Featured Sturgis 2023: Taking The Long Way ' Round In The American Southwest

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Sandi T, Aug 19, 2023.

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  1. joe mc donald

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    #81 joe mc donald, Sep 13, 2023
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2023
    Sandi T. Could i ever stay away from you for to long.
     
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  2. joe mc donald

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    Some colour there. Think it would make me dizzy. Joe
     
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  3. joe mc donald

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    Still catching up with the write up. Taking it slowly as i am not a fast reader. But it is so Fantastic. Sandi T is the star of the pen. You got to keep it coming or i will get you impeached. Just love you all to bits. And just a bit envious i am not there. Joe
     
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  4. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, Joe! I'm glad you're enjoying my Sturgis report. And it's good you're taking it slowly because my reporting this time 'round is slow, too! I've just two more days to report on and will do that in the next day or so.

    I'm really happy to see you back on the forum. :heart: We've missed you! And, please--don't get me impeached. It seems to be contagious. ;):joy:
     
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  5. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Definitely NOT my orange beauty, @learningtofly! The more I ride my Street Glide Special the more I like and appreciate it. It now officially has more miles on it than either of the two previous touring Harleys that I've owned. And I'm hoping to put many more miles on it!
     
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  6. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    I know you've been in the American Southwest, @Bikerman, but can't remember if that included Santa Fe. Our hotel's architectural style fits right in with many of the buildings in the heart of Santa Fe. It's a style I find beautiful and almost soothing with smooth, thick walls, earth toned colors, and no frills simplicity. And, yes, fantastic riding in every direction! Remember, that invitation to join us is a standing invitation. ;):)
     
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  7. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.

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    You never know. I've met 2 other people on a different forum a few years ago at the Ace café in Florida. So never say never.:):)
     
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  8. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    "Never say never" is one of my life mottos! ;):)
     
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  9. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
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    How on earth will you choose which bike to jump on now, @Sandi T? :heart_eyes:
     
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  10. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Ahhh, a nice dilemma to face...and definitely a first world problem, Tony. :):heart:
     
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  11. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #11: Santa Fe, New Mexico to Show Low, Arizona

    Total Miles for the Day: 402


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    Today's route took us on some of Steve's and my favorite little back roads through the state of New Mexico. There was a short debate over breakfast over which route to take. One riding buddy thought it would be cool to see El Mapais, which translated means "Bad Country". 'Nuff said. Well, that and the fact that to ride the 10 or more miles through El Mapais, the bulk of the remainder of day's ride would be in Interstate 25 and Interstate 40. Reason won out, thankfully! ;):joy:

    We'd said goodbye to two of our group yesterday. Kelly and Chas, who were riding two up, continued on past Santa Fe to spend the night in Socorro, Mexico then ride all the way back to Tucson the next day. Our buddy, Ron, said that he would join us until we got to Albuquerque where he would peel off the group to go spend a couple of days with his elderly mom and step-dad.

    Even with one bike and two people down, our group managed to splinter before we even got onto Old Highway 14, aka "The Turquoise Trail". We finally managed to regroup with the one rider and the Prius in the little town of Madrid where the movie "Wild Hogs" was filmed. I've reported on that cool place in previous ride reports. We didn't stick around there today, though, as it was early and most everything was closed up tight.

    Regrouping in Madrid
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    I spied this fun artistic hillside in Madrid through a fence next to my bike while waiting for our "lost" friends.

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    After waving goodbye to Ron, we wound our way through beautiful backroads and tiny little New Mexican towns to the southeast of Albuquerque. When we got to the town of Mountainaire, Steve and I agreed that it was time to pull off and stop for some coffee and a bite to eat plus a stretch (and loo) break. We'd only gone about 100 miles since leaving Santa Fe, but the oldest in our group had requested back on Day #1 that we make stops about every 100 miles so he could stretch his back and hips. And we'd all secretly been glad that he did that and that routine served us pretty well for this trip!

