Sunday, September 11, 2011

Labor Day Weekend 2011 - Pt. 2

Saturday the family and I just took it easy.  I enjoy walking the dog in the cool weather so we took her out for small walks through-out the day.
The Wallow fire had consumed most of the hillsides around Alpine.  Luckily the forest service had cut a protection ring around the town a few years before, which helped stop the spread of the flames heading for town.  Quite a few embers landed in this same meadow though, and firefighters had to bulldoze protection rings around the surrounding cabins to stop ground fire. 
On one of my walks with the dog, she decided to roll around in elk poop.  It smelled good to her I guess?? So that meant she got a bath.  That water was ice cold!
 Later in the day, the wife and I took a quick spin out to Nelson Reservoir.  It felt good to be on the bike in the cool weather and beautiful country.  There were people fishing there, and we hiked around a bit.
As we were walking back to the bike a group of ~20 bikers pulled up.  They were riding quite the variation of bikes.  Everything from Hayabusas, to Goldwings, and even a few Triumph's.  One guy had decked out his Tiger 1050 with all the accessories.  My dad is considering getting one of these so I asked if I could snap a few pictures and the owner said yes.
I believe they said this was a 2007 model.  I should have taken pictures of the rest of the bikes but didn't. *FAIL* on my part.  Talking to one of the riders we found out they were a RAT (Riders Association of Triumph) out of El Paso.  They looked like they were having a blast.  I wished I could have gone on with them, but the wife and I headed back into town.


On Sunday my wife and I decided to head out to Sunrise Peak Ski area to ride the ski lift.  Rain clouds were constantly rolling in around noon so we left early in the hopes of riding the lift in the sun.  (A) is Alpine, (B) is the ski resort, and (C) is the town of Greer where we stopped for lunch.

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It cost $10 dollars a person if you were just riding the ski lift.  There were _a lot_ of mountain bikers taking the ski lift up and then riding back down.  I believe they had to pay more, but I can't remember how much.  This is the line to the ski lift.
Some bikers behind us, waiting their turn.  It was fun to listen to them talking about their adventures down the hill.  I called the lady in this picture "Mad Max" due to her hair cut and bike armor.  She looked bad ass!
Posted sign before you got on the lift.  The fact that the "Stix and Stones" trail was closed was quite the upsetting news to the bikers.  I've got a picture of that trail head later in the post.
The ski lifts could seat 4 people but they allowed couples to ride up without having to share, which I was thankful for.
As we rode up, you could watch bikers riding down the hill.  It looked like tons of fun!
It was probably a ~10 minute ride to the top. Very enjoyable.
I asked someone standing nearby to take a picture, which they kindly said yes.
Kiri bought a coffee from the snack shop and we hiked a round a bit.  Here's that "Sticks and Stones" trail head.  It looked rather rugged.
Clouds started to roll in and I told Kiri I wanted to get down before it really started to pour.  So we jumped back on the lift.
A fuzzy picture of some bikers coming up.  The bikes ride on hooks on the back of the chairs.  One bike per chair.
The obligatory foot picture.
One of the bikers had gotten hurt coming down the hill and was being assisted onto a quad.  Kiri told me I shouldn't take the picture but I did anyway.  What do you think? Should I have held off?
Final shot of the ski resort as we ended the ride.
As we walked back to the bike it started to sprinkle.  After we got our rain gear on it really started coming down.  We road in the rain until we got back to highway 260 and then it cleared up.  The wind dried us up pretty quickly.  We headed over to the town of Greer for lunch.  Kiri took some pictures of the fire damage outside the lodge.  You'll notice I parked the bike facing away from the road.  When Kiri and I left I had to maneuver her back onto the road, and since it was uphill _and_ on gravel I had a heck of a time.  Kiri had to push on the front forks before the Bonnie would finally free herself.  It was a bit embarrassing.  Riding a bike you always come away with lessons learned.
The lodge where we had lunch.
There were small ponies out front.  They were stunted at birth due to smoking and coffee.
While waiting for a table I snapped a picture of a humming bird.  One of my favorite shots of the whole trip.
We sat out on the balcony and had chicken and rice soup and salad.  Mmmmm Mmmmm!
Two bikers parked near my bike as we were leaving.  This guy is my hero.  Check out the crescent wrench strapped to the sissy bar.  There are bikers, and then there are "real" bikers.
At this point Kiri and I headed home.  It was a beautiful ride!  About 8 miles outside of Alpine we hit some rain but it didn't spoil a perfect day.

After we got back, my dad took my mom out on the bike.


My dad and I headed back down the Coronado Trail on Monday.  We had heard about something called the "Arrow Tree" so we kept out eyes peeled for it.  It's an old tree that people shoot with arrows from the road.  I can't explain it.  It just is.
After about ~70 miles from Alpine I had to use the restroom so I started keeping an eye out for any pullouts that had faculties.  I rounded one curve and saw one out of the corner of my eye.  I slowed down pretty quickly, and was checking my mirrors to make sure my dad saw me breaking.  What I failed to observe was that the entrance to this pullout had very thick gravel.  Below that gravel was soft mud created by rain and cars pulling in and out from the road.  As soon as I got off the road my front tire sunk into the gravel/mud and wrenched to the left.  I was probably going ~2-5Mph and my forward momentum pulled the bike to the right and I was down in a split second.
It happened so fast I never had time to react.  I can remember hitting the ground and being more upset about dropping the bike then I was worried about what happened to me.  My right leg got pinned under the bike and when I tried to jump up I didn't get very far. I had to slide myself out from under the bike, in doing this I ended up burning my left pants leg on the exhaust pipe.  Luckily I had my jeans on under my riding pants so I didn't get burned.  My left exhaust pipe ended up with some nice waffle patterns.
Damage to the bike was a broken turn lens, the right mirror and to be re-tightened, and I have some scratches on the right side transmission case.
Luckily nothing major was damaged.  After after making sure the rest of the bike was OK my dad and I continued on.  Kind of a bummer to end the trip on, but overall I had a great time.  I've had the bike for almost one year now with ~9200 miles.  I'm glad the first drop was done out on the road and not in the garage.  Lessons learned..always know the traction of your road.  If you see gravel you can always park somewhere else and walk to the restroom.

So we don't end on a low my dad and I were heading out of Morenci, we saw some big horned sheep along the road.  One even had a baby.  They were interesting to watch!

That's it for this trip.  I've already replaced the lens cover on the bike and given her a full washing.  So no major problems.  Round trip mileage was ~750 miles.  Until next trip, stay safe out there.


  1. What a great weekend!! I love the picture of you and the misses at the top of the ski lift. Was nice that someone took the pic for you.