I stopped for a pic back W to the great-looking panorama...
then continued, Paul in the lead
the trail becoming 'Gnarly', and then 'GNARLY' again, large rock outcroppings everywhere (but at least very little loose sand!), as I saw Paul stopped ahead to the side.
I asked why, and he pointed out that a pickup truck was ahead, going UP, Paul figuring to wait till it'd got up. I told him that I was OK to lead, use my horn to get the driver's attention, then pass him, continuing rather than waiting. Also that we'd stop for lunch at the top....
Up on the 'pegs again (basically - ALL the time for the WHOLE ride up!), catching the truck. I flashed the hi-beams, then rattled the horn a bit, the truck stopping towards the right as we passed, continuing up.
THAT stretch was (again...) GNARLY enough that I didn't even THINK about stopping for a pic until we got to the "Saddle" for another panorama pic
and our lunch spot.
Despite passing the truck only a few minutes earlier, we had eaten, chatted, then started to get ready to continue BEFORE the pickup got to us!
From the Saddle the trail mostly headed N, then back S for this view of the snowy eastern slope of the Peaks, the trail NOW almost a road....
Pretty soon the road was pointing E, descending towards Roosevelt Lake, thousands of feet below our position.
I got ahead, into position for a "hero" pic as Paul 'hove' into view
There was a LOT more 'down', Paul leading
and pretty soon we were at the bottom, joining to AZ 188, but time for a pee, drink some water, remove some "warm" gear, then headed N on 188, planning to stop at a motorcycle-wrecker near Rye, just S of Payson.
I'd been there twice previously, but when we got there it was marked CLOSED, tarps covering the fences so that there was no way to view the place. Paul and I made plans to tentatively 'do' another ride, this where he lives, near Jerome and Sedona, in a few weeks.
He headed N, I headed S down AZ 87
the hills COVERED in green...! My route took me back the way I'd come, just before 'rush-hour' (!!!), and I arrived home after 6.75 hours and 197 miles, about 40 of them dirt and 30 of THOSE "GNARLY"....
All-in-all... a pretty GOOD day!