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Old 02-05-2014, 01:23 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by back2thefuture View Post
Fantastic day of Adventure. Sounds like tomorrow would be a great day for a rest and catchup.
Funny, back2, I was thinking the same thing myself.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:17 PM   #77
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Day 10, August 19, 2013 Riggs Lake Rest Day

The Plan: Do some maintenance work, go on a little hike, and just chill out and enjoy being outdoors and isolated.

At 8600 feet, the morning was brisk and crisp.







I added a little over a half a quart of oil, tightened and w/d 40'd the chain, then rolled up my sleeves and shoveled out the fire pit, hauling away 7-8 bagfuls of ash and getting down to the dirt -- a move that greatly enhanced the fire for the rest of our stay.

Then we strolled around Riggs Lake.



I sat on the tree that once belonged to that stump to unzip the legs of my pants and was fortunate enough to sit in some sticky, sappy, something and got the substance all over the butt of my britches. A permanent stain there now.



This guy was the size of my hand.





Tranquil. The mid-morning sun making colors vivid at this altitude.





These mushrooms / truffles literally blast their way through the soil.





FR 803 continues on up the mountain for a mile or so and we drove up to take a look. There are vault toilets at the top and several dispersed campsites more compatible with a small backpacking tent as the sites are fairly exposed.



On the way back to camp we stopped and cut a bunch of firewood with a little bow saw we carry, unloaded it, and went back up to hike a trail LA spotted while we were at the end of the road earlier.



The Clark Peak Trail had seen little use and we ended up bushwhacking a short distance before turning back as we were wearing shorts. There were great views out over parts of the mountain that had burned a few years ago.







And finally a view eastward, over non-burned forest.





Back to Riggs Lake for cocktail hour and sunset.

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Old 02-05-2014, 05:49 PM   #78
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Was this trip before or after the piston/cylinder change? Great report. Just the right amount of photos and descriptions.
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:03 PM   #79
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Day 11, August 20, 2013 A ride around Mt. Graham

189 miles, ~8 hours

The Plan: LA will go visit friends and relatives in Safford, AZ. Red and I will poke around the backroads.

LA took off while I was still dawdling. I took this pic and felt instantly lonely. It's good to feel that genuinely connected to another human being. We're childhood sweethearts. We work together in our little mom & pop veterinary clinic and live upstairs in a small apartment. Ironically, we spend the most time apart during vacation/adventure time.



I wasted no time heading back to the top of the mountain where I'd noticed an inviting looking road.







It was short but offered everything you could wish for in a warm up ride. There are several dispersed camping areas along this loop. I think Riggs Lake is really popular during the weekends and before school starts up -- so keep this in mind if you visit and find it crowded.





Why was it clouding up? Arizona, arid, heellllooooooo.

Animal Instinct screwed with this post 02-06-2014 at 06:30 AM Reason: wrong picture
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:39 PM   #80
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They were maintaining FR 803 as I descended.





Looking south towards Willcox, AZ. You can see the landing strip at the airport.



I stopped here at Post Creek for a photo-op. There is some blue sky, I see, but why am I hearing thunder?



As I gain the paved SH 366, the raindrops started and I dutifully pulled over and suited up, an all too familiar ritual. My stuff still smelled like cow patty. The rain picked up, I rounded a corner and what do I see?









The stuff we live for. August in arid Arizona...It only lasted for a mile and a half or so, but provided an me an otherworldly experience on my way to ride around in the scorching desert on this fine, late summer morn.



I did mention this was a fantastic road, didn't I?



I risked taking my rain suit off here as I was slow roasting inside at this elevation.

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Old 02-05-2014, 07:13 PM   #81
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I followed US 191 north to Safford

and got some gas, then headed west, toward Globe on US 70. I had not programmed a route in the GPS and started getting hungry, so I pulled into a church parking lot in Ft. Thomas and ate some breakfast tortillas and drank some hot water. I sensed that I should have already turned north so I got my trusty paper forest map out and realized I needed to head back a few miles to CR 40.

Mt. Graham



CR 40







The road was a little more sandy than I'd like, but after the cinders and mudslick ordeal this would be a cakewalk.

First one of these big barrel looking cacti I'd seen....



Good gosh, would I need the rain suit again?





And if it decided to pour, well, you can see how the surface conditions might present an added dimension....



Turns out it sprinkled just enough to settle the dust and firm up the footing.



This lazy road just meanders through the desert. Mountain ranges in all directions. There's no pressure (other than the threat of rain) on today's ride. LA's in Safford undoubtedly having a great time.





It even has its own mini valley of the gods.



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Old 02-05-2014, 07:37 PM   #82
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CR 40 T's

and I will head southeast toward Bonita to complete the circle.



Sorry for the blur, but you can see I was still keeping my eye on the sky -- out here in the middle of nowhere. There had been no other vehicles on the road so far.



You can see it had been sprinkling.





I scared up a turkey buzzard that took off towards Mt. Graham.





Here's what a cactus looks like in my hometown. "Small Town" ~ John Mellencamp



Wonder how old this guy is?

