Featured Rideout 24 Hours Along The Mexican -- American Border: A Rideout To Douglas, Arizona

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Sandi T, Mar 10, 2021.

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  1. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #21 Sandi T, Mar 11, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
    Chapter 3: The Basement

    While finishing up our delicious dinner at Restaurant 333, we struck up a conversation with one of the Gadsden employees. He was a Douglas native and a delightful guy. He told us we simply had to ask Anel to take us on the "Speakeasy Tour" of the basement. So we made our request and Anel happily brought us down into the dungeon, er, basement. :eek: We really had no idea just what lay ahead....
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    The hotel basement was a maze of hallways and rooms through which Anel navigated us, all the while sharing about this aspect of the hotel's history as well as her husband's and her "adventures" in transforming the space into what it is today. She said the wiring and plumbing alone were a major challenge as it was apparent that over the years, things had been piecemealed together. Out of sight, out of mind, eh?
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    Anel explained that the primary term that has been used for the basement has been "the Rathskeller" and that this was the word used on the blueprints from the Gadsden's 1928 rebuild.
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    I wasn't sure what rathskeller actually meant so did a bit of Googling. Yep, I learn something new every day!


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    Enrique, the excellent bartender in the saloon, referred to the basement as "The Speakeasy". It turned out the speakeasy was only one area of the extensive basement but it was my favorite. Hmmm, for some of you on this forum, that's probably not really a surprise. ;):joy:



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    It makes sense that Florencio and Anel call the bar in the basement The Speakeasy since the hotel was rebuilt after the fire in 1928--right during Prohibition in the United States. Of course, each room in the Gadsden Hotel's basement is a reproduction/recreation but that doesn't make it any less fun nor did it make it feel any less illicit and secretive. :eek: Which is actually what made it so fun! ;)


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    The Speakeasy...... Did I mention this was my favorite room?? :joy:
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    Pre-Covid, this bar is where special parties and group gatherings were held. Relative to the saloon upstairs, the top shelf offerings are available here. For now this bar is closed for business but everyone is looking forward to the post-Covid day when folks can again frequent the Speakeasy. Mr. Sandi and I will be among those customers and plan to bring our motorcycle buddies along for the ride! :grinning:

    The next photo is of an old-fashioned absinthe server. I had no idea something like this even existed! But, yes, according to the Wormwood Society, they do. And this is how it's done.

    http://www.wormwoodsociety.org/index.php/serving-absinthe-mainmenu-228

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    Anel also described how they serve smoked Old Fashions. Patrons can select the particular type of wood chips they'd like used to flavor their cocktails.I asked her what her favorite wood is--it's Maple.


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    Chapter 3 continued in my next post
     
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  2. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #22 Sandi T, Mar 11, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
    Chapter 3: The Basement (continued)

    One of the first rooms Anel showed us when we descended into the basement was the Poker Room. It was very cozy feeling with booths in addition to the poker tables and an upright piano along one wall.
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    And how could one drink and play poker without also having a dedicated cigar room to retire to? ;)

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    And I guess after an evening of drinking, poker, and cigars, well....what might one be interested in next?! :joy: You guessed it..... ;)

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    Below is pictured the lift that was the primary means of moving larger things into and out of the basement. It's no longer in use, but Anel told us that when they started renovating the basement it was used to move out some of the ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS (yes, you read that right) of garbage and trashed things that had been discarded there over many decades. It took 16 days of 10 people working 10 hour days to clear out years worth of nastiness. :scream: Anel said she wore waders with the tops taped shut lest any creepy-crawlies fell into her boots. :eek: Yes, that's Count Dracula pictured on the mirror.

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    The final room that Anel showed us is referred to as the Mystery Room. She said that there was no door to it and from the blueprints they saw there was supposed to be a room there. So they unbricked a space to open it up and found this space. They think that it was used as a place to hide money and gold--and perhaps a body or two. There are multiple strange cutouts in the concrete floor that are highly irregular and quite suspicious.

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    Mr. Sandi was extremely interested in this room. He's always going on and on about finding buried treasure whether we're scuba diving or traveling by motorcycle. He's convinced that someday he's going to find a big treasure chest brimming with gold coins and jewelry and doubloons. I tease him about that but secretly hope that he does find that buried treasure since we don't play the lottery. :joy:
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    That concluded our fascinating basement tour. And we concluded our evening with cocktails prepared by Enrique, mine being a Manhattan. The Gadsden's lobby is huge and most guests were elsewhere so it was easy to socially distance. I'm looking forward to the day when we dont have to socially distance and might even be able to forget what that even means. :rolleyes:
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    Stay tuned for one more installment, The Epilogue. :) Coming soon.
     
