Tag Archives: AZ

A Challenge Completed

If you are on a reasonably fast connection change the youtube settings to 720 HD and full screen for best viewing.

A little while back I discovered that a hillside near our house has several challenging trails on it. I have been trying to clean this section for a while. By clean, I mean ride it all the way through without putting a foot down. A few days back, after I first managed to clean it, I decided it’s time to break out the go pro again.

This next clip is me trying to take the even more challenging high line up and around the boulder in the middle rather than around the bottom of it. I still have not quite managed to get it. With a little persistence I hope to get this tough new line.

Better Trails Coverage – Now with VIDEO

I am happy to announce that I received a helmet mountable video camera for Christmas from my parents. This means that you can expect to see high definition videos like these instead of lame cell phone pictures only when I actually remember to take them. A huge improvement.

Sharon’s riding has progressed a lot. In this clip she rides confidently down a rubble strewn hill.

This one shows how Lost Arrow Trail rides now. After all the recent rain it now rides much better. As you can see it’s very fast flowing.

Both of these were shot with my new Go Pro HD Hero2 camera. It’s currently mounted to my helmet with the vented helmet mount which uses straps. I may yet figure out how to mount the more solid curved surface stick-on mount to my helmet for even less vibration. I am very impressed with how easy this thing is to use right out of the box, but I still have a lot to learn about this new camera, video technique and especially editing.

Flagstaff Arizona Breweries

Mother Road Brewery

While visiting our friend Kathy in Flagstaff, Sharon and I got a chance to visit a few of the five breweries in Flagstaff. Flagstaff has Beaver Street Brewery, Lumberyard Brewing Company (owned by Beaver St), Flagstaff Brewing Company, Sterling Springs Brewing Company / Cosmic distribution (which is now brewing in the space formerly known as Mogollon), and Mother Road Brewing Company (which will be opening its doors soon). This is a lot for a city of less than 60,000 residents. You can easily walk to every brewery in town.  When we were at Mother Road, we overheard a local entrepreneur talking about bringing a bike trolley to Flagstaff that would offer drinkers a fun way to tour all of the breweries.

We were lucky that we got to do a tasting at the newest brewery, Mother Road, since they were open for tastings during the First Friday Art Walk.  During First Friday Art Walk, we also got to taste Sterling Springs’ Red Ale and Dirty Blonde Ale.  Sterling Springs was offering a tasting at Animas Beads, so we didn’t get any photos.  The Red was very light in flavor and body and somewhat unremarkable. The Dirty Blonde Ale on the other hand was delightful.  It had a nice cloudy color and was crisp and smooth. It was stronger than the typical blonde ale in every way.

Animas Beads during First Friday Art Walk September 2011

Animas Beads where we tasted the Sterling Springs beers

Onto the Mother Road tasting …

Mother Road had three beers available for tasting, Twin Arrows Brown Ale, Roadside American Ale, and Gold Road Kolsch Ale. The Roadside American Ale was my favorite. It had a nice hop character with plenty of citrus and pine crispness, although it also had some strong hop bitterness, so it’s recommended for hop heads. The Twin Arrows Brown Ale was very smooth, but it was not a full flavorful rich brown. It was a very malt flavored beer with just a hint of sourness. The kolsch was a very typical kolsch, light character and smoothness, and a golden color. This is a great summer party beer as its light taste makes you think hmm I couldn’t really taste that… better have another one.

Mother Road brewing company bar

The bar at Mother Road Brewing Company during First Friday Art Walk

We did not get a chance to taste Flagstaff Brewing Company’s beer on this go around, but when we lived near it I drank a lot of their stouts and porters which were good.  Sharon’s note, they also have the best tag line, “Beer like your mom used to make”.

Beaver and Lumberyard use the same recipe and probably even the same bath it seems for their Red Ale. This is their staple beer and the one that people keep coming back for. It’s one of those beers people drink so often that it’s taken for granted. I also liked the IPA as it was a solid classic IPA. The Lumberyard seemed to be struggling with a problem brewers, shop keepers and distribution companies alike face in Flagstaff, not enough beer. Seriously, the stuff just disappears!  Out of the six or so beers on their list they were out of three.  Luckily the Smoke and Bottle had the Lumberyard Belgian Tripel on hand in bottles so we picked some up there. The Smoke and Bottle is a great new beer seller in town so I have to give it a plug. The Belgian Tripel is a good one with quite a bit of citrus character and its a strong one even by any standard at 10.1% alcohol. It’s not boozy like a cheap champagne, the citrus character and sweetness come through.

