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Thread: East to the Apache Trail

  1. #1
    Registered User Mark H's Avatar
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    East to the Apache Trail

    Hi all,

    As part of a much larger adventure, my wife and I are planning to ride from Southern California to Yuma and then across to ride the Apache Trail. From there we head north towards Colorado, and into the distance for another 4 weeks of what we hope will be motorcycling heaven.
    The challenge in the early part of our ride is to find an interesting route between Yuma and Apache Junction (eastern outskirts of Phoenix).

    This part of the US is not short on stunning open desert vistas, but as things stand, we are thinking there isn't much in the way of "great" roads across this section of Arizona.
    We have mapped out the following route -
    LINK to Google Maps

    We plan to start the days ride in Yuma after the previous day skirting the border with Mexico (to see first hand what the border wall looks like).
    But leaving Yuma, it looks like there is a combination of highways and fairly straight secondary roads. I added the dip down through Ajo and Why to try and capture more interesting terrain, but it's still not looking too exciting. We ride R1200GS and had considered riding El Camino Del Diablo or part of it, but that may be a little too isolated and remote. We like off-road sections, but are not hardcore adventure riders.

    Does anyone have any local knowledge of this area and can share insights or recommendations for an alternate route across this part of the country.


    Regards


    Mark
    Mark Hubble
    2015 - R1200GS Black Storm Metallic
    Sydney, AUSTRALIA

  2. #2
    Hangered... but aimed out flyhi2cfar's Avatar
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    Howdy Mark; you have some fine riding ahead of you with that itinerary!

    I have before me a 2002 edition (yep), of the Automobile Club of California"s (AAA)... INDIAN COUNTRY Guide Map for AZ, NM, UT and CO.

    I just searched on-line and the AAA continues to publicize this very fine resource for travel, you will want a copy if you see it!

    It's been a few years since my Yuma layover enroute to the Tecate crossing for BAJA. I do remember desolation between Yuma and Gila Bend.
    The Apache Trail fantastic riding.

    Fort Apache and the Historical Park... a letdown. At Canyon De Chelle Natl. Mon... ride through the park to Shiprock NM.

    "travel'n" John

  3. #3
    Registered User Mark H's Avatar
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    G'day John,

    We hadn't planned to get to Tecate, but I must say that the stretch of Campo Road in that area looks like a nice ride.

    We are shipping our bikes from Australia and will collect them in LA before heading off. Our first day on the road from there will take us south following a slight inland run -
    LINK to Google Maps

    We strike the border mid-way between San Diego and Yuma. A short ride along the wall/fence line on the border, assuming the border patrol don't object should be an interesting run.

    Everything after the nights stay in Apache Junction is going to be amazing riding, so one day of what we call "A to B riding" is no problem and all part of the experience.
    It can't all be canyon chasing and high mountain passes.

    You guys in the US are spoilt for choice when it comes to motorcycle roads. Particularly in the area west of Denver, although we have not had the pleasure of riding in the east.


    Cheers


    Mark
    Mark Hubble
    2015 - R1200GS Black Storm Metallic
    Sydney, AUSTRALIA

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark H View Post
    G'day John,

    We hadn't planned to get to Tecate, but I must say that the stretch of Campo Road in that area looks like a nice ride.

    We are shipping our bikes from Australia and will collect them in LA before heading off. Our first day on the road from there will take us south following a slight inland run -
    LINK to Google Maps

    We strike the border mid-way between San Diego and Yuma. A short ride along the wall/fence line on the border, assuming the border patrol don't object should be an interesting run.

    Everything after the nights stay in Apache Junction is going to be amazing riding, so one day of what we call "A to B riding" is no problem and all part of the experience.
    It can't all be canyon chasing and high mountain passes.

    You guys in the US are spoilt for choice when it comes to motorcycle roads. Particularly in the area west of Denver, although we have not had the pleasure of riding in the east.


    Cheers


    Mark
    Interesting, Aussies traveling on motor/s coming to Apache Junction, Az. Where you staying in AJ?
    The lion does not even bother to turn his head when he hears the small dog barking.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/azqkr

  5. #5
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark H View Post
    Hi all,

    As part of a much larger adventure, my wife and I are planning to ride from Southern California to Yuma and then across to ride the Apache Trail.
    One time when we stopped to see my brother in Yuma we took 86 out of Tucson and 85 up through Ajo.
    I don't remember anything exciting along 86 but it was a long time ago.
    South of Ajo you could visit Organ Pipe NP. We stopped there but my wife was sick and was not up to riding her bike on the sandy park road.
    If you have not been to Tucson you might consider changing your route a little so you could ride through the Saguaro National Parks.
    Iron Horse BMW in Tucson is a good shop if you need anything.
    Here's pictures from the east side park.
    Oct 1992 SW Trip_0017.jpg

    Oct 1992 SW Trip_0018.jpg
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  6. #6
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark H View Post

    We strike the border mid-way between San Diego and Yuma. A short ride along the wall/fence line on the border, assuming the border patrol don't object should be an interesting run.
    We have not been right next to the border east of San Diego.
    A lot of times the Border Patrol will have a gravel trail right next to the border and they run this in pickups and 4 UTVs.
    They might frown on you riding your GSs on the trail.
    There's probably plenty of places for good pictures without getting on the trail.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark H View Post
    We ride R1200GS and had considered riding El Camino Del Diablo or part of it, but that may be a little too isolated and remote. We like off-road sections, but are not hardcore adventure riders.
    Do you mean US191? That entered my mind when I read your plan, but you'd have to angle south quite a bit to get to Morenci. Might still be worth it!

