Paonia Rally 2008
by Joe Russo
I left Tucson at 6 a.m. traditionally taking I-10. I then took I-8 West to Gila Bend and north up old US80 over the old steel bridge with rivets (no bolts) to the world famous Tonopah Joe’s Truck Stop for breakfast.
After breakfast it was east on the Salome Hwy, then to 355 Ave that becomes the Wickenburg Highway and Vulture Mine Road. Along the way I went past the Vulture Gold Mine wondering how many bodies were in there.
Rt 89 to Prescott was filled with banked twists and turns, I was glad I got a new set of Metzelers. After Prescott the road was a mess and I spent the night in Williams.
Williams departure was at 5:30 a.m. with temps in the mid 50’s. Then north at Flagstaff on Hwy 89 to Hwy 160 east, stopping off at 4 corners for Navajo Taco’s and souvenirs. I decided to spend the night in Cortez, CO as the sky to the North didn’t look good.
It was a short ride to Paonia from Cortez but cold, especially on the Plain Jane K going through Rico, CO at 6:45 a.m. at 40 degrees. I stopped for coffee in Rico and waited for the sun to come over the mountains. It never really warmed up till Delta where I stopped for a late breakfast.
The rally was a blast visiting with many old friends and SEAT members. Good times, good weather, and good beer with friends. It must take a lot of organization for all the meals they put on, and they were excellent. So was the music Friday and Saturday night.
Tony Sanell and I left the rally traveling down Hwy 145, again ending up in Cortez where we were gassing up when Deryle and Wanda past by. After Cortez was Shiprock and Gallup, spending the night in Show Low.
We were back in Tucson by 11:30 a.m., and it really wasn’t that hot! Yet.
This was my 11th Top O’ The Rockies with my 1st in Ouray in ‘86. In ‘87 the rally was in Steamboat Springs; the event before was a Horse Show and the grounds were pretty beat up. The rally site now in Paonia, CO is one of the nicest, most relaxing and pleasant sites I’ve ever been to.