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The Road to Bagdad                                             


It had all the makings of a fantastic weekend ride.  The forecast called for nice 70 degree days, and a light rain the night before would help to keep the dust in check. Eight of us gathered at Jim's shop with the intent to head up to Bagdad, AZ via backroads and camp out under the stars.  We never made it.

After taking off from Jim's shop, we made our way to Lake Pleasant and hit the dirt.  Less than five minutes later, two bikes were hit with flat tires at nearly the same time.  Repairing both took some time, but we finally got underway once again.  (The way I figure it, we've been on so many great rides lately - i.e., no breakdowns or injuries - we were overdue for some character-building challenges.)

Great expectations The first of the flats That's it... let it all out Electric airpumps
work great
On the trail again

Having figured that our troubles were behind us, Paul, Dave1 and I had a blast leading the way through some great dirt trails.  But it didn't take long before the rest of the group dropped out of sight.  So we stopped and waited.  And waited.  It didn't take long to realize that something else had gone awry.  So we turned back and made our way to the rest of the riders who were stopped along the road.  It turns out Ed came around a corner a little too hot on his Triumph Tiger, and high-sided it off the outside berm. He broke his collar bone in the process, which pretty much ruled out riding the bike back.

Being the great guy that he is, Jim volunteered to ride back to his shop and bring back his truck to haul out Ed and the Tiger.  While Jim was in transit, the rest of us made the most of the wait by watching Dave2 parade around with a pair of shorts on his head. (Don't ask.)  Once Jim arrived, we loaded up the Tiger, said our farewells to Jim and Ed and headed out yet again. 

Waiting for the rest...   Ed after his spill Waiting for the truck Paul gets ready to
load up the Tiger

Having figured that our troubles were behind us, we made our way into Wickenburg and stopped for fuel and food. After exiting the restaurant, however, we came across yet another flat. This time, Dave1 had the pleasure of repairing his rear tire on the KTM 640. 

Once we were back underway, it was getting a little late -- so we blasted up the road to find a good campsite before dark.  We came across this amazing place where hundreds of trails weaved through large boulder-strewn hills in the middle of nowhere. (Talk about some fun riding...) It turns out the area was a rock farm, where they would load up large boulders and haul them into town for the landscaping companies to sell. Very interesting.  Once camp was set up, Eddie and I made an after-dark trip back into the nearest town to grab some liquid refreshments for around the campfire. It was an odd yet amazing experience to find our way through that maze of trails at night.

Are we in Bagdad? Slo-motion get off Picking 'er up Flat number three Doh!
Great little camp site Getting set up The rock farm  In lieu of a tent, Dave
drank the chills away
Fixin' up some coffee
  Nice shot of the XR Packing up camp Heading out again  

After a good night's rest (except for Dave2, who didn't have a tent), we woke up the next morning and planned the ride over to Bagdad.  Having figured that our troubles were behind us, we decided to stray off the main road and try to find a more remote trail into the back side of town. A quick check of the GPS showed a nice little dotted line that would do exactly that.  The problem is, you never really know how rough a trail will get until you're actually on it.

It started off easy enough; but very gradually, the dirt road turned into a jeep trail, which turned into single track, which turned into a goat trail. (Paul had several opportunities to impress us yet again with his skills on the GS.)  The GPS promised a nice easy road just over the next hill, but the goat trail finally disappeared, and we had to turn back.  Right after we turned around, Eddie went down hard on his right side and cracked the radiator on his BMW Dakar.  After taking off the outer panels, we found the leak and used some quicksteel epoxy to seal it back up. MacGuyver would have been proud.  

Looking for a backway
to Bagdad
Small water crossing Muscling the GS   Nice shot of the long trail
    Shortly before having
to turn back
Repairing Eddie's radiator  Stopped the leak

 After making it back to the main road, we were all exhausted; so we decided to trek back down to Wickenburg and head for home. Despite all the little setbacks, we still had a great time exploring some new areas. It's also nice knowing our troubles are behind us...

Until next time...