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So I found myself with a few days off, and I decided it was time to finally take the TW out for an over-nighter. 3 nights, in fact.

I rode from Tucson up to Big Lake (with a little detour to Show Low) on the first day and set up base camp.

Tucson to Big Lake.png

Crawling up out of the Salt River Canyon was a chore, so me and the TW took a break to enjoy the view.



I'd been riding for several hours at this point, and the engine was getting pretty hot but it kept going! Sitting still here I reached my peak reading at the spark plug of 342 degrees f.

I continued climbing up and up, sometimes gradually and sometimes steeply. As my elevation passed 5000ft or so I noticed a slight loss of power climbing hills. I spent a good chunk of time climbing hills at 45mph WOT in 4th gear. 4-wheeled traffic was surprisingly patient and understanding on the few occasions they had the misfortune of getting stuck behind me!

Finally I reached FS 48 to get a break from the blacktop.



At this idyllic spot I took a break to drink some water and check on how the luggage and bike were holding up. All my straps, brackets, boxes, and bolts were in place! Much to my chagrin however, the oil level in my little window was hovering dangerously close to the low mark. I guess all those WOT hill climbs were taking their toll.

Luckily, I was only about 10 miles from Show Low so a detour to pick up some oil was no big deal.



Topped off the oil level and high-tailed it back down to FS 48. Had to stop for a pick of this wild/free range/loose? white pony grazing in the distance behind my own.



I saw some deer and turkeys along this dirt stretch too, but they were too quick for me to get a picture. I followed FS 48 over to AZ 73, then took 73 to AZ 260.

With the rain starting to fall and my engine losing lots of power with the elevation, I decided to pull over to put on my rain pants and pull the duct tape off of the holes in my airbox. The airbox mod actually helped quite a bit, although there was still no comparison to performance at lower elevations.



I rode through the rain to AZ 273 and on to Big Lake. I checked in with the campground attendant and purchased a bundle of firewood from them before setting up my base camp.



The rain broke just as I pulled in to camp, and I was able to set up my tent and enjoy my dinner and a nice fire. Right around 280 miles on day one, not to mention around 300cc of burnt oil.

On day two I took it pretty easy. Slept in late, then fought this squirrel for my breakfast!





Then I took out a rowboat and tried my luck with the trout.



The fish weren't biting and a big thunderstorm was rolling in, so I spent the afternoon snoozing in my tent while the rain fell. There was a long enough break in the evening to get out and cook some dinner and have a nice warm fire, all in all not a bad way to spend a day.
 

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Days 3 and 4

Big lake had a nasty algae bloom going on, so I decided to go check out nearby Crescent lake which was mostly clear.

I got distracted by this path along the way and rode down and back a few miles to check it out.







Saw some cows and rode through a few mud holes, then headed for the lake.



After a few hours with no luck there either, I decided to get back on the bike and do some riding. The rain returned and things got pretty soggy, but I was in an exploring kind of mood.

I rode out towards Reservation lake on the well graded FS roads. I tried a couple detours but the side roads were clogged with deep mud because of all the rain. This road was fun for awhile but with the heavy panniers the fishtailing in the mud was too much so I turned back, snapping this pic at the gate.



This whole area burned back in 2011. You might have seen something about it in the news. The damage is still very evident.





I saw a mother elk with a youngster, but in my hurry to get out the camera and frame a shot I parked my TW in a precarious place, so it fell over and scared them off! Hey, at least the ammo can panniers and Tinman Tim's brackets held up through the fall!

I carried along and found my way to the East fork of the Black river. Not much compared to the Mississippi or anything, but I don't get to see much live water anymore living in Tucson!



Poking around I racked up about 60 miles for the day, mostly above 9000' elevation near as I can tell.

On my fourth and final day I broke camp early and hit the road back to Tucson.



The ride back was mostly uneventful, although I did burn through another 300cc or so of oil. Ambient temps were getting pretty high towards the end of my journey, and at a stop after some hill climbing my temp gauge topped out at 371!

