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Old 03-18-2013, 11:44 AM   #1
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AZ - Barking at the Moon Again - The Unrideable Ride

Slowred and I had a good time riding the A-loop at the 2011 Howling at the Moon ATR Dual Sport event and planned (on multiple occasions) to come back and do it again. My pictures from that ride start at Post #71 on that thread. Something always got in the way. Injuries, scheduling conflicts, too hot or too wet or too... something. We're full of excuses. It's easy to get picky about the conditions when it's so nice so much of the time in AZ.

So at the end of February we figured we would brave the cold, I'd suck up the pain of tendonitis in my elbow and pain in my shoulder, and we would do the Wickenburg HATM A-loop. When we got to Wickenburg the wind was certainly howling. The air temp was supposed to be mid-40's F, but with 30-40mph winds, it felt like 20 degrees F. We managed to get both bikes out of the truck but by that time we were chilled to the bone. Going to higher elevations would only get colder.

We scrapped that plan and went to the nearby Boulders riding area:



Slowred checks out the restoration potential on this old car.



Going up that hill in the distance confirmed that ~6 weeks off the bike wasn't enough for my arm or shoulder to recover.



We explored a little...











Then we returned to the truck and called it an early day.
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:04 PM   #2
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Mid-March rolled around, the temps were a bit warmer and we finally had another shot! We were delayed by a day, but undeterred we set out to do the ride on St. Patty's day!

Our timing was a little off this time. When we did this ride before, we were in the first wash section by 8:30 a.m. And we were some of the last riders to leave the staging area. This time we left the truck at about 9:45 a.m. and entered the first wash section by 10:05.


Just before dropping into the wash we passed some fences with ominous signs. What kind of contamination are we talking about here?



It's apparently something that doesn't bother horse riders.



We made good time through the wash and had a quick stop at the bottom of the first challenging hill. This was when I realized something was poking me in the stomach! It felt very needle-like and kept poking me. I hadn't hit any cactus today but assumed it was a thorn caught in my chest protector. I made several attempts to find it to no avail. Finally I felt something out of place inside my shirt. Some kind of sting-crazy flying bug got down my shirt while we were in the wash and it didn't like it there. I worried slightly that I'd have some kind of allergic reaction or at least huge welts, but I wasn't going to let it stop me today!
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:07 PM   #3
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At the top of the steep, rocky hill climb.



We were just down in that wash a second ago.



Hey, there's something in the mine!



Scary monsters!
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:14 PM   #4
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Sign - Danger, Abandoned Mine. Pictograph - If you fall down, it's party time! Wave your hands in the air!



The double track trails on top of the hills are fast, fun and have some excellent views.



Further on, we found some singletrack crossing our path. Must explore! Another time...



This might come from the Boulders area.
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:19 PM   #5
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This area is dotted with old mines. Some are barely a dent in the earth and others, like this one, were more serious operations.



Lots of fences on hills in this area. They weren't thinking of dirtbikes with wobbly kickstands when they did this.



This one has seen better days.



Somewhere along the route...



we spotted the house of someone who really wanted to, "get away from it all."
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:26 PM   #6
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The route on the GPS says to go this way.



More fun 2-track.



More gates on hills. This time with nice sized rock!



Eventually we made our way to what I call, "the other back way to Crown King", that goes through Ryland Creek.
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:37 PM   #7
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Getting closer to Crown King we could see the damage done by last year's big fire in the area.



The entire hillside is a charred wasteland.



We grabbed a late lunch, sitting down just after 2p.m. at The Mill in Crown King. While waiting, we found out we needed to take the fast way back for various reasons - not the least of which was that we didn't want to be stuck on some rocky singletrack in the dark!


Minimal recon was done on the return trip. We were just riding again at ~3:30! We intended to ride this trail last year before the fires.



I think it goes that way (view is across the road from the sign) too.



The last picture I got on the blistering return through Ryland Creek, Walker Gulch and Buckhorn Wash/Rd.


The stats are interesting.

2011 HATM on the way up: approx 3 hrs 40 minutes
2013 BATM on the way up: approx 4 hours

2011 HATM on the way back: approx 4 hours
2013 BATM on the way back: approx 2 hours
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:12 PM   #8
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Man, I missed a good ride. I enjoyed the photos you posted as it warms me up. I am sitting in a hotel in NY and the snow is coming down and the wind is blowing. I need to get back home where I belong......
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:30 PM   #9
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Nice!!
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:48 PM   #10
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Cool ride

Nice stuff... the gate on the hill is part of the route we did New years day. That stuff through there is sweet. Good times guys.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:08 AM   #11
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Great pics Yardstick! It was a fun route and was good to get out on the scooter again. It was leisure time getting to CK, but race pace getting back to the truck. . Good times!
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:19 AM   #12
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Sure looks like fun. I wonder why I can't get any work done today...

Thanks for putting up the pics to help us through the week.
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