Arizona's "Tail of the Dragon", only BETTER! - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Arizona's "Tail of the Dragon", only BETTER!

Guys,
I just had 2 exceptional rides over the last 2 weeks, and this is about the first one.
I always wanted to have a look at Fort Bowie and the Apache Pass in the SE area of AZ, so mentioned it to my friend Bill from Scottsdale. He rides an '04 KLR (same as mine back in Alberta), and he put together an 800 mile ride during several lunch hours. We met in Florence on the 29th October, with plans to ride some of his favorite roads (including 2 dirt sections comprising about 75 miles of dirt roads) over 3 days. Routing was the Florence-Kelvin Hwy - dirt - then 177 and 77 to San Manuel and onto the dirt road which follows the San Pedro River south to Pomerene. There transition onto I-10 for 56 miles of 'superslab' exiting at Bowie and into the Fort Bowie and Apache Pass areas. Lots of history and neat vistas, then we rode scenic hwy 186 to Willcox where we motel'd it. (to be continued...)
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 02:09 PM
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Day 2 - the 30th October - dawned clear and warm. After breakfast we suited up and back onto I-10 for 19 miles NE, exiting onto 191 N toward Safford. Bill had said that some exceptional roads were coming, and we turned west on 266 over a pass toward Bonita. THAT road was so good, I thought I'd seen Bill's fave!
After going both W and E on 266, again we turned N onto 191 for about 20 miles, and at Swift Trail Junction west onto 366 up Mt Graham. 366 starts with an arrow-straight run west giving no hint of what's coming, but - HOLY SMOKES BATMAN! When that road starts turning it KEEPS turning, and we climbed from 4,000 feet to just under 10,000 with probably the longest straight only 100 feet! I was hanging-off through a lot of the hairpins, but just enjoying this wonderful piece of road, till it turned to VERY rocky dirt at the top, and we reversed course to re-enjoy it going down.
(to be continued...)
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Again N on 191, through Safford to the junction with 70 and SE to Duncan where we transitioned N to Guthrie, and 78 NE to Mule Creek in New Mexico.
78 is another DELIGHTFUL road, climbing up the Mule Creek Pass. Among the many banked curves is at least one that turns through 270 degrees. RAPTURE!
(I can understand riding BOTH ways several times...)
New Mexico comes in a swirl of pine and hills of dirt and grass rather than the rocks and grass of Arizona. 78 tees into NM180, and N we went through Glenwood to the turn for the "Catwalks". It's a narrow canyon with suspended catwalks for visitors to use to view. Nice.
From there we reversed course and enjoyed 78 from NM to AZ, but at Guthrie we followed 191 SW to our hotel in Safford. Another GREAT day, and I apologize for the wrong-side-up canyon shot .
(to be continued...)
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 11-11-2010 at 03:17 PM.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Day 3 - the 31st, dawned clear and warm (AGAIN, as usual... ), so 'breakfasted' and suited-up we rode N through Geronimo on 70, and just after Bylas took the Calva Road (#3) westerly along the Gila River to San Carlos Lake, and the Coolidge Dam constructed in the '20s. I believe that #3 was made in the 20s TOO - it was paved, but broken and pot-holed, so I was envying Bill's KLR suspension.
After 30 minutes the dam came into view, quite ornate in a '20s way. Seems the Lake has only been full 2 or 3 times, but it sure wasn't today, so with virtually no other traffic we could explore and take pictures. The spillways and eagles cast into the concrete on the west side of the dam are pretty 'skookam' as they say in British Columbia!
Too soon we mounted our steeds and headed north through Peridot and San Carlos then W to rejoin 70 via Globe, then SW on 60 to Florence Junction where Bill and I parted, he headed W to Scottsdale while I headed S to home.
(to be "continued" with the adventures I start 2 days later, 2 to 6 November, where I tour the Grand Canyon North Rim, Bryce Canyon, an Anasazi Village in Boulder, Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, and the Salt River Canyon, amongst OTHER places .)
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 03:59 PM
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Nice pics, good report and great roads...

Been on many of them myself!

John in AZ
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 04:56 PM
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Cool ride, cool pics.
That 191 is so much better than the dragon, I've done both.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amir_zwara View Post
Cool ride, cool pics.
That 191 is so much better than the dragon, I've done both.
Amir,

It's 366 that I ESPECIALLY think beats the Dragon! But I look forward to trying 191 between Alpine and Guthrie.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-13-2010, 06:27 PM
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Thanks for the heads up on 366, I'm putting it on my to do list.
That stretch of 191 is a great ride (I cooked the brakes on my van driving it once), but be careful. The pavement is sometimes less than perfect and there are a lot of places where the drop is so precipitous they'd never find what's left of you if you make a mistake.

Back Off! I'm Already Riding Way Beyond My Abilities.


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Last edited by potus2012; 11-13-2010 at 06:33 PM.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2010, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by potus2012 View Post
Thanks for the heads up on 366, I'm putting it on my to do list.
That stretch of 191 is a great ride (I cooked the brakes on my van driving it once), but be careful. The pavement is sometimes less than perfect and there are a lot of places where the drop is so precipitous they'd never find what's left of you if you make a mistake.
Appreciate the "heads-up"!

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2011, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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I just went to "MapQuest" and looked for Mt. Graham, AZ. Once you zoom in you can get a pretty good look at how twisty 366 is. I'll attach several .pdf's.
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File Type: pdf mt graham in Arizona | MapQuest (dragged).pdf (842.8 KB, 117 views)
File Type: pdf mt graham in Arizona | MapQuest 2 (dragged).pdf (1.15 MB, 94 views)
File Type: pdf mt graham in Arizona | MapQuest 3 (dragged).pdf (889.6 KB, 106 views)
File Type: pdf mt graham in Arizona | MapQuest 4 (dragged).pdf (891.4 KB, 102 views)

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