Rocks and sand


I thought I couldn’t be so lucky to get to go motorcycle riding two days in a row, but it seemed like it was going to come true. Yesterday, Hal and I flew up the Beeline to Payson to attend an AZBeemers club picnic, and it was a wonderful day – good riding, good friends, good food. I stayed too long, but it was relaxing, at least until I got home.

So, when Hal suggested last night that we ride dirt bikes today, I was jumping up and down with joy. Until he said we were going to stay close to home, in the heat and desert. Then I jumped less high. But I still wanted to go!

We started out by putting the bikes on the trailer and driving to Fountain Hills, where we had breakfast at our favorite Denny’s. This week’s Denny’s entertainment was courtesy of the H-D riders that showed up in groups. I finally realized that the temperatures were within their narrow riding window (75°-85° F.) and so they were out in force. Why do their group rides always look like a Halloween party? I thought to myself. Not only were they decked out in the usual poser Harley gear (without any helmets, of course), but one person even had pink hair to match her clothes. I can’t imagine what is cool about that. I felt like telling her how “cute” it looks after you crash with no helmet. As one who has gone down hard more than once (mostly in the dirt), I wouldn’t ride around the block without a helmet.

After breakfast, I was standing at the cash register waiting for the guy to cash me out when a woman who was standing there (with a child on her shoulder, BTW), asked me if I was with the Harley group. I am (sort of) ashamed to say that I looked down my nose and said disdainfully, “I do NOT ride Harleys!” rather emphatically, then went on to explain that I ride BMWs. To my surprise, she brightened and said her husband rides them, too, and she wanted to get one soon! She said loudly, “Beemers are BEAUTIFUL!” Score one for common sense! And, good for her.

We left the restaurant, fueled up at the gas station down the road, and then we were on the road. Hal was looking for a turn off the main road that supposedly went into some trails. It sounded like it was near Sycamore Creek, which made me groan inwardly because I was pretty sure it was going to end in sand and rocks, which are the prevalent features of the terrain in this area. We found the pull-off, and parked the trailer. The night before, I had suggested staging at the Four Peaks/Rolls OHV parking area, just so we would have some options if this didn’t work out. But yet here we were, at Sycamore Creek. I hoped it would somehow turn out to be an as yet undiscovered network of wonderful trails.

More garbage left by humans. Please tell me why everyone now has to have so much “energy,” and why they must drink these “energy drinks” to get it. Apparently, this person did not have enough “energy” to put this empty can into a trash receptacle:

Well, the scenery was nice, at least, as long as you didn’t look too closely. Unfortunately, I was proved correct about the sand and rocks.

First, we went toward Sycamore Creek. We rode the 500 feet down the wide road until it became a “Y,” with each branch turning into a different unpaved road. Immediately we got into deep sand, which we both hate. Hal has more “street-worthy” tires than I do so he had a more difficult time. I still worked to keep my bike upright even with the knobby tires it has on it, and I was sweating hard after about 500 feet. Ugh. I hate sand. We fought through that for a while, then we’d had enough.

We turned around and hoped that the “other” road was going to be better. It wasn’t. It was full of giant boulders. It was the creek bed, after all; what did we expect? Another “ugh.” I just didn’t feel like fighting through giant rocks. I hadn’t ridden them for a while and I was out of practice. All those lovely places up in the White Mountains were just that – lovely. Even the challenging places on those trails were so much more fun.

After that disappointment, we decided to go across the Beeline to see if there was anything decent to ride over there. After we were on the east side of the 87, we crossed a cattle guard, and then found some crushed granite double track. So far, it looked really promising. Then we went farther back and saw that it too ended up in a deep sand creek bed. We rode that for a little while, but then it pretty much dead-ended into brambles and more rocks. We didn’t see any great rewards in the form of more trail on the other side, so we headed back toward the Beeline again.

There were more crushed granite trails that we tried, but they all ended in little circles around a tree, or just ended. We meandered around, exploring, then stopped for a few moments to figure out where we were in relation to the road. A huge wasp buzzed around my head, and I had to slam the visor on the helmet shut before he got inside and stung the hell out of me. It’s happened before, and I didn’t want a repeat of that experience because it hurt! The only other wildlife I found today was a big green grasshopper that landed near my rear wheel. It was kind of pretty, so I dutifully got out my little camera and snapped his picture. *sigh* It has come to this, I thought. The most exciting thing about my day is a grasshopper.

There are actually two grasshoppers in this photo:

I began to wish we’d at least gone out to Desert Wells, a network of trails east on the 60 toward Florence Junction. It is completely flat and easy, but at least we could have gotten a few more miles in, or maybe even gotten ourselves lost like we did one time a few years ago. During that trip, I had my F650GS, and we got into some crazy stuff that was off the beaten path. I would have enjoyed that ride today on my 225.

Finally, Hal and I worked our way back to the car. It was getting even hotter, and I thought again that it still isn’t cool enough to ride down here in the desert. I think until the snow flies there, I would rather go back up on the Mogollon Rim and enjoy those places. October can be golden and cloudless here in the southwest, and this month has proven to be that.

Back in the car returning to town, I looked over at Four Peaks as we approached it. “I hope we get some real snow on Four Peaks this season,” I said, “and I hope it happens on a day that I don’t have to go to work so I can go out and enjoy it!” It’s been a few years since that happened, and I am hoping for a good season of active winter storms with clouds laden with rain and snow. That is the weather that produces the best riding! For now, we will have to put up with the heat and sun, and hope it goes away soon.

So, my “two days of riding” became less miles than I normally do in one day. Maybe next weekend’s adventures, whatever they are, will be better.

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2 thoughts on “Rocks and sand

  1. Here’s a question. If it had been cooler, would you still have given up on a road that is just rocks and sand?

    BTW, I liked the comment about someone drinking an energy drink, but not having the energy to throw the can away.

    • I think I am just so tired of the heat that I didn’t want to be in it, even though it wasn’t (comparatively) that hot. Plus, there was so much disgusting human garbage around, it made me sick, and mad, at the same time. Lots of spent shotgun shells, and gross things that I won’t mention. Ugh. People are worse than pigs.

      Yeah, no energy (ever) to clean up after themselves.

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