    Steve and I had been to Alpine Alley before but none of the others in the group had even heard of it. They were very happy to stop and they were even happier the we stopped at this wonderful little spot in the middle of pretty much nowhere.

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    When our server came over to take our orders, we learned that she and her husband were the new owners of Alpine Alley. The woman that Steve and I had met the last time we stopped here had decided to sell. And that sale had happened--of course--very shortly prior to Covid and all the shutdowns. The new owners managed to keep the place open by doing takeout and a drive through window. The proprietress' husband also works a "day job" to make ends meet. She told us they just finally managed to come out in the black for the first time since they bought the place. But "in the black" literally meant they had 27¢ in their account! Steve told me later that he gave her a whopping tip and she actually started crying. I love my hubby. :heart::heart:

    The recommendation was to try the New Jersey Crumb Cake and boy, that was a fantastic recommendation! We all had a piece and loved it. In fact, Roseanne, the Prius driver, asked her to send the recipe for it so this is my reminder to check whether she received that or not.

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    The ambiance of Alpine Alley is very charming and much of it is decorated in "Horse and Horse-Related Stuff". :joy: Turns out the ribbons and awards on the walls were won by the owner herself! She loves living in Mountainaire because "it's a great place to have a horse".

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    The horse theme even extended to the bathroom... :joy:

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    Day #11 continued in my next post.
     
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  12. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #92 Sandi T, Sep 18, 2023
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2023
    Day #11: Santa Fe, New Mexico to Show Low, Arizona

    After leaving Mountainaire, we pointed our bikes (and Prius) west and headed for our next stop which was a stop for gas in Socorro, New Mexico on Interstate 25. Much of today's ride was on U.S. 60 which is a lovely two-lane road, but there's a point where you have to get on I-25 for about 20 miles to connect U.S. 60 east of I-25 with U.S. 60 west of I-25. Socorro isn't one of our favorite places but it does have a lot of gas stations lining its main street. The name is nice, though! :)

    From the New Mexico Tourism Department:
    "The name Socorro means “help” or “aid” in Spanish. In 1598 the explorers of the Juan de Oñate expedition first gave this name to the Pilabo Pueblo because the Pueblo people gave them needed food and shelter as they made their way north."

    Our next "stop" was completely unplanned but completely necessary! :eek: As we headed west on U.S. 60, the skies became blacker and blacker and the winds picked up considerably. The views are HUGE in this part of New Mexico--much of New Mexico, really-- and we could see rainstorms and storm cells interspersed across the land. As we approached the National Radio Astronomy Observatory or the "VLA" (Very Large Array) as it's commonly known, Steve recommended we stop to don our rain gear. I wholeheartedly agreed! And no sooner had we stopped and began to layer up, I heard a distinct "plink, plink". Yep, hail! :scream: Fortunately it was tiny and short-lived but we barely got our rain coats and pants on before it really began to pour.

    Here's my bike with one of the receivers (we call them "listening devices" :joy:) behind it.

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    This photo is from a previous day--there was a lot of "rain gear on, rain gear off, rain gear on, rain gear off" on this trip. :p We'd have just left it on but the temperatures were still too high for it to be comfortable in rain gear if it became dry and sunny.

    I'm not that keen on this on--off process as you can probably tell from this photo. :rolleyes: :joy: The biggest problem is that I can't get my rain pants on without sitting down and taking off my boots. The bottoms of the pants open up but the problem is that my boots still won't go through the thigh area of the pants.
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    Anyway, we'd stopped to don rain gear right near a pullout for the VLA. We've yet to go to the visitor center but I think we need to make that a planned stop next time we're through this area.

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    As we continued westward we passed directly through some of the storm cells and would come out on the other side into partly cloudy and dry conditions. It was actually quite beautiful to see places where you could tell not was raining cats and dogs and other places where the sky was brilliant blue in a "hole" in the clouds. And I figure, once you're wet, what the heck? Bring on the rain. Well, I didn't exactly feel that way a bit later in the ride, though, I have to say. ;):( When we got about 10 miles from our hotel and were riding through the nearby town of Pinto, we got absolutely pummeled! It was raining so hard we couldn't even see the lane lines on the street.

