Day 3 Tuesday April 15th, 2003

It rained hard during the night in Florence. I got up and rolled our bikes under the canopy at the motel. I was leading us into Box Canyon today and had a lump in my stomach about going into it after all the rain we had.

Here we are with the start of Box Canyon in the background. Looks pretty dry to me but I was still worried about the narrow canyon ahead.

This a Cholla cactus----one of these boogers nailed Kenny, so when I got home I did a little research on them---so here it is. The teddybear cholla (also known as the "jumping" cholla) because the spiny joints detach easily, seeming to jump off and penetrate a passerby (that would be Kenny). It grows in well-drained sandy and gravelly soils in the desert plant communities at lower elevations. Take care as you walk in the desert---the spikes can penetrate you shoe soles and are extemely painful to remove !!!!

Kenny found this out first hand. We are still wondering how come we never had a flat tire ?????



We enter the narrower part of Box Canyon and it is dry as a bone------all that worrying for nothing !!! The gravelly and sandy bottom was a little difficult to ride in.

I love this picture of our three bikes. We were right on the crown of a small mountain. We all were carrying soft saddlebags and had packed just enough clothes to stink pretty bad after 3 days---after 11 days--wheewwwweee!!!!. We also carried a little food---plenty of water and gatorade---tools for repairs---and everything we needed to fix a flat on the trail if necessary. Me and Kenny are aces at tire changing and change all of our tires at home just so we can keep in practice if we have to do it on the trail. Tire changing isn't really fun----but if you ride like we do you better be prepared to do it or walk 100 miles.


The Coke Ovens

Here you see the 5 charcoal kilns built in 1882 out in the desert just on the North side of the Gila river and North of the Ghost Town of Cochran. They were used to turn mesquite into charcoal in order to smelt the ore from the mines that supported Cochran. In the 1990's the owner of the ovens modified them with the idea of using them as guest cottages. They are currently abandoned and are on private ground but are seemingly open for visiting. I was very happy to get to these beautiful historic ovens and see them first hand. It is extremely difficult to get to them.

They are beautiful and in great shape. This was surely one of the highlights of our trip---- it was on my list of "must do" things and we went way out of our way to get there.

I wanted to attempt crossing the Gila river into Cochran, but the river was deep and swift---no way could we have made it across.

We then went East on the North side of the Gila river and road "Battleaxe Trail"-----don't know where the name came from. It was beautiful with ever changing desert scenery over every mountain and curve. The windmill you see was a very common sight out here----most were still functional and pumped water into a big trough for the cattle.

My big KLR was outfitted with Kawasaki soft saddlebags, tankbag and tailbag, progressive front suspension, Acerbis cactus guards, heated grips, garmin 176C GPS, Moose rollchart, stock 6.1 gal. fuel tank, Happy trails skid plate and center stand and a headlight switch if I needed to delegate the use of my bikes meager charging system. Oh Yeah Kenda 270 tires I think--I swear by these street legal babies.

In fact all three of us had brand new Kenda 270 DOT knobbies on for this trip. They were in pretty good conditon after over 2,000 miles of sand, gravel and rocks.

This mine was on Telegraph Trail-----which was really tough starting out. To tough for my KLR, but I hung in there and toughed it out.

Kenny and his DR650 on Montana Mountain Loop Trail

Here we go--Acerbis brush guards, tourmaster soft saddlebags, probressive suspension, high compression piston, cam, pumper carburator, 5 gallon plastic tank, Garmin GPSIII+ and Garmin Street Pilot---yes two (3 wouldn't fit)--Walmart ATV tank panniers, Kenda 270's, heated grips, Widder heated clothing plug, some kind of fuel mixture reading gizzmo, skidplate, Moose spare tube fenderbag, Moose headlight ditty bag, Collett 900mgz communicator, bigger rear sprocket---you know the dirt bikers lament don't you?? The older you get--the bigger your rear sprocket gets !!!! Kenny's 63 years young and is always kicking himself in the ass for starting riding so late in life. My buddy "Kenny--Iron Butt--Sand Man"

Gettin' a little late in the day on the end of the Montana mountain trail loop-----heading into Superior for the night. What a full day of riding !!!

I haven't a clue where we were here---doesn't matter---but when I saw that tire around that cactus when I blasted by, I had to come back and take a look see.

It was an old bias-ply tire and had to have been put on there 50-60 years ago. That is one big cactus. The growing cactus really had that tire pooched out.

The biggest cactus we saw !!!!!!!

This cactus takes the cake-----a fellow in a pickup stopped and ask us directions and told us this cactus was about 800 years old----this was contrary to every thing I have read about a seguaro. I read that they could be as old as 200 years. But this cactus maybe---who knows !!!!

We actually saw this cactus earlier on our way to Box Canyon.

A nice fellow from Arizona recently sent me this really neat picture of the coke ovens taken from an airplane. You can see the Gila river at the left side of the picture. After going through Box Canyon we approached the ovens from the trail to the upper right and hit the Battleaxe trail by leaving on the lower center trail.


On To Day 4

Back to Homepage