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  3. Vulpes

    Vulpes Confused Member
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    What a brilliant write-up @Sandi T ! I can't wait for the last installment!
     
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  4. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #24 Sandi T, Mar 11, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2021
    Yeah, @Dartplayer, being an Arizona resident I definitely live in the "wild, wild" West. Arizona has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the United States. About 10 years ago, after being anti-gun pretty much my whole life, I had an "interesting" conversation with Mr. Sandi and decided I had made my personal gun decisions and formed my beliefs on emotion without sufficient knowledge and facts. That Christmas, two coupons for an "Intro to Pistols" class at The Marksman range showed up in my Christmas stocking--one for me and one for my friend. So my best girlfriend, Dena, and I signed up and took the course. I learned tons, touched a gun for the first time ever (really), and really enjoyed the last part of the class which entailed target shooting. Anyway, I ended up getting a Smith & Wesson 686 model 357 Magnum revolver.

    At that time, to conceal carry you had to take and pass a Concealed Carry course. Mr. Sandi and I, along with Dena and her husband, all took the class together and obtained our permits. I still have mine in my wallet--renewed it in 2019 and it's good until 2024. But the thing is, we no longer need a permit! Nope, you can pretty much carry a gun--open or concealed--most places in Arizona with some exceptions. Amazing. :eek::scream: We mostly took the class to learn more and it was a great learning experience. But it turns out I don't really need the permit and not just because it's no longer required but because I rarely take my revolved out of the safe anymore. I'm just not that interested and although I do enjoy target shooting, I'd rather do other stuff. Like ride my motorcycles. ;):)

    https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/resources/ccw_reciprocity_map/az-gun-laws/

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  5. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, @Dawsy! And you'll be happy to know that "Season 3 / Chapter 3" is already airing. I didn't want to make you wait a whole week. ;):joy:
     
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  6. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, Vulpes! I appreciate the positive feedback. I've posted Chapter 3 but am also going to include one more installment, a little Epilogue. I've got a few fun pics and facts from the next day to share, too.
     
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  7. Camperman

    Camperman Senior Member

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    Sandi T
    Excellent write up of what seems to be a great town to visit. You seem to be spoilt on places to visit around your home.
    Interested to see on your map a place called St.David, we also have a City in Wales called St.Davids, smallest city in the UK, supposedly named after the birthplace of our patron saint.
    A lot of doubters believe St David to be Irish!

    Keep up the good work, brightens up the evening in stormy UK.
     
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  8. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, Bikerman! I appreciate your positive comments a lot. Hmmm, I don't think I'm JK Rowlings. Well, if I am, someone has certainly raided my bank accounts anyway. ;):joy:
     
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  9. Dartplayer

    Dartplayer Crème de la Crème

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    Thanks for sharing Sandi, I’m sure your Dad must have had something on the farm?Growing up shooting air rifles and pistols I was well aware of safety. I also enjoyed :imp:competitive small bore target shooting, but understand how some people feel about “guns”.
    I only kill too feed my family (pests excluded) so feel I have a healthy relationship.:cool:
     
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  10. Dawsy

    Dawsy Cumbrian half-wit
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    Thanks for a fantastic and interesting thread @Sandi T .
    The basement looks just the kind of place I would love to visit. :grinning:
     
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  11. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, @Camperman! Yes, we do have a lot of great places to visit around our home that are quite close and which entail wonderful rides. We really didn't realize how much fun Douglas would be nor how much interesting history we would learn about the place and have found that to also be true of other places we've ridden to in Arizona over the years.

    Out of curiosity, I looked up St. David after reading your post. The population of St. David, Arizona according to the 2010 census was about 1,700. I suspect that the St. Davids in Wales is even smaller than that if it's the smallest city in the UK. As someone who grew up in a farm town of 400 people, even St. David doesn't seem super small to me. :joy: Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the origins of the name and town of St. David, Arizona. That yet another new thing I learned today thanks to the forum--and Camperman! :)

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  12. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks! I'm not sure that my write ups are better than your bike reviews, Steve, but if they are even close then I'm in great company. :grinning:

    Ha! "Something a little older"..... You are a master of understatement. ;):joy:

    Great photos, thanks for sharing! It's amazing that is so near to your home. Very cool.
     
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  13. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #33 Sandi T, Mar 12, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
    Epilogue: The next day....

