Thursday, May 26, 2011

Superior Again: Happy Camp Trail Loop

Last Thursday we headed out for Superior, AZ with two friends. We discovered that Superior is our new destination spot, as it has loads of dirt tracks waiting to be ridden.

Since we were all enthralled with Superior, the boys planned for a ride up yonder today. The weatherman was predicting triple digits in southern Arizona today, so we opted to leave at dawn. Mike and Jeremy met us at our place at 5AM and we headed out.

Mike on a Honda XR400, Jeremy on a Honda 650L and Mike and I two-up on the Space Ship KTM 990.

We left Casa Grande and headed towards Florence, AZ. Once in Florence we hopped on the Florence/Kelvin Highway. Its paved for a short while, then turns into grated, dirt goodness. Last week we managed to hit the road right after a rain, so the dust was down. This week, not so lucky. The road winds through valleys all the way to Kelvin. Its a pretty fantastic road.

Heading into Kelvin.

Once in Kelvin, we hit 177 towards Superior for some fuel. 177 might be paved, but its an excellent road for bikes. Plus we ride by the Ray Mine, which brings the kid out in the men of the ride.

We lead on the paved roads because we had the speedometer. The boys took lead on dirt because they were on smaller bikes. The 990 is nimble, but not as nimble as their little bikes.

From Route 60 in Superior, we turned onto the Silver King Mine Road. After a brief ride past the mine, we were out in the wild by 7AM.

Mike taking lead.

The best part of the 40 mile loop we made today was the difference in landscape between the mountains. We turned onto Happy Camp Road.

At some point we turned onto North Happy Camp Canyon Road. We went from Saguaro forests to red dirt, to white dirt, to red dirt, to evergreens, repeat. It was pretty fantastic. There were switchbacks, cows, deer, washes, rocks, etc.

My husband (bronco3738), our Space Ship KTM 900 pilot, is a suicidal animal magnet. Last week a bird kamakazied into his chest. This week a cow ran in front of us for a 1/2 mile and a white tail deer tried to t-bone us. Nothing but excitement.

The boys were great and would speed on ahead, then chill out and wait for us to catch up.

We were maybe halfway through the ride at this point. Pretty little switchbacks we just rode up. And while relaxing, they take notice of switchbacks going up a different mountain that must be explored at a later point.

The Space Ship KTM awaits for destinations unknown.

We actually made it high enough to see some small evergreen trees.

Hi Mike, nice to see you finally kick started your bike for the millionth time.


Now, on the other side of the mountain. (If you look closely, there is a teeeny tiny bike in the left corner)

This was a real honest-to-god mountain chain. Unlike the many "sky islands" that fill Arizona.

Right about now, we're 30 miles in, its getting hot, the dirt has turned red again, and food is calling from Superior.

Reflections are fun.

We made it back to pavement (US60) and hit Superior at 11AM. Found ourselves eating at Edward's Subs and Pizza, dreading the heat on the ride back.

40 miles of fun dirt track. Not a shabby way to spend your day off. We found ourselves on the Florence/Kelvin highway on the route back.

97 degrees and we're in Casa Grande by 1:30PM.

I had the hubby make a map for those interested. Its a highly recommended ride.

No worries Superior, we'll be back.

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