Exploring the S and SE of AZ over three days - day 1 - 21 February! - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-24-2017, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Exploring the S and SE of AZ over three days - day 1 - 21 February!

I've kept in touch w/ two fellows (Pete and Paul) that I had met near Haines, Alaska and Stewart, BC while riding N to the D2D "Rally" in Dawson City back in June 2015, done a few rides w/ Paul LAST season, but he and I had cancelled a couple of rides due to the wet, cool weather around here this season.

Planning started a few weeks back on riding the S end of AZ, this week getting the "nod". Paul arrived Monday about 1630, so after a beer (or two...) we had dinner, chatted a bit, then off to bed. Up early, coffees and breakfast eaten, we 'suited-up', 'mounted-up' and headed W towards Casa Grande for the start - a ride to Kitt Peak, home to quite a few observatories, both radio and optical.

https://www.noao.edu/kpvc/Plan/

Just W of Casa Grande we turned S onto 15





for around 53 miles, to Quijotoa,



and then SE onto AZ 86 to Kitt Peak, centered in the next pic.



The road up (386) climbs several thousands of feet, GREAT riding BTW(!!!) before the mass of observatories come into view, the mountain holding religious significance for local Indian tribes.



At the visitor center there's several things to grab your attention:



The word "WELCOME" in many languages



as well as a 'plasma' generator you can interact w/....



Then it was time to start down-hill







tho' we stopped for lunch here.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-24-2017, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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The view from the Peak's road (about 6,500' high I believe) is INCREDIBLE...! The first is pointing N



the second W



then N again as we descend









and here it is, looking back UP.



A gratuitous Versys pic....



Now near the bottom of 386 looking E





then back onto AZ 86, E to Three Points where we turned S onto AZ 286 till turning E again for Arivaca.

Along this whole part of Arizona the numbers of Border Patrol pickups (white w/ a green diagonal stripe each side) is... a LOT... as well as Border Patrol 'check-points' where we were just viewed, then motioned to continue.

Once in Arivaca we asked directions to the dirt road going SE from town (maybe 35 miles) towards Nogales, and a 'join' to a paved AZ 289,











out to then across I-19. When we got to the I-19 crossover we thought there'd been a major accident (probably took us ten minutes to pass thru THREE traffic lights) till we FINALLY got across, headed NE toward Sonoita where we planned to spend the night. Got there to find the ONE hotel charged $120/night for a double, so we took it anyway. Unloaded our bikes, walked over to the gas station to get "a" beer.

At 1700 the steakhouse next door would open, so, beers finished we walked over for a GREAT supper, having ridden 285 miles including that dirt, in just OVER 8 hours. Another great AZ riding day...!

-

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-24-2017, 08:10 PM
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The view from the Peak's road (about 6,500' high I believe) is INCREDIBLE...! The first is pointing N



-


Awesome Ed!


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Ride it like you stole it but also like you wanna be able to ride it to work the next day

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 09:24 AM
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I do like Arizona.................
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
The view from the Peak's road (about 6,500' high I believe) is INCREDIBLE...! The first is pointing N


out to then across I-19. When we got to the I-19 crossover we thought there'd been a major accident (probably took us ten minutes to pass thru THREE traffic lights) till we FINALLY got across, headed NE toward Sonoita where we planned to spend the night. Got there to find the ONE hotel charged $120/night for a double, so we took it anyway. Unloaded our bikes, walked over to the gas station to get "a" beer.

At 1700 the steakhouse next door would open, so, beers finished we walked over for a GREAT supper, having ridden 285 miles including that dirt, in just OVER 8 hours. Another great AZ riding day...!

-
I am going to make a request, yes I do expect a PM from this but , next time give us guys suffering cabin fever to make the best of it a days notice, that way we can get the popcorn and refreshments ready

Yes I know, but some truth to the statement
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 09:33 AM
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Great photos and, as always, an enjoyable narrative. Lots of tar snakes along your ride apparently, not to mention one of my favorite road signs - "Watch For Rocks." Yep, there's one, and there's another! Wow, there are a lot of rocks in Arizona!

Not as good as my favorite Texas orange (warning) road sign however. "Guardrail Damage Ahead" I've yet to figure out exactly what I'm supposed to do when I come across one of those. Well, damn, I was planning on crashing into a guardrail just about now but since it's damaged I guess I won't.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Day 2 - 22 Feb - Sonoita to Safford...

Thanks for the comments, guys. NOW for day 2...!

Paul and I got up early, showered, dressed, then went looking for breakfast - which we could NOT find around our hotel



so we decided to "saddle-up" and head E to Huachuca City where we were SURE we'd find a "mom and pop cafe". Paul was leading, shielding his eyes from the morning sun, but missed seeing a LIKELY looking cafe (on the E, 'sun' side), so I passed him, motioned to follow and we went back for some PDG coffee and omelets w/ ALL the trimmings - WELL worth the half hour from Sonoita! Over breakfast we made plans for the ride, and seeing Fort Huachuca's "Buffalo Soldiers Museum" was on MY list, altho' I'd been told that, as an active military base non-US citizens could NOT enter. We arrived at the gates and the sergeant directed us to a visitor center where, after a few questions and a form to fill out, we EACH received a one-year pass to the base...! Got back onto our bikes and headed to the museums where I got these pics....











including this SPECTACULAR bronze of an Apache guide w/ a cavalry-man.



We also 'took-in' the museum about the base's CURRENT role - intelligence gathering. QUITE informative including their use of drones, but I didn't get any pics there.

