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.