AZBDR – Day 7 of 11
🗓: 29 Apr | 🌍: North of Coconino National Forest to Flagstaff, Arizona
Map of Day 7: 68 miles paved + 6 miles dirt = 74 miles total
As soon as I stepped outside of the tent in my sandals I knew it was going to be a wet and muddy day.
We quickly packed up in the hopes to get an early start on the trail and hopefully avoid too much mud. Packing the tent went much better than I imagined since the ground we slept on stayed relatively dry and we were able to get most of the water off the rain cover before packing it.
Although the going was muddy and sometimes a bit slippery, I still felt like we could make progress along the AZBDR route towards Cameron, AZ.
My Sertao was making decent progress as long as I kept the wheels spinning fast enough to throw the mud from the treads.
However, if you got bogged down or started to slide then it became very, very difficult to get started again.
Chocolate donuts make for extremely poor traction.
Chantil was having an especially hard time. I just told her to keep on the speed and things would go better. However, she said she couldn’t because the front would slip around. I parked my mule and gave hers a ride. She was right, her bike is about 1.5 inches lower and has a fairing that sits really close to the top of the front wheel. It was extremely difficult to control and keep straight. I had to give it A LOT of power to keep it moving. Further investigation showed that the front wheel would not turn! The clay like mud was packed so tightly in the front fender that the front tire would just push through the mud. The rear was also packed so full that the poor 650 engine could barely turn the rear wheel. We decided to get off the trail as fast as we could.
Mud was on everything!
The highway was about 3 miles from the AZBDR route. Progress was excruciating slow because we would move a little, drop the bikes, clear the wheels and fenders of mud, and then move a little more. We removed Chantil’s front fender and it seemed to make things go a little easier.
Picking up the mules started to become A LOT of work. We continued little by little, the 6 miles we covered took us about 3.5 hours. The hardest section was the last mile. It was exhausting. Hope was driven by the GPS slowly counting down our progress to the highway.
We made it to PAVEMENT!! I’ve never been so happy to see pavement! We were wet, muddy, and tired.
We decided to head north along the US-180 to the SR-60 where there was gas and hopefully a self-serve power wash for the muddy mules. The rain had stopped before we reached the Chevron station. My clothes were so muddy I was concerned that they wouldn’t let me into the touristy store to use the bathroom. I ended up washing my gloves and boots in the sink; earning me a few weird stares from tourists.
I really just wanted to get the bikes cleaned up. It was decided to return to Flagstaff where the closest pressure washer and reasonable priced hotels were. I would later regret this decision, but at the time it seemed like the right one.
So back we rode, via the US-180 to Flagstaff. During that 50-mile stretch of pavement we experienced sun, rain, sleet, and a little snow.
This section of road could easily be confused for Colorado. Nope, still in Arizona.
Once we arrived at the hotel in Flagstaff, we removed all the muddy bags from the mules and stored them in the bathroom until we could wash them in the tub. It was a mess. There was soooo much mud. If the mud were a red color, it would have looked like a murder scene in the bathroom and shower. Fortunately, it cleaned up pretty well. We also removed all the armor from our riding gear and tossed them in the washer. It took two cycles in the washer before they came clean.
We ended up staying in Flagstaff over the weekend since we had family that was passing through and thought it would be a nice place to have them layover for an evening.
Stuck in Flagstaff
🗓: 30 Apr | 🌍: Flagstaff, Arizona
I feel like a caged animal. I want to get on the trail and continue the route but rain is making the dirt roads nearly impossible to travel. We’ll just have to wait. Not happy.
We ran a few errands around town to include:
• Power-washing both mules at the self-serve car wash.
• Buying a new taillight bulb for Chantil’s mule.
• Ordering a catered tray of delicious Chick-fil-A nuggets.
• Topping off our camp food at the grocery store.
They are expecting snow tomorrow in Flagstaff! Snow in May…
Stuck in Flagstaff
🗓: 1 May | 🌍: Flagstaff, Arizona
Snow! We woke up to snow this morning. Not a lot, but enough to make us feel bad for having to leave our mules outside in the uncovered parking lot. Poor guys, but the hotel has a strict no mules in the motel rule!
Two older gentlemen pulled in last night on their 1200GSs. Apparently they are from Canada and are on their way to Vegas. Despite the snow and cold, they suited up after breakfast and continued west. If we were traveling on pavement we would have left as well, but the trails will be extremely difficult in the wet mud.
We decided to enjoy the cool morning and walk ourselves to church services. It was nice to recalibrate my thoughts on more spiritual matters since I was a bit down in the dumps about being “trapped” in Flagstaff.
Guess where we are? We’re in the middle of the green and blue! It seemed to be nicer in every direction north, south, east, and west of Flagstaff!
On our way from church services we stopped at Bushmaster Park. The playground was especially enticing since it looked really new and modern. We ended up playing for quite a while before returning to the hotel. Swings and zip-lines are fun at any age!
That evening, part of our family arrived and we got to enjoy their company well into the night. We always have A LOT of fun when we reconnect with our family and it was great to see them once again. Great times!
Continued on PAGE 5…