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So, Satan's our mascot?
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The touring bug infected my brother and me after an amazing experience riding up the PCH over Spring Break. My brother heard of a mountain pass in Arizona that was a half day’s drive away which was supposed to rival any twisties we’ve ever seen. We concocted a half-baked plan (as is our want) to spend Memorial Day in the pines on our bikes. Somehow, we convinced the ladies in our lives to join us, though they would be travelling via my 'lil GTI which we hoped would entertain them enough with its speed and handling while we had the real fun on the bikes. The weapons of choice were the 9er for me given it was the only choice (Savages DO NOT count as an option) and the Goldwing for mi hermano as he was hoping to get in some two-up along the way.

Arizona is an amazing state and it’s easy to lose sight of this fact if you spend all of your time in the Phoenix or Tucson metro areas. Our landscape changed from suburban farm lands to gorgeous deserts to grassy plains on to the pines of Alpine within a matter of a few hours. On the way home, we felt it all the more going from temperatures in the 50s-60s with scattered thunderstorms and hail to 95 degrees and clear within a span of 5 hours. Towns both small and smaller dotted our route, many of them full of old west history, a lot of them fighting off a seemingly certain death. I love stopping in these small Arizona towns and driving around some – a good portion along our route are former mining towns struggling for an industry after the mining has stopped. The people are friendly and the towns seem tranquil in their beautiful dilapidation.

We got off to an early start Saturday morning as we needed to get to our campground up in Alpine by 1:00. It had been raining in the valley off and on for the previous two days and we expected some rainfall on the way. Rainfall is a special event here in Phoenix - especially when the preceding rain is a distant memory. People will stop what they’re doing to stare at the drops for a while or go outside to experience it firsthand. Even with its wellbeing reducing connotations, I have to admit, I was looking forward to experiencing some. As we climbed toward Payson, we started getting a light shower and pulled over under an overpass to put on a bit of rain gear. Clouds were hovering over the desert mountains and if you’ve never experienced it, believe me when I say rain clouds over a desert landscape full of cacti is something special. We were then treated to what I assume is an event called ‘fog’ or as we would call it, driving through a low cloud. I watched my brother disappear into it (he was perhaps 30 yards ahead of me) and the missus watched me disappear in kind. The experience was so novel that concerns for safety took a definite backseat to soaking it all in. Thankfully, I kept enough of my wits about me to see the Ford Excursion in my mirrors that was intent on killing me (who jams on the gas with poor visibility on a mountain road)?

We made it through Payson and Show Low and enjoyed spectacular temperatures (65-70) the whole way through. Though we were pushing our 1:00 deadline, it was decided that eating at the Los Dos Molinos in Springerville was worth the risk of losing our campsite. Our worry was for naught, we arrived at our campground in Alpine AZ with plenty of time to spare. There is about a mile of well packed dirt road leading up to the Luna Lake Campgrounds – wasn’t too much of a stretch for the bikes.

The next morning, we were off to do the Devil’s Highway loop which would take us East into New Mexico for a few miles then back into Arizona. The road was empty for almost all of the 200 some odd miles, though we did see a few groups of motorcyclists who are in the know. On the way down south, we stopped in Mogollan NM which is a mining ghost town with a few custodian residents. It’s a 9 mile trek off the highway and the last 5 miles are comprised of one-lane multi switch backed swathe of road. Ate some lunch and continued on south and back into our home state.

The southern tip of the route is enigmatic Clifton – a town with roughly 2,500 people and a snowball’s chance in hell. Clifton sits in a mined canyon and when entering the town form the south, one can view the entirety of the place from the precipice. Rain started coming down hard and we were forced to seek shelter at a Circle K in town. A couple of riders joined us – they were staying in Alpine as well and were inadvertently shadowing us. One was on a 1970 Norton Commander and the other on a 05 Triumph Thruxton – fellow naked riders! You meet the nicest people on a Honda.

The rain let up enough to allow us to move on to New Morenci (Old Morenci is now the site of a large gaping hole, New Morenci supports the making of said hole). A strip mall had covered parking and an open eatery where we buckled down to wait out the remnants of the rain storm in comfort.

And then the true reason for our trip was upon us:

90

miles

of

twisties

The Devils’ Highway itself, stretching from Clifton to Alpine and full of roughly 1k curves according to someone guesstimate. The road was still a bit wet at the onset and we were taking it easy…but once things dried out we were treated to one of the most exhausting and amazing stretches of pavement beyond our wildest expectations – an abandoned highway in relatively good repair with oak and pine trees filling in the scenery stretching on for miles and miles and miles and miles. There are no barriers and few places to pull off along the way making for a mental and physical test – you vs. the Devil’s devious concoction of asphalt. I was constantly aware of the fact that if I misjudged a turn and went off the road, I would likely find myself sliding down a mountain dodging trees. Hopefully someone would see the skid marks and know where to begin the search. We pushed it hard and had one close call on a curve with a decreasing radius and a patch of gravel, but no incidents. By the end of the run, I can honestly say I improved as a rider and lengthened my own limits, though I’m sure I’ve yet to find the bike’s (I had about the same speed in the curves as my more experienced brother on the Goldwing, but dusted him on the entry and exit speeds, no surprise). The road eventually straightens out close to Alpine and we were reminded that we could ill afford a loss of awareness; a gaggle of motorcyclists and highway patrolmen on the side of the marked the spot a rider hit a deer. It was not lost on us that it was at what one would expect to be the safest part of the road.
 

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Stare into me...
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1,926 Posts
Nice write up....I will investigate when I am out there this Fall.

Ya gotta post up pics bro.........
 

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919>food>beer
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1,151 Posts
hmmm, thanks for pointing out that road! I definatly found a nice summer trip, its about a 3 hour trip to clifton from tucson... I may have to make a long weekend of it!
 

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919>food>beer
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1,151 Posts
i found a 3 hour long road here also... but the fookin thing has curves like calista flockhart.... :glare:
what you took a trip from Miami to orlando? :cower:

serisouly though, I had found some wicked twisty roads when I lived in orlando. Alright, maybe not wicked, but there were curves and decent corners! :drool:
 

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Premium Member
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12,874 Posts
what you took a trip from Miami to orlando? :cower:

serisouly though, I had found some wicked twisty roads when I lived in orlando. Alright, maybe not wicked, but there were curves and decent corners! :drool:
really??

tell me where... thats only a 2~ hour ride and thats moderately behaving myself... i could stand to hear a foot peg scrape the ground...
 

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919>food>beer
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1,151 Posts
not sure if its worth the 2 hour trip one way, I'll see if I can find the roads on google, I don't know their name, remember how to get to em from my apt.
 

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Premium Member
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12,874 Posts
not sure if its worth the 2 hour trip one way, I'll see if I can find the roads on google, I don't know their name, remember how to get to em from my apt.
lol... maybe i can get tk919 to take a day off from his new job so's we can take a ride... maybe nesty will get off his death bed (flu)....(the non-swine variety)... or jeffspeak will show up again....
 

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919>food>beer
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1,151 Posts
check out the hartzing rd there, and avalon is pretty good, Found out about these guys on a group ride w/ floridasportbikers. friendly bunch and a whole pile of em in orlando, we rode about 25 deep...

Alright enough of the thread jacking, so how was the camp site in alpine?
 

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So, Satan's our mascot?
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1,345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for posting pics, Jeef - really is worth the trip, I don't think you'll be dissapointed with the ride.
 

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So, Satan's our mascot?
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1,345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Soo, what's a guy got to do to get an extraordinary ride medal around here?
 
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