Phoenix to Silver City, NM

Well, I hope you all got a little riding in over the long weekend. The weather certainly broke enough to give us some pleasant riding temperatures. Mrs. C. and I decided to take my advice from last week's newsletter and take the ride to Silver City, NM that I mapped out last week on the HD Ride Planner. After looking at the weather report of the towns along the route, I knew it was going to be a trip where we would almost certainly run into some rain along the way. It was just a matter of how much and for how long. After spending the morning looking at the hourly forecasts on Accuweather.com, radar maps, etc., it was time to make a go or no go decision. Keeping in mind that it is hard to make a rational decision on something like this when it is an activity that you really want to do, I tried to look at the big picture and make the right call.
Remembering that I have aborted other rides in the past due to the prospects of rain, only to wake up to sunshine, I decided to do what any avid motorcycle rider would do. Pack the rain gear, head North and hope for the best. As we were filling up with gas in Fountain Hills at about 3:30pm on Friday, a Cyclerides.com reader informed us that he had just driven through the Christopher Creek area and the conditions were pea soup fog and rain. Of course, given my desire to make this trip, I took that as a positive, because it wasn't snowing. Even though I now had some inside information on the current weather, I was still believing it would pass through before we got there.
Oh yes, the "it won't rain on me" syndrome leads me to another one of the games that we tend to play as riders. The  "When to put on rain gear" game. Putting on rain gear is not one of the easiest or desirable things to do in my opinion. Trying to get my size 13 boot through the leg of the poly rain pants and then get everything zipped, Velcro attached and water tight is a real pain. Given that thought, this is not something I want to go through until I absolutely have to. What's worse than getting wet Even though I am staring into dark black rain clouds and oncoming cars with their windshield wipers flapping at full speed, I somehow tend to stay in denial and believe that it is magically not going to be raining on my side of the road, just so I won't have to pull over and put on my rain suit. WRONG! I'm sure you have all been there.
We went about another 2 miles where we ran into the first batch of fog and then the rain started coming down. After a couple more miles of riding in the rain, again in denial that the rain was going to continue on my side of the road, we finally pulled over and put on our rain gear, IN THE RAIN! Does that sequence sound familiar to anyone? Due to the other jackets that we had on and our helmets with face shields, we only suffered some wet jeans on the lower legs. Now we were all geared up for rain and it was put to good use for the next 40 miles. The pea soup fog arrived as advertised to about 1/4 mile visibility and the rain came steady with a temperature of 54 degrees. A few miles past Overgaard, the rain stopped and we were left with wet gloves, freezing hands and staring into a beautiful Northern Arizona stormy sky, hoping that would be all of the rain. The next stop was Show Low for gas and then another 47 miles to the Best Western in Eager where we ended the day at 7:30pm with 234 miles in 5 hours of riding.
The next morning we were rewarded for our decision to go forward with the trip by sunshine with blue skies and some clouds to begin our ride down Hwy. 191 carved through the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, more commonly known as the "Coronado Trail Scenic Road". I have this ride rated at the highest level on Cyclerides.com Day Rides with 5 out of 5 spokes. It is one of my favorite rides in the State and I have only been on it once, 4 years ago. So to say I was eager to get another look at this route from the top down was an understatement. I guess the thought of experiencing this incredible road again is what made me want to ride in the rain for 40 miles. But before we could tackle the 400 + twisties of the Coronado Trail, we stopped at the old Bear Wallow Cafe in Alpine for breakfast. Great food in an old diner style setting.
With some tasty biscuits and gravy still finding their way down the hatch, it was time to saddle up and really get into the meat of the Coronado Trail with our first stop at the quaint old Hannagan Meadow Lodge for some gas. Great idea, but one little problem. NO GAS! For some reason, they are currently not selling gas. Which was a bigger problem for us because we were counting on that as a gas stop and we would have been on fumes if we had to go on to Clifton from there. Fortunately, the owner had a full 5 gallon gas can which we were able to put about a gallon or so in each bike to make sure that we made it. First tip for this trip, fill up in Alpine or Clifton, because there are NO SERVICES for 94 miles.
