The temperatures are rising and it is officially time to head for the high country to "beat the heat". With 105 predicted for Saturday it is a good idea to find some cooler areas to ride and that is exactly what I did this week to map out a new Day Ride. It is a nice 300 plus miles for the loop plus what it takes to get there from your part of town. For me it was about 440 miles for the day. As most of you know by now, I am not afraid of riding on dirt roads. Some call it crazy, I like to refer to it as adventurous. Must come from growing up on a farm in Kansas, it just feels like going home. Besides, I have gotten more damage done to my bike riding down the 101 behind a concrete truck than I have on any dirt road. But the good news is, the dirt road portion is just a side trip for me to get some good pictures and for those other adventurous ones out there.
This Day Ride loop takes you from Fountain Hills up Scenic Hwy. 87 to Payson, across 260 to Show Low, down Hwy. 60 through the beautiful Salt River Canyon, Globe and Superior before bringing you back to the Valley. Tuesday morning a I met a friend of mine, Ken Keacher in Scottsdale, who is game for riding just about anywhere, to begin our adventure to the high country and the Mogollon Rim. I let him know that this was not going to be your typical ride and that we were going to get a little dirty on this one. I had been hearing about this very scenic road that ran 43 miles along the Mogollon Rim, quite fittingly called the "Rim Rd", aka the General Crook Trail with the official designation of Forest Road 300 (FR-300). It was said to have outstanding views and well worth the trip. Once I am intrigued about a road like this it is hard to get it out of my mind until I go experience it for myself. And that we did.
We started the day at about 8am for the first 60 mile leg of the trip up the very scenic Hwy. 87 to Payson. For those of you that have not ridden this stretch of road, it is one of the more scenic in the state. Many elevation changes, great scenery and very nice 4 lane asphalt to ride on. Once we topped the hill and reached the much cooler elevation of 5000 feet coming into Payson we got our first good look at the Mogollon Rim directly in front of us. We would soon be climbing another 3000 feet and looking back at where we had just been. To do the optional part of this ride we continued on 87 through Pine and Strawberry rising to over 7000 feet to get to our turnoff to the Rim Rd. where we would begin our 43 mile dirt road adventure on what seems to be the top of the world. This is a maintained road that will take you zig zagging right along the edge of the Rim opening up some awesome views that seem to go for 100 miles. (Here is a panorama) There are a few informal lookout points that you can stop at, but don't expect any picnic tables or facilities along the way. These areas are purely for your impromptu viewing pleasure.
The first one that we came to was the High View Point Lookout. The name is fitting as this is where we were at 7990 feet in elevation with endless views and beautiful rock outcroppings. And yes, I even braved climbing on one of the rocks for that summer vacation photo op. As you will see by the photos, it really is a very pretty area. We continued along the General Crook Trail before taking a 1/2 mile detour to see the General Springs Cabin that was built in 1918 as a fire guard station. In a straight line it is only 30 miles to 260, but by the time you snake around the rim, you tack on an additional 12 miles seeing more outcroppings and different views along the way. At the start the adrenaline was high and we were really excited to be there. But by the time we had ridden 40 miles on this road we were really glad to see some asphalt on the horizon. The road itself wasn't that bad. Washboard in some areas, but overall not bad. It was the freshly spread gravel over the last 4 miles that really made things interesting. Riding on this was like riding on snow. The bike seemed to just be floating on top of the rocks, weaving side to side.
Happy to see asphalt and the sign to Woods Canyon Lake, we turned left for the 1.5 mile ride to the lake and to reacquaint ourselves to the joy of riding with a firm grip on the pavement. The lake is really pretty nestled back in the tall pines about 30 miles East of Payson. Taking the Rim Rd. was one of those things where I can now say that I have done it, glad that I did it, but not planning my next trip to go do it again. I really did enjoy the ride, the scenery and the thrill of it all, but I will be content to look at the pictures in the future.
That was my little adventure, but for those of you that would like to have some tar mixed with your rocks and stay on the asphalt, you will want to turn onto Hwy. 260 East in Payson heading for Show Low. About 30 miles from that turn and 8 miles from Christopher Creek you will see a sign that alerts you to the turnoff for Woods Canyon Lake to the left. On your right is the Information Center for the Rim Area. The good news is, you can still experience the ride to Woods Canyon Lake and one of the coolest views that I have seen in this State and be on asphalt. I love the looking down onto roads from high above and this vantage point is available on your way to Woods Canyon Lake. As you stand on a large rock outcropping that cantilevers over a 1000 foot drop you can see 260 far below as you are looking back towards Payson. Look the other direction and you can see the road peeking through the trees as it goes to the top of the hill. From here you can ride on to Woods Canyon Lake. The total length of this road is about 4 miles.
When you leave Woods Canyon Lake continue on East through Heber, Overgaard for a 60 mile ride to the Hwy. 60 turnoff. There is a great little biker friendly restaurant on the South side of the road in Heber/Overgaard call the Red Onion. Great burgers and a good place for a break. Turn South on 60 for a 47 mile ride that will take you to the bottom of the Salt River Canyon. This is a very scenic ride with plenty of stops for photo ops. When you get to the bottom of the canyon right before you cross the bridge next to the abandoned gas station, stop to see the very old Salt River Jail. I have been through here several times and this is the first time that I had seen this. You will then start your climb out of the canyon for a great view back across the river. This is a really pretty area for sure. Along with the scenery you are sure to notice the smell of burning brakes from the trucks that go through the area.
