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Parker to Harquahala

It was the weekend of the annual Parker desert race, so James put together a ride to go watch the race and explore the surrounding area on our bikes.  While the rest of the guys left on Friday and camped near Parker, I mounted up early Saturday to meet them in Bouse, AZ.  As I was heading out, I passed by the usual sea of Harleys gathering in Cave Creek.  It felt really good to be traveling in the opposite direction.    

The route to Bouse takes you through some pretty secluded highways; it was great to see more of eastern Arizona.  After meeting up with the guys, we found a good spot along the race course and watched a bit of the action.  The vehicles blasting by ranged from slightly modified Jeeps to some serious trophy trucks. It didn't take long, however, before we were jonesing to hit the dirt ourselves, so we decided to go explore Harquahala Mountain.  

Salome, AZ My grand entrance Watching the race Trackside Busted rail

The GPS showed a nice trail heading up the north side of the mountain, but it turned out to be for horses only.  After backtracking to one of the highways, we took the long way around to find the main route up the south side of the mountain.

There's a line in the movie Joe vs. the Volcano that really stuck with me:  "Almost the whole world is asleep -- everyone you know, everyone you see, everyone you talk to. Only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."  As we were riding through the desert,  I found myself thinking about how good we really have it. To have the means (and the desire) to get out and explore new roads through some of the prettiest country anywhere. I felt very much awake.

Heading to Harquahala Looking for the right trail Not knowing the way
can be the best part
Dead end Finally found the right
road to Harqahala
Gaining altitude Still climbing... Near the top Helluva wheelie, Jim Climbing up to the top

This was my second time to the top of Harquahala, but the affect was not at all diminished.  The view from up there is simply amazing.

James on approach Worth the effort Love that view The highest desert
peak in AZ
Nice shot of Eddie
And a bunch of shots
from the top...
       
Taking it all in...     Observatory from the 1920's Heading back down

After making it back down from the peak, James led the way as we searched the desert for a good camping spot.  We found a nice wash with plenty of firewood, and started unloading the bikes.  (It's amazing how much crap you can haul on these things.)  Once we were all set up, we sat around a healthy campfire, finished a number of beers, MREs and interesting conversations and headed for our tents. Things got a bit cold once the fire died out, however.  Looks like I'll be investing in a better sleeping bag sometime soon. The next morning, we got up before sunrise and rekindled the fire to try and warm up a bit. Not long after, we were greeted with a killer sunrise and loaded everything back on the bikes.

Setting up camp near
the base of Harq
Great sunset shot Eddie James and Jim all downing
some MREs
Taking the pillow
for a test run
The old saying...smoke
does not follow beauty
Innovative use of
the GS Adv seat
Getting the fire going  
  The adventure rider salute Great sunrise pics...   Portrait version

 We started the day by blasting back up to Wickenburg for a nice breakfast. (Gotta love those greasy spoons.) We then explored some dirt roads on the way back to Phoenix.  The roads varied from high speed whoops (an absolute blast on the 950), to slow going washes and everything in between.  It was a great ride to cap off the weekend.

 
Breakfast in Wickenburg On Buckhorn Road Trail break  Nearing Lake Pleasant  

Until next time...