    We had been debating back at Alpine Alley about whether or not to stop in Pie Town. We knew that one of the three pie restaurants there was open but we'd just had those VLC's -- in this case, Very Large Crumbcakes! So at the gas station back in Socorro, Steve and Russell agreed that we should stop in Quemado to see Phyllis and her cats at the Largo Motel. Some of you may remember Phyllis from previous ride reports. :) Phyllis just turned 79 years old, is the motel manager, and is an absolute hoot. We've stayed at the Largo Motel multiple times and have gotten to know and love Phyllis during that time. We stayed there at the beginning of this summer during our June motorcycle trip. In our ride group today, everyone except for Patrick and his girlfriend, Roseanne, knew Phyllis. Phyllis was happy to see us, although Steve woke her up from her nap when he knocked on the lobby door. :joy: We spent time catching up with Phyllis and her cats while also catching a break from the rain. She was even kind enough to allow us to use her personal bathroom in her attached apartment. She's a gem! :heart: She's hoping to retire soon so we're hoping (planning!) to see her again before that happens.

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    Russell wanted to take this cutie-pie home with him. :)
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    Day #11 continued in my next post
     
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  13. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #11 continued and concluded

    After a delightful break at the Largo Motel and spending time with Phyllis and her cats, we again continued westward and then south. Our next destination was the town of Show Low, Arizona where we had reservations at the Best Western. Well, all of us had reservations except for Russell who had wavered between going to Socorro with Chas and Kelly or riding all the way home today (which would have put his days miles well over 500!) He saw a Motel 6 when we turned onto Show Low's main road so went back to reserve a room there once we made evening plans.

    Show Low is in the White Mountains of northern Arizona and is a common summertime destination for Tucson's and Phoenicians in the summer to escape our intense heat. It's a nice little town plus there are over 2 million acres of National Forest land adjacent to Show Low and over 40 lakes and streams nearby.



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    We were completely drenched when we were within striking distance of our hotel (literally about 5 miles away!), so after drying off and cleaning up we made our evening plans. Patrick and Roseanne spend a fair amount of tie in the White Mountains and had told us about a place they like to go for lunch and dinner called simply, "The House". We all piled in Roseanne's car--quite content to NOT ride there--and headed for brew and grub. The place was fantastic! I'll let the photos do the talking for me here for the most part.

    I will note that the ambiance was fantastic and the weather perfect and that the joint was jumping!
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    There was a bag toss tournament in full swing and live music by a duo in the back corner.
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    My delicious burger and coleslaw and a local IPA

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    There's a separate building right next door filled with sweet goodies. Hmmm, when in Rome... Or maybe it's more like "Damn the torpedos!" Ice cream here we come.

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    With full bellies we said goodnight as we arrived back at the hotel.

    Next up, Day #12: The ride home to Tucson
     
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  14. Markus

    Markus Crème de la Crème
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    @Sandi T: I'm following your tour report since the first thread. I really love them! This time I love the photo of your bike with the satellite system behind it.:heart_eyes:I also had lots of fun with the story/highlights of your bad weather clothing.:)
     
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  15. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, @Markus! I'm glad you're enjoying my Sturgis trip report. I appreciate your feedback, too. :):kissing_heart:
     
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  16. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
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    #96 learningtofly, Sep 19, 2023
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2023
    Thanks for that great write-up for day 11, @Sandi T, and it looked like a perfect way to finish. Going back to your first post of the day, I've always fancied visiting Albuquerque, simply because I'm a big Breaking Bad fan (one day, perhaps) :)
     
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  17. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Albuquerque is a wonderful small city (pop. approximately 500,000), Tony! It's similar to Tucson in many ways but has more distinct "four seasons". It's a city I'd definitely live in. Plus Santa Fe is just up the road 60 miles and the riding around this area is exceptional.