About 40 miles South of the Canyon you will reach the Globe Miami area where there are plenty of places to eat. In all of these small towns I take the business district routes just to see all of the old buildings from the early 1900's. Not much going on in these towns these days, but the nostalgia is interesting. Another 20 miles down the road will take you to Superior and some fantastic scenery just outside of the city and a tunnel that will take you through the rocks and then across the bridge. This is a very pretty area that you will want to have your camera ready for. Once you have passed through Globe you will feel the heat start to rise and you get closer to the Valley. At Superior you are only 27 miles from where the 60 turns into a freeway and you begin to realize that your day of great riding in the cooler country is now about to end to the reality that you are back into the heat of what we call the Valley of the Sun. No matter where I go for a ride in the State, I usually try to gauge my trip to return near sun down to miss the severe heat of re-entry.
You can obviously do this route in any direction. One way is not necessarily better than the other. If had to choose I would probably do it clockwise just to be able to see the Salt River Canyon going downhill. The part of the route on the Rim Rd. is optional and only for those who want a little adventure. The road is rough in spots but the scenery is great. The total loop is 300 miles, but depending on where you live in the Valley it can take several miles onto the ride. I ended up doing 440 miles that day. Here are the total statistics from the GPS. I didn't start the trip computer until Scottsdale. I give the ride 4 spokes out of 5. I have done it several times and never tire of it.
Click Here for the Map.
Click Here for 130 photos.
Click Here for GPS Statistics
This Week's Bike Night Events
Chesterís Harley Davidson Biker Night at the Tilted Kilt in Tempe! If you are looking for some fun on a Tuesday night, With 2 outdoor patios and plenty of excitement, This place is a good time! The Tilted Kilt is home to the best Scotch-Irish experience in Arizona, with an award-winning menu, classic pub fare, and signature Kilt items sure to please any palate, not to mention twenty four globe-spanning beers on tap! Biker Night Tuesdays also mean $3 Jack Daniels and half-price appetizers. And, with a Tilted Kilt Biker Night Card, you receive 15% OFF your total bill. So what are you waiting for? Come on down and have a craic with Chesterís Harley-Davidson! The Tilted Kilt is located at 660 W. Warner Rd. in Tempe, AZ. Just 1.5 miles East of I-10 on Warner Rd. 480-592-0102. Click Here for Map.
Bike Night at Buffalo Wild Wings Mesa-Falcon Field. This is a great new stop for riders on the East Side. Enjoy GREAT FOOD and Live Music every Wednesday night with Soul Catcher, featuring acoustic blues and classic rock from 7pm - 10pm every Wednesday Night at Buffalo Wild Wings located at 4425 E. McKellips Rd. in Mesa, AZ, just across from Falcon Field. Special motorcycle parking in front of the patio. Choose from the extensive new menu including Wings, Chicken Tenders, Huge selection of salads, Wraps, Sandwiches, Ribs & Combos, Burgers, Desserts and Beverages. Click Here for complete menu. Bike Night specials are 50 Cent Legs all day, $2.50 Coronas & Pacificos, $2.00 Well Rum and Coke, $2.00 Well Vodka Tonics, $1.75 Bud Light Pints, $1.75 Miller Light Pints. Sit inside and watch your favorite sporting events on over 50 TV's and 5 Giant Screen TV's or sit outside on the huge patio where there are more TV's and enjoy the evening air. Wherever you find to relax, you will be sure to have a good time, good food and good entertainment at the Buffalo Wings Wednesday Bike Night. 480-218-9464. Click Here to take a look at Buffalo Wild Wings.
Arrowhead Harley-Davidson Thursday Bike Night at Gordon Biersch Brewery at Westgate. Live Music on the patio this week 6:30 - 9:30pm!! You can also sign up for the Gordon Biersch Passport card. What a great deal! Pay only $10 for the card, and you will get a $20 gift certificate to redeem for food and drink. On Bike Nights you will receive double rewards to build points for free food and drink. Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Glendale features the best Beer Garden you will find in this State, an impressive bar area equipped with TVs and speaker system, great food, and a large outdoor patio seating. Bike night specials include 1/2 off of my favorite Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza. 1/2 off appetizers plus $3.00 Micro Brew Beer specials. Try my favorite, the Gordon Biersch "Golden Export" or a sampler of all 5 of their beers brewed on site. Plenty of motorcycle only parking. Gordon Biersch is located at 6915 N. 95th Ave. at Westgate City Center, Loop 101 and Glendale next to the Cardinals Stadium. An easy ride from anywhere in the Valley. 623-877-4300.
The Bike Night At The Billet Bar. 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.
