Friday, April 14, 2017

AZ road trip 2017!

Hey everybody!
I know I have been neglecting my blogs lately, very busy at work and with other life things getting in the way.

I just returned from my AZ Road trip last week and thought I would throw something together to share with the blogging world.

I left MN on Friday morning, the 31st of March at about 6am. Returned to MN the following Saturday at about 7pm.
3732 miles driven, 63+ hours on the dash counter.
Total miles rode on the Trek Rumblefish was probably only in the 50 miles range. Which does not sound like much but the South-Eastern AZ trails are pretty awful for good riding so i blame them for my shortcomings. Sadly I did not bring and GPS so you will have to trust me on my guesstimates and crude GoogleMaps.

I B-lined for New Mexico so that I could make it to the Trinity Site while it was open. I just barely squeeked by, maybe an hour to spare. Though I did sit in line for 45 minutes to get checked in.
After Trinity I drove to Silver City, NM. In the morning I woke up early and rode the Big Tree Loop in Arenas Valley which was great riding. I did make a detour onto the Petroglyph trail which sucked and I ended up getting an explosive puncture on some of the sharp rocks on that trail. Still cool. The bike shop in Silver City hooked me up with a cheap rear tire as I wasn't sure how the old tire would last with a puncture right in the middle of the carcass.

Then I drove down to Bisbee and spent a couple of days hanging out with my dad and riding a little in the Mule Mountains, as well as an attempt at the Stronghold Loop.

Southeast AZ has very steep mountain pockets that are very rocky and gravely. This means the few posted trails are mostly hike-a-bike material and very exhausting in the sun and heat of the desert mountains. If you are into personal fitness and conquering a few trails and the personal satisfaction then give them a try. If you want flow trails and gravity goodies, steer clear! Though the downhills are pretty awesome when you get them.
In Bisbee (Mule Mountains) I hiked up from where we were staying and rode up to the antenna cluster on Mule Mountain which bigG says was about 4 miles up, and when I returned I descended down Brewery  Gulch (Wildcat Canyon) which was pretty cool, till I had to ride back up to High Road. If you go into Google Earth and look at this area you can see both the elevation this covers and in the aerial photos you can follow the paths I took. The descent down Wilcat/Zacatacas/Brewery Gulch was very rough with grapefuit size rocks and gravel most of the way. Would have been better on my enduro, instead of the 29er trailbike I was riding!

The Stronghold Loop in the Dragoon Mountains was also very difficult, and with the washed out trails I encountered I would not suggest it to anybody. You can't ride up it and you can only ride down some of it. And the other half is all graded gravel roads in the mountains. Pretty awful for riding in my opinion but the scenery is INCREDIBLE!

I also did some hiking around Bisbee with my dad that was fun, as he knows the area very well.

On the way home I stayed in Santa Fe and busted out the trials bike in the morning as there was a small skate park across the street from the hotel. I clearly have no idea what I am doing there so i made a loop around some government buildings and then checked out and headed north.

The Rift Valley Trail, outside Taos, NM, was a nice easy ride. It has a few good climbs but everything is very brief. Awesome views of the Rio Grand rift valley and the mountains around Taos.

After that i pushed north through southern Colorado. More epic scenery there. I sadly did not stop to get enlightened in CO, though I wanted to. :) I made it almost to the Nebraska border before stopping at a rest stop for a few hours sleep. the next day i pushed all the way home, I looked at MTBProject a few times but in the Midwest the trails are so spotty, or just a single trail off by itself that hardly warranted stopping at. :(

Overall a good trip that was not terribly restful but enjoyable just the same.

The Route down:

The Route up:

I rented a Dodge Caravan through Enterprise, it fit two bikes, my bag, a cooler and I still had room to sleep in the back as needed. It got great fuel economy, 28ish MPG even doing 80mph down the interstate.

$461 for 1 week and 2 days of rental minivan
$288 in gas
$99 in food receipts, though my dad bought food and drink a couple of days, plus the odd cash meal.
$318 for two nights in hotels. (definitely over paid here)
plus less than $200 in cash.

Total: around $1200 for a week on the road. Definitely more than it should have been but I do not feel like I stressed myself or was operating way above or below my means for the trip.