Hal on FR8315
July 27, 2013
This is our last day of riding here in the White Mountains. It was sad to get on the dirt bikes this morning knowing that this is the last time we would be here in the morning to ride until the next time we vacation here. Who knows when that might be? Last year we came back in October, but I am dreaming of going to Death Valley during that time this year. We’ll see.
The plan today was no plan, and we just started riding. First, we got on FR25, and then picked up FR8315. As we reached that road, we spotted a deer, a doe, (isn’t that a song?) walking across FR25 in front of us. She wasn’t in a big hurry, and there were no other deer with her. FR8315 is not well-traveled, it’s a nearly overgrown two-track road, although just as we turned to go on it, we saw a pickup truck making its way down toward us. We waited until they reached us and were off the road. The driver and passenger, two men dressed in camouflage, waved, and on we went.
I thought it was a lovely little road, and like our other experiences on these four-digit (smaller, rougher, less traveled) roads, it was empty, quiet, and the foliage thick, dripping with moisture from recent rain. It was about five miles long, and looped back to 24, which is where we eventually came out. Then we took the usual route of 24 to 576, to Hwy. 191, and went north to find more dirt riding.
Next, we took Red Hill Rd. to FR58. It was nothing spectacular, just a nice little road. We had seen a big herd of elk on this road the other night, but no wildlife today. We took another road, FR8882, for a short distance; it was rocky, and eventually led to a closed gate. The sign said to close the gate when you went through it, so we did that. It went along under some power lines, but no sooner did we get through the gate and about a mile up the road, Hal changed his mind. He noticed the dark clouds advancing toward us from the north. I had noticed them, too, but sometimes I think I overreact so I didn’t make us turn around and go back. I was correct, though, because after we got on the main road, 191, it started raining hard. We already had our rain gear on, and we rode quickly back to the lodge since it was lunchtime by then.
After a cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin, then some reading and surfing in the sitting area of the lodge, we went out for the final time because it became partly sunny. Again, we started riding with no real plan in mind, but up the road I chose FR26. Hal complains that it is “too boring,” but for me it was better than staying on the paved road the whole time. We actually hadn’t ridden the section directly off 191 for a year, and I thought it was fun, and pretty because there was a lot of water running in different locations near it. I was trying to stay away from the overcast and rain. I was still a bit cold from getting damp in the morning.
On FR26, we wove our way aimlessly through the network, eventually onto 405, and I thought we were going to turn onto 37 so I could have one more fun experience on it, but Hal had other ideas. He wanted to go up on top to 403, which I had wanted to do again this trip, but once again there was a dark cloud up there. Plus, to be honest, I was “done.” I was muddy, wet, cold, and since I knew the trip was coming to an end anyway, I was done. So we ended up taking 267 back to 249, another route we’d already ridden. We cut short the ride because we both realized that we had ridden way over 100 miles on that tank of gas, and we were going to need fuel very soon! This proved to be a good choice because as we were riding FR249 close to Alpine, the engine on the faithful little 225 started sputtering. I knew it could only be a lack of fuel, the bike is indestructible and trustworthy, human error notwithstanding. Fortunately, it has that position on the fuel dial that says “reserve,” and once I switched it over, Little Beast fired right up. We were only a few miles from Alpine by then, and soon we were there, at The Tackle Shop, fueling up as we had so many times this trip. I’ve never actually pushed the bike to get to the “reserve” setting, and I was interested to know how much fuel the bike was going to take. It took 2.4 gallons, which means it probably has about a three gallon tank. I figured out that I got about 70 miles per gallon, which is no better than my F650GS, but I’d been pushing the poor little 225 every time I’d ridden for the past week and a half. When it’s running at 45-50 mph, it drinks more fuel than it does when I ride slowly.
Soon we were back at the lodge, coming in for the last time this trip. It has been a wonderful time, and I’ve loved every minute. Tomorrow, I will ride horseback one last time, and then we get in the car and head home. I feel sad that the vacation is coming to an end, but I miss Desmond, and I miss my dog, Emma. It’s always a bittersweet ending to these vacations, and this one is no exception.
It’s hard to believe that next week this time I will be back at work, engulfed in the beginning of the new school year. But I don’t want to think about that yet!