steeper and rockier than I remember but no problem so far.
There is a sharp hairpin turn that is always interesting in our 4x4s...
Outta be interesting on loaded up motorcycles
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:39 AM   #5
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The hairpin...

You can make out the trail along the top of the rock formation in this pic.

From here the pictures get shadowy. Sorry, I had a lotta riding to do yet today so I couldn't wait around for the sun to do it's thing.

In fact it was while taking these pictures, sitting at the hairpin, that I dumped the bike while completely stationary.
Dang it!!! I broke the dadgum clutch lever perch!!!
Since I didn't let a cold, a sticking clutch, or skunky beer/miner ghost hallucinations stop me, this wasn't going to either. A quick fix with some wire I picked up earlier and I was on my way.

By now Mark was way ahead of me. That's ok... there is nowhere to go but where we're going.
Soon I see Mark coming towards me. I got around him but he has to keep going to find a place to turn around. The pics don't show it too well but it is a several hundred foot fall by this point. I'm glad he is on his 200 because his feet touch the ground and it is geared low enough to walk beside if necessary.

I figured the least I could do is take some pics of him coming back towards me after turning around since he went through all that effort...


Now he goes past me...


Without talking about it we both realize that leapfrogging is the best way to check on each other. Mostly because there are boulders on the trail and parts are too narrow to comfortably pass each other(for me anyways:o) I think the pictures are probably fuzzy from this point on because I am shaking

Look closely at the next pic. The second rock formation down on the other side of the canyon is what we are riding on, only on this side.

After a while the deep canyon goes one way and the road goes the other. I can finally see the bottom!


Now I am leading and there is only one short, steep, rutted climb left before the mine. I get a few more shots of him on his way...




...and we made it!
I would celebrate with one of those beers if the disgusting aftertaste wasn't still coming up
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:43 AM   #6
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The Mine

There really isn't much at the mine. A few shafts and a lotta old mining junk.

Despite our searching I couldn't find a Indy(?) adapter...
...not that I would know one if I saw it.




From the mine there is another 1/2 to 3/4 mile to the top of the plateau. It is very beat up and as far as I know only built 4x4s have made it to the top.

The previously mentioned Grand Gulch Canyon used to be our route of choice up the plateau and this was the way down. Now they are both pretty dang beat up.
This is really too bad because there is a fairly complete mining camp at the top complete with really old dump trucks and mostly intact buildings.

There are also many adventures on the plateau, including Toroweap, the Bar10 ranch, and my favorite(and hopefully soon to be done on 2 wheels) Copper Mountain Mine.
These are all for another day, possibly via St. George Utah.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:54 AM   #7
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The return trip is exactly the same only the other way...

I was gonna end it that way but I did take more pics on the return trip and things look different from the other direction.

This pic does the trail a little more justice. You can see how far down it is from here. That isn't the bottom and this wasn't taken from the top, but pretty close. The hairpin is out of view to the left of the trail at the bottom

More random pics



As I continued to use the clutch the broken edges would wear on each other and they would slip apart. I would put it back, tighten the wire, and add another to limit it in another direction.

This (I think) is Grand Gulch Canyon from the other direction.


Maybe we could make this route passable in the future? I know some quads have been through there because we saw their tracks.

We saw a lot of what I thought was horse tracks(and by tracks I mean sheeit) everywhere we went. I thought maybe another enthusiast group caught on to how awesome this area was...

...then I came over a hill and saw this!

For some reason(maybe still hallucinating) they scared me so bad I almost left something of my own on the trail...
I came over the hill and down to the right into the valley and they were directly in front of me on a hill. They went around me to the right and behind me.
As I awkwardly tried to take pictures of the jackasses over my shoulder and behind me they start running again, completing a circle back to where they originally were.
I soon realize that another jackazz coming over the hill scared them

Sorry Mark, I couldn't resist
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:59 AM   #8
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Even in the middle of nowhere the Rangers marked this faint trail. Either they are really nice or...

...they don't want to come look for us way out here! Kudos to them either way
Now instead of looking at the plateau in the background we get to see the beautiful Virgin Mountains all the way home


Here's a pic of my gascap at about 45mph.

This would be a difficult pic for some but for me it musta been easy because I don't even remember taking it.

Mark's bike started burbling and being weird. It was about to hit reserve but he wanted to make sure so he will know his range. While he... I dunno what he did but it involved tools. While he did that I went for a walk to search for the elusive Allen's Well, which happens to be nearby.

Long story short, Allen's Well is a wet spot on the ground and Mark's bike is ok.


We aren't far from the truck at this point so I didn't take anymore pics. A friend of dunefreak's that I never met was nice enough to let us park the truck near their campsite for safekeeping.
After an introduction and a nice conversation involving maps, GPSes, and pointing and motioning in practically every direction we parted ways. Mark to Utah and me on my bike back to Vegas.

THE END.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:20 AM   #9
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Thanks for this! I have been on the Strip from the other side, but it's far ennit?

[Hey Tommy -- barkbusters, fer heaven sake...]
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:48 AM   #10
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Thanks for this! I have been on the Strip from the other side, but it's far ennit?

[Hey Tommy -- barkbusters, fer heaven sake...]
The strip is rather large. I have explored a good part of it by Jeep. Just recently started exploring it on 2wheels.

Whitney Pockets is about 30 miles from Mesquite. The mine is 50 miles from Whitney Pockets. At the mine we were probably 70 miles from St. George if I was to guess.

I just got this bike and it was set up for someone shorter than me. I swapped over to some taller risers I already had and some fatbars. I didn't realize until the last minute that the hand guards wouldn't work. I probably shoulda gone back to the stock bars, risers, and guards for now...
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:51 AM   #11
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Awesome thread
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:34 AM   #12
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Nice ride! I bet you were hallucinating about repairs to the KLR. Or maybe you were dreaming of riding the KDX instead?
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:28 AM   #13
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Nice ride! I bet you were hallucinating about repairs to the KLR. Or maybe you were dreaming of riding the KDX instead?
I guess the KLR would be doable on this ride but it would be pushing it. Woulda been really scary on the cliff.

The KDX woulda been fun but you have to be street legal...

...and I had to ride another 100 highway miles back home.

The 640e did much better than expected in the tight stuff. I think it will be my do it all bike.

Of course I will keep the KDX for single track and technical rides. With the later KX forks it is really fun in Nelson Hills.

The KLR is basically gone...
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TommyDuncan View Post

The KLR is basically gone...
Eloy will be crushed. Not …
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:00 AM   #15
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Eloy will be crushed. Not …
Lol. I traded it for something faster, better handling, and more modern...


...a 63 Chevy pickup.
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