February 19th, 2015

I was still pretty sore from my hike yesterday and decided this would be a rest day.
A short ride on my mountain bike told me the same thing.

But that didn't last long--------I unloaded the KTM and headed to old Fort Bowie a little after noon and a very late breakfast.
Half of which the birds ate-----if you walked away from your food----they were all over it.
You wouldn't even know they were watchin' you.

I got on Apache Pass road towards the Fort which was just a little ways North of my campsite in a straight line.
It was anything but a straight line getting there.











You can hike in from Apache pass road to the fort-------about a 2 mile hike.
Or---you can go down another dirt road and be 500 ft. from it.

It was pretty warm---I stripped down to my shorts and sandals and hiked to the fort.
In the visitor center was a picture of the fort in 1894.









I'm not going to write pages and pages of history on this fort------google it----and you'll find more than I
could type in a lifetime. Pretty neat to look at tho.
I think Geronimo's son is buried in a cemetery out there somewhere.

The big tall flagpole fascinated me more than anything----don't know why ????





Be careful where you point that thing.






















There were hundreds of artifacts in the visitor center.
The pictures thru the glass aren't good at all.
























Those curved walls made me wonder how they got that way.












The valley in the distance is what I rode out of to get here.


































On the way in I past this sign---on the way out I went down this road--it was a dead end but very nice ride.




The gate was unlocked and un-signed-------so I went thru.



I guess I didn't get any pictures of going to the dead end----it was spectacular and climbed right up on top of a mountain
where I had put a waypoint years ago called "Cochise Head".

Which I think is a mountain top when viewed from far off looks like Cochise's head---however right on top of it----it just looked like the
top of a mountain.

I got some really good video of going up that mountain---but forgot to take any pictures I guess.

I meandered back to my campsite and made dinner and wasn't long for the world. It felt good to be on the bike.


Here's a short video of todays riding.








February 20th, 2015


OK-----what is this wild and crazy guy they call the "Big Dog" going to do today ????
Sky dive-----zip line----snow board----climb K2-----or take a nap ?????

I talked the forest service who hauls hikers up to the top of the mountain in Chiracahua National Monument to hike down it
to haul me and my bicycle up the mountain.





This nice lady was the driver and said I was too old and was totally nuts to ride the 6 miles of twisty downhill (pavement) back to my camp.
She also reminded my I wasn't 18 anymore-----the same thing my wife always tells me.
I one upped her---and said I was going to hike the Echo canyon trail before I rode down.
She just shook here head at me and drove off----not before telling me I was the first person that had asked to haul their bike up the mountain.
She said "be careful---and the speed is 25mph"----------yeh yeh.





So me and my newest friend Michael hiked the Echo Canyon trail---Michael in the picture.
He was on the bus too--so we hiked together for a margin of safety for us 2 old farts.











































Back to my bicycle----I rode down the mountain----I think I broke the speed limit just a bit !!!!!!
The helmet cam video I took of that descent is awesome.











Almost back to camp.


Here's a short video of my hike and bicycle ride down the mountain.








February 21st, 2015

I broke camp and drove towards Safford Arizona----planning on getting a motel and regrouping
since I had been camping in the van since I left home---I hadn't had a bath in 4 days again.
But on the way I found the neatest state park--------Roper Lake State Park--just South of Stafford.
They had a shower and I had a least 2 rides I wanted to do out of there.

It was about noon and I unloaded and figured I had time to do one of the rides that afternoon.




This snow capped mountain loomed to my West and I knew there was a road going to the top----albeit a dead end road.
Webb peak is at the top at over 10,000 ft.---------and off I went---passing a bicyclist on the way.
It was about 35 miles from camp to a gate where I hit snow---the bicyclists made it all the way and coasted down the mountain.



The switch backs up the mountain were spectacular----the valley you see below I planned on riding thru tomorrow
down another dead end road to Aravaipa canyon.



On this tight turn you can see the remains of the original bridge made of stone.



More views of the road up the mountain.








I got to a closed gate and snow at about 9,000 ft. elevation.
Going down I met the guy on the bicycle still climbing--he was very close to the top and I knew he made it.
I gave him the thumbs up. It was really cold up there and surely he had some wind proof gear---or he would
have froze going down the mountain in his shorts and jersey.




On the way up I passed a dirt road---------and took it going down---which turned out really neat.
Look at that stone railing. This is the old road they never finished.




I think I rode on it for a few miles and it just dead ended.
On the way back I talked to 2 girls in a jeep on the road and they told me the story.
This was the original road that was suppose to go to the top-----it was engineered very poorly and ran into
a seemingly impossible path---and they just quit and were out of money.
And built another one years later on a completely different route.




Back down the mountain I envisioned some more chile for dinner---but passed a little store that had a deli--and they
fixed me a really nice sandwich which I took back to camp.