The ride back was about 260 miles since I got to skip the leg up to Show Low, making the whole trip right around 600 miles.

The TW got me there and back, not to mention a bewildered "You're kidding!" from a fella at the Big Lake marina when I told him I had ridden it there from Tucson. Not bad for a little trail bike loaded down with 70lbs of luggage and gear.

I'll be keeping an eye on the oil level now to see if it's an ongoing thing or just an effect of running WOT for hours on end.

Either way, it was a fun trip and a nice chance for me to do something new with my TW.
 

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I enjoyed your write up and pictures. Our mighty Tdubs will get ya where you want to go...just not so fast! BTW, I like how you packed all that gear.
 

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What an awesome adventure! That surely is some beautiful country. Everything looks so green. Kind of a bad deal that it rained so much, but also good to see that you're not a fair weather rider only. Around here we can't complain about the rain because things have been pretty dry, and we need all we can get. There have been some pretty impressive rain and thunderstorms around here in the last few days.

I like your setup on the bike. With the panniers and ActionPacker your load looks well balanced and organized. In fact your whole bike looks great. I think also that you're correct in your assessment that the oil loss is just from a combination of the temps and the load on the engine from the climb. You would probably be a good candidate for Lizrdbrth's oil cooler kit. With your and Admiral's endorsement of the air box mod I think I will follow suit.

It's cool that you got to see some wildlife. You really do have to be extra fast to catch them with a camera. The TW is pretty quiet, but I might at some point in time add a second muffler like Ronnydog and Trikstr to see how much difference it makes in wildlife sightings. I enjoy that.

All in all it looks like you had a great time. I enjoyed your great pics and report. Thanks for sharing your ride with us.
 

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With the rain comes tricky riding conditions, when it comes to dirt roads, but I bet with all the heat down there, it may have come as a little relief. I do lots of camping and riding, but not been able to put together a multiply day trip. Had one in the planning stages for this year, but put off till next. I should maybe follow your lead and put together a couple of short "shakedown" trips like you've just done. Being up in the mountains down there is sure different than the dry desert area's. Both are beautiful in there own way.

Quote: "The airbox mod actually helped quite a bit, although there was still no comparison to performance at lower elevations."

I couldn't have said it better myself. This mod is exactly how I feel. Not bad for a temporary altitude adjustment eh? Glad it worked out.
 

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SWWWeeeeeeeet!
Very nice!
Thanks!

Great pics and report!
I took what should have been some way better pictures of my bike at the Salt River Canyon, but condensation on the lens made them come out all foggy. Oh well, good enough reason to make a trip back I guess!

I enjoyed your write up and pictures. Our mighty Tdubs will get ya where you want to go...just not so fast! BTW, I like how you packed all that gear.
Thanks, I just kind of packed everything as best I could going off what I'd seen from more experienced tourers here and on ADVrider. I was happy with it, if anything the extra weight made for a smoother ride cruising down the highway. I just took it a little easier on turns and off-pavement and everything worked out pretty well. The Action packer behind me and the bed roll to my left made for something of an easy chair at stop lights!
 

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What an awesome adventure! That surely is some beautiful country. Everything looks so green. Kind of a bad deal that it rained so much, but also good to see that you're not a fair weather rider only. Around here we can't complain about the rain because things have been pretty dry, and we need all we can get. There have been some pretty impressive rain and thunderstorms around here in the last few days.

I like your setup on the bike. With the panniers and ActionPacker your load looks well balanced and organized. In fact your whole bike looks great. I think also that you're correct in your assessment that the oil loss is just from a combination of the temps and the load on the engine from the climb. You would probably be a good candidate for Lizrdbrth's oil cooler kit. With your and Admiral's endorsement of the air box mod I think I will follow suit.

It's cool that you got to see some wildlife. You really do have to be extra fast to catch them with a camera. The TW is pretty quiet, but I might at some point in time add a second muffler like Ronnydog and Trikstr to see how much difference it makes in wildlife sightings. I enjoy that.

