We thought it would be fun to take a 1-2 hour ride to explore Perkinsville Road from Chino Valley just north of our home in Prescott, AZ. It was our first ride after our 39-day cross-country motorcycle trip, a beautiful sunny Sunday morning, and we wanted to be home in time to watch the Patriots/Jacksonville NFL game.
We enjoyed smooth riding on 2-lane paved roads into Chino Valley and then turned east onto Perkinsville Road. The road is named for A.M. Perkins who established a ranch in this area in 1900. In 1912 a railroad spur was constructed to connect the copper mine in nearby Jerome with a smelter, and a train depot was located on the Perkins' ranch. In the early 1900's 10-12 families lived here and Perkinsville boasted a school, general store and post office. By the 1950's the only people left were the ranchers.
Perkinsville Road in Chino Valley soon turns to dirt, but there are several businesses right outside town: The Chino Valley Shooting Facility, Perkinsville Meat Processors, and Perkinsville Livestock Auction.
The well-maintained dirt road becomes a primitive road with prominent signs that state: "Primitive road, caution, use at your own risk. This surface is not regularly maintained." Much of this land is designated wilderness where ranchers have grazing rights. At first the land was fenced in and then later we rode through open range country. Notice the fence poles are made from tree limbs, not metal poles, and imagine how many hours of work it took to build these fences.
About 9 miles east of Chino Valley we passed the Garchen Buddist Institute, a Tibetan Buddhist retreat and teaching center. We had heard about the center and honestly, we're somewhat surprised that many people manage the trip on the dirt road.
As we continued north, we crested a hill and saw amazing views of the red rock landscape around Sedona.
We love riding on roads with little traffic which gives us the opportunity to take our time and enjoy the high desert landscape. Today we could ride for 20 minutes or more before seeing a vehicle, but we were within 20-30 miles of a small town or highway the entire day.
About 25 miles out of Chino Valley we finally came to the old Perkins ranch with a cedar corral next to the road, and in the distance saw some of the Perkinsville buildings. A one-lane bridge crosses the Verde River, one of only two wild and scenic Arizona rivers. The Verde River is a free-flowing river that has water in it year-round, unlike most of the rivers in the state that are typically a dry, dusty riverbed with water only during the monsoon rains.
We continued following Perkinsville Road until we came to an intersection with Yavapai County Road 73, a paved road that leads to Williams, AZ. We have been on this road before and had a decision to make: should we take the paved road north to Williams, adding another hour plus to our trip? Or should we continue about 10 miles on the dirt road to AZ 89 north of Paulden and a much shorter trip home? The football game was calling us so we decided on the shorter route.
About 5 miles down the road after crossing a dry wash lined with sharp rocks the tire pressure warning light on the dashboard started flashing red.
A flat rear tire is normally no problem because Mike carries a tire repair kit and a compressor. However, a rock cut a 3/4" wide gash in the tire which is far too large to plug.
We're on a lightly traveled dirt road with no signs of people in sight, and it's noon in Arizona on a sunny September day with the temperature hovering around 90.
Big sighs from both of us as Mike attempted to contact BMW Motorcycle Owners of America roadside assistance. Of course there was no cell phone coverage. Because it was supposed to be a short trip, we didn't bring water with us, and suddenly we were in a difficult situation.
Within a few minutes a man driving a pick-up truck saw us on the side of the road and stopped to help. He had cell phone coverage and generously allowed Mike to use his phone to get through to MOA roadside assistance. Explaining our location to the lady at roadside assistance wasn't easy, but finally she seemed to understand where we were and located a tow truck company in Chino Valley. She told us to expect a 90 minute wait, so the helpful gentleman in the pick-up gave us a bottle of water and continued on his way home.
Every 20-30 minutes a car, pick-up truck pulling a camper, or an ATV slowed down as they drove by and asked if we needed help. One group gave us 3 bottles of cold water so we wouldn't get dehydrated, and we wore our motorcycle jackets to protect us from the sun. Mike sunburns really easily so he also wore his motorcycle helmet while we waited, but it was too hot for me so I put a washcloth that Mike keeps on the BMW over my head.
90 minutes later with no tow truck in sight, we flagged down the next vehicle to come by, a camper driven by a couple from Yuma who thankfully had cellphone service. We stood in the shade of their camper while they waited almost an hour with us, sharing conversation and more cold water.
After a few back-and-forth calls with the tow truck company who originally had the wrong location for us, Johnny from Tri-City Towing came to our rescue.
We spent approximately 3 hours on the side of the dirt forest road from the time of the flat until Johnny arrived. Our short motorcycle ride turned into a much longer adventure than we anticipated, and thanks to the friendly people who stopped to help us we survived a potentially hazardous situation with yet another exciting motorcycle story to share.
Follow our route here