Wednesday, January 23, 2013

You're going to take THAT there?!

It's been over 6 months since we've taken the Space Shuttle KTM out for a jaunt off road.  For shame. Mike put new tires on her yesterday and was itching to break them in.  My only stipulation: no 16 hour trips. He decided on Box Canyon.  We did Box Canyon a few weeks back in the Jeep, but this time we planned on pushing through to Superior.  That is 70 miles off road.

I brought along my new Olympus TG1 camera to try out.  Honestly, I'm super dissapointed and might return it. It really did not take good photos in low lighting - it was overcast today. I did play with the HDR function, as it did better in those conditions.  Anywho...

From Florence we headed down Price Road to Box Canyon.

Once in the canyon, we ran across 15 Jeeps.  Being the smaller vehicle, we stopped and let them pass. Several of them stopped to lament on how silly we were for taking the bike back here.  "You're take THAT through THIS!?" Yes, ma'am, we are. 

We saddled back up and proceeded on, only to have to stop to let a UTV group go by.  And more comments: "You're crazy!"

And then we drove by a huge ATV group.  Its a popular area, much to my shagrin. Fortunately, the further you go, especially past the canyon, the less people you run into. Mostly because the road turns to shit.

I couldn't decide whether or not I liked the HDR or normal version better. So here are both.

We exited the canyon and the road kept getting rockier, with steep climbs and drop offs.  It was one of the most challenging routes we've done on the KTM.  I disembarked here to let him climb this ledge as we approached it from the wrong angle. He has video of me slipping and falling, just prior to him slipping and dropping the bike.

I did a lot of walking in the next several miles.  It can be tough to wrangle the bike through this crap with a passenger.

Through all the roughness, the scenery was just beautiful. It's thrilling to know that a 30 minute drive from home can take me somewhere as breath taking as this. Thankfully the sun crept out and the camera decided to take better photos.

We took a brief break on a ridge line and watched two black hawks practice maneuvers.  Once through this particular mountain chain, the road improved immensely.  It followed closely to the Gila River for a while.

From this side, we began scouting for future camping spots.  The road was cake, comparatively speaking, and approached from the Superior side would be easy-peasy for the Jeep.

By now we were famished.  It was approaching 4PM and we hadn't eaten since brunch.  Thankfully we ran into a Jeep and later a group on a UTV who confirmed which direction we needed to go in order to hit pavement. It was gratifying to hear the surprise in one woman's voice when she heard we came from Box Canyon.

This was some seriously gnarly riding in some seriously excellent terrain.  I'm blown away by how beautiful it is back there.  But by the time those 70 miles were up, my bum was excited to see pavement.

Onward to Superior.  We stopped at Porter's and inhaled burgers.

As the sun set, we suited back up and rode home via the easy way - US60. It was great. My bum is a little worse for wear and Mike is sore from wrestling a huge bike through those rocks, but it was GREAT. The weather was pretty perfect today, just enough sun poking through some nature made shade to a cool, moonlit ride home. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Canoeing, Camping and Dogs, Oh My!

My parents graciously got us a canoe for Christmas.  We've been too busy the last few weeks to try it out, but made a point to get out this weekend.  We packed up the trailer, loaded up the dogs, strapped on the canoe and off we went.  It was key to find a good place to canoe that would avoid fast boats and wake.  We wanted to take the dogs on the canoe.

It was decided that we would camp near Apache Lake.  We had a spot in mind that we saw two years prior, right on a sandy beach, only room for one camp site....perfect.  Until we got there and saw that the park service closed it off to camping.  Bummer.  Further down we found our home for the night.

We set up the Taj Ma Tent and put the tent on the Jeep for a short jaunt to the water. Bear stayed behind and watched the camp sit for us.  But Elly and Rommel were seated in the canoe, ready to go.  Honestly, I was apprehensive and was completely convinced Rommel would tip us, but they rode like champs.

The lake was beautiful and quiet.

We paddled down to the beach we originally intended to camp at and stopped for a play session.

After lots of running, we hopped back in and made our way back towards camp.

Rommel settled in nicely.

Post canoe trip, we prepared a fire and cook brats for lunch.

We played until sunset, then settled in front of the fire for some much needed relaxation.  The dogs kept begging to go to bed, so reluctantly, Mike and I turned in too.

It was very cold over night, dipping into the 30's.  Luckily, I bought us a tent heater for Christmas.  While we were paranoid about leaving it on overnight, we turned it on sporadically throughout the night and we were nice and comfortable.

Morning came, a new fire was built, breakfast was enjoyed and a good game of chase the car was had.

Even Bear joined in.

Our campsite was in a perfect location.  Tucked in a canyon right off the Apache Trail, adjacent to a beach.

No one, human or canine, wanted the short camping trip to end, but it unfortunately had to.  The Taj Ma Tent was safely tucked away, and we were on our way home.

Camping is hard...

All in all it was a success.  The camp heater worked great.  Canoeing with the dogs went smoothly and we're looking forward to more trips.  If I made New Year's Resolutions, one would be to camp more...I think we're getting off to a good start.