A verdant creek at the intersection of FR95, 96, and 137:
Fortunately, after stopping at the “road closed” sign, we noticed that another forest road took off to our right. It was 139A.
“Where does that road go?” I asked. “Does it loop around and re-join the 95?”
Hal got the map out and we saw that 139 did, and we know from experience that the roads with numbers and a letter behind them usually take off from the road with the same number with no letter behind them. So, we took 139A in search of 139.
Immediately, the road turned rocky, but neither of us cared. Hal, riding the new bike, seemed not to mind, and we cruised along at a decent speed. There were a couple of miles of the rougher rocks, and there were also sections that were double track with grass growing between the two tracks. That let me know that this road was not well-traveled, and we probably weren’t going to meet anyone for a while. Finally, we came out on the main FS139 road, and as soon as we turned onto it, we saw a camping area with some big fifth-wheel trailers in it. The road here was wider and smoother, so I figured we were in for a much smoother ride. And, I hoped, we would hook up with 95 again.
The scenery was beautiful in this part of the forest as well, lots of tall pines and a few interesting rock formations thrown in. There still were few people on the road, but we did meet a few pickup trucks coming the opposite way, another indication that this road went through to a main road. Soon, it did, and it was 95! We got on it, and it began to descend, and it dropped into Barbershop Canyon. We’d been there before, once when I was on the 650GS, but we’d come in on a different road. There was a paved parking lot there, and lots of other people, so we parked and took a short break. While we were there, I shot some photos and just enjoyed being there.
Next, we got back on the bikes and took FS137 out of the canyon, toward the east. We were going to go to Knoll Lake and then hook back up with FR300, but Hal was getting hungry and it was starting to be time to head back. We stayed on 137 and got back to 300 more quickly than we would have if we’d gone to Knoll Lake, and started heading west to where the car was parked. We had some time, so we found a pull-off that hung right over the edge of the Rim so we could get some cool photos. You could really see the haze in the endless valley below from a wildfire at Woods Canyon. It was very cool up on the rocky outcropping, and I almost wanted to put on yet another layer.
Hal shooting a photo as the bikes look at the scenery:
The day had been overcast up until then, with clouds that looked almost like a “winter sky.” The weather forecast had said there was “a chance” for rain, but I figured it was a slim-to-none chance. Nevertheless, I packed rain gear, which almost guaranteed it wouldn’t rain. While we were shooting photographs, the clouds seemed to pull back and move off to the east, and the sun came out. Instead of making it clear, the rays of sunlight seemed to bounce off the haze and obscure the valley even more. In addition, the wind kicked up with a few strong gusts, reminding me of this same weekend three years ago when the wind was blowing so hard it pushed my F650 around on the road. It was also the weekend the Wallow fire started; little did we know. After a while, we helped each other turn our bikes around – they were literally on a rocky point hanging over the edge of the Rim – and then we got back on FR300.
The road is right on the edge:
It was a nice ride back to the car, however, an SUV was in front of us just enough to make a huge dust cloud the whole 15 miles. There was no place to pass, and the driver didn’t pull over so we could get by. We hung back a couple of times, but then we’d always catch up. The dust was terrible when the sun came through the trees because it blinded us. When I got back to the car, my clothing was covered in a brown layer of dust.
Hal’s new bike was covered in a patina of dirt as well, so it was no longer a “dirt virgin.” The first ride on his DR was successful, and he seemed very pleased with it. We loaded up the trailer, and descended into Payson. We were both hungry and had a nice sandwich sitting on the patio of Macky’s Grill.
On the way home (I don’t know why I do these “selfies.” I always look horrible after a long riding day):
All too soon, it was time to leave for home. The sun set as we neared my house, and before I knew it, I was unloading and saying “bye” to Hal. It was a great day, though, and I loved riding on the Rim. Every day when I get home from these rides, I try to think of ways to make my dream come true, the dream of getting to ride somewhere every single day of my life from now on.
Any ideas? 🙂