December Club Ride, Montana Mountain alternate route

The best laid plans do not always work out. For the December club ride, the plan was to meet at the old Kmart parking lot in Show Low and depart at 7am for the drive to the staging location east of Superior and arrive before 9am. No one could have anticipated the heavy fog, after the rain the previous night, and the impact it would have on driving times. We managed to get away from the parking lot 15 minutes late. Any semblance to keeping on a schedule went downhill from the git-go. Before the day was over, time schedules went away and had no real meaning.

The ride was advertised as a difficult ride, it was anticipated there would be few ride participants. The total number of machines was 10, both club members and guest, a lot more than expected. The day’s ride had some ups and downs. The ups, fantastic scenery, challenging trails to be conquered, perfect weather, and no one injured at the end of the day. The downs, a machine on its side, broken bolts in front suspension on two different machines, not being able to complete the ride as planned.

Just a moment of inattention is all it sometimes takes to have a mishap. The group was traveling down a steep and very rocky drainage when one of the SxSs turned over onto the driver’s side. The travel speed was very slow, the driver said it seemed to happen in slow motion. Fortunately, the driver kept arms and hands inside the machine, no injuries. Three guys were able to set the machine back on its wheels while the driver remained in the vehicle. A quick inspection found no vehicle damage.

One of the nice things about riding with the Apache County ATV club is the number of members that carry a variety of repair items, tools, and the knowledge of how to fix just about anything. Twice during the day, a bolt broke in the front suspension of two different machines. I know the Can Am folks will say “if you had bought a good machine you would not have these irritating little problems.” One machine was a Can Am and the other was a Polaris, both well used machines with many miles on them. The combination of supplies, tools, and knowledge allowed the machines to have temporary repairs made that allowed them to finish the ride.

After the repairs were completed on the last machine it was decision time, take the trail back to the staging area or drive the highway through Superior and up through the canyon to the staging area. Driving the trail would take at least 1½ to 2 hours while the highway route would take 20 minutes. Most off-road folks do not like driving on payment, it is really hard on expensive off-road tires. The trail time would have meant at least 1 hour of night travel time over a difficult trail. The decision was easy, take the highway. All toys were able to travel safely on the highway back to the staging area. All the smiles seemed to indicate it had been a fun day.

For the folks heading back up onto the mountain it was supper time at El Rey in Globe.

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