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Old 02-05-2014, 08:16 PM   #83
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Just past Bonita,

SH 266 heads back towards the mountains and Fort Grant State Prison. I was drawn to it because it looked so deserted.



I only went a mile or two and then pulled over to pee, eat some beef jerky and have some hot water. Just as I was finishing up a van came from the direction of the prison and stopped. The driver worked at the prison and told me I didn't want to be hanging around here for long or they would show up, armed. He explained that folks try to sneak contraband through this wilderness to the fences of the prison. I didn't stick around.

SH 266 leads east to US 191





Rugged country. The road goes through the southern extent of Coronado NF, then T's into US 191 a few short miles from SH 366, completing the circle.







Then it's back up that magical road to the lake. Here's how the vegetation changes with the altitude.







I told you this was a beauty. LA was right, I love it here.









Perfect day. LA arrived at the campsite 8 minutes after I did, while I was in the tent changing out of The Gray Man costume. Did I mention we tend to be in tune with one another?



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Old 02-05-2014, 08:23 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by back2thefuture View Post
Was this trip before or after the piston/cylinder change? Great report. Just the right amount of photos and descriptions.
You'll have to stay tuned, unfortunately, to find the answers to those questions....

More to follow.
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:17 AM   #85
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Really enjoying this superb report, AI. Lots of good routes and ideas for sharing the adventure with a partner who may not enjoy long days on the back of a bike as much. Will be trying something similar this summer. Carry on . . .

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Old 02-06-2014, 10:06 AM   #86
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Really enjoying this superb report, AI. Lots of good routes and ideas for sharing the adventure with a partner who may not enjoy long days on the back of a bike as much. Will be trying something similar this summer. Carry on . . .

Clif
Thanks staticPort, that's the exact reason I'm writing the RR, hoping to share ideas that might help others get out and explore.
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Old 02-06-2014, 03:07 PM   #87
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Day 12, August 21, 2013 Webb Peak Trail and Lookout

I gave Red ~200 ml of oil and the day off. This would be our last day on Mt. Graham and LA wanted to put her hiking poles to use. What started out as a leisurely hike turned into an adventure in this magical forest.

Is that bacon I smell?



Yep.


After a breakfast like that I don't move so fast. Didn't seem to affect LA one bit. Hey, wait up!



This thing was having a ground breaking ceremony right in the path.



Onward. (sound of whip cracking)



Eventually we arrive at a cabin and an outhouse.





With something that cries to be reckoned with.





An anemic obstacle.



and up we go







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Old 02-06-2014, 03:27 PM   #88
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I had the GPS and rather than backtrack,

we followed an abandoned trail that showed up on the TOPO map but was not apparent on the terrain. It took us through a burned area.





Where's the trail, LA?



I'd love to know this guy's life story. The part I can read says, "will to survive."



We just kept working our way back toward the trailhead, really simple with a GPS, crossing small creeks, crawling over and under fallen trees, and carefully navigating bramble bushes.





For the hike (I remembered it this time after my epic fail back at Humphreys)



It had rained while we were away and I had forgotten to put the chairs upside down. More brownie points. I'm racking them up.



Thankfully, the sun dried them out quickly. The photo fails to show it, but you could see steam rising off of them.



Jalapeno cheddar dogs and taco rice to dine on.





And an unwanted visitor joined us around the campfire. I finally had to chunk a few small pieces of wood....the skunk looked up and sauntered away like, "what's your problem, dude?" At least LA didn't try to feed it from her hand.



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Old 02-06-2014, 05:09 PM   #89
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Day 13, August 22, 2013 Safford Comfort Inn and more visiting

Sure hate to leave this place. It's like waving farewell to a child heading off for the great unknown.

The camp host, Carl, told me there was a jeep trail that leads down to the bottom of the mountain. Now you decide to get chatty, Carl? Something to add to my checklist.







It leaves me longing, looking at these, 5 months after they were taken. I still just want to stay.

It's Utopia, LA. Thanks. "You are the everything" ~ R.E.M.

We'll be back.



It's hot down here.



View of the Pinaleno Mountains out our hotel window. "The mountains keep calling." ~ Animal Instinct

It always feels constrictive to come back indoors after being in the great outdoors, where we really belong. It's what our bodies are made for and crave, our spoiled bodies have just adapted to the comforts we enjoy and we accept this as "normal."



We did laundry, over used the hot tub, and went out for Mexican food at El Charro with family and friends (our third restaurant of the trip, Arby's in Flagstaff being the other two). It was a good time and really good food. These folks had lived there all their lives and never made a loop around Mt. Graham, which seemed an apostasy to me. They had all been to Riggs Lake many times though.

LA's stepbrother is a cotton farmer. He genuinely loves it and, like me and motorcycles, it's all he's ever wanted to do -- his passion. Here's a look at how it's done -- he's driving one of them and promised me a ride if we ever make it out there at harvest time. Dutifully added to checklist.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zk3lrY0qMM

The trip down the mountain to Comfort Inn in Safford.

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Old 02-07-2014, 07:09 AM   #90
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Very cool video!
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