Doerte doing the first elevation from the Colorado River on the Boundary Cone Road.. This was an excellent road for riding with very little traffic. 

GABA 2007

Great Arizona Bike Ride 2007 Trip Report

Laughlin, NV to San Carlos, AZ via the Grand Canyon

Lots more photos of the GABA 2007 ride at

Saturday September 29 to Sunday October 07, 2008

This was the 26th year of this ride. The route changes each year, but always includes the Grand Canyon.



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GABA Ride Itinerary (The Plan)

Ride Day 1: Sunday, September 30th
Laughlin, NV to Kingman, AZ (50 miles, approximately 5,100' of climbing): Head into the Black Mountains, and cruise into the old mining town of Oatman.

Ride Day 2: Monday, October 1st
Kingman to Seligman (88 miles, approximately 3,900' of climbing): Continue pedaling on the longest currently used stretch of Route 66.

Ride Day 3: Tuesday, October 2nd
Seligman to Grand Canyon (99 miles, approximately 5,700' of climbing): Enjoy the changing scenery as you pedal to the high desert forest of the South Rim. About 25 miles will be on the wide shoulder of I-40, the only paved road connecting these places, during light midweek traffic.

Day 4 (Rest Day): Wednesday, October 3rd
We had a day off at the Grand Canyon National Park. Many folks rode out the West Rim Drive. We walked the Rim and enjoyed the views. Some had the energy to descend down the Bright Angel Trail.:

Ride Day 4: Thursday, October 4th
Grand Canyon to Flagstaff (80 miles, approximately 3,300' of climbing): Enjoy the cooler temperatures at higher elevation and the scent of the pine forest as you pedal along the shoulders of the San Francisco Peaks.

Ride Day 5: Friday, October 5th
Flagstaff to Payson (94 miles, approximately 5,600' of climbing): Ride by Lake Mary and Mormon Lake in the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest. Crest over the Mogollon Rim and enjoy steep descents through the small towns of Strawberry (great pies) and Pine.

Ride Day 6: Saturday, October 6th
Payson to San Carlos (95 miles, approximately 8,000' of climbing): Savor a thrilling 9 mile descent into saguaro country, past Roosevelt Lake. View historic Roosevelt Dam, and travel over the world’s longest steel arch and suspension bridge. Test your legs on the steep climb to follow, cycling through the old mining town of Globe, and on to San Carlos Apache country.

Entire course profile (505 miles, approx. 31,500')

Sunday, October 7th
Bus trip from the Apache Gold Resort to the Best Western Airport Inn in Phoenix.

The Ride!  (The Story)

Doerte and I were up early and on the road shortly after 6 am. Being from the Pacific NW we preferred to ride in the cool of very early morning and enjoy the rising sun on the Mohave Desert. There was no traffic riding on the Boundary Cone Road to the Black Mountains. Shortly after Sag 1 we arrived at the old mining town, and now a tourist attraction - Oatman, AZ. There were a bunch of old closed mines and some that were still in some form of operation.

This was the steepest part of the ride.

Oatman, Arizona is a mining town in the Black Mountains of Mohave County, Arizona, United States. Located at an elevation of 2700ft it began as a tent camp soon after two prospectors struck a $10 million gold find in 1915, though the area had been already settled for a number of years. Oatman's population grew to more than 3,500 in the course of a year.

Oatman was named in honor of Olive Oatman, a young girl from Illinois who was kidnapped by the Apache. She was rescued in 1857 near the current site of the town bearing not only the psychological marks of her ordeal, but physical marks as well. Traded to the Mohave tribe who adopted her as a daughter, Olive had her face tattooed to identify her as an honorary Apache and photographs of her clearly show the markings.

 Wild Burros at Oatman, AZ

 Oatman looks like a town that should not be there.

 The burros are not native, and are left over from the   prospector days of old.



