Featured Rideout Three Days And Two Nights To The Heart Of Arizona

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Sandi T, Apr 28, 2021.

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  1. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #1 Sandi T, Apr 28, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
    Our motorcycle "gang" is back on the road! :cool: This past weekend, seven of us rode from Tucson, Arizona to Prescott, Arizona. This was our first group overnighter on the motorcycles since a subset of us rode to Las Vegas Bike Fest in October of 2019. We debated a little about a route and destination for our first rideout in nearly a year and a half but in the end agreed to ride the beautiful backroads up to Prescott and spend two nights there.

    Edit: I got curious about our high and low elevations on this route. Our low was 1,490 feet in Florence, AZ between Tucson and Phoenix. Our high point was 7,100 feet someplace between Payson and Camp Verde.

    Day #1: Tucson, Arizona to Prescott, Arizona (approximately 275 miles)

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    There were seven of us for the ride up. Four of us were on Harley-Davidsons (all Street Glides but at least in four different colors!), one on a Triumph Rocket III, one of a BMR 1250GS, and one on a Yamaha Tracer GT.
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    Prescott is a beautiful town with a population of about 44,000 and is located 55 miles northeast of being directly in the center-- or "heart"--of Arizona.:heart: We've stayed there before but only as a layover on our way to someplace else (usually to wild times in Las Vegas). ;):) This time we decided we'd park and spend some time there to really get a feel for the town.
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    On the way to Prescott we stopped for lunch in another lovely small-ish town called Payson. Mr. Sandi did a little research and found a great lunch spot called the Buffalo Bar & Grill. It turned out to be a hotspot for bikers and we shared the parking lot with probably about two dozen other bikes. Delicious food and equally delicious perfect skies and temperatures.
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    This joint has it's "namesake" hanging on the wall in the entryway! :p:joy:
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    The ride to Prescott from Payson takes a couple of hours because we take "the road less traveled"--beautiful backroads through the Tonto National Forest and the tiny little towns of Strawberry and Pine. This is one of those routes that make me wish I had a GoPro or drone so I could take video and share the beauty with you all. This area is what's called the Mogollon (mō-gee-on) Rim and it's stunningly beautiful with vast views. And the riding is challenging--very sharp curves and lots of elevation changes. Plus on the ride up it was quite windy. But not NEARLY as windy as the ride home. More on that later.... You can read more about the Mogollon Rim here.

    https://www.azcentral.com/story/new...6/06/21/why-do-we-call-mogollon-rim/86151416/

    The several times we've stayed overnight in Prescott in the past we've always stayed at the Hassayampa Hotel. The Hassayampa is one of ten on the Historic Hotels of Arizona list and was built back in 1927. That doesn't constitute "historic" for many of you in Europe but it certainly is here in Arizona. If you saw my thread about our MC trip to Douglas, AZ and the Gadsden Hotel, that hotel is on this same list. While the Hassayampa is a bit more pricey than some hotels in town, Mr. Sandi and I, along with our buddy, RS, and his wife (who drove up in her car to join us) elected indulge a bit and stay here to celebrate our adventure. Our other four riding buddies stayed down the street a block or so at the St. Michael Hotel, another very nice hotel right on the street known as "Whiskey Row". It worked out great as the two hotels were within easy walking distance of each other. But the boys who stayed there said that it was a "little" loud as the bars were crankin' late into the night and wee hours of the morning. Arizona's Covid restrictions were officially rescinded by our state governor about two or three weeks ago.
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    Our hotel had dedicated patron parking right across the street so it was Mr. Sandi's and my H-D Street Glide and RS's BMW 1250GS.
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    The lobby of the Hassayampa is beautiful and very inviting. Covid protocol is still requested at this point even with the lifting of state-wide restriction. All of the employees wore masks at all times but shared with us that many patrons don't--or won't--follow suit. On the other hand, many that we saw in the lobby were masking up.
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    Our hotel had a wonderful front patio so we found ourselves out there several times during our stay engaged in conversation with our friends over a beer or a nightcap.
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    Continued in my next post
     