    After a VERY good night's sleep (I had not one but two of those well-crafted cocktails last night), :rolleyes: Mr. Sandi and I lazed about a bit in our lovely corner room on the Mezzanine floor before making our way down for coffee and breakfast. Via the Gadsden's website, we had perused the menu at Restaurant 333 before our trip. It all sounded delicious. And it didn't disappoint! For dinner the evening before, Mr. Sandi had the ribeye steak and I had the shrimp scampi. Both were absolutely scrumptious and the prices were more than fair. Although the restaurant was open to guests and the tables were well spaced per Covid guidelines, we still don't really feel comfortable dining indoors (yet). So one of the servers suggested that we could sit out on the outdoor patio just off the diner part of the restaurant area. It was lovely even though a bit windy and chilly. But not by many of your "windy and chilly" standards, I suspect. :joy:

    I did take a few photos of the restaurant to show the "flavor" ;) and ambiance of the setting. Here's one. And yes, that is a fake fireplace. Oh well, can't have it all....
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    And here's Mr. Sandi with his coffee on the cozy little patio where we sat for both dinner and breakfast. We had the patio to ourselves for both meals but that wasn't too tall an order since there are only two tables to begin with! :joy:
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    Mr. Sandi had the All-American Breakfast composed of eggs, bacon, hash browns, and a waffle. I opted to try something more adventurous and in line with our proximity to the Mexican border, the Chorizo Con Papas (chorizo with potatoes). Anel had recommended the chorizo to me the evening before when I asked her what her favorite breakfast dish was. Of course, AFTER I ordered it but BEFOE I ate it, I saw Anel and she said that she usually eats that dish later in the day because if she eats if for breakfast she "tastes it all day if you know what I mean". Yes, Anel. Now I do. ;):joy: But it was SO worth it! Anel also told me that they get the spices that they use for the meat from a place in Mexico and they've been unable to find something as good in the U.S. So my dish was very authentic in addition to being delicious. :) Chorizo and potatoes, referred beans, corn tortillas, two eggs over medium, and a jalapeño pepper. The chorizo was spicy enough that I didn't dare layer on that pepper. That would later (on the bike) prove to be a wise choice. :eek:
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    We are looking forward to returning to the Douglas and the Gadsden Hotel when the Covid fog finally lifts. It will be fun to dine indoors both in the main dining room and also in this diner-style part of Restaurant 333.
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    After a leisurely breakfast we packed up, took a last look around, and said our thank you's and goodbyes and we'll be backs to Anel. Our bikes were waiting faithfully RIF ready to head back to the barn.
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    Back at the barn......
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    What a wonderful adventure we had and we didn't have to (get to?!) go far to experience it. The beauty of Douglas' proximity to Tucson is we know we can go back for an overnighter when we just need a brief change of scenery. And we are eager to return to Douglas and the Gadsden with some of our riding buddies so they can experience the fun we had in a mere 24 hours. :)
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    ENDNOTE:

    What I haven't shared to this point in this thread is what the primary impetus for this particular little trip was. I've needed to schedule another surgery to address some continuing issues with my elbow after my previous elbow surgery in Jan.2020. That 2nd surgery happened this past Monday. So our ride to Douglas was both a getaway for Mr. Sandi and me but also a bit of a "last hurrah" for my riding for a bit. I'm hoping my moto-layoff is significantly shorter than the last time around which was 7 months! :eek: In fact, I'm counting on it. :grinning: There are bikes to ride, miles to be ridden, trips to be taken, and ride reports to be written.

    Stay tuned. :cool:


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  14. Dawsy

    Dawsy Cumbrian half-wit
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    Best wishes for the surgery @Sandi T Hope it is a mere blip! And thanks again for taking the time to put this thread together . That breakfast looks delicious:eek:
     
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  15. Camperman

    Camperman Senior Member

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    Hope all goes well with the op.
    Don't know how much we miss riding until we can't do it!
    Wishing you a speedy recovery
    Dave
     
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  16. Bikerman

    Bikerman Crème de la Crème
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    Hope all goes well. Take care.
     
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  17. joe mc donald

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    You are terrific. What a place to find and great history. One thing you need to tell Mr Steve is he has already found that treasure and it is more than gold and silver. He has you and if that's not treasure then I am an astronaut.
    Joe.
     
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  18. OsteKuste

    OsteKuste Intergalactic Warlord
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    Absolutely wonderful write-up, Sandi! I dream about getting to spend some time riding out West, but it will be a long trip from Tennessee! Maybe one day. As you say, if I don’t plan it it won’t happen!
     
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  19. andyc1

    andyc1 Lunarville 7, Airlock 3
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    You don't half take your ride out's to a whole new level Sandi! That was a nice first few posts (haven't got to the rest yet) :)
     
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  20. speeder

    speeder Noble Member

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    Great write up, l used to stay in Phoenix quite a bit when l worked for Honeywell.
    It's a terrific state, l particularly liked, Sedona, Flagstaff and loved monument valley.
    I envy you with the great rides you have there.
     
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