A free weekend had arrived. I got my bike geared up to head West. I had nice route planned out for such a free weekend to take me out to Kofa Wildlife Refuge. This was also a perfect time to try out a new piece of kit: Wolfman Luggage Expedition Tank Panniers. The Coyote, Giant Loop bag works nicely but a little extra space would help for those times that I carry camping gear. Also the panniers are much more accessible for items that I don't want to have to dig through the Giant Loop for.
The first section of dirt on my route was to be on a section of trail through the Sonoran Desert National Monument off of the 238. Unfortunately, I ran into this sign. I understand the reasons behind closures like this. We all have an innate desire to blaze a new path and go where no (wo)man has gone before. This causes a lot of problems, a proliferation of trails that have no rhyme or reason and aren't sustainable. It also gives the off road community a black eye.

Well, I was jonesing for some dirt so I found another dirt road to ride down that wasn't roped off and found myself looking into a new face. There were a couple of horses in a coral and about 10 wandering around loose keeping them company.

Quite the friendly lot, they were eager for company even if I didn't have treats for them. Although the fellow here did try to nibble on my helmet.

After backtracking from the horsey dead end I was paying more attention and ran across this sign and a faint trail leading west. A google search resulted in a nice history lesson: Mormon Battalion that was formed for the Mexican War in 1846. Also there's a nice collection of maps showing the routes they took: Maps.

I followed the trail but at times is was a stretch calling it a trail. I ended up running into some powerlines that ran North-South and great dirt trails.

After yet another gas stop I wandered into th Robbins Butte Wildlife Area. Normally I would have had a lot longer range between gas stations but I had removed the Safari Tank for ease of maintenance and it would prove a poor choice. Kind of like the saying "There's no replacement for displacement" there's no replacement for available range.

Anyway, being able to ride through wilderness area is always a great treat. There happened to be a hunting dog event in the area so my bike blended in well with all the orange vests walking around.

A 15 mph speed limit is in place on the road to prevent dust and disruption to wildlife. 15 mph is an exercise in restraint on such a wide, well graded road but I did my best.
The Robbins Butte route dropped me out on the wrong side of a canal. I'm sure there was a more established bridge over the canal but I decided to take this bridge. It doesn't look too intimidating but you should know that to get on the bridge I had to get the bike up on a log before the planks started. There was a nice gap between the bridge and canal wall, perfect for the front half of the bike to drop into. I walked the bike up onto the bridge and some issues that required me to manhandle the rear wheel into position to get the bike on the bridge. The joys of a 300+ lb bike verses a 500+ lb bike. Of course, alone I never would have risked that crossing on the KTM 990 that I used to dual sport on. I have video of me struggling to get the bike on the bridge but I don't have a good way to host it at this point.

I went from freezing to being quite warm. The grip heaters were getting a full workout this day.

Stay tuned for the rest of the trip!


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