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  2. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #2 Sandi T, Apr 28, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
    Day #1 in Prescott: continued

    Prescott is a beautiful and historic (by U.S. standards) town and one that we'd even consider moving to as much as we love Tucson. We especially think about moving someplace "cool" like Prescott when it's 115ºF in Tucson in the summer! ;):joy:

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    It was fun to do a bit of research to see what we might do while we were there. Mr. Sandi discovered that there is a locally owned distillery, Thumb Butte, about six blocks from the Hassayampa so easily within walking distance. While looking for Thumb Butte on Google Maps I saw a very highly rated BBQ joint about a block from the distillery. Our whole group loves BBQ so that made dinner plans for our first night in Prescott a no-brainer. Here we are at Lucy Dee's BBQ. It was AWESOME! One of our friends is a big BBQ aficionado and he said that it was the best he's ever had. :yum:) I'd have to agree. :D We'd all go there again in a heartbeat!
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    After dinner we decided to stroll around Prescott and take our time to see what the evenings had to offer there. The old part of Prescott is built on a square around a courthouse. This was a Saturday night so the Square was hopping.:)
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    Most of us opted for dessert in the form of some locally made ice cream at a place located directly on the Square. The place was decorated with a two-wheel motif in mind and was very cute. And the ice cream was delicious, too. :yum
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    As the night went on the partying grew. We strolled down the street known as Whiskey Row and saw several places like this...
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    This is looking in to The Palace, which is the oldest continuously operated business in the state of Arizona. Of course that honor goes to a bar. ;):joy:
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    I took this photo on the quiet side of the Square. This is the Prescott Courthouse around which the town square is built. It's a beautiful building with beautiful grounds and during the day becomes a magnet for kids, dogs, and people putting out a blanket to have a picnic lunch.
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  3. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #2 in Prescott: miles ridden = 0, miles walked = probably about half a dozen!

    There had been some discussion among our group prior to the trip about doing a day ride on the day in between our rides to and from Prescott. However, in part due to the (old)er composition of our group :blush: couple with a lack of riding mileage fitness thanks to Covid, we elected to keep the bikes parked and continue our exploration of Prescott on foot. There was also a high wind advisory for the mountains around Prescott which sealed the deal since motorcycles and 50 mile-per-hour wind gusts don't mix. :eek: Although windy all day, the skies were clear and the temperatures hovered right around 70ºF so it was a nice day to do some walking. :sun::cool:

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    We started off the day by having breakfast at a great local place called The Apple Pan. There was a guy walking up the street towards us on the Square as we were looking for a cafe and took one look at us and said, "Ya gotta get breakfast at The Apple Pan. It's just up the street a couple of blocks that away". Turns out he was right and that this place is one of the most longstanding and most loved restaurants in Prescott. We got there just in the nick of time to snag the outdoor tables and by the time we left there was a 30 minute wait for a table. We are still not super comfortable eating inside and this place was packed and no one other than employees had on a mask. So we pulled two tables together and had a delicious alfresco morning meal. :yum
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    When Mr. Sandi ran across Thumb Butte Distillery while exploring what there was to do and see in Prescott, he learned that they offered a tour & tasting so we signed our group up for the 12:30PM event. One of our riding buddies had ridden home earlier in the day (and evidently beat the wind according to his ride report) because he had to be back at work the next day. Another wasn't feeling great so opted out of the tour to take a nap. And yet another brought his spouse who had driven up yesterday to join us in non-riding activities. So that left six of us for the tour.

    The tour & tasting was great fun! It was more of a lesson on distilling than an actual "tour" including a bit of history, how the owners had gotten into the business, an explanation of the process and equipment works, and why they chose to make vodka, gin, and a few types of whiskies.
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    After the tour the place basically turned into a bar with live music. We had started feeling a bit more comfortable over the past couple of days being in public spaces where some wore masks and some didn't. All of the people in our riding group have had both Covid vaccinations so that helped a lot. But it still felt rather foreign after not doing things like this for well over a year! That big yellow dog is "Blue" and he had the run of the place. He basically walked from person to person to check for treats and have his head patted and his ears stroked. :heart: All of the artwork on the walls and hanging from the ceiling is the work of local artists. :)
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    Our tasting lineup.... All six of us like the White Flower Gin the best. Mr. Sandi and I also liked the Rodeo Rye.
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    And speaking of rodeos, one of Prescott's claims to fame is that it is home to the World's Oldest Rodeo which began in 1888 and marked the beginning of professional rodeo.

