The Rim Lakes, AZ

There’s something tranquil and serene about riding alone. Words fail to describe it. I decided to coordinate a small camping trip with our closest friends. Just a simple weekend up North.

This was my first long ride with the KLR, and I found myself very excited to see how she’d perform. A big bore single cylinder isn’t exactly known for being a smooth motor, but I’m told constantly about its reliability. This became very plain to me an hour into the ride. The wrist-numbing handlebar vibration was nonstop, and the suspension left much to be desired.

I also found that oil consumption is a thing on these motors, and it was explained to me that this is common for single cylinder thumpers. I made sure to pack a few quarts of oil for the road. The ride up was uneventful, but once I got in to Payson, I could see rain clouds building up on the mountain I was heading to. My goal for this daytrip was to check out three spots for our camping trip this upcoming weekend.

I took a small break at the Rim Lakes Vista Overlook to stretch my legs and shake the numbness from my hands. I continued West on Rim Road until it turns into a dirt road. One more quick pull off to check my bike; tires, brakes, clutch. Content that everything was in working order, I opened her up on the dirt road for the first time.

It was on this part of the ride that I finally discovered why the KLR had achieved such legendary status.

I made my way North to Chevelon Canyon Lake, back down to Knoll Lake, and stopped at Bear Canyon Lake on my way out. Out of all the places, I decided Bear Canyon Lake would be our best bet for next weekend’s trip.

Satisfied, I started making my way down the forest road and back into town. Once I got through Payson, heading South, I saw the storm clouds waiting for me. It had been a while since I had ridden through a torrential downpour, and this one did not disappoint. Nor did my bike. There’s nothing like Arizona’s monsoon season.

And in a moment of reflection, I realized on this trip was that no matter how much things change, this road stays the same.

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