All in all it looks like you had a great time. I enjoyed your great pics and report. Thanks for sharing your ride with us.
Thanks B-dub. Your rides in particular really served as inspiration for me to get out there a little further afield.

I hope you're right about the oil burning, we'll see!
 

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With your and Admiral's endorsement of the air box mod I think I will follow suit
Quote: "The airbox mod actually helped quite a bit, although there was still no comparison to performance at lower elevations."

I couldn't have said it better myself. This mod is exactly how I feel. Not bad for a temporary altitude adjustment eh? Glad it worked out.
Thank you so much for posting that pic and your tips for drilling the airbox cover, admiral. I followed Qwerty's advice (from an old post) and made my holes 0.5", and I followed your advice and made them all above the line covered by the side cover. That way they stay nice and protected and nobody can see the godawful yellow duct tape I used to cover them!

I drilled eight 0.5" holes, but I think that was actually too many. In the cold mountain air my temp reading at the spark plug dropped to around 115f, way too low in my estimation. I covered 4 of the holes back up and the engine ran just as well but at a healthier 180f or so temperature. Maybe I should have followed your advice further and made the holes smaller myself!
 

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With those long trips you make I think you should get a oil cooler from Lizardbrth on this forum
It's been on my wish list for a long time, but I've conservatively been waiting for the genuine liz-approved 49-state Lizrdcooler kit.

I agree with your assessment though, before attempting another trip like this I would bite the bullet and figure out a custom mount from Lizrdbrth's Cali kit if the 49-state kit isn't out yet. I know that 49-state kit has been a serious engineering challenge as all of our T-dubs are just a little unique as delivered from Yamaha, let alone after we get ahold of them!
 

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Don Benito you say you have holes drilled in your air box. Did you use these? View attachment 553
Thought about it, they actually stock them up at the local Cyclegear on Grant, but $15 for secondary filters I'm rarely gonna use? All my 0.5" holes are under the side cover, and the actual air filter is still there doing its job. The holes are covered with duct tape the vast majority of the time, so I decided against them.

Looking at them in person, it seems like they might have a problem with popping out, it's just 3 little ridges around the sleeve that I guess are supposed to pinch them into the hole. There's no inner ring or pins to keep them in place. If I was running a drilled airbox full-time then I might try to work with them, but for a rarely used hack for occasional high elevation riding it didn't seem worth the money or hassle.
 

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Excellent Trip Report! Very Inspirational! I have driven that road to that area before..... just not on my TW. You also chose a good time to go up. It is definitely cooler UP there than down in Tucson. I live just south of Tucson and it has not been cool. My riding is usually done right at sunrise. Just curious, what sprockets are you using?
 

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Excellent Trip Report! Very Inspirational! I have driven that road to that area before..... just not on my TW. You also chose a good time to go up. It is definitely cooler UP there than down in Tucson. I live just south of Tucson and it has not been cool. My riding is usually done right at sunrise. Just curious, what sprockets are you using?
Thanks, it was a really fun trip even though it did rain so much.

Stock gearing for me. Mr. Yamaha designed the TW with varied use in mind, and I use mine for varying types of riding so when I changed my chain and sprockets I elected to keep the gear ratios as he intended. I ride too much highway to go up on the back sprocket, and I ride too many trails to go down! I think the stock ratio is pretty Goldilocks for my kinda riding.

I live just south of Tucson
So, Mexico? :p Just kidding! I rode through Tombstone and Sonoita just last week, there's a lot of great riding between here and la frontera.
 

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That was great Don. I felt as if I was almost there with you. Thank you for sharing.
 

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That was great Don. I felt as if I was almost there with you. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks Brock, I had originally planned to make my first overnighter up to Lake Pleasant with a day trip up to Crown King (after reading your ride report) but I've been keeping track of the weather in both places and the allure of the cool mountain air got the best of me! I'd still like to take that Lake Pleasant/Crown King trip though, maybe in the fall.
 
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