Soon we were headed E again, now w/ Tombstone our goal, but we got separated when I pulled into a Fry's store to buy a can of WD40 (I'd forgotten mine and the crutch stand when we left my place). I arrived in Tombstone, then did a "square-search" till I saw Paul's Beemer parked along a road near the downtown, and we were soon sight-seeing together. This stage went by



then I saw "Tony"



in the middle of the street, asked him for directions to a museum we both wanted to see (FULL of guns, etc, from Earp, Bat Masterson, and a host of other "shootists" from 'the Day'...), then we continued E, heading for the Chiricahua Nat'l Monument enroute to our stop in Safford.



MORE in the next post....

Ed
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Day 2 continued...

Enroute I saw a sign about a place called "Soldiers Hole" and took this pic:



so we kept heading E and then N,


and soon arrived at the Monument,











w/ its spectacular stone guardians.















MORE pics in the next post....

Ed
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Day 2 - STILL continuing...!



The top of the road is at 6,861' according to MY GPS



then we got off, and I got some pics from the 'roof-of-the-world' (OR at least - the "roof-of-THIS-world"!)...









and here's Paul 'waving'.



Soon we headed back DOWN the 'hill'











Near the entrance I waited for Paul by a cemetery for the original European settlers





and then we were headed N to Safford, passing our (hoped for) early-morning ride, up Mount Graham, which had a "ROAD CLOSED IN WINTER" notice on our maps...?





Found a motel, ending a 230 mile day which took about 10 hours in total. After inquiring about a decent restaurant at the motel, we ended up at one that DIDN'T serve beer, and had a TOTALLY forgettable supper.

Time for bed!
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 01:02 PM
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So cool. Today, being Day 100 of Motorcycle Storage Season, was a great day to "tag along" on a vicarious motorcycle ride. Thanks for sharing!

Always trust your cape.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 05:59 PM
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Nice report Fast! If you can get down to Bisbey there is a real well done mining tour with a
ride into the tunnel the way the miners went to work. Looks warm!

Ride while you can
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 10:11 AM
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I hope you got to visit the Homestead near the entrance to the Monument.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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I hope you got to visit the Homestead near the entrance to the Monument.
NOPE - just the cemetery. I saw signs, but figured it would only be the site of the homestead, no buildings....

NEXT time...!

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Day 3 - 23 Feb - Safford to home via Mt Graham and Coolidge Dam

The motel had mentioned a hot breakfast from 0500 till 0900 when we'd checked in, so, up early and down to 'check it out'. Turned out to be good - scrambled eggs, sausages, waffles (make 'em yourself), toast, coffee, fruit, cereals - EVERYTHING a couple of "Adventure Riders" need to start their day.

-

Finally finished eating, then back to the room to grab our stuff and "suit-up", and I noticed that my ODOMETER was at 70,000 miles, exactly.



Got the bikes started, then reversed course, heading S about 5 miles to the turn-off for AZ 366, the road up Mt Graham... would it be CLOSED...(?), and turned W.





Bit snowy lookin' up there....

The road WAS open ALL the way to the top, but w/ a sprinkling of sand in most corners (along w/ some "WHITE STUFF" that we hadn't really seen in quite awhile, along the edges), so we took it easy, not stopping till the top, my plan - to take pics going DOWN.







I wrote (last time I rode here...) that IMHO AZ 366 is EASILY the equal to the "Dragon" at Deal's Gap, so here are some indicators for any "nay-sayers"...









GOOD ride down, tho' we were STILL careful of the sand in the corners - I had a couple of "OOPSIE" moments, but kept the 'rubber-side' down!

WE had to stop at the motel for a phone-charging-cord that'd been forgotten, then headed NNW to the turn-off at Bylas where we turned W towards the Coolidge Dam onto AZ 3 and 40-odd miles of 'bad-road' (FUN bad-roads, BTW!),







and all-to-soon arrived at the dam which Paul had not ever seen (but REALLY enjoyed seeing!).










Ed
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Day 3 continuing...

Apparently, at the dam's grand opening in 1930, the humorist Will Rodgers commented that IF it was HIS lake he would 'mow' it, but due the rains this year the lake's level was easily the highest I've ever seen it (tho' the FIRST time there I understood what Will had meant!).















From there the ride took us E to Peridot where we re-joined AZ 70 to the McDees just as you enter Globe. We had a coffee, said our 'Good-byes', then Paul headed to the "Old Town Globe", while I joined AZ 60, thru Miami, Claypool and Superior then to the 'Florence Junction' where I turned S onto AZ 79, arriving at home around 1400.

Today added enough miles to make the total (for me) 720.5 miles, w/ a 'moving average speed' of about 45 mph.



I worked out my fuel mileage, and came up w/ 52.6 mpgUS (66 mpgImp), which isn't TOO bad, considering that the MAXIMUM speed my GPS had showed... had a "9" somewhere in it.

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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Maps...!

Yesterday I worked a bit w/ "Mapquest" to try to make some maps to show where the ride had gone.

Unfortunately I couldn't QUITE get the map to show where we'd gone when it wasn't a 'major' road, so I added a black line to show those bits, then 'erased' the line where Mapquest had wanted it.

Here's the first day, and the black is showing the 'dirt road' from Arivaca to I-19 just N of Nogales.



Here's "day 2", and the black is for a back-road from Tombstone E to a ghost town called Gleeson', as well as the road thru the Chiricahua National Monument.



Day 3 has black illustrating the AZ version of the "Dragon" up Mt Graham, and the road from Bylas to the Coolidge Dam.




Ed
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