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Last year, I took what turned out to be my last trip on my trusty TW. I documented my ride here: Chiricahua Tee-Dubbing

I had a great trip, but it also illuminated the fact that the TW was no longer the best fit for a lot of my desired use. That set me searching for a replacement, and I eventually settled on a Honda CB500X converted with a Rally Raid Products Level 3 kit.

I decided to revisit the route that inspired my build in the first place, so I took a couple of days off this week and headed out to the Chiricahuas once again.

Day One: Tucson to Rucker Canyon — about 265 miles



Once again, I headed East out of town up and over Redington Pass towards Willcox.

Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:


Again, looking out over the San Pedro valley.

Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:


I was smart enough to do this ride in October instead of June this time, so the temperatures in the Sulphur Springs valley were much more enjoyable. Low 80s, vs. triple digits last summer.

Once again I stopped to capture the view of the playa in the distance and Dos Cabezas rising above its far side.

Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:


I gassed up in Willcox, and skipping historic Ft. Bowie this go-round headed straight for Chiricahua National Monument. If you're ever in the neighborhood, this place is really worth a visit.

Massai Point

Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:


Organ Pipe Formation

Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:


Again, I took Pinery Canyon rd over the mountains to Portal, AZ. This time, I took an alternate side loop that included Paradise, AZ.

Looking back down Pinery Canyon



The area behind my bike in the pic below was the most fire-damaged I saw along my route. I had not noticed the extent during my last ride through here.



I have an inkling of why they decided to call it "Paradise".



I had a nice lunch at the cafe in Portal, then hit the road South for Douglas, AZ to refuel.

Monument to Geronimo's surrender

Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:


After refueling in Douglas, looking back up towards the Chiricahuas.



No forest fires this time!

Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:


Inviting hills...



I found another great campsite in Rucker Canyon, and had a very pleasant evening.




Continued below...
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Day Two: Rucker Canyon to Tucson - About 225 Miles




Morning in camp

Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:


This little fella dropped by to say hey



After a quick breakfast I packed up camp and headed back down Rucker Canyon.

Creek's flowing...



See ya, Chiricahuas



Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuge

Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:






Pearce Jail

Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:


This time, instead of heading South along the Ghost Town Trail to Courtland and Gleeson, I decided to continue East over Middlemarch Pass to get to Tombstone.





Tombstone, AZ

Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:


On to Montezuma Pass

Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:


Tee-Dubbing:


CBing:






Parker Canyon Lake





In the past year, the wife and I have visited Parker Canyon Lake several times with our kayaks and fishing rods. It's become one of our favorite spots.

Parker Canyon. Quite a few homes down there, seems like a nice little community if you don't mind living somewhere so remote.



I enjoyed this ride even more the second time around. The CB proved to be excellently suited all around. Most of this dirt is pretty well maintained, there were only a few sections that a passenger car would have had problems with. One notable change was the amount of deep sand piled up on Cascabel Rd. South of Redington. There was a good couple of miles of deep sand, I found that the extra power of the CB combined with the narrower, TKC-80 clad wheels made riding in the sand much easier than I found it to be on my TW, which had a 5.10 Shinko 244 up front and the stock tire in the rear. The excellent Tractive suspension from Rally Raid also made me comfortable riding much faster on these dirt roads, which is only an advantage if you want to go faster of course. Being able to comfortably cruise at 75+ on the highway sections was also very nice, and one thing that I really wished I was able to do on the TW. Loaded with gear, the CB gets about the same mileage I would get doing this kind of riding, fully loaded, on my TW. About 50mpg.

I have not had the time to ride very much since I converted my CB500X, but this trip really made me feel like I made the right move in choosing it over other middleweight DS/ADV options. It feels lighter than it really is, and the low center of gravity makes it better at everything (on and off pavement) than my old KLR 650 was. It's just a fun to ride, tremendously versatile machine that I'm looking forward to doing a lot more riding on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Interesting contrasts between the two bikes. Nice camp gear too.
Thanks Fred, I've just recently made a few changes for the smaller/lighter in my kit thanks in large part to having read the SMALL bike camping thread over on ADVrider. I posted up my full kit in detail there. I've still got some room for improvement but I have downsized from the size Large Wolfman duffel that I used on my TW to a size Small Wolfman duffel on this trip.
 

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DonBenito - how do you like your 2013 Tiger? I'm thinking the perfect combination is my TW for crawling into the back country and a Triumph Tiger for sight seeing along the back roads.

Is your Tiger an 800 or 1200? Do you ride it just with you or do a tandem rider? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
DonBenito - how do you like your 2013 Tiger? I'm thinking the perfect combination is my TW for crawling into the back country and a Triumph Tiger for sight seeing along the back roads.

Is your Tiger an 800 or 1200? Do you ride it just with you or do a tandem rider? Thanks!
I have the Tiger Explorer XC, it's the 1200 with spoke wheels and factory protection package. I absolutely love it. It's a phenomenal touring bike, I've put about 35,000 miles on it these last two years. About 15,000 of that has been 2-up with my wife. We did a 4000 mile ride up to the Olympic Peninsula and back down the PCH to San Francisco then back home through Yosemite a couple of months ago. We were both quite comfortable the whole time and the bike never skipped a beat. Does pretty decent off pavement for a 600 Lb bike, even 2-up loaded with camping gear. We did the Chain of Craters Backcountry Byway in New Mexico on it last year, and I even mustered a 20-yard river crossing solo on it up in Colorado this summer.

It's definitely a road-focused bike though. I'm glad to have a second bike in the stable that's a lot less work to ride in the dirt.
 

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Sweet! Thanks for the info, the Tiger's seem to be a great bike for what you're using it for. I'd like to have one in my garage for the wife and I to go camping on and exploring the by-ways!
 

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Nice report! Sounds like you're cruising on that CB (literally and figuratively!) :) I imagine it must be really nice on the highway. If it came from the factory like yours, I might be pretty tempted...
 

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your CB is a really good looking bike, congrats on making it what you wanted. i've been to that area of arizona once, very beautiful country, especially the chiricahuas.
 
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