We arrived at camp in Kingman early and had time to cool off and enjoy the pool. We had driven through Kingman in the car many times, but it was much more fun to ride through on our bikes. Our KOA Campground was nice, but not really very close to stores and shops.

We were up early Monday morning and broke camp in the dark. Doerte and I went to the truck stop for coffee, and then took off for Hackberry. We had a tailwind (at least for a while) and a big storm bypassing us to the east. As we neared Hackberry the wind turned around, and bothered us the rest of the day.

Hackberry is a fun stop and should never be missed when passing through, and to our delight Sag 1 was also there. There was a nervous excitement in the air among the riders. From Hackberry we continued on old route 66 to the Hualapai capital of Peach Springs. At the community Center we were served delicious Indian Tacos for lunch.

Out next stop was Grand Canyon Caverns. We didn't  have any luck going into the caverns as the next tour was 4 pm and it was only 1:30, so we rode on to Sag 3.

Donna and the famous pickle crackers on the ride from Kingman to Seligman! 

Steve and Donna were Sag 3.

With all the energy gathered from Sag 3 the ride into Seligman was easy. The clouds were clearing and the light and scenery was astonishingly beautiful. We cheered as we rode into Seligman. We'd been through Seligman when it was almost of ghost town, but it seems that the Route 66 revival has been good to it. It seemed to be hopping.

We rode by the famous Sno Cap Drive Inn which is usually a must stop.

Our Camp in Seligman was ride in the middle of the hotel grounds so the atmosphere was festive. We had a big salad and pizza buffet for dinner and then turned in by 8 pm. For me, at least 8 something seemed to be normal bedtime. We were always up at 4 something and on our bikes by 6:30 am each morning.

One of the best stops was Seligman, AZ.

Doerte and Kurt discuss strategy.

Kurt was the camping coordinator. He made sure we all had fun and stayed relaxed.



As usual we broke camp before sunrise and headed to the cafe for coffee and oatmeal. Riding east from Seligman in the early dawn was amazing. Riders disappeared into the fog. A runner appears, and it is Steve from Sag 3. This was one of my favorite parts of the ride. Eventually we were forced on to I40 for a few miles.

Are you ready to ride I40?

Tom, Doerte, Chris, Ann, Jerry are ready to ride!

Perfect riding weather!

Sag 1 was waiting for us at Ashfork. They always had hot fresh delicious coffee and oatmeal. Starbucks had nothing on Sag 1! From Ashfork we had to ride I40 again to Williams. Many riders had flat tires due to the amount of glass and other debris on the shoulder. This section was a bit annoying due to the traffic (although the scenery was beautiful)  As a reward, we did get a really fun fast downhill to the Williams exit and into town.

Most riders stopped for delicious pie in Williams. We tried to hook with our friends Dale and Natalie who are residents. We missed Dale, but did get to chat with him on the phone a little. Sag 2 was in the Kaibab Forest just north of Williams on Highway 64. This was one of my favorite stops- in the Ponderosa Pines, and perfect weather. It reminded me of why I like Northern Arizona so much. It is truly a special place. From here it was a straight 50 mile shot on big rollers to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon!

We saw many tarantulas on our route from Hackberry to Globe. We had never seen them before.


The Desert Tarantula grows 2 to 3 inches long and is colored gray to dark brown. It is common to the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave deserts of Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California.

The most common North American tarantula is found in California, Texas, and Arizona. A 30-year life span has been recorded for one individual of this species. Certain South American tarantulas, which have a body length of up to almost 3 in., build large webs and eat small birds.

The tarantula prefers to live in dry, well-drained soil. If the soil is suitable, the female digs a deep burrow which she lines with silk webbing. This helps prevent sand and dirt from trickling in. Otherwise, she hides in cracks in logs and under any loose-lying debris.

The tarantula is a nocturnal hunter. It does not spin a web to capture its prey, but catches food it by speed It will take virtually anything of the right size that moves within range, but feeds primarily on small insects like grasshoppers, beetles, sow bugs, other small spiders and sometimes small lizards.

