Gone Fishing | Dual Sport Adventures | Part 4
Each May brings a cool event to Northern Arizona: The Overland Expo. Here you can find everything related to Overlanding for both 2 and 4 wheel vehicles (and some 6 wheel vehicles). From giant earth roaming, custom motor homes to small bore adventures bikes, there is a lot to see. Throw in some hands-on training classes, manufacturer demos and video presentations; the expo has a bit of everything for those that like adventure.
Eric, Travis, and I planned to attend and we decided to make it a gone fishing adventure. Travis was in charge of creating a dual sport loop that would take us from the Expo in Flagstaff, over to Mormon Lake, then down to Sedona, with a casual return route up the highway through scenic Oak Creek Canyon and back to the Expo. Eric was in charge of finding a fishing spot on Oak Creek while I studied the route for the best photo opportunities. We had invited some friends that were coming down to the Expo from Washington State, but unfortunately, they could not make it for the ride. However, as with adventures, well laid out plans tend to change and we adapted our trip a bit. Instead of trying to do it all in one day, we decided to take two days and start our ride out of Sedona. On day one we would travel to Sedona and ride, then on day two we would do some fishing and go to the Expo.
Day one started with some weather concerns. The night before, much of the area got rain showers and the clouds in the sky shouted of more rain. As much as I would like to have some super fancy breathable waterproof jacket, it is just not in the budget. So I broke out my trusty non-waterproof, $10-on-clearance, big box store branded windbreaker with a t-shirt and jersey underneath. We started the trip on the pavement heading up through Oak Creek Canyon.
As we approached Flagstaff and the Expo location, the dirt roads began. Two days earlier, these roads would have been just dusty dirt roads; however, with just the right amount of rain from the prior night, the roads were in perfect conditions. No mud, just “hero dirt.” The dirt that is just tacky enough that when you ride it, you feel like a hero. Our loop was just over 90 miles and 70+ miles was hero dirt. From Flagstaff to Mormon Lake and over to Munds Park, it was fun flowing roads and single track through the pine trees. Our last bit of riding was down Schnebly Hill into Sedona. This rocky dirt road has some of the best views of the gorgeous red rocks that surround Sedona. Throughout the loop we made a lot of stops, took in the awesome scenery, and enjoyed every moment. Coming down Schnebly Hill was a great way to end our ride and our first day of our trip.
Day two’s plan was to fish in the morning and go the Expo for the rest of the day. The weather had cleared up and we had a blue sky day. The adventure continued as the directions we were given for a fishing spot were difficult to follow, we spent some time hiking around a mountain side looking for the trail to get us to the fishing hole. We decided, instead of getting ourselves lost trying to find this spot, we would hit some spots we identified as we rode through Oak Creek Canyon. Our first stop was the best; a little canyon with some good pools to fish in. Within minutes Eric hooked a nice 14 inch brown trout. We weren’t planning on eating the fish, so it was catch and release. A few more casts later, Eric hooked another trout.
We wrapped up our fishing and headed to our next stop: The Overland Expo. We had two purposes there, check out the cool overlanding rigs and check out vendors that had products that would make our dual sport fishing trips even better as we plan an upcoming trip where will have to carry camping equipment on the bikes. Big Agnes had a cool display and showcased their backpacking tents and sleeping gear. Mosko Moto and Wolfman Luggage had nice booths showcasing their adventure luggage. We saw some cool GPS technology by small companies looking to create their niche, and an innovative product called the Campfire Defender.
Overall, the ride was one of my top 5 all-time dual sport rides. The rain is not normal in May, but it made the conditions incredible. It was a great way to spend a couple days: riding motorcycles in epic conditions, fishing in new places, and hanging out with friends at the Expo.