Now that we had enough fuel to comfortably get us to the other end, we were on way to enjoy great riding weather from the high 50's to mid 60's while negotiating several hundred twists and turns on our 67 mile ride from Hanagan Meadow to the copper mines in Morenci. One reason this is such a great ride is that you encounter so many different landscapes along the way. You will go through tall pines and Aspen at over 9000 feet and then ride along the top of the rim with a view of what seems to be 50 miles off to your left and right. You will then start your descent down to Morenci as you serpentine your way along the side of the rim through boulder outcroppings, scrub pine and hoodoos as you reach the copper mines in Morenci. This is truly one of the best rides in the State of Arizona. One reason I make that statement is that it is not just a 20 mile ride and you are done. This ride is FULL of beauty and excitement for the entire 97 miles from Alpine to Morenci. I would encourage you to look at the over 175 photos that I took and have displayed for this ride. If you have never seen this road, you will be amazed. If you have, take a walk down memory lane.
Once you have finished the ride from Hannagan Meadow to Morenci, you will be left with conflicting emotions. You will feel exuberant for just experiencing one of the best rides in the State, and you will feel a little sad that it is over. It takes almost 2.5 hours to go the 67 miles, but it doesn't seem nearly that long as you are constantly entertained by being one with the road and the wilderness while enjoying the beauty of nature around every corner. As an avid motorcycle photographer, it was a never ending pallet of great shots. Enjoy the photos.
While it is an exciting and beautiful ride, it is also a little tricky. Due to the fact that the road is pretty much cut out of the side of the hills and mountains, when it rains a lot of dirt, rocks and sand make their way to the road. Combine that with some deteriorating asphalt and the amount of 10-15 mph curves that you will negotiate, it can be a little treacherous at times if you decide to make these curves a little too fast. Just take your time, enjoy the beauty and keep the rubber side down. That being said, don't be afraid to do the route. Mrs. C. did it with no problem, just pay attention to what you are doing and take your time. Here is a photo of something that you will probably see somewhere along the way.
We got some gas, water and snacks in Clifton at the only gas station in town before continuing South on 191 to Three Way where we took Hwy. 78 East to  180 for the 46 miles on in to Silver City, NM, voted "Best Small Town in New Mexico" for 2008. For some reason, I wasn't expecting much out of Hwy. 78, thinking it was just a feeder road through the desert to 180. I was wrong. It turned out to be a great road, twisting its way up in elevation for a view of where you had been continuing in to tall pines before dropping back down to Hwy. 180. A very pretty ride. The 46 miles from the intersection of 78/180 South to Silver City is a nice ride with the mountains in the Gila National Forest off to your left, but definitely a notch down from what you have just ridden.
We arrived in Silver City at around 2pm on Saturday, just in time to check into our motel and put away our travel bag. There happened to be a Blues Festival in town that weekend as were a couple hundred bikes that came to participate in the event. We even ran into a group of friends from the Phoenix area. Even though we had 216 miles of great riding behind us, we were not done yet. There is a 75 mile loop that goes North out of Silver City through Pinos Altos and the Gila National Forest known as the "Trail of the Mountain Spirits" Scenic Byway. If you take the ride to Silver City, make sure and ride this loop. It is a very narrow, almost 2 lane road with no center stripe that literally take you back into the Gila National Forest zig zagging your way back to Lake Roberts. This road was both a bonus and a highlight of the area around Silver City as we had no idea that it was this good of a ride. We even saw 4 young deer along side of the road. Don't expect to make this 75 miles very quickly either as it is full of 10-15 mph curves taking you through the forest. This is an excellent ride. If you choose, you can take a 14 mile detour at the turnoff to Hwy. 35 to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. We chose to skip that this time.
We made it back for a riding tour of downtown Silver City after our 2.5 hour loop through the forest. Silver City is an old Silver mining town from the late 1800's. They have done a good job of preserving the old buildings and making the town thrive over the years. It is now presumably a kind of hippy influenced town with the arts and music. If someone dropped you in there and didn't tell you where you were, by the looks of the people walking the streets, you might think you were in San Francisco in the 60's. Tie Dyed shirts and dreadlocks are alive and well in Silver City. This is also the home of Western New Mexico University. We ate at a very cool place on the corner of  College Ave. and Pope St. in Historic Downtown Silver City called Silver City Brewing Co. Good pizza and burgers with an outdoor patio to watch the locals.
There was so much to cover for the entire 940 mile ride that we took for the weekend that I have just covered the ride to Silver City this week. Next week I will talk about the ride home up Hwy. 180 and down U.S. 60 through the always beautiful Salt River Canyon.
From I-17 and Loop 101 the route to Silver City is 438 miles. The loop that I talk about out of Silver City is 75 miles.
Click Here for a Map of the Route.
Click Here for
All 175 Photos.
Useful Links:
Coronado Trail Scenic Byway
US Highway 191 - Coronado Trail
Silver City, NM
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Trail of the Mountain Spirits" Scenic Byway