Photo Review: northern Arizona

Granite Dells, Prescott

Granite Dells, Prescott

Granite Dells, Prescott

Granite Dells, Prescott

Grand Canyon, Mohave point

Grand Canyon, Mohave point

Grand Canyon girl at geology center

A girl checking out the view from the Geology center at the Grand Canyon

bird at Grand Canyon

Bird near Kolb Studio on the South Rim

Grand Canyon at sunset

Grand Canyon at sunset

visitor watching sunrise on South Rim of the Grand Canyon

visitor watching sunrise on South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon sunrise

Grand Canyon sunrise

couple at sunrise Grand Canyon

couple at sunrise on the South Rim

bird taking flight south rim


Sunset at Mohave point

Sunset at Mohave point

Prescott, Arizona – “Raising the Bar” in Trail Building

These 5.5 hours of volunteer work were made possible by Mariel Tewksbury and Nathan Norton.  Thank you for your support!  To find out about how you can help us stay on the road and give back CLICK HERE.

Sharon's bike on Peavine Trail

This past Saturday we had the opportunity to ride in Prescott, Arizona.  I have been to Prescott many times, but I had never ridden my bike there.   The day before we left I asked Jay if he thought there would be any trails suitable for me to ride.  He explained that Prescott is quickly becoming a premiere mountain bike destination and it prides itself on having a trail system that will appeal to riders at all levels.  After discovering this detailed map [PDF] from the City of Prescott, I was excited to check it out.  I ended up riding the Peavine Trail (with one failed side trail attempt) and Jay rode with his father and brother on the very technical Willow Lake trail in the Granite Dells.  I can’t wait to go back with more time to explore all of the beginner and intermediate trails.

the Dells view from Peavine Trail

the view from the Peavine Trail in an area called The Dells

After a little online research, I discovered that the local IMBA club, Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance would be hosting a trail day on the Circle Trail the following day with the Prescott National Forest.  It turns out that PMBA usually gathers a crew once a month and the City of Prescott coordinates a crew called the Over the Hill gang to work on local trails once a week.

As Chris Hosking, the trail specialist for the City of Prescott, says in this video, the trail building work he is doing with the Over the Hill gang is “raising the bar” for how trails can be built and maintained.  I love this.  I love that these older adult volunteers are raising expectations for what a volunteer crew can accomplish.  Also, I love that Chris and the City of Prescott is supporting them and rising to the challenge to build more and better trail systems.

Rob Hehlen teaching about trail building

Rob Hehlen teaching about trail building

When I joined the monthly volunteer crew on Sunday to work on the Circle Trail I was very impressed with the number of hard workers who came out and the skills they brought to the effort.  This work day was hosted by the Prescott National Forest and the Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance.  It was a unique experience because the trail designer, Rob Hehlen, was there and taught us the proper technique for building trail by hand.  He also shared his process for choosing the route that the trail will take, starting with topographical maps in the office and then moving to the field, tromping through the brush to envision a 50 mile trail loop around the City of Prescott.  If you would like to see a presentation he put together about the Circle Trail, click HERE to download the powerpoint.

Sharon at Trail building in Prescott

Feeling a sense of accomplishment after a few hours of serious labor

30th Week In Review: Reconnecting

Ducks on Granite Basin Lake

the view from the Peavine Trail in Prescott, AZ

I’ve felt more anxious and emotional this week and I think it is because we are back in our old home of Flagstaff spending a lot of time with family and friends.  In other words, we are reminded of what we do not have on the road.  Every time we see our niece Laya, I am reminded of how much time has passed and the day to day experiences we have missed.  At least we circle through Arizona enough that she remembers us, even remembers our special yoga time (which she sometimes calls yogurt).  When we keep moving, constantly packing or unpacking the car, maintaining forward momentum, I am able to push thoughts of home and family to the back of my mind and live in the moment of each new place.  It is a selfish way to live.  Our acknowledgement of that is part of what pushes us so hard to give back and stay connected.