Called my wife------she says "what you doin'" ??????
{Remember it's below zero back home.}
I say----"gettin' a sun tan".
She says-----------------"awe shud-up"




Here's a short Video of my mountain climb.








Sunday February 22nd, 2015


I'm still not sure if today would be my favorite day of my whole journey--but I think it was.
I was to go many miles down a dead end road to Aravaipa Canyon---there is a way out of there
but it's not for the faint of heart.

I left my camp early and went South on Hwy. 191 then West on Hwy. 266.
It was paved at first---I thought I was going to visit and old fort on that road.
Old Fort Grant was long gone and they built a prison on top of it.





The road turns to dirt and the mountains you see in the distance are the very ones I road to the top of yesterday--up into the snow.




I turn eventually Nortwest on Bonita/Klondyke road thru some wide open ranchland.
Today was going to be outstanding----------I just didn't know it yet.
Well-------this tree is outstanding.






For most the road dead ends in the Aravaipa Canyon area where it becomes a wilderness area.





I didn't know when I took this picture of this ranch house----but found out later the people that live in this ranch house
have bought up a lot of ranch land in the area and their intentions are very honorable. They are going to preserve the area
for others to enjoy and not just lock it out. I found out they were very nice people.
What a beautiful place-----it was way off the road.





I've never been down this road but did see a town on my gps that said "Klondyke".
I had know idea what I'd find------------population 5 and no stop signs or stop lights.




This is the old Klondyke store which is sadly closed now---lots of history abounds for Klondyke as mining was a huge thing here at one time.





I looked to the side of the store and this is where my day just gets really good.
These elderly people were drilling for water with this old drilling rig--and they owned the store and have
places to stay if traveling through. I went over to say hi---and they were so friendly.
They were so laid back and relaxed---just the opposite of city folk.




I marvelled at the old "homemade" drilling rig------or I thought it was homemade.
Made in 1963 and still working.





Back at the store I marvelled at the old phone booth and the pretty cactus.





The nice people saw me taking pictures of the place and offered to take my picture.
Said---they've been doing that for people for 50 years.








This is when they asked me if I wanted to see the old Klondyke cemetary.
They were taking some people that were staying at their lodge and said I could tag along.
After them telling me it was down an old dirt road on private property and nobody except the locals knows it's there
I accepted the offer. After all----I had come all this way and probably would never get this offer ever again.
It turned out to be spectacular---and I waited for them to come buy in their 4-wheelers to take me back there.




My buddy Roger Hayes did this for me------I'm so old--I'm black and white.






We went thru a locked gate and out into the mountains.




As I followed them on my KTM.






Here's the old cemetary---and the stories and history I was told up here was really fascinating.





Notice the images of a horse, shovel and pic by the entrance.
The people that live in the nice ranch house had just bought this property and allowed the people who owned the
Klondyke store to bring people up here------we spent and hour up here as I took a step back in time.
The desert scenery and cactus plants were so beautiful.





I don't remember any of the peoples names---but this fellow and his wife owned the store and he was glad to share the
history of the area. I was all ears-----and had nothing interesting to say compared to what he shared with me---so I just listened.
They took a group picture of all of us an put it on their facebook page---I was honored.












I think this was the oldest part of the cemetary.
Kind of reminded me of the old cemetary I visited in Tombstone Arizona a few years ago.












This was my favorite grave marker--the name was welded on a piece of steel.




I was in no hurry to leave the Klondyke, cemetary------------but wasn't really quite ready to"stay".
So I rode out on the horse I rode in on.




Stuff I saw as I headed further Northwest to Aravaipai Canyon.






I made at least 15 creek crossings as the road deteorated.










I entered the canyon and made more creek crossings.





Just coming out of a Southern Illinois winter with snow and ice-------this was the first greenery I had seen in a long time.




When I hit the wilderness area I turned kind of South and road right up Turkey creek for miles.
I was looking for an Indian Cliff dwelling I had heard about but was unsure of it's exact location.




The riding got a bit gnarly at times-------or maybe I just thought it was since I was alone.
I almost turned around a few times but kept on going for a few miles and finally found the dwelling up a cliff.












A not so good picture of the inside----it was very small and was the only one.








This is the trail you had to climb up out of Turkey Creek to get to it.
Actually the trail down in Turkey Creek was really fun--when you weren't in the the creek you were on a dirt ATV like trail.
Nothing really hard.

Here's a short video of todays riding-------kind'a spectacular .




Today was a full day---and I got back to camp just before dark and took off in my van camper the next morning..
I had know idea where I was going---but ended up taking a few days driving back home--mostly on backroads.
It had turned really cold and it was nice traveling in the van
A couple of the days it never got above freezing.
This trip was very relaxing for me and was very different from past trips I've taken.
Hope you enjoyed the story and pictures.

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