Bob Muller's Excellent Friday Ride

Deryle & Wanda Mehrten

August 2012

If you haven’t noticed, it’s been raining all over Arizona this past month.  Ain’t it great!  Along with all that rain comes some serious plant and tree growth.  Many of the native Arizona desert plants don’t waste any time either, blooming and flowering in just a few days.  Trees that were only brown sticks a week or so ago are now thick with leaves and in some cases new spikes.  This is a great time to ride around on Arizona’s back roads…that is if you don’t get caught in one of those outrageous monsoon rain storms!

So when we got Bob Muller’s Friday Ride invite email Wanda and I decided it was a great time to join him and his wife Marianne for a day’s ride.  Bob likes to put together small group rides around Cochise and Santa Cruz Counties, riding to either brunch or lunch, all on back roads.  There can be anywhere from five to seven bikes with eight or nine riders and passengers stringing out behind Bob on some of Southeast Arizona’s best back roads.  This particular Friday there were four bikes and six riders/passengers.

The plan was to meet at the Fuel Stop in Sonoita Friday morning at 9 am.  Bob and Marianne live only a few miles from The Fuel Stop and when we rode up they were there waiting for us along with Bob Thompson and Peter Godbois.  We haven’t made one of Bob’s Friday Rides in a while so it took a few minutes to catch up on who was up to what and how was everyone doing.  Seems everyone was doing great so it was time to fire up the bikes.

Wanda and Marianne at the Fuel Stop in Sonoita.  That's Peter and Bob in the background.

The first stop was the Roadrunner Gas Station on the corner of Sahuarita Rd and Houghton Road.  They do free coffee every Friday and can attract a crowd on some Fridays.  To get there it was north up Highway 83, one of the best little twisty turney pieces of road in SE Arizona.  There was so much green it was almost like a new road.  Amazing how quickly the desert reacts to the first rains.

Surprise, surprise there were two SEAT members at the Roadrunner and they just happened to be parked under the only shady spot in the lot.  So we joined them.  Seems Steve Cass on his R-RT and Skip Blecker on his R-R were out and about enjoying the back roads as well.  Good meeting up with them and sharing some road talk. 

Good shade is hard to find!  Bob, Bob, Steve, Deryle, Skip, Marianne in the shade.

The next stop was the Whipple Observatory located on Mt. Hopkins in the Santa Rita Mountains.  Mt. Hopkins Road up to the visitor center is nice and twisty with a couple of medium level sweepers…a fun road.  The Observatory studies comets and has some great shots of our universe.  Best of all it was well air conditioned inside the center – it was in the 90s as we pulled in to the parking lot.  
The whole gang at the Whipple Observatory.  Deryle, Wanda, Peter, Bob, Marianne and Bob.
After checking out all the exhibits and using the restrooms, we left the Observatory heading for lunch at Las Trankas in Rio Rico.  Bob knows all the side and frontage road ins-and-outs and took us down to Rio Rico with only a very short stint on the freeway.  There is no way, other than dirt, to get around the Border Patrol Check Point without a bit of freeway.

Lunch at Las Trankas in Rio Rico.  Good group of folks.

Las Trankas is a true Mexican restaurant located just north of the Rio Rico exit on the west side of the freeway.  They do a good lunch and are definitely nice folks. Motorcycle riders with all the safety gear on do get some attention and a few strange looks.  It was about 12:45 when we gassed up at the Rio Rico Chevron and headed back toward Patagonia.  Bob took us over a new road, Pendleton Road, that linked up with River Road and back over to Hwy 82.

The last stop was for a latte and iced tea at The Gathering Grounds in Patagonia.  Good atmosphere and good latte.  The swamp cooler was working as hard as it could but couldn’t do much against the high temperature and the high humidity.  A few more tales of the road and we all headed our own ways.

All in all it was about a 200 mile loop around SE Arizona.  Thanks Bob for putting together an excellent Friday ride.

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