|04-22-2013, 09:29 AM||#1|
1 above potato patch
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Glendale, AZ
nOOb with benefits...first REAL ride...first Ride Report
Like the title says, I'm basically a nOOb "with benefits". What does THAT mean? Well, It means I fully admit that I'm really new to the dirt bike riding scene, but I rode sport bikes and cruisers for the last 15 years and have done a bit of off road Quad riding and some extreme (to some) mountain biking. I don't think those things make me any less of a nOOb, but they might, maybe, sort of, kind of help accelerate my learning curve....maybe......or my untimely death, I'm not sure which yet.
That covers the "benefits" part, but what about the nOOb part? Well, I'm the proud owner of a "new to me" used 2011 WR250R, a freshly set up ADVrider and Smugmug account and a bunch of new and used (thanks to Craigslist) riding and wrenching gear. It also means I've never done a ride report before
My last bike was a large cruiser and the only reason I sold it was to help purchase a cabin in the mountains AND I couldn't ride the cruiser to said cabin so it was time for it to go. I found a great deal on this bike with it only having 292 miles on the odo, extended warranty, Devol lowering link, Yamaha tail pack/rack and single side saddle bag, acerbis hand guard / bark busters for only $4,800. So, I bought the bike, updated some of my gear to make me more dirt appropriate and got set to finishing the bikes break in.
Most of the break in was on the street commuting to work or to the cabin on the super slab, but I got to throw a few dirt miles into the mix and discovered what a ton of fun this stuff is.
Enough about me, get to the good stuff!
So last weekend (4/12 -4/14) I decided that I was going to take my first real (dirt) ride to the cabin on as much back road and trail as I could with my limited knowledge of what the hell I was doing and where the hell I was going. I decided that I would just hunt and peck my way around the I-17 and see where it would take me and what I could find. There were several roads / trails that I knew I wanted to take, but I didn't know where they were, how advanced they were, how non advanced I am or anything else that would be standard information for a half way sane person going off into the unknown by himself, so this I felt would be an actual ADVenture ride.
The only road I knew I was going to take was Crown King Rd off the I-17 to Crown King. The plan also included riding from Crown King along Senator Road to my cabin outside of Prescott, but I honestly had no idea what road that was or how to find it once I got into Crown King. PERFECT!
So with a bunch of freshly purchased tools and equipment and a bunch more scavenged tools and equipment I set to loading up my bike and myself for the ride
Fully loaded up and ready to go with nothing more than a final destination set in stone I hit the road and let the ADVenture BEGIN!
************************************************** ************************************************** ****************
I started out by jumping on the I-17 and heading north. I was hoping to find an entrance to one of the many side roads and trails that can easily be seen from the highway. After a few miles I decided to stop at Pioneer Rd and see if I could get into the dirt.
Upon exiting I turned left and there it was.....
the entrance to a trail that I just KNEW would be the sweet sweet ride I was looking for.
I was confident it would be the perfect combination of nOOb friendly, challenging, exquisitely beautiful and that by the time I came out at the other end I would not only be at the entrance to Crown King Rd, right where I wanted to be, but I would also have been magically transformed into (insert the name of your favorite off road racer here......I'm new, I don't know the names of any of these guys) and I would be hailed as an excellent yet humble hero. I air down my tires and off I go…….for about 200 yards. My magical trail led me straight to a barbed wire fence . Oh well, I guess being hailed as the excellent yet humble hero will have to wait.
So it’s back to here…..
And I’m off to new lands unknown. After just a few more miles on the super slab I come to the Table Mesa Rd exit and I know there is a power line road entrance somewhere in the area so I get off to do a little searching. As I turn west onto Table Mesa Rd I see a UTV driver closing a gate on the south side of the road just west of the freeway and I make a mental note to check that out some other time.
After a minute or two on the dirt I come to this sign and take a minute to put a little air back into my front tire and snap a few photos.
I’m running the stock Bridgestone trail wings, or Death Wings as people like to say and when I aired down the front I went a little too far (9 psi) and found it was wandering on me a bit. A quick fight with the Bell bicycle pump and I’m back up to about 12 psi and I’m ready to roll again. This time my travels lead me about a mile or so down a dirt road until it dead ended into a cul-de-sac like area that looked to lead to a couple of the ranch properties. I wasn't sure if I was welcome there and the gates all looked locked so I headed back to the freeway a bit perplexed and a little frustrated at not being able to find any trail to ride.