    Does anyone have any local knowledge of this area and can share insights or recommendations for an alternate route across this part of the country.
    Here is a thought with some tame dirt. If it's raining around Santa Fe/Los Alamos, don't take that part... but if it's dry the Jemez Trail is a beautiful ride.

    As always, check the weather before you ride, there are some very high elevations on this route.



    If you're heading to a different area in CO, there are some nice roads northward from Santa Fe...

    Also... a video of my Apache Trail ride, from west to east, from before the days of HD video or GoPro cameras....

    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
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  8. #8
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
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    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    Do you mean US191? That entered my mind when I read your plan, but you'd have to angle south quite a bit to get to Morenci. Might still be worth it!



    Here is a thought with some tame dirt. If it's raining around Santa Fe/Los Alamos, don't take that part... but if it's dry the Jemez Trail is a beautiful ride.

    As always, check the weather before you ride, there are some very high elevations on this route.



    If you're heading to a different area in CO, there are some nice roads northward from Santa Fe...

    Also... a video of my Apache Trail ride, from west to east, from before the days of HD video or GoPro cameras....

    Apache trail is closed past Tortilla Flats due to summer monsoon rains creating landslides and boulders the size of a car on the road. Az DOT has issued a statement it may be 2 r more years before that section of the road is reopened up to the lake.
    The lion does not even bother to turn his head when he hears the small dog barking.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/azqkr

  10. #10
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    I was out that way a while back....The had monsoon rains (1/4” or so ) barely drizzle to me. Anyway, it was enough to “wash” the tarantulas out of their holes and they made a weird popping noise as the car ran over them- they covered the road
    Might want to be careful if you decide to sleep out under the buckboard.
    Safe travels.
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    I was out that way a while back....The had monsoon rains (1/4” or so ) barely drizzle to me. Anyway, it was enough to “wash” the tarantulas out of their holes and they made a weird popping noise as the car ran over them- they covered the road
    Might want to be careful if you decide to sleep out under the buckboard.
    Safe travels.
    OM
    This is what the road looks like now. 1/4" of rain isn't consider a monsoon rain here. When it's 1-2" an hour, that's monsoon weather. That large boulder is the size of an F250 truck.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    The lion does not even bother to turn his head when he hears the small dog barking.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/azqkr

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by brownie0486 View Post
    Apache trail is closed past Tortilla Flats due to summer monsoon rains creating landslides and boulders the size of a car on the road. Az DOT has issued a statement it may be 2 r more years before that section of the road is reopened up to the lake.
    Interesting... I was wondering why Google Maps wouldn't route through, I thought it might be snow.

  13. #13
    Registered User Mark H's Avatar
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    Thank you to all for the feedback, video and most importantly the local knowledge.

    It would certainly be a shame if the Apache Trail were closed, but we are not in the US until mid-September, so although the forecast is for the road to be out of commission for some time, let's hope that it is not as catastrophic as it first appears.

    If it is a no go zone, we would most likely swing south and east via Hwy 60, so that we can still ride the Globe-Young Highway north.

    We have travelled to the US a couple of times and we take our bikes with us from Australia. Hiring for 5 weeks is significantly more expensive than the freight costs, and we like riding our own bikes.
    Having said that, we need to be a little measured on where we ride, particularly off-road. We aren't highly mechanical, so we nee to be careful not to take huge risks with tough off-road sections or risk damaging our bikes or ourselves. Camping is also off the agenda in preference for a hotel/motel bed and hot shower at the end of the day.

    The El Camino Del Diablo would be a great ride if we were local and if we didn't have 8,000 miles ahead of us.

    The ride along the border is very much an opportunity to see this iconic "wall", but also a social exercise. I suspect the border patrol (if we come across them or they come across us) will be curious about why we are there. A couple from Australia on two matching GS bikes with foreign plates, is not the strangest thing, but still somewhat unusual. Travelling around the world and most notably on two wheels in the US, has taught me that most of us are just curious and friendly by nature. So we look forward to the opportunity to chat with those who's job it is to police this zone.

    For anyone who may be interested - this is a map of the full ride as we have it planned so far.

    Route Map.jpg
    Mark Hubble
    2015 - R1200GS Black Storm Metallic
    Sydney, AUSTRALIA

  14. #14
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    Mark -

    Could you post a map file so the locals can advise on local roads? The resolution of your image does not appear clear on my device. It would be a help to many of the members.

  15. #15
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark H View Post
    The ride along the border is very much an opportunity to see this iconic "wall", but also a social exercise. I suspect the border patrol (if we come across them or they come across us) will be curious about why we are there. A couple from Australia on two matching GS bikes with foreign plates, is not the strangest thing, but still somewhat unusual. Travelling around the world and most notably on two wheels in the US, has taught me that most of us are just curious and friendly by nature. So we look forward to the opportunity to chat with those who's job it is to police this zone.
    Debbie and tend to get away with going places where we do not belong without getting in trouble.
    In Alaska Debbie rode her bike through a narrow gate so I could get a picture of her bike under the oil pipeline.
    It was not long before a security truck pulled up to the gate and the guy walked into where we were.
    I just explained I wanted a picture and would get out. He was pretty nice and visited with us for quite awhile.
    He mentioned the helicopter we had spotted was keeping an eye on us.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

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