Monday, November 29, 2010

Tucson Freewheelers - Gila Bend/Ajo/Sells Ride

Had another Tucson Freewheelers ride on Sunday.  They're a local riding club based in town.  I found them on the Meetup website.  Great for finding groups of people who share the same hobbies in your neck of the woods.  We were supposed to head up the state to visit Roosevelt Dam, but had a low turnout and the overall feeling was of trying to stay warm:)  There was a fifty percent chance of rain in Globe, AZ.  So we decided to change it up and make a Gila Bend-Ajo-Sells loop.  I had never seen this part of Arizona so I was looking forward to it.  These were my fellow riders meeting for breakfast.  I would rather have a smaller riding group compared to a large riding group.  It's a little more relaxed fun ride.

Getting ready to depart.

On our way to Gila Bend we passed through a small spritzing of rain.  Nothing serious.  When we got off of I-10 onto I-8 you could smell the freshly rain smell that only Arizona can give.  We stopped at the Space Age Restaurant in Gila Bend.

The rough and rowdy motorcycle gang.  The people in the restaurant gave us a wide berth.

The murals on the wall were a nice touch.

We pulled over in Ajo at the local town square.  It appeared to be an old train station, now dotted with closed down shops.  You could tell the recession was in full swing.  Right before we got here we passed through a state DUI stop.  This is the very first one I had been through.  I couldn't believe the number of cops that were there.  The officer that spoke to me just asked if I had been drinking and then handed me a pamphlet.  Seems they were forced to give them to everyone.  I had to spend a few minutes blocking traffic trying to jam the pamphlet into my jacket pocket with extra thick gloves on.

So far I'm really happy with the Bonnie.  It's a great bike to learn on and seems rock solid.  I'm going to give her a bath sometime this week.

I can't tell you how good the Turtle Fur neck warmer works on the rides.  Keeps the wind out and the heat on your neck in.  Strongly suggest you buy one if you want to stay warm on the ride.

Last shot of the day.  At a gas station in Sells.  You might be able to make out Kitt Peak buildings on that mountain in the distance.  A pretty famous observatory in Southern Arizona.

I put about ~320 miles on the bike.  Had a great time with good people.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sonoita/Patagonia Ride

I had taken the day after Thanksgiving off.  A co-worker and I had wanted to drive down to the town of Sonoita, southeast of Tucson.  Tucson had it's first winter freeze that morning so I didn't start out from the house until around noon.  After filling up at the local gas station I decided to jump on the freeway to make some time.  My other option was to take a series of rather long side roads just to avoid the freeway.  Unfortunately I found myself riding into a very strong head wind which made me feel like a rag doll.  I decided to get off at Wilmot and head south to Sahuarita road.  Poor decision, as I found out Wilmot turns into a dirt road once you get past the Federal and State prisons.  U-turn and back to the freeway.  Time to feel like a rag doll again.  I finally make it to Houghton and Sahuarita which has a gas station were Jacob and I were going to meet.  I fill up again and park the bike.

As there's not much out here on the edge of town this gas station happened to have a grill.  I would have ordered a western bacon burger but was concerned about time. So I ordered a hotdog.  It was pretty good.  It would have been even better Sonoran style.

Meet Jacob.  Fellow co-worker.  All around decent guy.

Woah, not a great picture.

Jacob drives a Honda dual sport XR650L.  Apparently the XR's are commonly referred to as "Big Red Pig's".

We've made it to the town of Sonoita.  Not much to see, everything is very spread out.  Jacob and I park at the corner gas station to decide where we're going to head next.  The Steak Out is a pretty well known steak place down here.  I've only eaten there once.

Looking east from The Steak Out parking lot.

This is looking west.  Down in these parts you don't drive very far without seeing border patrol.  We even passed a check point going to Sonoita. On the way home, when we went through it, they asked if Jacob and I were American citizens and let us pass.

From Sonoita we ended up driving to the town of Patagonia, about 13 miles to the southwest.  The air seemed to warm up a bit and it was perfect walking around weather.  Patagonia had an arts and craft fair going on so it was cool to stroll and watch the people.

Jacob locking his helmet to the bike.  I don't have a helmet lock yet so I carried mine around.

Quite a few art shops and tents were selling local arts and crafts.  People were walking up and down the street.  They even had someone dressed up as Santa handing out toys to kids.

This is a historic train depot for the trains that used to run through town.  The tracks are no longer there but the depot looks like it was built yesterday.

Jacob and I grabbed some coffee from a local shop and then headed back to Tucson.  Overall it was a very nice ride.  It ended up being 146 miles round trip from my house.  The Bonnie now has 1106 miles total!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Madera Canyon Ride

Kiri and I actually rode this in early November.  It's a nice little ride about 25 miles south of Tucson located in the Santa Rita Mountains.  At this point I'm still getting my feet wet with the bike.  This has been the longest ride we've taken together and I was pretty happy overall.  The bike seems to handle great with Kiri on the back.  Plenty of power and it doesn't feel heavy.  At most I just have to handle the clutch with a little more discretion.  If I work it pretty rough our helmets will bang into each other.  I already have a couple of scratches on the back of mine.  I don't have any pics from the start of the ride, but Kiri was able to snap a few pics along the way.  She only did this when we had a few straight a-ways and our speed was steady.  My mom has already stated she doesn't approve of this:)

Road coming into the canyon.

The picnic area of the canyon.  There are also camp sites and hiking trails.

This one looks like we're really racing the curves.  But as you can tell from most of the shots we're never far from the 20mph mark.  True speed demons!

Trying to fit in Kiri, the bike, and the background.

Yes we did pay the fee..although it's really for people who are parking for day hikes.  You're supposed to put five bucks in an envelope, tear off the stub, and drop the envelope into the pay bin.  The stub goes on your windshield so the fuzz doesn't write you a ticket.  Never let it be said Kiri and I don't support the national forests.

How come I always have my helmet on?

There are quite a few single vehicle bridges in the area.  Make sure no one is coming the other way before speeding across!

Day hikers, or deadly serial murderers looking to hitch a ride.  We didn't stop.

Fellow biker.  We saw quite a few during the day.  Most of them wave as they go by.

Heading back down the road.  We probably only spent a total of 30 minutes in the canyon.  But I enjoyed the time.  And will probably be back with a friend of mine.  He owns a Honda 650 dual sport, and is always looking to go for interesting rides.

Monday, November 15, 2010

First Ride with the Tucson Freewheelers

Leaving in the morning.

Bikes out front of the pancake house

Stop at Superior.

At Tortilla Flats, AZ

The group:)