Bob's Friday Ride

Deryle & Wanda Mehrten

December 2011

We have two guys in Southeastern Arizona who like to organize and lead a “Friday Ride.”  Craig Littlefield living in Tucson has a distribution list of folks in the Tucson area, and Bob Muller has a distribution list of folks living south of Tucson - Sonoita, Patagonia, Sierra Vista, etc.  They both have a couple of favorite routes that include a coffee stop or two and at least one major meal, usually a breakfast for the Tucson riders and a brunch for the southern riders.

This past Friday Bob invited us to meet at Mustang Corners and ride over to Sunizona for a late breakfast/early lunch.  Based on past experience there could be three to five bikes meet up for a loop around SE Arizona.  Usually only one or two bikes would be two up with their significant other.  This Friday it turned out to be four bikes, three two up.  Good to see the ladies make the ride.
Bob and Marianne ride a nice R12GS; Bob and Karen ride an older R1150GS; Wanda and I ride a slant motored K1200GT; and Bob rides his K1200LT alone.  We are all in the second half of our journey though life, so although we consider ourselves spirited riders, we duff along most of the time.  Probably for the best.
The first leg of our route would take us across Hwy 82 to Hwy 80.  About half way to Hwy 80 we crossed the San Pedro River at Fairbanks, an old ghost town that is being preserved by a local historical group.  It’s a good stop where you can enter some old buildings constructed in the early 1900s, or hike along the river which is usually underground unless there has been some recent rain.
Heading south on Hwy 80 we rode through Tombstone and down to Davis Road.  Davis Road is a semi-twisty road that has a speed limit of 55 mph.  Most riders do closer to 65 or 75 as there is a lot of forward visibility and very few side roads.  A few manmade hazards are planted along the way - a couple of the high speed sweepers have a cattle guard either at the start of the turn or the end.  It’s good to know where they are and to cut straight across them.  Not sure why ADOT does this.
Some 22 miles from Hwy 80 Davis Road’s only stop sign is at the Central Road junction.  Turning north on Central we rode along some older farm land that has been lying fallow for a bunch of years.  Not all the farms out here have survived the drought that been around for a bunch of years. 
It’s only a couple of miles up Central Road to Elfrida and Hwy 191.  Hwy 191 is the main drag through Sulphur Springs Valley and runs all the way to the Canadian border.  Lots of traffic coming and going between all the small towns on this piece of the highway.  During harvest times there can be a lot of tractors and hay haulers.
Our lunch destination was Sunizona and the newly re-opened Sandy’s Restaurant and RV Park at the junction of Hwy 191 and Hwy 181.  The food was OK and the service was good.  Chewing the fat with friends can make even the most mundane location a wonderful stop.  We’ll stop here again.

The next stop would be the Espresso Coffee shop in Willcox on Rex Allen Drive.  Rex Allen was the last of the singing cowboys and lived in Willcox until his untimely demise - his girl friend backed over him with his station wagon.  He was in his 80s.  There’s a nice park with a statue of Rex Allen right across from the Rex Allen Museum.  Wanda and I have stopped here many times.
When we left Sunizona we took the long way around on Hwy 181 that joins up with Hwy 186.  Most every time I take 186 around to the Chiricahua Monument entrance there is at least one wash crossing the road that is flowing.  You can see the washes coming by the line of trees that snake across the desert.  And, yup, the first wash had about 4 to 6 inches of water flowing.  We had no problem crossing and it did wash the bugs off the toes of my boots.
Each of us had planned to gas up in Willcox.  Turns out the extra 30 or so miles to Willcox by taking Hwy 181 through Dos Cabezas wasn’t accounted for by Bob and Karen.  About 2 miles from Willcox Bob coasted to a stop, out of gas.  After 10 or 15 minutes of fiddling with a plastic siphon hose to no avail, Bob and Marianne rode into Willcox and bought a gas can and a gallon of gas.  The rest of us stood beside the road and kicked tires and told tales  
The coffee shop in Willcox is an antique shop as well.  It takes all of 5 minutes to see all the old pieces and “collectibles.”  I found the old male cat that came out to visit with us on the porch the most interesting piece of the shop.  His ears were pretty chewed off and he walked with an “I’m the Boss” swagger.  We enjoyed our coffee and conversation.
The route home would take us back south on Hwy 186 then south on Kansas Settlement Road.  There are several fruit and nut orchards along the way and Wanda and I have helped bottle wine at a vineyard off of Kansas Settlement Road a few years back.  There is also a dairy farm that if the wind is coming your way…you will smell it before you see it.
The old Kansas Settlement General Store burned down some 6 or 8 years ago.  A couple of rusty out-of-service gas pumps and a power pole mark the site.  Coming home from northern Arizona this past year Wanda and I stopped on the old hardstand and watched the Horseshoe II fire flare up on the Chiricahua Mountains.  Little did we know that when we came into Sierra Vista that same day we would see the beginnings of the Monument Fire that sent a lot of people packing, including several of our friends.  Fires are scary!
We would backtrack most of the route we took coming, - Hwy 191 down to Elfrida and Central to Davis and Hwy 80.  In Tombstone we split up.  Bob and Marianne would continue through Tombstone and turn west on Hwy 82 and to their home in Sonoita.  Bob and Karen, LT Bob and Wanda and I would take Charleston Road over to Sierra Vista and home.  With the heat wave we’re having and the good company of Bob, Bob and Bob (and their lovely wives), it was a most excellent ride.

Home Page