Friday, January 30, 2009

Ride 14 - Northside Flats

One of the most goofy rides we've ever taken happened today. Dad's friend Ralph lives in Beaver Dam and has said that there is a way to travel between Mesquite and his house. [For a free Google Earth map of this route see: Ride 14 - Northside Flats]

It is simply amazing what a little water can do to the desert! The Virgin River (and others) have carved a meandering path over the hundreds of years since the mountains were formed. There are Mesa's and Mesa's within Mesa's. Bluffs and cliffs leading to Bluffs.

We trailer'd to the Mesa Avenue trailhead and set out down off the bluff toward Beaver Dam. At first the trail was well worn into washboards. There were the usual scrawny looking cattle and water tanks, then we went down into our first wash.

A massive culvert crossed under the freeway within a 100 yards, or so, of the paved road turnoff to Scenic Arizona. We went back into the wash and found a fairly steep trail to climb out of it.

From the top we could look across the valley and see smoke from a fire. From there we cross over and down into another more substantial wash. This time there were two tunnels under the freeway. And we have passed over them hundreds of times without even recognizing they were there.

A substantial climb and we were yet again on the top of the mesa ready to slide downward into still another. There was indeed a navigable culvert, but the interest had worn off. Our GPS still showed us a significant ways from Ralph's and we begun to worry about the time.

Back on top of the mesa it was a bit harder to find a route with a reasonable incline down into the next wash. We drove to the edge of the canyon in several places before we found a way down.

The next canyon convinced us to try and go "inland" trying to circumvent it entirely. That did work, to an extent, and put us on a fairly well used trail. When that led down into yet another "canyon" our GPS told us that we had come only over half way to Beaver Dam and had several other canyons to "ford."

We backtracked to a trail that was marked on the GPS and found nothing. We headed in the direction that it laid out for us and eventually began noticing small ruts, which grew deeper and then ran through someones old dump for worn out tires. They seemed to be laid out on both sides of the path like an old road.

Is it time to go home yet? I keep clicking these damn shoes, but nothing happens”
Robin Hecht

We eventually came upon a trail that we had been on before and followed it back West to the fence marking the Nevada/Arizona border. Knowing that the trailhead was almost directly South of where we were, we tried to navigate right along the fence until stopped by a cliff too steep for us.

Backtracking we cross through the gate in the fence - marked with "geo-cached" beer cans and a "troll doll". The trail off the bluff and down into the wash was much easier and we followed the wash until we came to a building marked as the Mesquite Police firing range. That led to a graded road around the dump and onto a paved road.

There didn't seem to be any other route around the bluffs and back to the trailer so we went down the road, eventually becoming "Turtleback." At Pioneer Blvd we could look across the valley and see our truck but wasn't allowed to ride on Pioneer. As even if we crossed the road there wasn't a route through the houses that we could use -- so... we called for a ride back to the car!!!!

I waited at the intersection while dad went to retrieve the trailer. At least 4 people made a cell phone call when they saw me and you guessed it shortly a constable pulled over and asked where I was going to go with the bikes!

All in all it was an interesting ride - but I'm not anxious to do it again - ever!


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