Laya playing on toy laptop

Our 2 year old niece Laya playing on her toy laptop

Of course what has made this week awesome is seeing so many family and friends in Flagstaff and Prescott.  Today, we will head to the Grand Canyon.  It is a place that holds special significance for us.  Jay and I first started getting interested in one another on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon almost eight years ago when we were both students in Grand Canyon Semester.  Jay can even trace part of his ancestry back to one of the native tribes that lives in the canyon.  We are meeting up with a friend who we met during that semester and I’m sure we will be awed and inspired by that incredible landscape which has amazed people for millennium.

Saturday we head to Las Vegas and then on towards southern Utah where we will spend the first half of September.

Hours volunteered: 5 1/2 hours – Sharon built trail in Prescott, Arizona (Jay would have come too except he injured his foot the day before

States: 1 – Arizona: Flagstaff, Prescott, Grand Canyon

Budget: under

People Visited: the volunteers and staff at Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, Millie Randel & Ken Brack, Nate & Nicole and Laya Holt, Morgan & Cindi Holt, LinMarie DiCianni, Wenda Meyer, Eleanor Mooney, Kirstin Heins

Nights under the stars: 0

Best meal: we were treated to several nice meals by Millie and Ken; we also had the chance to eat at our favorite restaurant in Flagstaff, Hiro’s Sushi Bar

Best beer: Ska Brewing’s Mexican Logger

Some Recent MTB Action

Potter Creek

Potter Creek below Scotts Tank

I am sure you all have been wondering, when is Jay going to post more ride locations and more mountain biking? The answer is now. In the last week of travel I was fortunate enough to ride in two great areas.

White Mountains Trail System, Pinetop, Arizona

The first was on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, very near Pine Top AZ in the scenic White Mountains. I was able to start riding in the morning from our camp site off of the 187 Forest Service Road near Trailhead #1.  Here I picked up the  Blue Ridge Trail and immediately started climbing.  It’s a tough climb due to the elevation but its not horrifically steep, loose or rocky. The trail then proceeds to roll up and down and then head down to the connector for Scott Reservoir.

Scotts Tank

Scotts Tank

The descent to the connector for the reservoir is very nice. Some of it is smooth, fast and flowing and other parts are somewhat rocky, with a few large rock gardens. This is really the highlight of the ride. I was certainly grinning. After picking up the connector I followed the “Ice Cave Trail”. The ice cave is not actually icy at all, its really a lava tube.

Ice Cave (lave tube)

The lava tube shot close up from inside the gate

The trail to the cave was a little bit more technical. From the cave trail I ended up on another trail that led out to a trailhead by the Blue Ridge High School.  From here I wasn’t really certain about where to go to make a loop or pick up a different set of trails back to trailhead #1, so I just rode back the same way. It was on the way back that I finally spotted the cave.

View of white sands from Rim Trail

View of White Sands from Rim Trail

Rim Trail, Cloudcroft, New Mexico

Cloudcroft, New Mexico is a well kept secret.  A small mountain town in the heart of the Lincoln National Forest with lots to offer. Previously on our trip we drove over the pass and went through Cloudcroft on the way to Alamogordo and White Sands National Monument. The whole drive I was exclaiming, “We have to come back so I can ride that!” every time the car rounded a corner. Did it live up to this?  I say, YES.

We arrived in Cloudcroft late in the afternoon and we were checking out the town, when Sharon spotted a lady loading a bike back into her car who had clearly just finished up a ride. We began chatting, and discovered that she had just pre ridden the race course in Cloudcroft, but recommended a different trail nearby. Her name was Liz and she filled us in on the Rim Trail. Soon we were heading down the Sunspot Scenic Byway in search of a campsite near the Rim Trail trailhead. We made camp on the 64B road just past the trailhead at a very nice spot amongst the Aspen and Spruce trees.

Our camp site in Cloudcroft, NM near the Sunspot scenic byway

Camp near Sunspot scenic byway

The next morning, after having breakfast and breaking down camp we hit the trail. The Rim Trail offered up outstanding scenery and views as it snaked its way up and down along the ridge line. Some of it was rocky and root covered and some of it was smooth with rolling grade dips that made for big air when heading down. The views of the White Sands National Monument in the valley below were great. It was also nice that the aspen trees were just starting to get little green leafs in most places. Much to my surprise, I didn’t see another soul on my ride.  The rim trail alone is probably worth the trip up the mountain pass to Cloudcroft. I hope to return soon to tackle some of the dozens of other trails in the area.