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Today I rode my TW200 to the top of Mt. Lemmon, elevation 9,157 ft. There are two ways to get up there, the very popular paved Catalina Highway that links NE Tucson to the summit and the far less popular unpaved Forest Service road that links Oracle, AZ to the summit. I rode pavement up to Oracle, then went up the backside of Mt. Lemmon via the FS road. The FS road links up to pavement again a few miles short of the summit, so I had to take the hard stuff up to the top. I also took the very nicely paved Catalina highway back down the front of Mt. Lemmon to Tucson.



This was my route.











The traffic on AZ 77 runs about 65mph, so the first stretch of the trip really gave the TW a chance to stretch its legs! We both took a break by this rock formation when the pavement ended.











Most of the FS road is very well maintained these days. It used to be much rougher, but they're reopening an old copper mine about 3/4 of the way up soon so they've smoothed out the road quite a bit over what I saw about a year ago when I tackled this route in my 4x4 Suburban. You can just make out the Caterpillar dozer I passed down the hill in this pic I snapped about half way up the FS road.











There are some active ranches up that way too. These cows weren't quite sure what to make of me. I guess they're used to seeing KLRs or something.











Past the mine entrance the going got a lot tougher. No more grading or erosion control. There were big rocks in the middle of the road and washed-out switchbacks that had me sliding around with my leg sticking out like some second-rate MX racer. It was great! Up above 9000 ft I noticed a dramatic loss of power though, and my bike even stalled out idling at the stop sign where the FS road meets the Catalina Highway. Still, I made it to the summit and was treated to this view:











On my way back down I stopped in the quaint mountain village of Summerhaven for a snack at the general store.











I didn't follow my route back down to the letter. I took a little detour down Bear Wallow Rd, FS 34, and stopped off by this massive ponderosa pine log.











I also took a little spur road out to see where my TV signal comes from.











On the way back down through the twisties I stopped off at Windy Point vista to take in the view.











It was a great way to spend the better part of a day. Around 125 miles all in with a good mix of different types of riding and road conditions.
 

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Hey Don,



Great ride report and pictures! Looks like a lot of different types of terrain within a a short ride from Tuscon. Looks much more interesting than what I pictured Arizona to be. Is it any cooler at 9,000 feet? Looks like you had the whole mountain to yourself.



Brian
 

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Looks like some great views and fun day of riding!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey Don,



Great ride report and pictures! Looks like a lot of different types of terrain within a a short ride from Tuscon. Looks much more interesting than what I pictured Arizona to be. Is it any cooler at 9,000 feet? Looks like you had the whole mountain to yourself.



Brian




Thanks!



One of the things I love about Tucson is the wide variety of terrain, not to mention flora and fauna. Most people think red dirt and saguaros when they picture Tucson, and we've got that, but there's a lot more besides.



It runs about 20 degrees cooler up on the mountain this time of year, very popular with the weekend warriors! There was a pretty steady stream of trucks hauling campers up as I was cruising down.
 

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Looks and sounds like you had a very fun adventure, with a variety of things to see. I appreciate you sharing the pictures as I've never been to Tuscon. What were the temps like? Nice looking TW, too. Thanks, again.
 

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That looked like a nice ride, and you got some dual, out of the dual purpose (dirt & pavement) from the TW. B-dub asked about the temps and I was wondering the same thing. Thought is was hot down yonder (my impression anyway) and too hot to ride and everyone hunkered down during the summer. Maybe your too excited to ride the TW and go no matter what:D.



Looks like your having a fun time riding the TW, thanks for sharing.
 

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For some reason, I was surprised that you got to 9000++ feet on a 'road' in Arizona. Those clouds suggested that conditions may have been close to perfect for your adventure. I should get out and ride more, that's for sure. As long as you guys take me along, guess I can 'relax' at home, and ride in cyber-space. Thanks again. Gerry
 

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Discussion Starter #11
DonBenito great ride I would like to do that some day. Do you see any Javelina on your trips?







Ronnydog




I saw a big herd of Javelina, about 15, tooling around in my neighbor's yard just this morning. I've never seen any out in the desert, but my neighborhood is lousy with 'em!



They're kinda like raccoons around here, raccoons that might gore you if you get too close.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Looks and sounds like you had a very fun adventure, with a variety of things to see. I appreciate you sharing the pictures as I've never been to Tuscon. What were the temps like? Nice looking TW, too. Thanks, again.




That looked like a nice ride, and you got some dual, out of the dual purpose (dirt & pavement) from the TW. B-dub asked about the temps and I was wondering the same thing. Thought is was hot down yonder (my impression anyway) and too hot to ride and everyone hunkered down during the summer. Maybe your too excited to ride the TW and go no matter what:D. Looks like your having a fun time riding the TW, thanks for sharing.




I set off about 8am, so the ride up was in the high 70's to low 80's. I guess I was climbing in elevation fast enough to escape the valley heat. The high in Tucson was about 100, but the wind speed on my descent kept me pretty cool until I made it back into town and had to deal with stop lights.



I'm looking forward to riding in the cooler temps come fall, but I'm no snowbird! I gotta get out there and enjoy this beautiful desert all year round!
 

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DonB, nice looking ride! You live in a beautiful area that I can't wait to explore one day. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!



Bag
 

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Mt. Lemmon is beautiful! I have been up there with my uncle in a car, never on a bike. Last time I was in AZ I was dying to have my t-dub!
 
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