I decided that I would try out the area where I saw the UTV coming out even though that trail was headed south and I was wanting to head north. While riding to the gate I realized that one of the huge purposes of ADVenture riding was doing exactly what I was about to do, go the opposite direction of what was planned simply because it looked interesting and I could. My frustration went away and I smiled a little with the “so this is what this is all about” realization.
On to the lands unknown…..
Not very far into the lands unknown I run into this…..
This is one of my wife’s favorite photos of my trip and yes I intentionally put myself in the mirror for the photo.
I really like this photo! Smugmug color correction made it look nice and my Ansel Adams like mad photo skills and use of angle and zoom help to make it look even more dramatic of a crossing than it really is. It’s tough to tell from the photos, but there was a doable, albeit narrow, line on the far right, far left as you ride it but that will be our little secret.
In all honesty, this was a bit of a challenge for me. Not so much in the actual crossing itself, but in getting up the nerve to do it. Like I said, there was a doable, but narrow line on one side but it ends in a sharp two foot’ish off camber’ish shelf and more importantly my Flatlands racing skid plate hadn’t arrived yet so my case and frame were riding naked and exposed.
Here is another little secret just between you and me. The above photo, while accurate, was actually staged . I was so stoked about making it through the crossing with literally no difficulty at all that I just kept going and didn’t take a photo. A little while later I ended up backtracking to get back to the freeway and when I came to the crossing I spent a few minutes getting the bike turned around to get the photo I forgot to take earlier. I did all of that, no bullshit, just for this ride report!
You are very welcome, it was my pleasure!
|04-22-2013, 10:30 AM||#2|
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Centreville, AL
That was awesome! Thanks for sharing this with us. I have a bad left leg and can't shift gears with my foot so I am limited to scooters and my Can Am Spyder. At least I can pretend I am on your ride through your ride reports. Thanks again!
|04-22-2013, 10:49 AM||#3|
1 above potato patch
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Glendale, AZ
The ADVenture coninues
After making it through the crossing the trail became a nice, smooth and fast trail. By fast I mean there were two other guys on dirt bikes going the other direction and they were going fast! Me? I was just putting along and enjoying the view. As I putted along I came across this huge rock, which isn’t all that shocking in the middle of the desert next to a giant mountain that is also made out of rock, but this one was different…
This boulder looks to be a volcanic rock. It doesn’t fit in with any of the surrounding landscape and was way too far from the surrounding hills to have rolled its way to where it is. As I understand it, Arizona has several extinct, non-active volcanoes and I can’t help but wonder if this boulder was thrown here from some far off distance long long ago.
I continue down this nice fast trail, finally satisfied that I had found somewhere to ride, and marveled at some of the great scenery that I was blowing past while ignoring my urge to stop and take more photos. At this point I just wanted to enjoy riding. I rode through another forest service gate that kicked me out onto a dirt road that eventually led me to a wide dry river bed. At this point I decided that another photo was in order…..
It was at this point that I realized that not only had I forgotten to get an exit photo on the other side of my first ever giant boulder crossing , but I had done myself (and you) a huge disservice by not taking a photo in a really neat part of the ride. So, I went back and corrected my errors….
Changing the color of the photo was my wife's idea
After making it back to the crossing and staging the exit photo , I crossed back over the "giant" boulder field then jumped back onto the super slab for a few miles until I hit my exit….
and went a very short distance to here…
A few miles later the road turns to dirt and an informational sign appropriately tells me where I am….
My reflection in the glass proves that the sign is correct, I really am right there.
A few more miles down the road…..
Hmmmm, that could be interesting, mental note to check that out some other time.
At this point I realized I was starting to run short on time and I would need to spend a little more time riding and a little less time taking photos. This wasn’t an easy pill to swallow because a short time later I came upon the almost extinct town of Cleator, AZ. As I slowed to a politely slower pace to go through the” town” I really struggled to stay on the bike and not jump off and grab a few photos (or a few beers in the bar, which is about the only thing in the town). I did really well with my promise to myself until I rounded a corner and went through a narrow cut through some rock and saw this…..
I went past it at a decent pace and couldn't resist turning around and snapping a couple of pictures. The desert, while incredibly scenic is often devoid of bright colors. On a road with landscapes that are nothing but shades of tan, brown and green the bright purple of this cactus in bloom really stood out.
