My blog about motorcycle rides, photography etc.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Southern Arizona Bike trip March 2011

My husband loaded up our bikes on a big flatbed trailer and left Medford, Oregon and headed towards Sonoma, California to pick up my dad.  Once his bike was loaded they headed for Gilbert, Arizona and met up with the final rider, Tony.  I had to work an extra day so I flew down to meet them the next night. 

We all got up in the morning and it was raining.  A large storm had come through and dumped a bunch of snow in the mountains.  This was actually quite unusual so late in the year and it changed our Northern Arizona bike ride into a Southern Arizona bike ride.  It wasn't just raining, it was dumping buckets but we were watching the storm tracker and it looked like it was turning so we waited a couple hours.  It stopped raining so we headed out.  We figured we would be following the storm.  The temperature was in the 40's but we figured it would warm up once the sun came out.

Riders and bikes: Sandi (me) on a 2009 Yamaha Raider 1900, Charlie on a 2009 Yamaha Raider, David (my dad) on a V-Strom and his long time friend Tony who lives in Gilbert, Az on his Harley Davidson.

We headed down I-10 south to the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation road 15.  We easily got down to the reservation and that's when the storm stalled and we rode right into it.  It was pouring rain and it was cold.  We had traveled 1000 miles to do this ride so a little rain couldn't stop us!  A little rain - HaHaHa!  It was wet but the roads were excellent.  I was very pleased they were well paved, well marked and in great condition - even out in the middle of the reservation.

It rained and rained and got colder.  We made it into Tucson and parked the bikes under the hotel overhang and went inside to take long hot showers.  It finally stopped raining!  I spent 20 minutes warming up in the shower and we hung our soaking wet leathers on the chairs and moved the chairs so they would be near the heater in the room.  The hotel let us use the dryer in the basement so we could dry our clothes.  Once we were settled in we walked down the street to have dinner.  It was a Mexican food restaurant and they had a mariachi band but they were good and we had a great time, great food and strong margaritas.

The next morning the sun was shining but it was still cold when we left Tucson.  We headed out to the Bio dome and took a tour of the place. 
The desert near Bio-Dome parking lot.

Snow from yesterday's storm.

The dome was divided into different sections.

When I saw the outer walls, I could only think of the Pauley Shore movie and wonder what it was like partying on the beach!

The jungle.

Through the bushes was "Gilligan's island"

The desert.

Underground tunnels.

It was amazing and the tour guide had some great information.  The place was a lot bigger than I thought it was and was put together to be a self contained "space station". 

The diaphragm of the lung system.

Visiting scientists stay in these lodge houses.

It was a very cold but sunny day.  It was 40-low 50's.
We rode Hwy 77 north past Mt. Lemon, Winkelman, Christmas, and Globe.
West 70 through Peridot and stopped in a town called Thatcher near Safford.

We thought it was a new hotel because of the palm trees in the parking lot (sometimes they go in shock when freshly planted and the fronds grow back the next year)

The front desk girl said the hotel was about 3-4 years old and the palm trees just never grew.

They let us park under the eaves.

Driving through Wilcox, some cool old buildings.

On the road again we headed 191 South, 188 to 181 and into Tombstone for lunch (my first visit there) 
                             My Dad.
                              Charlie and Tony.

                               Lots of road.
This is me, trying to look totally cool.

The guys headed to the restaurant for lunch.

The saloon - excellent burgers!

Stagecoach rides!

After lunch we headed for our final destination - Bisbee, Arizona.

Keys in the Copper Queen Hotel.

Charlie and I took a walk and found a geocache a couple of blocks from the hotel.

Bisbee from the hills.

I think I was a mason in a former life, or at least a construction worker.  I love brick buildings, doors and windows.  Please forgive me for all the pictures.  Bisbee is a very cool old town with lots of funky doors, windows and brick buildings.

Bikes in front of the Copper Queen hotel.

This steel door had cool handles.

This store was closed, I wanted to go in!

Pop bottle caps as decoration.

We had drinks at the Copper Queen hotel after settling in.  It was a beautiful old hotel.
Holding the distinction of being Arizona's longest continuously operated hotel, the Copper Queen was constructed from 1898 to 1902 by the Phelps Dodge Corporation to serve as lodging for investors and dignitaries visiting its nearby copper mine.  (Wikipedia)

The Copper Queen is allegedly haunted and has been featured on at least two the paranormal investigation shows; the 3rd season of Ghost Hunters and the 6th season of Ghost .

We didn't see any ghosts and slept very soundly.  We woke up to sunshine and warm weather.  It was going to be a beautiful day!  We had breakfast in the hotel in the morning and headed back north through Benson, Tucson and back to Gilbert.

We actually got back to Tony's before 1:00 in the afternoon and decided to load the bikes back on the flatbed and head for home.  We had another 1000 miles to go.