WHEN I last left you, I had come up against the proverbial "brick wall". Here I was, after having been lost for more than an hour of my day, cut off from my priority route by a very solid gate.
Now I have nothing against Bald Eagle's, I myself am losing hair... and, there is a mating pair that inhabit the tall woods just south of my home during the warmer months. On occasion Brenda and I have been strafed, ME 109 style by a parent on our spring walks up there in the past, but what puzzles me is if there is an ongoing migration to a known location such as Lake Pleasant, and the road is closed 6 months of the year... why am I looking at a locked gate 4 days before the 6 month suspension?
I did an about face, as there was no answer to that question and chalked
it up to experience and bad luck.
As it turned out while looking for the Old Mine road which apparently according to some local 'sportsmen' and their AR/AK rifles was somewhere in these here mountains... I'm doing a slow 360 as one bearded chap was waving his hand in the air. This is the same guy that seeing me ride in took on a definite defensive posture. Seems he somehow mistook me for a BLM Ranger coming to give them grief. I wasn't sure how my off road gear could have been mistaken for a uniform but as I explained to him that I was "CDN" and not "BLM", he had nothing to fear from me.
Once he realized I was not here to inspect his license to shoot, and that CDN actually was the internationally accepted acronym for "C a n a d i a n" he got a bit friendlier. I know that many Arizonan's especially I might ad, those whose trunks full of semi-automatic weapons, have a natural suspicion of anything that ends in the letters ...ment,
We weren't exactly buddies at this point, he told me right off that he'd just as hell shoot one of them "Commie bastards" I, realizing that he had no clue where the Old Mine road was, decided to mount up and retreat, which I promptly did as the firing resumed!
State law enforcement was grudgingly tolerated but anything originating in Washington D.C. out east, was to be scorned and reviled!
A N Y W A Y... the shadows were getting long and with my early delays, when I finally came to what I believed to be the route I was looking for, I found a very thoroughly washed out rocky, streambed that could have been my route up into and over the mountains.
Or could not!
Not like there is an overabundance of road signs out in these sticks! I had maybe 2 hours of useable daylight and if I could pick up the Old Mine road, I would be riding on the east side of a north south mountain range in the shade and eventually, the dark.
Once again, as so often happens in the back country, short days, rough terrain, physical pounding and cooler temperatures would make my ride home less than desirable.
I retraced me route to I 17 and rode the highway back to New River, and even though I did in fact ride in through and open gate on a barely visible desert track there was a handful of 4 by 4's and several Dads shooting with their teenage boys!
They were from Scottsdale in the north of Phoenix and told me this was State land and required a permit but they didn't bother with such trivial details, after all it was "State Land" and they in effect were citizens of the state!
I mounted up and vowed to come back and find that elusive route through the mountains, at some later date.
By the time I pulled the bike into the back yard, with the speedo/tripmeter showing 109 miles, I was dead tired. I sacked out and slept for 10 hours!
THE following day I pulled up Google Earth again and comparing Satellite and Map views alternately, I realized where I had gone wrong. They were simple mistakes if you totaled the distance, I'd missed the Old Stagecoach road by perhaps a quarter of a mile and the actual Table Mesa road west by maybe double that! I was that close!
As Maxwell Smart would say...
"I missed it by this much!"