Two weeks ago we took the dual sport motorcycles out on this road. I was on my big dual sport, the BMW F650GS, and we rode a few miles in and then turned around and rode back out. Both my riding partner, Hal, and I had things to do at home, and we didn’t have the whole day to spend. But we vowed to return, and today we got that opportunity.
We trailered our dirt bikes this time, and I had my Yamaha 225, affectionately known as “Little Beast.” The last time I’d had her out was in the forest last October, exploring burned trees in the Wallow fire-damaged area. She was due for some fun. We staged at Butcher Hook restaurant in Tonto Basin, and we ate breakfast there before we left on the bikes. It was great, as always, and we got enough energy to last through the whole day.
We unloaded the trailer, geared up, and soon we were on the way to A-Cross Rd. It was only three miles to the entrance, and soon we were going in. I aired down my tires right after we turned in. I don’t know why I put the pressure up for that short time on the road, but I knew it was going to be too much once I got to the rocks and the ruts. While I did that, Hal added oil to his bike since it drinks it like it is some sort of motorbike elixir of life. I took a couple of photos because the scenery was as spectacular this time as it was last time.
I love how Four Peaks, from the back, is in many of these photos:
I figured that some of the snow had been up there for a few weeks, and it must be at least the start of a glacier by now. LOL. The mountain, dusted with snow or not, is an iconic landmark in the east valley.
I took this shot of Roosevelt Lake because the sunlight was shimmering on the water in the distance making it look almost like ice. You can also see the bridge at the dam arching over the water:
Hal took this photo of me with the lake in the background as I rode:
Then we explored more unseen (by us) territory. The road continued to be rutted by dried mud, rocky in some places, a lot of gravel in most places, and narrow mountain grades.
I am the tiny dot on the road:
The road gets very thin and hangs off the sides of mountains in several places. I never think twice about these things when I am on the little dirt bike, but I might if I were on the F650. On the other hand, I rode seven miles of this road a couple weeks ago and didn’t find anything too different today than what I had already ridden. There were a couple of places that might be a “holy crap!” moment on the big bike, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Today, though, I rode without a care, and we cruised along. I thought we would be coming back the same way, so I didn’t stop for some of the photos I wanted to shoot, thinking that the light would be better later in the day.
At one point, we went around a tight corner, then plunged down a steep, short grade, and there at the bottom was a ranch! I am always amazed at how even when I think I am out in the middle of nowhere, I can come around a corner and there is a residence! There were actually a couple of them clustered there, and I should have known since there were so many cattle guards on this road. Why else would there be a road back there? They don’t make them just for people like me to have fun, the road has to have some actual function.
Then we were at the south end, where it comes out on Hwy. 288, which is the “south road” to Young, AZ. We had other roads in mind to explore today, so we turned south on the 288 to find Cherry Creek Rd., and about six miles later, we found it. It looked like a super highway compared with the other end of it (rocky, really narrow, and very steep) which we’d ridden once from Young. We’d never managed to find the way through to the 288, and we thought maybe by coming from the south, we would find it. However, our day was rapidly fading away, and the road went on into the distance as far as we could see, so we made the decision to turn around. That seems to be the story of our lives. sigh So much dirt, so little time.
A different perspective of Four Peaks:
Hal wanted to get home to watch the end of the Patriots/Ravens football game, so we made the decision to take the paved 288 back to the 188, and the 188 back to Butcher Hook. I groaned inwardly because I hadn’t taken those photos, and I also didn’t really want to ride 30 miles on the pavement with my dirt bike. Oh well. Apparently there is never enough dirt for me to ride on any given day.
On the 288, we crossed a one-lane bridge. I wasn’t supposed to be “loitering” on the bridge, but I did take these photos looking west:
And this is the view looking east:
Then we turned onto the 188, and began the paved grind back to the staging point. I had removed a couple of layers while I was riding in full sunlight back in the mountains, but now as we were moving faster, I began to feel cold. Plus, I had forgotten to bring my earplugs, and the noise of the bike, and the wind in my helmet, was excruciating. I lasted 20 miles or so, but at the dam I had to pull over and put my gear back on. While I was there, I took this photo of Roosevelt Lake. Only a few hours earlier, I had been riding in the dirt on the other side, and now it was just a view from afar.
BTW, I made some “earplugs” out of Kleenex and stuffed them in my ears. I do this at the gym sometimes when the music gets too loud. It worked well enough to get me back to the restaurant where the car and trailer were parked.
I always think this is the saddest part of the day, when it comes to an end and we have to load up and go home:
By the time we got back to the Valley, the sun was low in the sky. The clouds made a spectacular sunset:
It was an 80 mile day, but it came to an end too soon for me. However, you know I am already planning my next ride. 😉