Highlights This Week 

Saturday, May 30th
Arrowhead Harley-Davidson Free Appreciation Breakfast. Taking a ride Saturday morning?
Stop by Arrowhead HD for a free breakfast on your way out of town.
Saturday, May 30th
Buddy Stubbs Hogs and Dogs. Ride by and enjoy the last Saturday of the month
Hogs and Dogs at Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson from 11am - 3pm.

Bike Nights This Week 

Thursday Night 

The Bike Night At The Billet Bar The Billet Bar was the place to be during Bike Week as well as the rest of the year. Set on the patio and watch the action. Voted "BEST BIKER BAR IN PHOENIX" by New Times. There is no better place to watch all the Bikes ride down Scottsdale road than from The Billet Bar Patio. The Billet is ALWAYS packed with bikes Every Day. Stop by and take a look at the New Flamed Booths on the Paradise Patio. The new bars front and rear provide spacious seating, fresh air atmosphere, perfect temperature and courteous staff. The food is amazing and always the latest in cold libations await. You can sit at the back bar and watch your favorite TV on any of the seven big inch televisions. Play pool, listen to the latest music and socialize. The front patio seats over 75 people and is perfect for people watching on Scottsdale Rd. The Billet Bar is located on 3752 N. Scottsdale Rd. Check it out this Thursday night and all weekend long. Info: at 480-941-1876. Click Here for the New Billet Bar Page with pictures.

Bike Night on Wednesday, May 27th Only, then back to Thursdays Starting June 4th through July 2nd
Westgate City Center Bike Night in Association with Cyclerides.comWestgate Bike Night Has Been Extended!!!
The ending date for this bike night WAS to be May 14th, but due to the overwhelming participation, we have decided to extend this event to July 2nd, where we will have a huge 4th of July celebration on bike night. IMPORTANT UPDATE! Due to events at the Jobing.com Arena the last 2 Thursdays of May, Bike Night will be moved to Wednesday for the last 2 weeks of May. Those dates for Wednesday Bike Nights are May 20 and 27th. They will then be on Thursdays again through July 2nd. 