I did well from that point forward with my promise to ride more and photo less even though there were some amazingly scenic views. The road to Crown King is a well maintained graded road that even the biggest of bikes (edit: or a CanAm Spider, sonicsix) can handle with ease. It is easily accessed right off the I-17, has some incredibly beautiful overlooks and the destination has beer, food and sometimes gas.
There is little if any reason not to go see for yourself!....
After posting this ride report and these photos I was scanning the page to see how it came out and I noticed something for the first time. *In the above photo you can see a fuzzy reflection of me and the bike. *I found it neat how the pictures of the past have a window into the future.
(Yes, I know that technically it would have been a window into the present and even more technically it is now also in the past so it is the past having a window into the past, but none of that sounded as Hemingway)
After throwing my extra gallon of gas into the bike (the fuel light came on right as I pulled into town) I began taking those photos. There were a few people out in the court yard of what I think is an American Legion Post and some nice lady, sitting with another nice lady asked me “where ya headed?”
“Prescott” I say
“Prescott!?! This late!?! Are you going back down through Cleator?”
“No, I’m taking the back way” I say.
“Ohhh, so you know the way?”
Um….well….no actually, I don’t really KNOW the way now that you mention it I just have a general idea of which direction it might be in……Wait a minute, what did she mean by “this late!?!” it’s only 5:30 pm!
“Yeah, I know the way” I tell her.
“Oh good, then you know it’s like 4 ½ hours away.”
4 ½ hours away?....HOLY SHIT!!!!, 4 ½ hours away!!!! No I DIDN’T know it was 4 ½ hours away It’s already 5:30pm and that means I won’t get to my cabin until…..uh….carry the 3, subtract the 8……shit, I don’t have time for math its already 5:31 pm and now I won’t get to my cabin until….uh…double the six, divide the 4…..
While I didn’t exactly have a certain time that I planned on being to my cabin I really didn’t want to be wandering around half lost out in the mountains at night. I really, really didn’t want to be doing it as a nOOb on roads that are apparently so bad that the 40’ish miles to Prescott was going to take 4 ½ hours and I really, really, REALLY didn’t want to disappoint my family who was expecting me to grill steaks for dinner at a reasonable dinner hour not for a midnight snack.
…..wait a minute….how the HELL can it be 4 ½ hours away?....its 25 miles to Palace Station, then another 8 to my place for 32 total so figure maybe 4 hours by her math…..I know the road is not in THAT bad of shape because when I was at Palace station a few weeks ago I watched a couple of guys in a 2 wheel drive Dodge Dakota come from the direction of Crown King and most importantly…..I’M ON A DIRT BIKE….I should be able to do this in half her time…
At almost the exact same time I was thinking this, the other nice lady sitting next to nice lady #1 said “Yeah, but he’s on a dirt bike it won’t take him that long”. Then it turned into a slightly drunken argument between the two:
Lady1: Well we were on quads and it took US that long
Lady2: But he’s not on a quad, he’s on a dirt bike
Lady1: Yeah, but the quads we were on are pretty nice quads
Lady2: But he’s on a dirt bike, not a quad
Lady1: They’re not that different
Lady2: Yes they are
Lady1: Not really
I could have listened to this argument all night long and had they offered me one of those beers I probably would have, but I didn’t have time for this, I had some mountains to get lost in and a family to disappoint so it was time to go.
My biggest regret of this whole trip actually occurred right here during this exchange between the two lady’s. See, sitting right behind them was a guy dressed in the full mountain man regalia. Cowboy boots, black jeans, striped western shirt, long black coat, black hat, three days growth on his beard and a giant mustache full of tobacco spit. I wanted more than anything to ask this guy if it was okay for me to take a photo of him but I couldn’t work up the nerve to do it. It might have been easier if he was actually giving me directions or assisting in the nice lady argument, but he wasn’t. The entire time this was going on he was…….look, I’m a pretty honest guy right? I told you about the crossing not being as bad as it looked! I even admitted to going back and staging the after crossing photo, so with that in mind you have to believe me when I tell you that the entire time I was there this guy was looking at me, nodding in agreement with what the ladies were saying and speaking……mountain man jibberish!
