by David Stephens
This group of retired law enforcement guys have been riding to Tombstone in December for some 15 or so years. Its become a tradition of staying in the same motel and always paying a visit to Hook Nose Kates as well as walking the town of Tombstone.
We set out from the “Sycamore Chevron,” a meeting spot in Simi Valley, CA. Jerry Reisinger in his gorgeous copper colored Porsche Boxster, Dennis Riley and Roy Kautz on their Goldwings, Bill on his White Goldwing and me on my Harley Trike.
Dennis and Roy traded off leading. With a promise of roads I hadnt seen before…we rode out on the 118 and 210 to the 10 the other side of San Bernardino. Lots of work related traffic. At highway 62, off the 10 near Palm Springs, we swung up to 29 Palms, Joshua Tree and across 62 to Parker.
Than onto hwy 72 through Bouse, and then on 60 to Salome. Dennis took Salome Road to the 10 and then at Tonopah we were back on Salome Road again. I think he took old US 60 down to Gila Bend. Just riding along enjoying the sites without concern as to where we were going was great for a change. We spent the night at the America ’s Choice motel in Gila Bend and had dinner at the Submarine sandwich place next door.
The next morning Dennis led the ride, though clearly all of them except for me were very familiar with the route. Most of it, after we left Parker, was new to me. It was a great little route across the desert and will surely be the route for me from now on.
On the second day out of Gila Bend, we cut south on hwy 85 to Ajo, on to Why(that’s the name) and Sells. At 3 Points we swung south on 286, Sasabe Road and then Aravaca Road . Lunch was at a park just outside the little town of Aravaca …cheese an apple and water. (We were saving up for Tombstone)
We continued on the Aravaca Road to Interstate 19 and turned south towards Nogales . Just before that town we cut across on the South River Road and picked up hwy 82 just below Patagonia .. We were then on to Sonoita and on east to hwy 80 and a quick jog down to Tombstone .
We stayed at the Larian Motel. The room and the whole motel was immaculate. The rooms are all large, each with a couch, and all the details. This is the place to stay if you ever make it down to Tombstone . Roy booked us in advance for 2 nights here.
After checking in we walked across the street to Hooknose Kates for the traditional beer and to sit around and tell lies. Then we walked down the street and had dinner at one of the restaurants in town. Not bad.
Unfortunately that night Dennis got pretty sick and had to be flown out to the big University hospital in Tucson. Bill got on the phone right away and alerted his family and made arrangements for his bike to be stored at the motel until someone got there to ride it home.
On the layover day, and without Dennis as our leader/guide, Roy took over. We rode down to Bisbee and had some coffee and a sweet roll. Then walked the streets there looking at the antiques and doing a little people watching. Bisbee is a unique little old mining town. The streets are narrow and twisty, the buildings very old, most several stories high, and very Victorian looking. It’s a must-see if you’re ever down that way. We also rode down to the open pit Copper mine which is a huge hole in the ground.
Then Roy led us to a couple of his favorite spots. The first, a place called the San Pedro bird sanctuary(lots of hummingbird feeders), also had one of the biggest Cottonwood trees I’ve ever seen, a neat little store and an old cabin. Then we were off to the Coronado National Monument visitor center located down near the border in a really beautiful valley up against the mountains. This one definitely worth the ride and a look see.
From there we rode into Sierra Vista and had lunch at the local McDonalds..good ice cream cone. Finally a nice run through some twisties back to the Larian for dinner and the end of the third day.
In the morning we rode up to the freeway and zipped over to Tucson and visited Dennis at the hospital. Also met his wife Diana and daughter Heather. Dennis wasnt out of the woods yet, and I think he appreciated at least a brief drop in by us. Bill had continued on home, so it was Roy, Jerry and me at that point. Bill had done some pretty good work, arranging to get a couple of Dennis’ friends to come out from Simi and pick up his bike. Jerry had the rest of Dennis’ stuff in his car which we transferred into Heather’s car.
After that the three of us headed for Parker, our destination for our last night out. Roy led us North through Phoenix , where the traffic was not as bad as I expected. Then he cut over through Wickenburg and we swung back through Salome, Bouse and on over to Parker.
In Parker we stayed at the Bluewater Resort and Casino. Another first for me. This is really a nice place. My room on the 5th floor had a balcony looking out over the Colorado River . Real pretty spot. We ate at a very nice little restaurant in the casino.
Then on our last day out we headed across on hwy 62 again. Over near Joshua Tree Roy decided to take a little loop ride home, but Jerry and I decided to head for the barn. I rode and he drove straight down to the 10. Then into town via the 210 and back home on the 118.
The weather for the trip had been excellent, with daytime temps in the mid 70’s..clear blue skies and no wind at all. Absolutely perfect. However when Jerry and I got down to the 10 near Palm Springs the wind was pretty fierce. Then as we headed into the big city on the 10 we began to get some rain but not very heavy. Jerry went on straight in Pasadena heading for his place and I continued on the 210 and then out the 118 through the Valley and into Simi. It started to rain pretty heavy by the time I got to Chatsworth. Going over Santa Susana pass and down into Simi it was a real rainstorm. I didn’t want to stop and put on the rain pants so by the time I got home my jeans were soaked to the skin. The jacket was rainproof thank goodness.
Altogether this was a very good run. I saw a lot of places I’ve never seen, and took some new roads to me…and will return and see them again I hope. The company was excellent and it was a good time. I certainly feel bad about Dennis, but I know he wanted very much to do this ride, and he did make half of it. Let’s hope he gets well enough to do some more riding. Same for Jerry. Im glad he opted to drive his Porsche rather than stay home. Its hard to keep good men down.
At this writing Im happy to report that Dennis is doing much better and will be going home soon.
Spring 2014…….and Im sad to report that Jerry Resienger has passed away as well. 2 out of the 4 that made this trip. R.I.P. Dennis & Jerry.