by Tim Zierman
A wise man once said that all disappointment, anger, and frustration is caused by unfulfilled expectations. Conversely, expectations exceeded can bring pleasure and a sense of contentment. A recent road trip brought some of each which I'll cover in this trip report.
My wife, Vicky, and I being recent transplants to Arizona (it'll be two years in June) decided that we should start seeing more of our new home state. Hence we've been on three motorcycle trips recently, the last of which I'm reporting on here; a trip to the White Mountains via highway 191.
Pat Walsh warned us that highway 191 north to Alpine could be closed due to the Hannigan Meadows fire. I dutifully called the Arizona Dept. of Public Safety and was referred to their automated road conditions reporting system, dial 511, and was told that aside from three construction zones, all was well on highway 191. My expectation was that we would be able to ride this route as planned for the first time to Alpine. Guess what, when we got to the intersection of highways 191 and 78, there was one of those portable electronic billboards that said hwy 191 was closed and to seek other routes. Needless to say we were disappointed but made the best of it by taking highway 78 over Mule Creek pass into New Mexico and on to highway 180 north to Alpine. This is also a good motorcycle road but we'd been on it before and therefore it didn't offer the excitement of a road we hadn't yet traveled and which has a reputation of being a great motorcycle road.
After a late lunch in Alpine we headed to Pinetop via highways 180 and 260. I was impressed by how chilly it was at the higher elevations of the White Mountains. We had brought some cool weather clothes with us thanks again to Pat Walsh's advice so were able to cope with the cold winds that were a blowin’. We cruised through Pinetop and on to Show Low but we weren't impressed so headed back to Pinetop to spend the night. Here's where our expectations were far exceeded. We stayed at the Timberlodge Motel, owned and operated by Gene and Betty Bodenhamer. We had a large room with a king size bed, that was spotlessly clean and very private with lots of trees and a couple of picnic areas on the grounds of the motel. Very secure feeling while parking the motorcycle for the night. The pre-season rates of $42.00 seemed like a real bargain. We plan to go back to Pinetop later in the year and you can bet that we'll be staying at the Timberlodge Motel. We definitely recommend it to anyone planning a trip to the Pinetop/Show Low area. Their phone number is (800)522-4463.
After unloading the bike and a brief rest we struck out on foot for a nearby restaurant. I wanted a drink (preferably a good martini) and didn't want to ride the bike after dinner and one or two drinks. We stumbled on to a restaurant named Phineas T. The sign said "Martini Bar" and "Fine Dining" (expectations set). We sat at the bar and had a drink that met our expectations except for the price which was somewhat lower than expected. So far, so good. While at the bar we studied the menu. The prices were quite high but I said what the heck let's do it since I didn't feel like walking further. The waitress informed us that we were in for a treat because they had a "Master Chef", one of only four in the country(?) which further raised our expectations. Without going into too much detail, I'll just say that our expectations were definitely unfulfilled and we were very disappointed in the quality of the food and the service. I even went so far as to suggest to the waitress that the so called "Master Chef" should consider a refresher course at one of the better culinary institutes! We would not recommend Phineas T's, except for the bar.
The next morning we headed for home via highway 60 through the Salt River canyon. Here again our expectations were exceeded by the beauty of the scenery as we headed toward Globe. From Globe we traveled south on highway 77 to Mammoth. Just before getting to Mammoth there's an unmarked road that parallels the San Pedro river. It starts out paved but turns to gravel after a few miles and remains gravel for about 45 miles. It's mostly hardpack and so is suitable for two up riding on large dual sport bikes. That’s another story.