Long Way to ABQ via the Apache Trail


January 22nd 2015 – Day 9

Heading to the Apache

After leaving GO-AZ dealership the day before I went to another virtual hosts house for an over niter.  Terry and Heather.  What a nice couple.  We had really good pizza, hung out with their pets, I have all ready forgotten their cat’s name but their dog?  Jack.  Terry and Heather take in rescues so they MUST be good people and they are.  Thanks guys for the stay and Terry for input on my route for the day.  Heather hope your make it to your next book club.  👍

the views

Morning started out great.  Weather was perfect and the ride through Tempe and other cities was not bad at all with what I guess is Arizona rush our.  Nothing compares to Vancouver rush hour.  Well, that’s not true…but AZ rush hour isn’t comparable it’s a piece of cake.

Here is a little video of my ride up to that great road called the Apache Trail.

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You can see hardly any cars and I was told even in the Winter on the weekends this place is booming with tourists and locals.

The road called the Apache Trail is so worth taking the extra time to go wherever you are heading.  Here is some background on this detour Terry insisted I take.

The Apache Trail in Arizona was a stagecoach trail that ran through the Superstition Mountains. It was named the Apache Trail after the Apache Indians who originally used this trail to move through the Superstition Mountains.

The current Apache Trail links Apache Junction (33.4152°N 111.5807°W) at the edge of the Greater Phoenix area with Theodore Roosevelt Lake (

 WikiMiniAtlas

33.6725°N 111.1531°W), through the Superstition Mountains and the Tonto National Forest.

Today, much of the Apache Trail is paved, and the section east of Apache Junction is known officially as State Route 88. It is also the main traffic corridor through Apache Junction, turning into Main Street as the road passes into Mesa, and regains the Apache name by becoming Apache Boulevard in Tempe, ending at Mill Avenue. Prior to the completion of the Superstition Freeway in 1992, the Apache Junction portion of the Apache Trail was part of US Highway 60, which was rerouted to the Superstition Freeway once it was completed.

The Trail winds steeply through 40 miles (64 km) of rugged desert mountains, past deep reservoir lakes like Canyon Lake and Apache Lake. The narrow, winding road is unpaved from just east of the town of Tortilla Flat to Roosevelt Dam; there are steep cliff drops and little in the way of safety barriers. The trail requires caution when driving and it is not recommended for large RVs, SUVs, or caravans. Some large RV rental companies in the US do not allow their vehicles to be taken on this route.

more views

AS you head up the paved part there are such beautiful views.  The asphalt does end eventually and when I was on it was hard packed, gravel, sand but in great condition and wide.  I would imagine there can be a lot of traffic on this road and on a bike you would have to be really careful if that was the case.  As for me?  I was still careful but was able to really ride at my own pace because there were hardly any people on this road.

First stop was Tortilla Flats.  I was starving and waited to eat at this town saloon that was covered in dollar bills.  Just like the Salty Dawg in Alaska.

I had to add my own dollar bill that will be placed in the back of the restaurant to the upper right wall.

So authentic feeling and homemade food.  There were a few elderly gentlemen eating there too and were heading out to fish or ATV.

Tortilla Flats

Another selfie video showing this one strip town.

A delivery guy was the only one who asked me, “what are you up to?”  I thought that was a cute question.  I told him about my trip and then he confessed he owns a F800GS but rarely rides it anywhere and wants to but he is unsure of himself.  I gave him my blog address and some previous posts I did on riding so maybe he would learn a thing or two?  I got an email later and he said he checked out my blog and is going to take a DS course.  He thanked me…which I thought was really neat.

You feel like you are in the middle of nowhere which I LOVE yet you see this…

Good news though no people.  There was this group by a bridge as I rode on dirt/sand and in this next video although I really did not capture their faces it was priceless when I passed them.

That is how the road is after you hit the dirt.  Just like the video.  So much fun, a few hairy spots but overall a great way to get to Albuquerque from Scottsdale.

I will just let the pictures speak for what I got to see…at this point my bike seemed to be behaving until…..

PANORAMIC click me

PANORAMIC click me

Once I left the Apache Trial it was all highway towards Albuquerque.

And it was still a beautiful ride in gorgeous weather.  I so much rather ride in the cold than heat and to be honest, even the 30’s is good for  me.

I gained some elevation and the temps dropped a lot.  I saw snow and some icy roads.  When I got to about an hour and half outside Gallup, NM I stopped at a McDonald’s for WiFi and when I went to start my bike it wouldn’t.  No EWS code this time but dead.  I asked 3 people to jump my bike as I had it in pieces.  No one would acknowledge me no less ask how I was doing.  A bit disconcerting.

Eventually, a banker dude came out.  This was so weird.  He was about 5’5″ and although he had eyebrows he seemed to want to brush on another pair.  Like eyebrow stuff ladies use. The thing that really caught me off guard about this nice man was the fact he drew a mustache on his face with the same eye brow stuff.  Not sure what I was seeing but in the end he jumped my bike and seemed to know a thing or two about the BMW Twin engine.  Weird encounter but he helped me nonetheless.

Could not make it to ABQ because of my bike delay so I stopped in Gallup for the night.  FB buddy Virginia from this area kicked into action to arrange my bike to be seen at Sandia BMW the next day as well as her friend/colleague Jim to escort me all the way just in case I needed help.  Again the virtual world is amazing and so willing to go out of their way to take care of me on my so-called SOLO trip.  😉

gorgeous

I got to see an amazing sunset before I was done for the day.  The sunsets around these regions are indeed the best.  I seem to end each day in the dark but that doesn’t bother me.  I get to see the beginning of each day on the bike and the end.

6 Comments

  1. kellyva says:

    Love the Apache Trail. It was the first encounter with gravel I had after I bought my F800 last year around this time. I went the opposite direction. Keep on truckin’!! Hope you get your bike figured out soon.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the post…. loving the virtual trip!

  3. Michael says:

    Really enjoying reading about your trip. Thank you

  4. curvyroads says:

    Not sure how I missed this post…oh well, the Apache Trail looks fantastic! And the encounter with Mr. Drawn-on eyebrows and mustache??? Priceless! Just wish you had gotten a photo. 😉

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