    From the Prescott Frontier Days website:
    https://www.worldsoldestrodeo.com/about-us/our-history

    "July 4, 1888, became the birthday of professional rodeo when a group of Prescott, Arizona, merchants and professional businessmen organized the first formalized "cowboy tournament" and offered cash prizes. A cowboy named Juan Leivas walked off with rodeo's first professional title and was documented in the subsequent edition of the Arizona Journal-Miner. These "Cowboy Contests" continued and were planned, promoted and carried out by a committee of local merchants. From then on, rodeo has grown into a multimillion dollar enterprise with more than 700 professional rodeos in 50 states."

    Evidence of the pride this town has in the rodeo can be seen along the top of this building on the Square. I thought the pickup truck in the foreground was pretty cool, too. ;)
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    And I saw this great old photo of some very talented cowgirls from days past in the window of one of Prescott's numerous antique shops. :D
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    As we strolled around the Square in between our Thumb Butte Distillery tour and today's Happy Hour, it was clear that Prescott is a magnet for motorcycles. And bikes of all kinds. There were a number of Harleys but we also saw other touring bikes like Gold Wings as well as sport bikes. There are particular roads around the Bradshaw Mountains where Prescott sits that are heavenly for those that enjoy riding the twisties and folks from Phoenix are known to ride up to this area specifically to ride some of these well-known routes. Note the H-D bar & shield in the background of the photo. There's a little tee-shirt and souvenir store on Whiskey Row that's connected with the Grand Canyon H-D dealership group. And it's called, what else, Whiskey Row Harley-Davidson. Of course I had to buy one as a souvenir. It's sort of like we say on the forum--"no pictures, didn't happen". "No tee-shirt, didn't ride there". ;):joy:
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    After strolling round the Square during daylight hours, all went our separate ways to relax for a couple of hours prior to dinner. Mr. Sandi and I made our way to the Hassayampa bar, called "The Glass Bar" were we each ordered up a martini--a Stoli vodka with blue cheese olives for him and a Hendrick's gin with a lemon twist for me--then savored them outside on the hotel's front patio.
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    We topped off the evening with dinner at Murphy's, one of Prescott's oldest and finest restaurants. We searched for an appropriate place to have a nice group dinner outdoors but there were none to be found. So, after much discussion (and consternation) we made a group decision that we'd give it a go and eat indoors. It was the first time for any of us to eat a meal at a restaurant indoors since the pandemic began. :p After getting over a little bout of the willies, I have to say I really enjoyed it. :grinning: And I realized how much I've missed it. That said, none of us will feel comfortable dining indoors regularly any time soon. But for tonight, it felt really good to break bread with friends.:heart:
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  4. steve lovatt

    steve lovatt Something else
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    Great pictures and write up once again Sandi. :)
    Love that pick up truck! :cool:

    We're not allowed inside anywhere yet - that comes on the 17th May. (but I have been drinking outside!)
     
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  5. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #5 Sandi T, Apr 28, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
    Day #3: Prescott back home to Tucson via the same route (approximately 275 miles)

    We woke up to cloudy skies and winds that had already begun to howl. There was also the possibility of rain in the forecast for today so last night at dinner we decided be on the road by 8:00am. We might even have left earlier but it was also pretty cold as Prescott's elevation is about 5400 feet.

    We hd also discussed possible alternate routes home including a great one that twists and turns down the Bradshaw Mountains and drops you onto AZ Route 93. "The 93" is near and dear to our riding hearts since it makes up a major portion of our trips up to Las Vegas. :) But in the end we elected to go back the way we came and we all agreed that even when you take the same route in the opposite direction on two wheels, it can seem like a whole new road. :grinning: We also thought the winds might adversely affect us more heading down the mountains to the west than going along the Mogollon Rim to the east the way we'd come. Let's just say the wind affected us A LOT all of the way home and I'm not sure that any route back to Tucson would have been any better. :eek: :( Fortunately, though, the temperatures were mild and we didn't get rained on.