    One more day to report on...wow, but I'm lagging on this report. Guess I'm too busy riding my new bike. ;):joy: Anyway, here comes our final Sturgis trip day--Day #12.

    P.S. I'm a huge Breaking Bad fan, too!
     
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  18. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #98 Sandi T, Sep 24, 2023
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2023
    Day #12: Show Low, Arizona to Tucson, Arizona

    Total miles = 192

    Total Trip Miles = 3,131


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    Today's ride was the final day of our Sturgis Trip adventure. Our group of eight was down to five--four bikes and one Prius. The forecast was for rain as the morning wore on so we awoke early for breakfast at our hotel then set out on our final leg home at 7:00am.

    This photo is from Day #11's ride but I totally forgot to include it! I'll share it here as it gives you a good idea of the skies around us as we rode from the VLA towards Quemado and why we stopped to don our rain gear. It was even blacker in the direction in which we were heading! And yep, we got pummeled about five minutes after we got back on our bikes. :eek:


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    The ride from Show Low to Globe was beautiful. Route 60 heads south from Show Low and goes through the Apache National Forest. Along the way I spotted a small herd of antelope. :grinning: But by the time I "tapped in" to Steve on our Seans we were well past them. :pensive: We both spotted a huge coyote crossing the road ahead of us, however. Steve and I commented that we really hadn't seen a lot of wildlife on this trip which surprised both of us. And, most disappointingly, not one buffalo.

    We did manage to avoid riding in the rain today although we had a few sprinkles here and there, just enough to keep us wondering if we were going to get soaked yet again. And until we got south of the Salt River Canyon and into Globe, the temperatures were a delight which we enjoyed while it lasted. When we rode into Tucson we were back in the "oven" at around 105ºF.

    At one point as we rode descended down through the Apache Forest I noticed a vast area that looked--and smelled--like it had recently burned. When we gassed up in Globe I found myself behind an White Mountain Apache firefighter in line at the mini-mart counter. I asked him about what I had observed and he said that that was from the Flying V Fire that had burned 6,000 acres about 5 weeks earlier--the first week or so of July. At one point it closed U.S. 60, the road we took from Show Low all the way to Globe.

    Interestingly, this was one of the few summer trips that we've done in several years where we didn't have to make changes to our plans due to forest fires. Although there were scores of forest fires in Arizona this past summer, none of them were as massive as fires we had in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

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    Our last stop on this 3,000+ mile trip was at that Speedway gas station in Globe. I asked the same young fireman if he would be kind enough to take a photo of our little group. He gladly obliged and here we are. Knowing we'd be waving our goodbyes as we rode into Tucson and each turned off towards our own homes, there were hugs and thank you's all around. :):heart:

    From left to right: Patrick, Roseanne (Ms. Prius), Steve, me, and Russell. Ron was in Albuquerque with his parents and Chas & Kelly got home yesterday.

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    We arrived home safe and sound and it wasn't even noon yet. Ellie was excited to see us as was our wonderful dog sitter, Marilyn. For me, it's always bittersweet pulling into the garage. At times I feel like I could live on the road--staying in hotels and not camping, that is. ;):joy: But it's also good to be back in one's own bed and back to daily routines. It was a bit of a rude awakening, however, to realize that I actually had to go back to WORK the next morning! :scream::joy::joy::joy:

    I hope that those of you who have traveled with us vicariously have enjoyed the ride. :) Thanks for sticking with me :heart::heart::heart: and I apologize for the snails pace of this report.

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  19. Dawsy

    Dawsy Cumbrian half-wit
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    Don't worry about taking time to post the write ups @Sandi T they are well worth waiting for! It's like the old days when you had to wait a week for the next episode of your favourite show :grinning:
     
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  20. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
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    Sandi, that was an epic trip and an epic write-up - and there's no need whatsoever to apologise. We all have life to deal with.

    A question, though... as a lasting memory, and if you HAD to choose one or the other... was it Sturgis or the road trip itself?
     
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