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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In reading our forum for about a year now, and participating a little less than, I notice that we fall into a spectrum of riders. Some want the AT for it's off road capability, and tailor the bike to that purpose. Others are pretty happy with it stock, and mostly ride on roads with occaisional forays into more interesting stuff.

I am still trying to figure out just where I fit on that spectrum; but it seems to be sliding to about the middle. I still like to get out on twisty mountain paved roads, but when I drive by a small dirt road connecting in to a paved road, I frequently make a mental note to go back on Google Earth, and see where it goes. I grew up on dirt roads, out in the middle of nowhere, and still always have a curiosity to see just where they end up (usually in a field or pasture somewhere! 馃悇馃悙...)

That said, here is a route I did Sunday that almost perfectly illustrates why I have an AT, and decided to let a Valkyrie go away. On about 80% of this route, the Valkyrie would have been the perfect bike; however on the 90 miles or so above the Mogollon Rim, on a narrow, washed out dirt road, it would have been miserable. The AT suddenly became the perfect bike, with all that suspension travel coming into play. The good thing was, the AT was pretty nice on the twisty mountain roads, as well. (Except the factory "Low" seat is about as comfortable as sitting on a board.)

Here is the map of the route: 432 mile loop out of Queen Creek, AZ

The highway stuff up through the Salt River Canyon was pretty spectacular scenery on smooth, twisty canyon roads:

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was treated to a nice whitewater view through the crossing

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Vista's opened up out in the high country around Show Low at about 7,000 ft or so. Weather was remarkable at about 72 deg F, once I climbed out of the Phoenix Valley.

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If you get nothing else from this post, note that Darbi's restaurant near Show Low, is worth a pretty long deviation from any planned route. Darbi is a nice young lady that started up a restaurant a while back and still waits tables while managing. The menu is quite varied between light and healthy and full blown heart-attack on a plate home cooking. I had the "Awful Waffle" which turned out to be rather amazing for less than $12. Think big fluffy waffle with a battered and fried steak on top, smothered in sausage gravy, then topped with a couple of eggs. It was not necessary to eat for the rest of the day! Probably should have gone with something lighter, but... it... was... delicious!
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Swung around off the AZ 260 to the Mogollon (pronounced Muggyone, evidently) Rim visitors center, where Rim Rd, AZ 300 connects and heads west around the lip of the rim. Stopped at a scenic view point, enjoyed the view, then found a bench and took a nap like a bum in a park! (Had to let that steak digest a bit!)

My personal opinion: that stretch of AZ 300 that runs along the Rim is a "bucket list" type of ride, if you like wildly spectacular views and mildly challenging dirt roads.

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Road starts out on the west side like this, smoothish grader road. As you progress for 90 miles or so of twisty switch backs with breath-taking views across 100 miles of Tonto Basin, it gradully gets less and less maintenance, until it eventually connects up to the AZ 87 South into Payson. There are some fairly substantial (wash tub size) rocks embedded in the road, with their noses sticking up a bit. Lot's of washboard, a few amusing whoop-tee-doos, and not too many ruts. Just interesting enough, but not too technical.

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Caught the 87 south, and had some more twisty paved fun, on the way down back into the Phoenx Valley. Was greeted with the afternoon 100+ temperatures at about 2000 ft elevation point.

Overall, the ride made me quite happy, kind of tired, and ready for another one!
 

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What you state is what got me to buy and ADV bike. I too would wonder where that dirt road led that I saw on a section of asphalt on my Ducati. Now I actually seek out dirt roads and trail (no single track). With my ATAS only ride asphalt to get to the dirt.
 

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Hey Beowulf,
OUTSTANDING SIR!!!!!!!!
You and I have discussed (well, on line anyways) about me getting over that way and doing a ride with ya. This just makes me wanting it more. Yes Sir, that's one LONG RIDE for sure. Heck, I get butt sore just doing 20 miles on my new AT, let alone 400+ miles. We (the CEO and I) did 410 miles one time on the Goldwing towing a trailer and both of us had a real hard time walking at the end of that day. Outstanding pics for sure. Can't wait to get to that area. The southwest corner of the state, has NOTHING like that. Thank you very much for taking the time to write that up and post the pics. Dream'n.
Scott
 
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