I kid you not, anytime one of the ladies would say something he would look at me, nod his head and say a bunch of half drunken half mumbled words that I’m positive weren’t really words at all and end his mumble with “YUP!” He kept doing this the entire time I was there. Sometimes, for seemingly no reason at all. Other than the word “YUP!”, I didn’t understand one single syllable that came out of his mouth. Not a single one……..damn it, I should have taken his photo.
With the realization that I only partially knew how to get where I was going and that it was now several minutes past 5:31pm I jumped on the bike and took off……. in the wrong direction…….down a short dead end road.
It wouldn’t have been that bad, but I drove right by the nice ladies and the mountain man to get to that wrong way short dead end road and I was going to have to drive right by them again to get on the correct path. To try and save a little bit of my dignity I actually stopped and got off the bike for at least 5 minutes when I was out of their sight so that when I drove back by, the nice ladies and the mountain man would think I was down there for a real reason. I figured my family would be just as disappointed with me when we are eating steak at 11:35 as they would be eating steak at 11:30 so what’s the harm in trying to keep a little bit of my dignity. Five minutes later with my dignity slightly more intact I drove by them again and I was back on my ADVenture.
Possibly running way behind and needing to concentrate on not getting lost I didn’t take any photos on this stretch except for this one spot…..
I came around a bend and was just floored by this view. I couldn’t resist.
7164 screwed with this post 04-22-2013 at 04:39 PM Reason: A little shout out to sonicsix! Thanks for not giving up on riding...
|04-22-2013, 12:20 PM||#5|
1 above potato patch
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Glendale, AZ
The trail or forest service road (i'm not sure which it is) #52 goes from Crown King to the mountains south of Prescott and the total distance to Prescott proper is about 40 miles. The path is in good shape and in some spots is fast while in others I took it pretty slow, mostly due to sharp turns with large exposure on the don't fuck it up side! The Goldwings and Harleys wouldn't want to find themselves on this path, but big bikes like KTM 990's and such would be just fine.
About 25 miles past Crown King going to Prescott you come to a junction in the road at a place called Palace Station.
Now, contrary to nice lady #1's estimate that it would take me 4 1/2 hours to get to Prescott, I hit Palace station in about an hour. Knowing that I was 8 miles from a steak dinner and non disappointed family I blew threw and continued on without stopping. Fear not that I would rob you of seeing such a neat and historic place though, because I took photos two weeks earlier when I went there and a few more photos this weekend when I went again.
Palace Station has a neat story and a lot of history behind it, but it is way to lengthy for me to post it all here. Besides, this is a "ride" report not a history lesson. There are several very good websites that have the story and history behind Palace Station and here is a link to the Boy Scout Troop 109 Palace Station Hisory page:
I have no association with the Boy Scouts but I felt they deserve to have their link posted since, according to the sign, they built the landing pad and according to their web site they did a whole lot more too! They received a national award for their work and President Ronald Reagan spoke at the ceremony.
About 1 1/2 hours into my "4 1/2" hour journey I was inside of my cabin telling the story of my grand ADVenture to a loving and not in the slightest bit disappointed family. Steaks and beer followed shortly after and so ended the first day of my first "real" ride.
Not too bad!
Stay tuned for day 2, "The big hill and the busted hose".
|04-22-2013, 01:02 PM||#6|
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Dallas, TX
That's great! Nothing wrong with staging photos, I dare say 90% of people want to convey what the ride felt like, rather than what it looked like. Why would we take pictures and post them for other people to see if that wasn't the case? Does the 250 have enough power for what you're trying to do?
|04-22-2013, 01:06 PM||#7|
the road less traveled...
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Plano, Texas
Thanks for taking the time to write the ride report. I enjoy your style of writing. The dialog between the two ladies was great. Here's to many enjoyable miles yet to ride.
2012 Super Tenere
|04-22-2013, 03:50 PM||#9|
Joined: Mar 2013
|04-22-2013, 06:14 PM||#13|
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: East Tennessee
Wow, nice riding! Enjoy the WR, I have been kicking the thought around myself.
Can't win a horse race yelling whoa!!
Harley Road Glide
|04-22-2013, 06:30 PM||#14|
Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Brisbane, Straya
This. Is. Fantastic!
Seriously, that was a great report, you sure know who to convey a ride through words. Love the photos, and the argument between the women was hilarious.
Can't wait to read about some of your other rides. Have fun exploring on the new bike!
|04-22-2013, 08:05 PM||#15|
1 above potato patch
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Glendale, AZ
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