For the First Time, The premier entertainment venue in the Valley, Westgate City Center, will Host a night for motorcycles for the next 6 weeks. I have been wanting to see a Bike Night at Westgate for a couple of years and it is finally here. If you have ever been to an event at Jobing.com or University of Phoenix Stadium, you are most likely familiar with the Times Square feel of Westgate City Center. Starting Thursday, April 9th, for the 6 Thursdays, Westgate will open up Coyote Blvd. from 6pm - 10pm for parking of motorcycles next to the 6 Million Dollar Dancing Fountains. Restaurants including Margaritaville, Bar Louies, Shout House, Which Wich, Moe's, Kabuki, Johnny Rockets and Hell's Half Acre will have Bike Night food and drink specials and will be welcoming all riders.
You will be given a flyer that will get you the discounts at the participating restaurants.
Discounts include $2.00 Miller Lite, $5.00 Chicken Nachos and $6.95 pulled pork sandwich and fries at Bar Louie's and $3.00 drafts, $2.00 well, $2.00 off Margaritas, Mini Quesadillas for $5.95 and Sliders for $6.95 among other specials at Margaritaville. Sit out on the patios and enjoy the entertainment on the big screen. 
Click Here for full menu of specials
Thanks to our Westgate Bike Night Sponsors - GEICO Motorcycle Insurance, Arrowhead Harley-DavidsonRidenow Powersports, and New Sponsor Saxon Motorcycles.
Click Here for Photos From the Last 4 Weeks.
Thursday, June 4th will feature motorcycle displays by Paul Yaffe's Bagger Nation, Arrowhead Harley-Davidson, Ridenow Metro Motorsports and Swift Motorcycles. 
There will also be motorcycle programming and music on the Huge 30'x50' LED screen located in events plaza.
What to do:
6:00 pm - 10pm: Displays of
Custom Baggers and Bikes From Arrowhead Harley-Davidson.
Sport Bikes, Cruisers, Rhinos and Spyder From
Ridenow Metro Motorsports.
Custom Bikes from Paul Yaffe's Bagger Nation.
Custom Bikes from
Swift Motorcycles.
Come park on Coyote Blvd. and enjoy the music or eat at one of the restaurants.
Music and Videos all night.
Every Half Hour:
Music and Performances by the 6 million dollar Dancing Fountains.  
Take a ride to Westgate, located on the SE Corner of the Loop 101 and Glendale Ave. 
Enjoy this beautiful venue that is offering a night just for motorcyclists every Thursday for the next 5 weeks starting April 9th - May 14th. Get something to eat or drink on one of the many outdoor patios in events plaza, watch the video presentations or just join in the fun and view the display of bikes lined up on Coyote Blvd. in Westgate. ALL MOTORCYCLES WELCOME. Click Here for photos of Westgate. Westgate City Center is located at the SE Corner of the Loop 101 and Glendale Ave. Enter Coyote Blvd. from the West next to Jobing.com Arena. 

This Week 

Saturday, May 30th
Arrowhead Harley-Davidson Free Appreciation Breakfast. Taking a ride Saturday morning? Stop by Arrowhead HD for a free breakfast on your way out of town. Arrowhead Harley-Davidson wants to invite EVERYONE to a customer appreciation breakfast on the last Saturday of every month from 8:30am till 10:00 am. Join us for a FREE pancake, sausage and egg breakfast served up by Big D's Flippin Cakes. Thank you for all your support and business! Ride by Arrowhead Harley-Davidson the last Saturday of Every Month for a free breakfast. Arrowhead Harley-Davidson is located at 16130 N. Arrowhead Fountain Center Dr. in Peoria. 623-247-5542.
Saturday, May 30th
Buddy Stubbs Hogs and Dogs. Ride by and enjoy the last Saturday of the month Hogs and Dogs at Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson from 11am - 3pm. Buddy will be providing FREE Hot Dogs and Drinks, Live Music and a Sidewalk Sale. Are you good with a pool stick? Enter the pool tournament for prizes, a 50/50 Raffle and tours of the motorcycle museum with Buddy. To celebrate May being Women Riders Month, Just for the Ladies from 11am - 3pm, you can get a FREE professional photo of you and your Harley or your dream Harley. There will also be 2 Seminars for the Ladies at 11:30am and 1pm that will include subjects such as learning how to pick up your bike, the best riding gear for you, bike maintenance tips and proper helmet fitting. Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson is located at 13850 N. Cave Creek Rd. in Phoenix. 602-971-3400.

Saturday, May 30th
Southwest Ride for Hope. Poker Run benefitting the Phoenix Children's Hospital Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Registration at the Steel Horse Saloon - 1818 W. Bell Road #100 in Phoenix from 10am. Run starts at 11am and rides to Roadrunner Bar in New River to Wild Horse West at Carefree Hwy and Lake Pleasant Rd, Hardtails at 35th and Bell and back to Steelhorse. Registration is $20.00 per bike which includes poker hand. All Proceeds to go to Phoenix Children's Hospital. Winning hand awarded, 50/50 raffle, prize raffle all to take place at the end of run. Music and Party. 