Every Saturday and Sunday
Harold's Cave Creek Corral Bike Weekends. This is the patio that we have all been waiting for in Cave Creek. The new 4000 Sq. Ft. patio at Harold's is finally finished complete with misters, TV's and an outdoor bar. There is plenty of room to put some tables together and hang out with your riding group for breakfast, lunch or the cold beverage of your choice. Live Music from Noon to 4pm every Saturday with Bob Bouchard, the man who plays at Greasewood every weekend. Enjoy TV's all around the patio with a walk up bar. Ride out on Sunday's and enjoy the All You Can Eat breakfast buffet for $8.99 on Sundays from 8am - Noon. Or grab one of Harold's fantastic hamburgers and watch the bikes roll by on Cave Creek Rd. from the patio. 50% Off Appetizers and $2.00 Bud/Bud Light bottles. You can also choose from their full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu every day of the week. Plenty of new motorcycle parking right in front of the patio. A great destination patio for your weekend rides. Harold's is located at 6895 E. Cave Creek Rd., in Cave Creek. 480-488-1906. There are still no tickets being given for DB violations. Just continue to keep the noise down as much as possible when riding through Carefree.
Western Trails Ranch Bike Weekend. Take a nice ride out of town and Enjoy a relaxed country atmosphere with good food
great Music every Saturday and Sunday Afternoons from Noon to 4pm. See the upcoming band list below. Loud
pipes? No problem! You can ride out to Western Trails without worrying about DB metering equipment to greet you. Hang out under the covered patio at the Buzzard's Saloon or in front of the stage
for some impromptu dancing. Buzzardís Saloon now has Appetizerís available at the Bar. Mozzarella Cheese Sticks,
Chicken Tenders, Fries, Jalapeno Poppers, Breaded Mushrooms, Onion Rings, Beer Battered Mushrooms & Zucchini and
Spicy Chicken Wings. Fast food service from the Bartender. Buddy Boomís Real BBQ is also open for those who
donít mind walking 300 Feet for the best Burgers, award winning Ribs & BBQ on the Westside of town.
So take a ride out to Western Trails for some Lunch, Music and Fun every Saturday and Sunday. For more information on Western Trails Ranch go to www.westerntrailsranch.com . Located on Hwy. 60 in Morristown, just 12 N. of Sun City West on Grand or just 3 miles South of Carefree Hwy. Click Here for Map. 623-388-0450.
AVP Sanderson Ford Pro Beach Volleyball. Looking for some place to be a spectator and watch some Women in bikini's play beach volleyball? The Pro Beach Volleyball tournament that used to be in Tempe has moved to Westgate in Glendale. They have transformed the East Parking lot into sand volleyball courts complete with grandstands. Plenty of action all day and night. Click Here for complete schedule and times. Motorcycle only parking is available right next to the venue. Westgate is located at Loop 101 and Glendale Ave.
Victory Riders Williams Rally. Rally this year in Williams, Arizona. $15 registration
includes: Run Shirt & Ride Sheet. Live Music, Rides, Dinner, Blessing of the Bikes. Click Here for more information.
Saturday, May 12th
HardAss Run. Sponsored by A.B.A.T.E. of AZ - East Valley Chapter. Sign
In 8-10am at Superstition HD located at 2910 W. Apache Trail in Apache Junction, AZ. All Bikes and Riders welcome.
The route is a mystery and all open road. Come and see some of AZ's best back roads. Run Shirt included at the
end of the 280 plus mile ride. $20 single, $30 couples. More information call Jack at 602-696-3015. Proceeds of
this ride will go to the family of Waldo Stuart.
Saturday, May 12th
11th Annual Jester
Memorial Run. Memorial run for lost Brothers and Sisters Sponsored by the MMA Verde Valley District. Registration at KA Cycle located at 595 S. 6th
St. in Cottonwood, AZ. More information: Ed at 928-301-1327.
Saturday, May 12th
American Legion Legacy Rally and Bazaar. Highlights the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces during their wartime service in more than 130 countries around the globe. All monies raised will be donated to the American Legion's Legacy Scholarship Fund. Earl Mitchell Post 29 located at 6822 N. 57th Dr., in Glendale, AZ. 12pm - 10pm. More information at 623-937-8192.
Saturday, May 19th
Chester's Harley-Davidson Safety Seminar. Safety Firstóitís a simple rule, and a smart way to live.
Attend Chesterís FREE Safety Seminar, Saturday, May 19th. Start your day with us at 9am with a continental breakfast, get some insightful tips on how to stay safe on the road and enjoy lunch from 11am-2pm.
The seminar includes:
Helmet Inspection - Rider's Edge® Instructional Seminar - Riding demonstration - And features guest speakers from:
Rider's Edge®, Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council, Mesa Police Department, Even you old dogs can pick up a few new tricks, so donít miss out! Chester's HD is located at 922 S. Country Club Cr. in Mesa, AZ. 480-894-0404.
Have you ever wondered how our troops get around in Baghdad? Wish we could do that on the 101. Here is a video of how it works. Click Here to View.
This is a pretty funny interactive photo booth. Click Here to View.
Have any trouble with squirrels on your porch? Here is a home made squirrel re-locator. You have probably never seen one like this. Click Here to view.