AZBDR – Day 10 of 11
🗓: 4 May | 🌍: Utah Border to Coconino National Forest, Arizona
Map of Day 10: 128 miles paved + 69 miles dirt = 197 miles total
We woke up in Arizona, packed up the bikes, which were parked in Utah, and rode north along the dirt road of House Rock Valley. Once we reached the pavement of Hwy-89 we headed east where we passed Lake Powell and into the town of Page, AZ.
Breakfast, gas, and water (in that order) were our purpose for stopping. We found breakfast at the Canyon Crepes Café. It was a bit difficult to find because it’s tucked away in a back of a shopping area but its well worth it.
An excellent breakfast of crepes ensured our morning was off to a great start!
A beautiful mural of Japanese style Koi Fish was painted just outside the restaurant.
After topping off our gas tanks and water bladders. We continued south along the Hwy-89 to Cameron, AZ where we topped off the fuel tanks once again.
The newly built roundabout in Cameron. Roundabouts are fun to go-round-about! The center looked like it might have a Native American symbol or something painted on it but Google Earth doesn’t have the areal view yet.
Once we reached Grey Mountain, we left the highway to reclaim the section of road we bypassed a few days back.
Beautiful mesas populated the high desert scenery.
Indian Route 6150 required a fairly long and rocky climb up to the top of the ridgeline. We were grateful to be climbing this steep section of trail instead of descending it.
Once you reach the top of the ridge the road opens up and the trees, short of some small bushes, disappear from the landscape.
On the horizon we saw the only tree for miles. We parked the bikes in the shade and took a little break from the heat.
A single tree contrasts the miles of open prairie.
Chantil relaxes in the cooler temperature of the only shade for miles.
Indian Route 6150 continued west returning to the Kaibab National Forest.
This portion of the road was a little muddy from the rains over the past weekend. There were sections that would have been near impossible to pass through just three days prior. We saw many rutted out section that looked like a 4WD vehicle struggled to get free from the thick, clay-like, mud. We understood that feeling all too well.
Fortunately, the sun had dried out most of the muddy section. We just had to pick good lines to ensure we didn’t fall into the deep ruts.
This section of the forest looked like it had been marked for thinning. The trees with the painted orange stripe were the fortunate ones; they were chosen to remain standing.
The miles continued to pass under our K-60 Scout tires as we descended south from the wooded forest area to the flat plains.
Chocolate, enjoying another short break under the shade of a lone juniper tree.
The final stretch of road before we reach the point we had to abandon the AZBDR due to heavy mud 5 day ago.
I definitely felt like we earned this sticker! AZBDR complete!
The sun was setting and it was time to find a place to camp for the night. We pulled off the road about 70 feet and set up camp for what was going to be our last camp of the trip.
Tomorrow we leave the dirt to head back to Coolidge, AZ. But not before we stop and see beautiful Sedona, Tonto National Forest, and Theodore Roosevelt Lake along the way…
AZBDR – Day 11 of 11
🗓: 5 May | 🌍: Coconino National Forest to Coolidge, Arizona
Map of Day 11: 317 miles paved + 2 miles dirt = 319 miles total
Normally I hate mornings and, if given the chance, I’ll sleep until 8 or 9 AM. However, all during this trip I was the first to wake up each day. I guess I was just really excited about getting on the trail and experiencing new adventure. Even today, on our last day of the trip, I was ready to get going.
Packing up went well enough. I felt like we had a pretty good system that allowed us to pack the tent, sleeping bags, and camping gear onto the mules in about 30 minutes.
Our last camping location yards from where we experienced all the mud, just less than a week before.
We decided to forgo breakfast in camp in order to make good time to Sedona. Besides a nice, hot, and hearty breakfast sounded like a great way to start our return home. We rode the two short miles of dirt (our only dirt of the day) before hitting pavement at AZ SR-89.
Before to long we were passing though Flagstaff and on our way to Sedona via the AZ SR-89 alternate.
Pure motorcycle bliss! Just look at all those curves. The road down into Sedona was beautiful.
Amazingly paved roads led us into Sedona with incredible views around every curve.
Beautiful Sedona! I wish we really could have had just a day to explore it. The surrounding mesas are incredibly beautiful and there is a lot to do there.
We enjoyed riding around Sedona through the late morning traffic towards our destination of The Coffee Pot Restaurant. Breakfast was recommended by a friend who has been living and working in Sedona. Unfortunately we couldn’t meet up during the very short time we were passing through.
After an enjoyable breakfast, we continued southwest via AZ SR-89A to AZ SR-260.
Much of the riding was on excellent, two-lane roads, surrounded by green forests.
We could have taken the freeway and rode through Phoenix to our destination but what fun would that have been? Besides, the single-cylinder 650s really don’t enjoy freeway cruising at 75MPH; they are much more content in the 50-60 MPH range. Before long we were riding along the AZ SR-188 and into the Tonto National Forest.
Beautiful! The Roosevelt Lake Bridge is an incredible looking landmark painted a striking light blue.
A view of the Roosevelt Lake Bridge from the Roosevelt Dam overlook.
After leaving AZ SR-188 we turned onto the “Apache Trail”, also know as AZ SR-88. My bike, Apache, seemed to enjoy this section of road. We made good time with the acceptation of some road construction. This was one of the hottest days of our trip.
As we continue south, the temperature continued to climb reaching over 100°F. The 650’s persisted along belching hot air from engine through vents that blew onto my right knee. We pressed onward in our goal to reach Coolidge before dark.
A short tunnel section on Apache Trail – AZ SR 88.
The final press, into Coolidge was uneventful. We rolled into my sister-in-laws driveway, turned off the ignition, and gently rolled the mules onto their kickstands. No fanfare. No drama. We were done. Mission complete!
Please enjoy this short video highlighting some of the best moments from our time riding the AZBDR:
Later that evening, I returned to look the bikes over and unload the gear such that they could be returned to the trailer for heading back to San Diego.
There is something hard to describe about the sense of fondness that you have about a motorcycle. In their simplest form they are just a bunch of mechanical, rubber, electrical, and plastic parts. Each part really isn’t spectacular on it’s own. Yet together, they create something quite magical. In the right hands they are downright enchanting. I have a lot of respect for how well engineered motorcycles are, especially these adventure bikes.
I can’t even remember how many times I had a “tip-over” on Apache. If I had to guess, it was probably 20 times. None of it was at speed and most of it was during the sand and muddy sections of the trail. Apache went through snow, rain, sleet, sand, mud, and 100 degree heat and didn’t even give any sign of quitting…
… except for his rear sprocket! Dang, now that is getting your money’s worth. Truth is, you don’t want to do this! It’s definitely overdue for a new chain and sprockets.
Until next time,
Travis & Chantil