by Mike Hoppe
The brainchild of the esteemed Phil Curtis, the ADIOS 400 was to be the Southern Arizona version of last man standing…400 miles of treacherous Arizona desert, cactus, mountains, and rock testing man and machine…
What Phil failed to take into account was the timing…3 of the 6 riders (Michael Bartz, Phil Curtis, Mike Hoppe) on the ADIOS 400 were just 3 days back from what has become know as the Moab Massacre (and yes we are going back next year!) and were far from healed/recovered. Hey, if we had the ability to make good decisions, we wouldn’t be riding dirt bikes at all! So on with the show! Friday morning the Moab crew was joined by John Cartwright of Ironhorse fame, Brian Blangsted owner of the world renowned The Dirt Bike School of Tucson http://www.thedirtbikeschooloftucson.com and of course the ever present Brian Sterrett proprietor of Holy Ground Electric.
Departing from Phil’s house over by Old Tucson, we headed North to the West end of Mile Wide road for a familiar 50 mile warm up through the desert and rocks that dumped us out at 3 points on Ajo. The testosterone was flowing and new records were entered into the books for the first leg. The plan was then to take Sahuarita mountain road south to A road, cross the RV road and then Brian Blangsted was to lead a new route on “B” road that none of us had experienced that would, in 60 miles or so, land us in Amado for lunch.
Three miles or so into the new “B” route Senior Bartz, who was as usual giving us somebody to chase, found himself distracted in a rather nasty section of rocks and lawn-darted the KTM 525 and himself into the non-user friendly terrain. As is the tradition of this group, compassion, care, and photos are quickly administered, usually photos first… After assessing the damage, the not yet healed collarbone in combination with a fresh knee injury were determined to be sufficient for a disqualification. Something about a bee in the pants and attempting to ride this section one handed while battling the offending insect were offered up as explanations but the group consensus was Bartz was scratching himself and just got carried away in the moment…
After an escort back to the tarmac the five riders continued to Amado for lunch, thru the infamous “Bike Wash” and then on to Mt. Hopkins which would also provide the jumping off point for the somewhat technical trail to Patagonia. Moteling in Patagonia (no sag wagon so all provisions were on their backs) was enjoyable as was dinner and breakfast at the Home Plate.
The morning broke to cold temps (probably the last for the season) and rain so the garbage bag rainsuits were donned and we headed south to the border an Lochiel. Later in the day heading North on Ruby Road with some time to explore some gnarly side roads including the peaks autoroute. Hoppe’s XR650R having endured Moab the prior week, sheared the remaining bolts on the rear rack/subframe from way to much abuse relegating him back to the relatively tame Ruby road for the remainder of the ride.
Lunch at Gadsens and back to the start thru 50 miles of familiar desert and mountains successfully concluded the inaugural Adios 400. A bit shy of the 400 mile mark, but nonetheless achieving the desired goal of spending two full days riding the dirt bikes and enjoying our backyard that we call Southern Arizona.
As Phil packs the trailer for the annual return to the UP of Michigan for the summer, we officially demark the close of the winter riding season here in Tucson and enter into the season of short 5am rides…until we all rendezvous in Colorado sometime in August…