Another day exploring fire roads


I wanted to go up on the Mogollon Rim again today and find more places to explore. I also wanted to go to breakfast with my dad, so I planned my riding day as a “late start,” and got going about 10. We rode to Payson, then took Houston Mesa Rd. over to Control Road. I was curious what “improvements” had been made since Control Road was closed for most of last year. It turns out the improvements were basically paving and widening every bridge crossing over every creek. It was nice, the road is easy anyway.

Stopped to air down

I saw this while I was stopped:

The rules apparently don’t apply to the people in this pickup truck (this is what is wrong everywhere)

There was this sign, too, which goes with the rest of the day:

Green forest or black forest – it’s your choice

We got back on the 260 east toward Heber. I felt like we could have been meeting ourselves on the road, if our vacation had worked out. Today was the day we would have been going the other way, toward home, on this road as we returned from a restful week on vacation. But that didn’t work out.

As we passed through Heber, we also passed the Red Onion, one of my favorite restaurants. I began to drool, knowing we were coming back the same way and later stopping for late lunch. But first, we wanted to ride a fire road we had ridden by for years and never taken. It is about 15 miles out of Heber, and when we turned off the 260, this is the sign that we saw at the entrance of the road:

A fire-ravaged area

This is the area of the Rodeo-Chedeski fire that burned ferociously and widely exactly 10 years ago. It threatened Show Low, the Heber-Overgaard area, and even Payson residents were getting nervous. It created firestorms, and destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres before it was all over.  Worst of all, it was human-caused. On purpose.

I stopped to take a few photos of the area. The recovery of the burn area is fascinating to me; any fire area is.

The wind raced through the open area where trees used to be

10 years later there are still charred remains

Fire road number sign

The fire damaged area didn’t go back as far as I thought it did. We stopped so I could put the GoPro video camera on the front of my bike because I wanted to shoot video as we rode back out.

Getting the GoPro ready

Then we got back on the fire road:

Riding out

We weren’t that far from Heber at that point, and when we got back on the highway, it was a short ride to the Red Onion for the long-awaited, much-anticipated lunch.

Mmmmmm! Mushroom burger with Swiss cheese!

I am not much of a beef eater, but once in a while, it tastes pretty darn good! Especially at this restaurant where they know how to make a good ol’ greasy, but good, burger.

After I finished stuffing my face, we headed toward home. The wind was fierce again, and it was almost the same as when we were returning home last Tuesday, only under better circumstances. It was, as usual, cool until we got down to Rye, AZ, and after a brief reprieve as we passed Mt. Ord, it was hot all the way home. That part of the journey for me is more tiring than the whole rest of the day, probably because I quickly get used to being in cool weather, then the heat hits me like a blast furnace on the way down the Beeline.

Tomorrow we may or may not ride again. We’ll see.

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2 thoughts on “Another day exploring fire roads

  1. The devastation you show in your photos of the Rodeo-Chedeski area are heartbreaking. Especially disappointing is the point you make that the fire was purposefully set.

    However, the photo that caught my eye was you mounting the video camera on your bike. Why? Because you have on all your protective gear, including your helmet. Wow, that must be one dangerous camera.

    • I wasn’t going to de-gear just to do that quick little thing! And you know that I don’t ride unless I have it all on. It only took about two minutes to load that camera into the holder.

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