RIDE REPORT ~ 014 Kurt_Worden AZ SS1K
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AZ SS1K Summary
Ok so if I’m going to make my goal of 10K Miles and 8 States for the 2013 BMR I needed some longer rides. An SS1K is still a one day affair so I should be able to squeeze a couple of these in inspire of my work schedule which is really cramping my riding. To date all my points were in CA and I had accumulated roughly 1600 miles … I really needed to get busy getting out of state. Like many BMR bonus hunters I’ve got a computer full of potential planned routes and one of the easier ones was a loop through southern AZ to collect the sparse bounii in the dessert South West.
My planned route was basically a loop around Tucson and Phoenix up to 31 points and a good 1300 miles which seemed doable. As with all plans they are good point to start with but seldom go as envisioned.
So after a busy week of trade shows and community work I checked the weather and AZ was forecast to 46-66 with out rain … perfect conditions. After a quick round up of my gear and doubling checking the bike, I planned on getting to bed early and starting out around 2AM for a 7:30 arrival at my first scheduled bonus location Ajo VFD.
My plan started falling apart when I didn’t get to bed until 10PM and with a 1AM wake up call things looked tight already. I was wide-awake and ready to go when the alarm went off. I left the corner gas station with my required receipt and witness form signed at 2:05. I’m on time things were looking good until i checked my GPS arrival time in Ajo 8:10, a full 30 minutes after sunrise. It seems that my routing software (Base Camp) doesn’t factor time changes into arrival time but the Garmin GPS does. Oh well at this point I’m just along for the ride, we’ll see how this turns out.
The route takes I-8 East from San Diego to AZ-85 South. The ride through the mountain East of San Diego was perfect, inspire of a bit of rain. The roads weren’t very wet and the cloud cover keep the temperate from dropping to really cold. Also during the Mountain section I had the privilege of seeing no less than three Owls on the side of the freeway. These are fantastic birds to see in flight and it was really cool seeing take to flight with their prey … even if one of them did mistake me either a perch or dinner, the view of he owl up close is as awesome and unnerving as you can imagine. Also on this leg were planned stops at Ocotillo and Winterhaven. Internet research showed that both towns had populations of less than 397 from the 2010 census. Still I was confident that neither would yield the appropriate bonus sign. I was right they didn’t. Ocotillo apparently doesn’t believe in population counts or they count you as a resident of you stop in the bar and Winter haven hasn’t gotten the Census results back so their sign still reads 900 and change.
On to Ajo, I arrived there just after 8 as the GPS predicted. Made a bee – line to the coordinates and sure enough … two churches no fire station. Lesson learned from previous trips. Ask the GPS where the fire station is. It’s on the other side of town where I just came from. Quick ride to the other side of town … no fire station. Ok I’ve got to ask where it’s at. The clerk at the gas station let me know, I was almost there I just needed to drive another ¼ mile. Got the BBP and headed south on AZ-85 to Why. I should mention that AZ-85 is great riding high dessert scenery, smooth rides and the day was over cast and cool perfect riding weather.
Why was right where it was suppose to be … BBP and on to Tombstone Via Tucson and AZ-83 which takes me through the Coronado National Forest, an easy 3 points. Needed to stop for gas and check the chain lube and oil. Seems I left he chain lube in the garage that’s not good, this chain will be toast by the time I get back to San Diego. Fortunately my new blue tooth headset is working great and I’m able to my groovy and supportive wife (yes She’s my fav person for many reasons) and ask her to find a bike shop open on Sunday. She’s on it and says by the time if get to Tucson she’ll text me the results. I’m still that hopeful that she’ll find one that’s open but maybe. Well kudos to the groovy bike friendly folks in Tucson, I open my text and 3 or 4 options. The first shop I plug into the GPS is only 4 miles from my current position and open 15 minutes ago … sweet. Chain crisis averted I’m back on the bonus hunt.
AZ-83 South to AZ-82 East into Tombstone, the roads are great … easy running more great scenery and smooth. Take note I passed through and by the Coronado National Forest and don’t even see the hint of a qualifying sign. I know some one picked this off earlier so you might do well to ask them where it is, if you plan on going there. I get into Tombstone get my BBP and gas receipt. I’m headed north on AZ-80 to PIMA and I’m about 1-½ hours behind plan … Pima is 2 hours away Via AZ-191. More great scenery and smooth fast roads, I love AZ their doing everything they can to help me make up time. Until I reach Stafford and AZ-70 it’s one big long rural town after another with speeds to help me work on my gas mileage. By the time I reach Pima I’ve made the decision to drop FG003 Tom Mix, which will recover an hour and allow me to reach ST001 before sunset.
AZ-70 takes me to Globe. I’ve ridden this road before and it’s just a beautiful ride and I’m not disappointed today. Getting into Canyon is a bit of an adventure as my GPS takes me through the neighbor hood that’s built on the canyon walls … there’s has got to be an easier way to get to the fire station … but the route is technical and a blast even if the road is slightly rough in spots. BBP and go.
AZ-60 takes me to AZ-88 Apache Trail and Tortilla Flat. On the way Tonto National Forest Signs abound. The road to Tortilla Flat would be some of the greatest riding in the country … except that every 3-4 feet there’s a 1-2 inch frost heave in the road and it’s killing my front suspension. Cut me some slack here these are bottom of the barrel forks I’m running on. Damping is done by selecting the proper spring rate and rebound by changing the fork oil weight. I head into the first 25mph turn at about 30mph and my front wheel is not touching the road for a good portion of the turn. Regardless of the posted speed limit the real speed i determined by the condition of the road. During the 15 mile merciless beating of my bike and body my Spot Connect breaks loose from it’s mounting and I’m too focused on staying on the road to notice. All that attention that I’m paying to the road is unfortunate because this is one gorgeous piece of country (I’ll be back someday to spend some time). BBP update my Spot … hum no Spot, bummer. Call my groovy wife and ask her to tell where the spot is reporting itself … it should still be doing that, but nothing. Last position is the start of the Apache Trail; it must be face down in the ditch. I’ll look for it on my way out. I don’t’ see it, the sun is down and it’s starting to rain, not hard but hard enough that I don’t’ want to risk sticking around looking for a little black box in the dark.
I drive through Mesa to the FG005. It’s completely dark by now (I’m still 1 hour behind plan) and I’m not able to get enough light on the cemetery sign to get the BBP. I’m bummed but I’ll be back. As I ride around the cemetery to get to I-10 there’s Cemetery sign at the right height to light up and get the BBP. Alls right with the world again … over 3 points, whom would have guessed. At this point I do a quick calculation and determine my original route on I-10 to CA-79 to pick off the (3) TP bounii that Heidi scouted for me is an hour longer than the route back to I-8 and San Diego. I’m running on 3 hours sleep and need to be ready to work at 7AM so the extra hour will be welcome. I bag the I-10 route and head for the barn.
I arrived back at my start point 1232 GPS miles and 23 hours later. I’m tired, down one Spot but picked 21 points and had a great day touring beautiful country in AZ. Thanks BMR Team for putting this ride together!