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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

We had a guy’s trip planned since the blistering summer heat in Arizona was finally breaking. The plan was for several friends to meet at a campsite near Bagdad, Arizona so we could explore a new area.

I had a slight setback as my garage door broke the night before I was to leave and I could not get my quad trailer out of my garage. I was lucky that a friend of mine that owns a garage door company was able to have one of his guys at my house early in the morning to repair the broken door.

The drive for me was about 2 and ½ hours towards Vegas which is about the same distance for one of our riders (Pete) to travel to camp from his home in Vegas. Unfortunately I did not get the GPS coordinates until I was already on the road. I thought I could put them into my smart phone but unfortunately that did not work. I tried to call but the group that was there early were out riding and had no coverage.

I went north of Bagdad, AZ where I thought we were camping, but could not find the group. I unloaded my quad and rode about 15 miles of trails looking for the camp site with no luck. I then rode my quad into Bagdad so I could get phone coverage and tried to call my friend Jeff. Again no luck. I then called Zane in Phoenix; he told me they were in a different area towards Hillside. I loaded up and went in search of them. I took two roads off into the desert for many miles without any sign of them. At this point I was frustrated and decided to go back north of Bagdad to the area that has tons of balanced rocks and camp by myself so I could take photos of the beautiful scenery.

I found a place to camp where there was even a picnic table next to some very cool rocks. Too bad the local kids tagged the rocks with graffiti.

I quickly unloaded so I could get some photos of the balanced rocks before the sun went down.

This rock looks like a strange creature.

I found a very nasty hill climb that I started to go up but it was not doable without any help. I would have liked to see if the DWT Moapa’s could get enough grip to claw their way to the top of this hill for a gorgeous view but I am always much more cautious when I'm riding alone.

I was riding as fast as I dared trying to get some good shots before the sun set.

As I came over a small rise I went right over a large Tarantula. It's amazing I did not run over it.

Darkness was fast approaching so I went back for a bite to eat before turning in. Since I was alone back in the boonies, I decided to sleep in the back of my truck. The seats fold up and I had a couple of backpacking air mattresses so it shouldn’t be too bad.

It was a bit on the cold side (46) and my air mattress both went flat so I couldn’t wait for the sun to come up. I had seen some eyes out in the desert near me so I wanted to wait for daylight before I got out of my truck.

Finally it was starting to get light out. I had stopped in Bagdad and bought some cake tins so I could use them for cooking. I made a small fire and put the bacon in the tin. When it was done I used the grease for some eggs. It turned out OK for roughing it.

Now that I was full it was time to go explore for the morning. I might as well go for a ride until about noon and then try to find the group again. I went over to the area where I saw the eyes in the dark with my flashlight and there were some rather large paw prints of some animal. I am not sure what they were from but they may have been from the legendary chupacabra. Glad I didn’t go out last night!!!!!!

As I took off to explore the area I noticed 2 more hill climbs that looked interesting. I thought if I went to the top I could get a better idea of where the roads where. I made it to the top where there were some awesome views. There are quite a few roads winding through the area to explore. As I will find out later the road in the upper right hand corner of this photo took me down into a canyon where there used to be a huge mine.

Just like a lot of trails it was easier going up with momentum than the ride back down the hill. This trail is very loose granite with large ruts and rocks. It gave me the feeling that I would not be able to hold the line going down without sliding sideways but I was lucky the DWT Moapa’s gripped the rocks on this steep grade. I was definitely warm after this part of the ride.

Every corner I turn there are more interesting balanced rocks. They are truly amazing.

There was a place off the main road where they had 2 water lines suspended across a canyon. I can’t imagine how they did this back in the day.

As I was taking one road after another I found this slit in the rocks. As I got closer I saw rail car tracks and knew it was a mine shaft.

I went back in a ways until I came upon some bats. At this point I took their picture and backed out.

Back on the trails there was more new dirt to explore.

I found the road I saw from the top of the hill and again was amazed at the rock formations as I wound my way along this trail. It looked like aliens used this area as a drawing board.

All of a sudden as I round a corner a huge canyon comes out of nowhere and there was a road headed down to the bottom. Oh my! Was I ever excited!!! I was wishing my riding buddies were here with me exploring. It is always more fun to find new stuff with friends.

As I make my way down the trail I get even more excited as there is a huge mine near the bottom.

Wow, this used to be a big time operation at one time.

As I was looking around there was another mine around the corner at her bottom near the creek. This is an area I am going to have to come back and explore when I have more time.

Well, it’s time to start heading back to the truck as I am getting low on gas and I don’t want to have to use the fuel in my flat pack at this time, so I head back up the beautiful trail. Its funny how just going a different direction you see so many more formations.

After loading up I headed back through Bagdad towards Hillside, AZ. I just stayed on the main highway and found the group 6 tenths of a mile up the road from where I turned around the day before. Rats!!!

The group was out riding so I went for a short ride and came back to camp. They returned shortly so it looks like I will still get in a couple of good days of riding before having to go home.

Stay tuned for the rest of the adventure.

Don McNeilly
Discount Tire Direct.

Premium Member
181 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Part 2

As I was telling the guys about the adventure I had the night before they were laughing hysterically. I told them about what I thought was a Chubracraba during the night and they lost it. I had to prove to them I saw it so I went looking back through my photos (thank goodness for digital photos) and couldn’t believe my eyes. As I was using the timer on my camera to take a photo of me eating breakfast I happened to get a photo of the Chubracrba right behind me.