    When I came out of the hotel with my stuff, Mr. Sandi had put his T-Bag rollback and his helmet on our friend's 1250GS which made me laugh. I asked him if he thought of RS's BMW as a closet or countertop. :joy: We already tease RS because he brings everything but the kitchen sink with him on motorcycle trips.
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    Our buddies that stayed at the Hotel St. Michael met up with us in the Hassayampa parking lot. I went back in to finish up a little business ;) and figured that when I came back out the guys would have a plan in place. Not exactly. :scream: And the person who lit out of the parking lot as leader this morning has a bit of a history for not quite knowing exactly where we're going. He's great with the general direction...but a little hazy on the details. :joy: But with some arm waving and hand signaling and talking through helmets at intersections, all wound up just fine. And I'm trying to learn to be a little more relaxed about "The Plan". :rolleyes: Or even having A plan! :joy:
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    Our first stop after leaving Prescott was at a Union 76 gas station coming into Payson--a gas station that had--NO GAS! :mad: Which we only found out AFTER we'd all pulled up to the pumps, turned off our bikes, taken off our helmets, and when Mr. Sandi went inside to see why we couldn't get the pumps to work. When Mr. Sandi came out to tell us the deal, he mentioned that he had suggested ;) that they put a sign out on the road to that effect. I do know what "suggested" means. ;) Anyway, we got back on the bikes and rode a whopping half mile up to the next gas station, a Circle K, which had about four functioning pumps and folks waiting in line. I guess we are quite spoiled by our wonderful, huge QT stations in Tucson!

    One part of the loose plan that did exist thanks to some research by Mr. Sandi was to stop for lunch at a little Mexican restaurant in Payson called Alphonso's which was (supposedly) across the street from Buffalo Bar & Grill about a block further down the road. I say supposedly because we never did see it. :p So we kept on riding through town and to the outskirts where we figured we could at least get a burger and fries (or tater tots--my favorite) at the local Sonic. What happened at the Sonic was even goofier and funnier than the gas station snafu.

    Prior to leaving for this trip, Mr. Sandi did some internet searching for restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that would be good for a group and offer outdoor dining. Choices were slim in both Payson and Prescott but particularly in Payson. On the ride to Payson, we had stopped for gas at the station right next to Sonic but no one wanted to eat lunch there. But after somehow missing Alphonso's, it was pretty much our last resort and everyone was hungry. So Mr. Sandi said to me through our Sena's that Sonic would have to do and (famous last words) "at least it has a patio". Nope to the patio. Or even tables and chairs! We arrived and parked the bikes only to see the yellow Caution tape around the patio and the tables and chairs stacked up in piles unavailable for customer use.
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    The real kicker was that the manager told Mr. Sandi that we couldn't walk up to the drive-through window and order our food but would have to go through on our motorcycles! He said "it's a liability" and when we tried to change his mind he wasn't having it. That about did us all in. :scream::joy: So I went off to use the facilities at the gas station next door and left the boys to figure it out.

    This is what I saw when I came back. :joy: Mr. Sandi was a good sport and did all the ordering and paying from his bike. Our buddy, GH, stood at the ready to take the handoff as the meals came out. Where there's a will there's a way! :grinning:
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    The rest of our ride home was smooth sailing other than that pesky wind which continued to pick up speed all the way home. We arrived home a bit weary from the wind but safe and sound and it was all part of the adventure. And we were thrilled to have had the opportunity and the means and the freedom (and vaccinations) that allowed us once again--thankfully--to be back on the road with friends. :heart:

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  6. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    @steve lovatt
    Thanks, Steve. Many states in the U.S. have lifted all state-mandated restrictions but in general businesses are allowed to make their own decisions related to Covid protocol. Some restaurants are still only doing take-out and some are back to complete business as usual--no masks, no distancing. I'm not ready for that just yet, that's for sure. Prior to our trip I was kept close tabs on Covid numbers (specifically cases per 100,000) for the counties within which Prescott and Payson are located and both had extremely low numbers the day before we left. Gila County (Payson) was 2.7 and Yavapai County (Prescott) was 5.2.

