Last weekend it was finally time for my wife and I to take our long planned trip through ArizonaÔÇÖs White Mountains. The plan was to go north from Tucson, through Young, and east to Hwy 191 taking as few paved roads as possible while still completing the trip in three days. We left around noon on Friday and headed north on Hwy 77. After passing Winkelman we turned off the highway and headed down Dripping Springs Rd. If you look at a map it shows this road terminating after about 12 miles, but it ends immediately adjacent to another unnamed road that heads north to Globe, so we figured weÔÇÖd give it a shot and see of the two roads actually connect. Half way to the end of Dripping Springs Rd we stopped and talked to a local gentleman and his wife that were riding by on their quad. He let us know that the intersection of the roads was on private property, but that there was another ÔÇ£roadÔÇØ that followed a wash north from Dripping Springs Rd and connected to the road to Globe. Sure enough, when we got to the end of the road it was blocked by a gate with a ÔÇ£No TrespassingÔÇØ sign, and off to the right there was another ÔÇ£roadÔÇØ that headed up a wash. Jess and I talked about it and we figured we were out there to have adventures, so we gave it a shot.
Adventures we had:
Stopped at the end of Dripping Springs Rd, planning for adventure.
At the first real obstacle in the road, Jess managed to find the hole.
The road actually crossed through the wash before it climbed up to meet the road to Globe. We managed to make it through the sand and dips upright.
The road climbed a hogs back to get from the wash to the road to Globe. We made it up the first couple of ridges without a problem.
This is the last ridge that had to be climbed to get back to the real road. Jess did really well, she was about 30 feet from the top when she put her bike down on the high side.
I, on the other hand, only made it about 3/4 of the way up that first hill before I did wheelie right off the side of the road.
These pictures don't do steepness of the grade, nor the looseness of the gravel any justice. It took about three hours of blood and sweat to get my bike back on the road and hers facing down the hill. By that time the sun was almost down, so we decided to go back the way we came. Through all of this our Jesse bags took a beating, but the bikes came out relatively unscathed. We made camp at the intersection of the wash and Dripping Springs Rd, nursed our cuts and bruises, ate some dinner, and planned for Saturday's adventures.
Our campsite, as seen the next morning. After breaking camp we headed back out to Hwy 77 and took that to Globe and had some breakfast. When we left Globe, we headed from from Hwy 60 to 188 to 288.
This picture was taken on Hwy 288 right after the sign marking the end of the pavement and several miles before the pavement actually ended. You can see Roosevelt Lake in the background.
Stopping for pictures on the way to Young.
Looking down on Young and the Pleasant Valley.
After passing through Young, we reached the end of Hwy 288 where it intersected with Hwy 260. By that time we were high enough to have reached the snow. It was also getting late, so we started looking for a place to camp.
We headed to campground outside of Pinedale (where we found this covered bridge), but it required a permit we weren't sure how to get, so we headed further down the road.
We ended up staying at the Fool Hollow Recreation Area just north of Show Low. The campground was a little crowded, but still very nice. It had fire pits, graded tent sites, showers, and the caretakers actually delivered some firewood to our campsite for us. That was a nice night.
After breaking camp we continued down Hwy 260. The original plan had been to jump back onto the fire roads just outside of McNary, but there was so much snow on the ground we didn't even try. We did attempt to hit the back roads again at Hwy 273 near the Sunrise Park Ski Resort, but we were stymied there as well. At this point we were near White Mountain Reservoir and at the highest elevation we attained, about 9200 feet. We headed back to the highway and into Eagar, where we stopped for lunch. From Eagar, we headed straight to Hwy 191.
Both the scenery and the twisties along Hwy 191 were incredible. 191 is a ride we would recommend to anyone.
As Hwy 191 headed out of the foothills of the White Mountains we came across the Morenci Copper Mine. Both Jess and I are in the Navy and have been around the world, taking in sights from the Coliseum in Rome to the International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong, and we both agreed this is the most impressive man-made anything we had ever seen. Riding through the mine was like watching the very foothills of the White Mountains being moved.
Just as the sun was going down, we stopped in Safford for gas. We had originally planned to take Hwy 70 back to Globe and head to Tucson from there, but because it was so late and Jess had to work in the morning, we just headed down to I-10 and blasted back to Tucson. We were so tired by the time we got home, we just ordered Domino's for Easter dinner.
Here's a map of the route our adventures took:
Hope you enjoyed reading about our ride.
Tim and Jessica