Sag 3 at Flintstone City in Valle on the way to the Grand Canyon!

It was a party! Fresh Watermelon and Pineapple! Yumm!


Steve and Donna always manage to have the truck positioned just right to keep us out of the sun, wind, or rain.

From Valle it was more big rollers all the way to Tuysayan and the Grand Canyon. For most of us this was a hard long day. We blew through Tuysayan. Although I lived there for 6 years, I have no lasting connection.

Mike and Doerte at the entrance to the Grand Canyon!

It is a tradition (or so we implied) to hold your bike up as high as you can!

We rode into Mather Campground and celebrated by going immediately to the shower! That night we had a group dinner at Yavapai. As a former Canyon resident, I am still amazed at the poor food quality of Yavapai. Some things never ever change.

Our old friend Mike Quinn from the Grand Canyon Museum came by Yavapai and took our team picture!

Have you ever seen a better looking group of riders and support staff?


Thanks Mike Quinn!

We really enjoyed the Grand Canyon. We saw elk, Bighorn Sheep, tarantulas, and the famous Kaibab Squirrel. We visited with our friend Mike Quinn, had breakfast at the El Tovar, and dinner at the Arizona Steakhouse.

Thursday morning we left at first light for Flagstaff. Nearing the San Francisco Peaks we encountered lightening, thunder, rain, and even reports of hail. Most of us bagged it and were sagged in by Stuart. We can come back and ride the missing 27 miles anytime, but a sag ride with Stuart is an experience not to be missed. There were 8 of us in his truck on this trip. We easily could of gotten two more in.

In Flagstaff, as the storm cleared, Doerte and I went downtown to have a late lunch at Cafe Express. Unfortunately, the staff didn't show up and the owner had to close. Good thing, as we found a new place. We also went by to see the Trader, and as usual, left with a new Navajo rug, and bolo tie. We ran into Tom and Jerry, and then Kurt came riding up, dry as a bone. He managed to avoid the storm.


Our good old friend Charlie Bongo came by early Friday morning to have coffee and ride with us through Flagstaff. That was a real treat!

In the excitement of the evening, several of us came very close to getting tattoos in Flagstaff at the Flag Tattoo parlor. We were so wound up we all wanted a "GABA" tattoo on our biceps! Eventually we all (maybe all) were talked out of it!
Still, if I ever get a tattoo - it will say GABA!!!

Charlie Bongo got us off to a great start in Flagstaff, and we continued riding to Lake Mary and Mormon Lake. The day began cool, and stayed windy.
Doerte riding into the wind in the Ponderosa Pine Forest below Flagstaff on the way to Payson.

In Payson we splurged on super cool GABA jerseys, and additional GABA socks!

At Payson, we had a very luxurious camp in the grassy area of the Best Western and had a home cooked dinner at the Elks Lodge. Interacting with the communities are some of the best parts of these organized rides.

Saturday, our last day, went very fast. Everyone was now in top condition and had ridden over 400 miles and climbed over 20,000' feet of elevation gain. So 95 miles and 8,000' feet of climbing was no big deal. We rode through forests of saguaros, and along Roosevelt Lake, and then up the big climb to Globe, and then the very fast 6 miles finish to San Carlos.

Woohoo! The finish at San Carlos. Lots of happy people!

It was bittersweet in that we had such a good time on the ride and now it was sad to have to leave all our newfound friends.

Back home in Seattle I would see another rider and expect it to be someone I knew. It was quite the experience to shrink our lives to a bicycle, road, and small group of people who become friends.

Thanks to GABA for putting this ride all together and making sure every one had a good time, learned some stuff, and stayed safe!

Greater Arizona Bicycling Association, Tucson Chapter

More Ride Photos!

Mike and Doerte from W Seattle, WA

Jim from Bellingham, WA photos


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