Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2012 Arizona Renaissance Festival Pt. 1

About two weeks ago my wife and I were having dinner with our close friend Tuyen.  Somehow the conversation turned to the Arizona Renaissance Festival, how we had gone to past shows and really enjoyed it.  Turns out Tuyen had never been!  Right away I'm thinking motorcycle road trip.  The show usually runs from mid-February to late March.  So we had a large window of opportunity, but I wanted to go earlier rather then later.  You risk running into some hot weather in March.  We finally settled on the 19th, which was last Sunday.  Tuyen decided he'd bring his son,  Nicholas,  which meant they'd drive up in their car.  The wife and I would take the Bonnie.  The beauty of this plan is that Nicholas could take some action shots of the wife and I driving down the road.  Woohoo!

So last Sunday morning Tuyen and Nicholas arrived around 9:30am and after a staged photo op, we were off!

The Arizona Renaissance Festival is held every year just to the southeast of Apache Junction, which is the same as saying it's to the southeast of Phoenix. We decided to take the Pinal Pioneer Parkway (Hwy 79) up to Highway 60.  Roughly 90 miles one way.  It would be the longest trip they wife and I have taken together on the bike.

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Nicholas did a great job taking pictures while his dad drove around us.  This is the first time the wife and I get to see what we look like going down the road. 
I assumed the wife would wave at the camera while I stayed focused on the road.  But the wife assumed that I wanted her to stay still and not ruin the pictures...so we ended up looking very serious while traveling:)  I don't have any communication gear in the helmets so once we're in motion there's not much talking unless we're stopped at a light.
I included this one because of the bikers going the other direction.  Nicholas didn't know he had captured them until have we looked at the photos.  We saw quite a few bikes out on the road as the temperature was perfect for riding, upper 60's.
Nicholas even captured some movies.  Nothing too exciting, so you may want to skip them but what do I know...maybe you're really really bored and want to imagine what it's like with the wind racing over your helmet:)  Enjoy!
Woah! Pace yourselves.  Maybe take a breather before you watch the next one:)
And the miles quickly passed by.  I always find the "going there" portion of the trip seems to speed by.  While the "coming back" portion of the trip always takes longer.  I think it's because of anticipation of the destination.
One of my favorite pictures this trip.
We made a quick stop in Florence to top off the tank.  We could have made it to the festival with no problem.  The Bonnie has a 130 mile range before I hit reserve.  But it was either fill up before or after, and I decided before.  We noticed this poor fellow as we all stood around stretching our legs.
The fair has a rather large parking lot for cars.  They do a great job directing people down the proper paths to fit in as many cars as possible.  I was surprised when Kiri and I were directed to the "VIP" parking area, right next to the fair entrance.   They had an area setup just for motorcycles!  This included wood squares for kickstand support.  My view of the Renaissance fair folk went up quite a few notches!  Only way to travel to the fair in my opinion now.
Check out this beast!  I'm not positive, is this the CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide??  Someone put a lot of money into this baby.
Welcome to the Renaissance Festival! 
This next picture takes a little bit of explanation.  We all purchased our tickets online and had printed them out the night before.  Tuyen had stuffed his ticket into his back pocket.  Somewhere between putting our riding gear into his car, and walking to the entrance, it had fallen out and Tuyen started to get frustrated that he couldn't find it.  After a frantic few minutes searching his car, and clothes,  I was lucky enough to run into a parking officer who found the ticket and had turned it into Will Call.  So  after all the pre-planning it was pretty funny Tuyen still had to wait in line to get a ticket.
Woot! we finally made it into the park!  What to do first?
Since they hold the fair in the same place each year, they keep adding on new sections during the off season.  Every time the wife and I visit there is something new to see and do.
 We stopped to watch a fire juggler.
After a brief discussion between the Dead Bob Show and catching the Jousting now, or later that afternoon, we decided we'd take a break and watch Dead Bob, who was just starting.  Snapped this picture of the lady with the umbrella as she was sitting down.  Normal attire for the Renaissance Festival.
The Dead Bob Show is a Renaissance Fair cornerstone.  He's been there from the beginning and the show never gets old.  But beware, some of the jokes are pretty raunchy so they warn parents to get the kids out.  No one listens though, and I can only imagine what the kids ask their parents after the show.
Dead Bob has a thing for the ladies.  And he'll often pull _fair_ maidens from the audience to help him tell a tale of intrigue and suspense.
A little blurry, but this kid was just too cute for Bob not bring up on stage and try to embarrass her.
The show was funny as we remembered and after it was over we were starving.  So we decided to stop by my favorite food shoppe, Roasted Turkey LEGS!!!  I'm aware I have a few vegan viewers out there, so you may want to look away from the next four photos.  It gets ugly:)
Ma'am, you have something on your cheek there.  Oh it's a huge turkey leg...nom nom nom.
Tuyen thought we should do the wedding cake pose.
And of course the "share a leg" pose.  It was at this point that the wife got turkey grease stains all over her jacket and my name was mud for the rest of the day:)
After lunch Tuyen spotted a feat of strength booth and had to show us how it's done.  I'm not sure, but I think he was trying to impress the ladies.
Tuyen would like me to tell you that the peg went all the way up and rang the bell from this swing.  I was still feeling the effects of the turkey leg tryptophan rush and can't remember exactly what happened, but I'm sure what he says is true.
We had some time to kill so we started wandering the festival and checking out the shops.
Tuyen chatted up the blacksmith as he crafted the next One Ring.  Something about bringing Sauron back into the world.  We left before the hobbits showed up.

Stay tuned! more to come.


  1. Wow, your Renaissance Festival is so much larger than our Shrewsbury Festival. I think they have turkey legs at ours too. I like the comic poses with them.

    It looks like great fun. Great shots of you and the misses on the bike too. It is nice when someone can get riding shots of you.

    Huzzaz for the black knight.........

  2. I would like to ride a Triumph Bonneville but I am too large

  3. Sorry to hear that. What do you ride now?

    Also, I'm hoping to get part II posted tonight.