In Over My Head

Jul 06, 2014 View Comments by

In Over My HeadIt’s been just about a month since Kris and I relocated to Arizona. I haven’t had many opportunities to get out and ride. My schedule, along with triple digit afternoon temperatures, has left little time to “play.” So I made a conscious effort to clear my morning schedule and plan a ride. After some research, I decided that the nearby Table Mesa Road (aka Forest Road 41) would be the objective. 19 miles in all, the forest service says to allow four to six hours to traverse the road before it connects with a larger, well groomed dirt path that leads back to civilization. Knowing that two wheels generally can move much quicker on unimproved roads than four, I figured I’d be back home by mid-day and avoid the hot afternoon hours.

I had readied my bike and gear the previous evening and after a few false starts, I was out the door by 8:30 a.m. After reading conflicting reports of the road’s condition (ease of passage), I opted to take the smaller, lighter DRZ 400S as opposed to my larger adventure bike. This proved to be a wise decision as the road’s surface quickly deteriorated from well-groomed gravel to rocky and jutted two track. Much of the route was as difficult as any I have yet ridden. I like a challenge for sure, and I don’t mind pushing the limits of myself and machine, but I also know when I have had enough. Two and a half hours and 10 miles into my planned assault, I was nearly out of water and the sun was climbing in the Arizona summer sky. Temperatures had risen from 74 degrees when I left to 91 and getting hotter. Knowing what was behind me and not sure what was ahead, I decided that it was time to make a U-turn and call it a day.

Table Mesa Rd reaches 3,500 feet at times, and the high desert is surprisingly green and alive. Admittedly, the scenery had me stopping quite a bit for photo ops and that slowed my travel substantially. Lesson learned; even though there is nothing I like more than exploring the “new to me” roads, never underestimate the unknown. Fortunately, I was never very far from home and will return to take on Table Mesa Road another day, next time getting an earlier start and packing plenty of extra water.


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About the author

I've been called a "Free-Spirit", "A Lost Soul", and "A Wanderer" for as long as I can remember. I prefer to think of myself as a Traveler. Most at ease when I am in motion, two of my favorite things are arriving somewhere new, and heading off for somewhere yet unexplored.