    Yeah, that truck was super cool! I figured there would be forum members that would appreciate that pickup. :)

    P.S. We've been drinking outside regularly! :joy::joy: Thank goodness for wonderful Arizona desert weather.
     
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  7. Dougie D

    Dougie D Crème de la Crème

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    Fantastic write up and great photos @Sandi T why do i always feel hungry after reading your stories? :yum
     
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  8. Kenbro

    Kenbro Noble Member
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    You guys certainly know how to organise a short motorcycle break!
    First picture in the distillery tour, what IS that lady next to you wearing on her head?
    Also, nice to se the old guy with the Sturgis T shirt.
    Excellent writing and pictures yet again, Sand T.
    Ken.
     
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  9. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, Dougie. :) I get hungry after writing my stories! :joy: And I even refrained from posting a bunch of food photos this time around. ;)

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  10. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #10 Sandi T, Apr 28, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
    Thanks, Ken! We do like to make the most of our time. :)

    I thought it was fun to see the guy in the Sturgis T shirt, also. If you're talking about the red things over that woman's head, that's not her hat though looking back at the photo it does look suspiciously like sort sort of head gear! :joy: It's actually some artwork on the wall behind her...a couple of these red flying creatures.

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  11. Dawsy

    Dawsy Cumbrian half-wit
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    Thanks for all your time spent on these great write ups Sandi. They really do lift the spirits! :kissing_heart:
     
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  12. Bikerman

    Bikerman Crème de la Crème
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    Well yet again another brilliant report accompanied by some fantastic pictures.
    However showing us that 70's temperature is just plain torture to read. 9C here at the moment, heatwave on the way by the weekend mind, a high of 10c is predicted y20.gif .
    Glad you all had a fantastic trip. y45.gif
     
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  13. Camperman

    Camperman Senior Member

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    Lovely report on what looks like a great ride out Sandi T. Nice to be able to get out with other riders again. Some great eateries on your trip.
    Ride safe
     
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  14. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    You are most welcome, Dawsy! I'm glad you enjoy my write-ups and that they lift your spirits. I love to hear that. :heart: Makes the time and energy spent putting them together WAY more than worthwhile! :kissing_heart:
     
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  15. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, Bikerman! Glad you enjoyed the ride report. I have to say it's a balmy 70ºF again as I write this. But.....the skies are a wee bit different today. :eek: 70ºF and raining certainly doesn't feel like 70º with sunny blue skies. Not that I'm complaining--we need the rain terribly and any little bit helps.
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    I do think our lovely 70ºF temps are going to be in the rear view mirror very shortly. Check out the weather forecast for us here this coming weekend. And Thursday of next week. :sun: People in Tucson typically place bets on which date our daily high will hit 100ºF. It looks like that may not be far off. :p
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  16. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, Camperman. Yes, it was great to be out--and especially with other riders again. Mr. Sandi and I did several one-night trips between last October and this March which were really fun. But there's nothing quite like a multi-day trip with a group of your favorite riding pals. :):heart:
     
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  17. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    I was going back through some photos from last weekend and thought I'd share this one. This is one of the coolest wine holders (if you're a motorcycle fanatic!) that I've come across. :) We saw it in the window of a shop on the Prescott town square.

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  18. roadrider

    roadrider First Class Member
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    Fantastic write up again.
    Makes all us Brits dead jealous, not just the temperature's but the wide open spaces as well :(
     
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  19. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, road rider. I love the wide open spaces of the American West. :):heart: But get back to me on the temperatures 'round about July. ;) I'm pretty sure you won't be jealous of our Arizona temperatures then. :joy:
     
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  20. Adie P

    Adie P Elite Member

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    If he's not, I will be. ;) I got pretty used to that in Phoenix, though I do admit to a few days where it became very close to unbearable on the bike.
     
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