|Cochran Coke Ovens|
Wow. Here it is Tuesday and I'm still sore. Randy and I did the beautiful ride up through the Box Canyon, East of Florence, then up onto the Martinez Canyon Road (easy, fun and beautiful ride - unfortunately, we had to spend some time banking a fire that someone left burning - they left the area covered in fast food litter, and human waste that was not buried - how unfortunate - that is what is going to close these areas off for everyone's enjoyment in the future), then we turned off onto the Coke Ovens trail. We had been warned it was "bumpy." I didn't really expect HOW bumpy it would be.
Randy took both quads down the mountain side, while I hiked down. There were several two foot step/drops, and some awkward off-camber manipulation - but Randy did it like a champ! The road looked so good after that...
We started up the next mountain and I stopped to watch some other folks come down the mountain rock slab while Randy rode ahead to see how bad it still was. The other folks coming down came by and told me that was the worst of it. They were right, although I wasn't done panicking about it all...
I caught up with Randy, and we went down another rock slab, and on the way down, I started hyperventilating. I got to the bottom, by the fork in the road that is the loop to the coke ovens, and I started crying and getting hysterical. I can't do it, I want to go back, I'm not capable, blah, blah, blah.
Randy stops for a bit, calms me down, gets me breathing again, and talks my courage back up. Tells me I can't stop now - this is the one place I've always wanted to go - how can I stop when we're less than two miles away?
|Cochran Coke Ovens - Backside|
But now I have to go back. Oh crap. No, not gonna get scared...not going to let the fear take over. I rode back pretty confident and in pretty good form. The big rock slab on the side of the mountain? Well, I even took a stab at going up that. Until I almost rolled the quad. Randy took over from there. But I tried, and that was all that counted.
At one other point, I popped one wheel over the edge of the road and tipped. I caught the bike and myself, and hung on for dear life while Randy ran down to straighten me out. My arms are at this point getting tired of fighting the quad. But I'm still trying damned hard! No tears this time...just confidence and "can do" attitude!
We were on the Backroads of Arizona from approximately 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Beautiful day, beautiful scenery, beautiful ride. Brutal, heart wrenching, and sometimes heart stopping. But worth every sore muscle and tear shed to see it all!
Please remember - stay on marked/obvious trails at all times - if it doesn't have two wheel paths, its a hiking trail, not a riding trail. Pack in your food and water, pack out ALL your trash. Leave the area cleaner than when you got there! Let's leave these areas open for many years to come!
**UPDATE - 2020** - the Coke Ovens are closed to the public. Do not trespass. Do not open the fences. View them from a distance. Vandalism has caused the collapse of one. Leave them for future generations. The Martinez Mill trail is also closed - you must hike in.