Saturday, May 30th
Benefit & Poker Run for "Cowboy". Mike "Cowboy" Darnell was heading to American Legion Post 27 in Mesa to ride with a group to the Traveling Wall in Apache Junction when he was hit by someone making a left turn on red in front of him. Cowboy has sustained numerous injuries including broken femur, pelvis, ribs, collapsed lung and most severly, his right wrist. He has had numerous surgeries and will have at least one more. Cowboy's passion & love is riding. In December he broke his left leg in a "fall" and had just finished modifying his bike with a suicide clutch so he could ride.  He had just returned to riding maybe 10 days before this accident. As if this recent accident was not enough, Cowboy was laid off from his job the week prior to the accident. As one can imagine, he is going to have major financial concerns. Check in at Post 2, located at 2125 S. Industrial Park Dr. in Tempe, AZ from 9-10am. Destination the Monastery, 4810 E. McKellips. Last bike in by 2pm. Music by Krysis from 2-6pm. $20 per bike, $30 per couple. More information at mlroot1@yahoo.com
Saturday, May 30th
Happy Tails and Trails. The Silver Creek Humane Society will be hosting a motorcycle ride to benefit their new no kill shelter. 9 a.m. at Rodeo Grounds, Eagar, AZ intersection of Hwy 260 and Hwy 180, Entry Fee is $20.00  I can be contacted at 520-831-0726. Thank you, Kerease Margita, kerease@hotmail.com We are in the White Mountains 45 miles east of Show Low, AZ - the ride will start in Eagar, go to Alpine, Luna, Reserve, Quemado and return to Eagar. 

Next Week 

Saturday, June 6th
Catz for the Cure Poker Run. Proceeds benefit The Catz For The Cure Grant Program, Providing financial assistance to those battling Breast Cancer. Registration 8-10am at the EVDI Desert Breast Center located at 1450 S. Dobson, N. of hwy 60 in Mesa, AZ. For More Info Call 480-459-5640 20.00 Single, 2up 30.00 Includes Lunch & Festivities Live Band (Fools Life)Pre-Register @ No Rulz Customz & Receive 5 FREE Raffle Tickets Pre-register ENDING 6/5/09 Run Starting @ Dobson & 60 FWY. (EVDI Desert Breast Center) 2nd Stop (Joeta,S Leathers)3rd Stop(No Rulz Customz) 4th Stop (Uncle Bears) Ending @ The Monastery @ Falcon Field. (4810 E. McKellips- Between Greenfield & Higley)Bikni Bike Wash/Silent Auction and RAFFLES...EVERYONE WELCOME.
Sunday, June 7th
Operation Transition Warrior Scavenger Hunt. Benefits Operation Transition Warrior for our returning disabled Veterans.  Ride starts at American Legion Post 105, 3534 W. Calavar Road (602.983.1811).  The scavenger hunt is a point system winner, extra points for every ounce of gold you bring to the event.  Registration 10 am, $15/per person; food, music, drawings, prizes and more.  100% of the proceeds to go to assisting our disabled Veterans.  501C3 non-profit organization.  For more info:  Tina at 623.205.1914. 


IMPORTANT UPDATE!  Westgate Bike Night will be moved back to Thursday's starting June 4th - July 2nd. Guest bike builder will be Paul Yaffe's Bagger Nation with a display of custom baggers.

Not sure where this takes place, or why, but this kids gets a little more than he was expecting. Click Here to View.
There seems to be a never ending supply of sport bike biffs on the internet.
Here are a few more. Click Here to View.
This video is guaranteed to make you cringe
. Click Here to View.
Video Of The Week
This is a cool video of a trick skateboarding dog. Pretty amazing. Click Here to View.

Until Next Week,
Blessings and Safe Riding To All,
Barry Caraway
"The Road Is Yours - Take The Ride"

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