WOW!!!!!!! I was right. I knew it!!!

Since there was still plenty of daylight we decided to go for another ride. We went on the North side of the highway where I went looking for them. As we approached the steep hill I had gone up earlier I hit the throttle and flew to the top. Even though I tackled this hill earlier, it's so steep, loose and rocky that it commands your full attention. You have to get the correct line for the 2 steps at the top or suffer the consequences. Most everybody came up the hill so it got a bit crowded as it was just a turn around on top.

There was some water in the creek at the bottom of the hill so we just had to have a bit of fun in it. Here is Jeff on his King Quad. As you can see from the water being thrown from all wheels his front diff is locked.

I thought I would see if I could get my DWT Moapa’s to crawl over a big rock that was partially in the water. That was a mistake. The ground I was riding on was not really sand but ground up granite which is almost like quick sand. As I tried to get up on the rock I dug-in to the frame. I even tried to hook up my 4,500 pound winch to pull me over the rock but the surface was too straight up and down. It took 2 winches hooked up to the back of my quad to pull me out. Now I know how Chad felt.

One tip we used when winching. I threw my jacket over both winch lines. This way if one of the steel cables breaks, the cable hits the coat and falls to the ground instead of hitting someone.

We went for a short ride and came back to camp for the night. Robert thought his belt was feeing weird so he decided to change it. Good thing as it was missing some teeth and was cracked. There is no way he would have made it much further.

How many hands does it take to change a belt?

In the morning we were waiting for 4 other riders to show up for the days ride. The heard just keeps growing. One of the riders, Terren, had a brand new black Limited Edition Polaris 850XP with power steering. He and Bob both blame me for them having to get this machine from when I had a test Polaris 850 XP with power steering and let them ride it. They are sweet for sure.

Looks like the group is ready to head out to the hills for some exploring.

Carl’s Commander had problems very early on our ride. The trail is rocky as are almost all the trails in the SouthWest Deserts. He happened to hit one of the boulders hard with his left tire. I do have to say Wild Man Carl does use his equipment and rides hard. Unfortunately this hit bend his left front a-arm into a banana.

We hooked up the winch from Bob’s Polaris to the bent tie-rod but it would not budge. Jeff came over with a 5 pound hammer and Zane used it to pound the tie-rod somewhat straight. With the trail fix we are back on the road.

We took off a steep rutted hill and I just happened to turn around to check on the rider behind me. I saw his front end come up; then, he caught a rut and was turned sideways. Jeff to the rescue, just in time.

Some of the trails get a bit on the rocky side. I know sport quads can make most of them but I'm sure glad I'm not on one. At the bottom of this hill we took a short break. Carl told me I may want to get ahead of the group for some photos. As I rounded a corner near the top of this hill something was biting the heck out of my right thigh inside my pants. I quickly pulled to the side while beating on my leg, jumped off my quad and pulled my pants down. When we stopped earlier I noticed some big ants on my boots. Those buggers climbed up my pants and were biting me. I killed them all but my leg hurt for the rest of the day and was bruised for almost a week.

We are very lucky to be able to ride in some very remote terrain. This area is loaded with Ocotillo’s. They are the long spiny cactus in this photo. They are also called Crown of Thorns because in the spring they produce red flowers on the end of their spines.

Here is a photo of Zane when we stopped for lunch. I’m sure he was thinking about taking this backhoe out for a spin.

We continued on to see more new dirt after lunch. The area we were riding in had tons of cattle. We came across a small heard that didn't want to get off the road. Carl was afraid to get to close to them for fear they would kick his Commander. Finally they moved into the desert after about a quarter of a mile.

Some of the trails had some spots where it was very off camber like this. It gave you an eerie feeling since there was a 15 foot drop off to the right.

There were miles and miles of trails in the area. Nothing hard, but very beautiful.

Carl almost made it back to our camp area but not quite. His bent tie-rod snapped in half. He was close to camp so one of the guys took him to get his truck so he could load it into the back. Unfortunately he forgot he put a 2 inch lift on his truck and drove through his rear window. Just one more thing to fix.

We roughed it for dinner that night with shiskabobs, steak, shredded pork ribs, pototatos, salad and melon. Yum!!!

Most everyone left Sunday morning but 4 of us went for a last exploratory ride. We were trying to see if we could get over to where I had camped by myself north of Bagdad. As we crested a big hill we could see a large ranch down in the valley. The trail went to a road that looked like it would have taken us to Bagdad but at the bottom of the hill the ranch had a closed gate with no trespassing signs so we had to turn around.


Next to the trail there were what we believe to be telegraph lines.

We kept trying different roads to get around the ranch but always ran into fences. One of the little used trails we came across had a heard of about 20 big Javelins. It's amazing how much they look like rocks when they stand still. No wonder they are called the ghost of the desert.

Right after seeing the Javelins we saw 2 deer.

Well it looks like we did not find a way around the ranch this day but that just means we have to come back and try again.

We had an awesome time with some great friends and nobody got hurt so it was a big success. I can’t wait for the next adventure.

Remember, life is short so have fun, but be safe and always buy your tires and wheels from Discount Tire.

Until the next adventure!

Don McNeilly
Discount Tire Direct.
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