April 13th, 2003 Our adventure starts a few miles Northwest of Phoenix on the Vulture Mountain trail. Kenny and Don have a big smile as we start our ride after 6 months of talk and careful planning. Right before this picture we crossed a wash that we were warned could be impassable if water was flowing. I was so worried about this I never noticed till later we had crossed it and it was nothing but deep dry sand.

All of the desert vegetation was totally new to all of us and we always stopped to admire and take pictures it. Kenny and Don (pictured) are from Missouri and I am from Illinois. We were so lucky to have arrived in the spring and witness the spring desert blooms. The area had more rain in the month of February than it had in the last 3 years combined.

This is a Ocotillo shrub (not a cactus), although it is very prickly. It is one of the few flowering plants confined to the desert habitat. It attracts hummingbirds by the bundles when it blooms.


Don Magnas-----XR400 (street legal) with tourmaster soft saddlebags. Don's bike is basically stock and proved to very agile in the rough stuff compared to me and Kenny's big bikes. Don is a very good rider----and here he is after blasting across the deep powdery sand of the Hassayampi river almost carrying the front wheel in the air.. I know to you Easterners this doesn't look like a river as there is no water in it at this location.

The farther we went up river the more water we ran into. Actually----I read that most of the water in this river runs under the sand and therefore you must watch out carefully for quicksand. I saw a couple of suspicious spots and avoided them. I was also warned not to go into water that I couldn't see the bottom---and if the water got to deep upstream we would have to bail out of the riverbed and go around. It was unbelievably beautiful in here. The box canyon could be deadly if there was a flash flood. We had been in situations like this before in other parts of the country and were totally aware of the situation.

Kennys's on his big DR650 going thru the water. This is one of the prettiest places we were to be in on this trip.

We went down the Stanton Ghost Town Trail but must have missed the ghost town-----if it was still there. Here we are on wagoner road where we went by many huge ranches in the area. These ranches were measured in miles not acres. Crossing cattle guard after cattle guard as this is open range country.

The bike and guy on the right is me----Mark Sampson on the big KLR650. I was very unsure of this bike for this trip. Actually the KLR has been always a bike thought I would never want to own----boy was I to change my tune on this trip.

We are now on the "Senator Highway". Now this is my type of highway !!!! I heard about this trail-----but could only see bumper to bumper RV traffic in my vision. Not a soul out here.

Don's taking it easy and having a big swig of gatorade----little did he know he was to almost lose his bike a little down the trail.

Bad place to park. Don threw the kickstand down--walked away from his bike when he heard a clunk and it almost went down a deep ravine that we would have never got it out of by ourselves.

Don was a little busy and didn't notice I took this shot----he thanked me for running over to help him without taking a picture (which I have been guilty of in the past)-------------got ya Don !!!!!!!!!!!


We started riding at dawn and here it is after dusk and we are coming down one mountain switchback after another---------the town glowing down below is Prescott, Arizona where we got a Motel for the night. We didn't get to sleep till 11:30 PM after some good steaks.

184 miles of trail for the day-----tired---5AM will come early----can't wait !!!!!!

On to Day 2

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