March 10, 2013
I slept in a little this morning, and Hal came over with the car and trailer to pick up me and my bike at 9:30. I wasn’t sure where we were going, only sure that we were going to ride dirt. Hal wanted to go to Seven Springs Rd., (FR24) in far northeast Scottsdale, so after breakfast at the Indian Bend Rd. Denny’s, we got on the road. On the way, we saw lots of snow on Four Peaks, and on the mountains north of it. It was a wonderful sight.
Four Peaks. Notice how much snow there is now, because at the end, you will see how it changed by the end of the day!
As we drove northward, I was dismayed (again) by all the development and congestion. 30 years ago when my family first arrived in Phoenix, Arizona, I remember seeing signs that were trying to stop the unchecked development, saying “Save Our Desert!” Well, it didn’t get saved.
We turned onto Cave Creek Rd., and then it changed to FR24. Hal parked the car in a pullout after the pavement ended, and we got out and started to get ready. It seemed super cold, and the wind was blowing hard. I had brought some tights, which I really didn’t think I would need, but I took the time to put them on under my riding pants after I felt how cold it was! I was glad I had for most of the day, too.
We packed our backpacks with all the cameras and gear we thought we’d need for the day, and soon we were on the dirt bikes. It immediately became apparent that the road was much rougher than it had been the last time we’d ridden it. I rode it on my BMW F650GS, and at the time I’d thought it was easy. This time, due to the rain and snow we’ve had lately, it was full of washboard sections, potholes, ruts, mud, and erosion troughs, not to mention the water crossings. They were shallow, but enough to get boots and pants wet, and the bike really muddy by the time I got done.
Me taking a photo of, what?
I thought the little tree looked kind of “cute” next to my little bike:
Most of the day, I was able to look to the east and see this amazing sight:
The last time we’d been on this road, we only rode to the campground, but this time we thought we’d go farther. That’s when the road got really rough, I thought, and there were several steep climbs and downhills, and a few tight switchbacks. Eventually, we got to a nice spot, and found a herd of horses:
There were cows, and bulls, too, but I didn’t feel like stopping near them as some of them had really big (and sharp) horns.
We kept riding and riding, and the road was fun, but it was beating the crap out of me on my light little bike. I think I need to get the suspension adjusted! At last, we got to FR269, which is the splitting point. One way, Bloody Basin Rd., leads to I-17 to the west (27 more miles), and the other leads to the Verde River and Sheep’s Bridge (12 miles). I was torn. I wanted to see Sheep’s Bridge, but I also wanted to see how the road was between this point and I-17. I let Hal choose, and he chose to go west toward I-17.
This applied to most of the road:
Bloody Basin sign:
The way west, which we took (Hal’s checking out the sign):
I thought the road after the split was even more crazy, and I only mention it because I was not expecting it to be in this shape. It got narrow, more rocky, steep, and rough. We followed it for about 7 miles, then decided it was getting late enough that we should turn around and start heading back to the car. We both hated having to turn around, but we didn’t want to be out there after dark. The rest of the day was riding the same thing, but going in the other direction. The sun was getting low making the shadows long, and in the dark pockets next to the mountains, it made it difficult to see. Before I knew it, though, we were back at the car.
After we packed the car and put the bikes on the trailer, we drove out. I shot this photo from the car. It is one of the many water crossings. We didn’t ride through this one, but throughout the day we had ridden through about 10 of them each way.
On the way out, we noticed how much less snow there was on Four Peaks:
The ugly power lines were ever-present as we rode, BTW, proof again that we can never totally escape civilization. In fact, after I shot that photo of Four Peaks on the way out, I looked to my left and saw this:
(Wrong on so many levels.) No matter what the developers say and how they try to justify it, it is stupid to use water for golf courses in the desert. Just my opinion.
So, we drove back through all the north Scottsdale traffic. We watched many people pass us in expensive cars, including a man and a woman acting superior in their BMW convertible. I made a remark about how much money some people have, but then Hal put it in perspective when he said, “Yeah, but he’s probably a big asshole, and she’s high-maintenance.” That totally made me laugh, thinking how much more fun I had today riding my dirt bike.
We finally reached the freeway, much to my relief. By the time I got home, I realized how much that rough road beat me up, but while it was doing that, I was sure having fun. It would have been a hot tub night for me for sure, if only I had one.