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10/05/2017RIDE SUMMARY - Oct 4th "HOWL AT THE MOON" NIGHT Rbobma
#5089RIDE SUMMARY - Oct 4th "HOWL AT THE MOON" NIGHT RIDE & PIZZA PARTY - Cave Creek to Humboldt Mtn

We had a beautiful Full Moon for our Wednesday NIGHT RIDE from Cave Creek to the top of Humboldt Mountain and over to the Seven Springs CCC Campground. We had a nice turnout of 13 members & 2 visitors in 3 ATVs and 7 SxSs. Most of us arrived early at the staging area for a 90-minute meet-and-greet pizza party at the Sears-Kay Indian Ruins (Hohokam village 1050-1200AD). Bob M brought three Costco pizzas & 3 liters of Soda and Shirley McD brought pumpkin-spice frosted cupcakes as dessert for the group. Everyone at the party was sharing amusing trail stories and information on past rides and trails. Red C had arrived a few hours earlier to drive around the area and he also climbed the hillside to the Indian ruins to find some GPS geocache sites.

Eric & Brenda M were our visitors who rented a SxS just for the night ride. Hopefully, they will join the club. They hope to go on the Oct 21 Bumble Bee ride on their sport quads.

On cue, the Full Moon rose over the hillsides at 5:52PM and the Sun set a few minutes later at 6:08PM. It was still early twilight with the mountains casting shadows when we departed the staging area at 6:25PM. Our first stop was around 6 miles into the ride at the Bronco Trailhead recreation site (vaulted toilets) for a quick stop to rest our thumb thottles. The road conditions were great and the average speed was about 20MPH allowing everyone to move quickly even though you only drove as fast as your headlights would allow you to see the road. It is sure different driving at night! Spooky and tunnel vision sometimes with your headlights lighting up the way and only the sides of the roads. Everyone was wishing for some breeze to blow the dust off the dirt road because the back of the pack was riding in a dust fog after the day's heat. I tried turning off my headlights a couple of times to experiment with how well the Full Moon was lighting up the desert. I could see the road but would have to reduce my speed to compensate. The moon and desert got brighter as it rose in the sky and our night vision adjusted to the moonlight.

On our way to the Humboldt Mountain turnoff, a large mule deer crossed the road behind Bob M and in front of Larry & Sally McC much to Larry's surprise. A short time later, another deer jumped off the side of the road into the dark ahead of Bob's headlights. We also saw a lot of mice and rabbits scurrying across the trails as well as a few birds sitting on the road blinded by our headlights. The 4-mile ascent on the SR 562 road up to Humboldt Mountain has been recently paved in the past few months allowing for an easy ascent and dust-free smooth ride to the top. The Full Moon was only a third of the way up when we arrived at the top so it did not light up the desert as well as when it was directly overhead later. I had never been up there at night and I want to see what it looks like under a Full Moon. Still we could make out the outline of Horseshow Lake below us and some distant mountain shadows of Mt Ord, Four Peaks, a few campfires by Bartlett Lake, and the outline of Camelback Mountain inside the lights of Phoenix. At 5150' up on Humboldt Mtn. we could see lightning strikes and heat lightning in the clouds some 50 miles away towards the Rim country. We heard that the Fall Fling attendees were expecting some rain that night so those may have been the storms in their area. Since we were 1/2 hour ahead of our schedule, we decided to extend our ride to the nearby Seven Springs CCC Campground (vaulted toilets) for another meet-and-greet stop. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and enjoying the ride. It was fascinating to see the group's headlights snaking their way around the many turns and changing elevations as we drove on the trails at night.

We started heading back to the staging area around 8:15PM with a quick stop at the Bronco Trailhead to say goodbye to each other since people had parked at three different parking areas. Everyone got back to their trailers by 8:45PM. It was a lot of fun. Depending on the weather, I may post this Night Ride again for next month's Full Moon on Sat Nov 4th to coincide with the following day's OHV Ambassadors Sunday Nov 5th Jackass Flats/Morristown ride. The Cave Creek to Humboldt Mountain ride's close proximity to Phoenix allows people to get home at a reasonable hour. This is a great ride for a FIRST-TIME NIGHT RIDER. My other easy night ride route is through the sandy Camp Creek Wash to the Needlerock campground on the Verde River below Bartlett Lake Dam. I last led that night ride on May 31st if you are interested in looking at its ride description.

I want to give a big THANK YOU shoutout to Jerry F for being our tailgunner and for watching over the group. I also want to thank everyone for watching over their trail buddies and for their radio chatter on advising the group of trail conditions. It makes the rider leader's job so much easier. It was a fun group and a fun ride! LIVE TO RIDE .... RIDE TO LIVE!

My next scheduled ride is the Oct 21st OHV Ambassadors "Show Me" ride in the Bumble Bee OHV Area. See you there! Happy Trails to You and Keep the Rubber Side Down!

Bob Maitzen
(480) 363-7723
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