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Spring motorcycle ride to Bisbee

Spring fever caught up with me, along with a brutal 20+day run of straight work and I had to get out of town! So I convinced Jonathan to saddle up his retro Royal Enfield and go with me to Bisbee for a little R-n-R. A great run with my little NX250 after having the top-end totally rebuilt (bought it last April, and it ended up having burnt valves). It's humming like a Honda should now.

I added a Pelican-Storm case on the rear rack, and Wolfman's Enduro tank bag and a new Expedition Duffel - holds everything I need for several days out, and still room for a small tent if I'm camping.

We live in the western foothills of the Sierrita Mountains, southwest of Tucson (many ADVRiders in the Tucson group ride right by our house on the back way to Gadsden Coffee in Arivaca) and we headed east on Ajo Way around 9:30 am, after a little delay since this dumbo left her headlight on while loading up and, um, the battery died, necessitating an offload of gear and jump start from my Land Cruiser. Oops.

First stop, the beautiful old San Xavier Mission, south of Tucson; it's being restored, and is such a lovely sight in the desert.

I had to add this little fuzzy tool roll. I'm a sucker for all things spotted (as in cats, big ones).

On the road - finally! I was sitting a little too far forward and later had to repack the duffel a little flatter and taller so I could sit back a couple more inches; I love having something soft to lean back on every once in a while.

Boot Hill Graveyard, Tombstone; another obligatory stop. The guys at the Royal Enfield factory in India are going to love this shot!

Arrived at the Copper Queen in time for a brew (a poser shot for Overland Journal), then a stroll around town. Copper Queen is getting way too expensive, though - more than the Arizona Inn (!) and much more than most cool historic hotels. We'll be looking for another one in the region, for when we don't feel like camping.

Bisbee is full of great junk and antique shops, a great coffee shop, and now several breweries - a new one is opening up next week, and should be fantastic, with a tasting room. Had we not been on bikes I fear Jonathan would have bought this hideous stuffed cobra-mongoose tableau:

Finally got to visit Optimo Hatworks - handmade panamas and fur felt - they are exquisite, and made in Bisbee, by a true milliner. A panama is in my future this year, for sure (my old one, from Ecuador - but not nearly as nice as these! - finally bit the dust).

Ye olde workers' bathroom door, Bisbee style:

Might try this place next time, the Shady Dell, a motor hotel whose "rooms" are vintage trailers like Airstreams. Totally cool.

Next morning we headed back west, this time along the Mexico border, crossing the San Pedro River and then climbing up into the southern end of the Huachuca Mountains to Montezuma Pass.

At the top of the pass, overlooking the Sierra Madre in Mexico (far left), and the Patagonia, Baboquivari, and Santa Rita Mts in the US.

The road was hard-packed and damp, with lots of big ruts. Slow going.

Had lunch in Patagonia - met some Canadians on BMWs heading to Baja (wanted to just follow them out of the country!) - and then started home via Arivaca Road, but rather than more pavement, I suggested we head home via a ranch road that skirts the southern end of the Sierritas - beautiful historic ranch country. Stopped at San Juan Ranch, where there is a huge old mesquite corral. The adobe ranch house is slowly crumbling. Bullets and graffiti hasten the process.

A few more miles in we stopped and talked with the Border Patrol guy who was manning this high-tech surveillance unit - no wonder we have had fewer migrants and drogeros in our neck of the woods (this thing is parked about 5 miles south of our home).

Made it home by 6 pm. A little over 300 miles and a great, relaxing ride.


  1. beside the bisbee coffee shop there is another roaster in the town. the old bisbee coffee roasters. they sell via their internet website. (and occasionally will sell in a little offshoot alley on the street). my son and i are hooked on their offerings which change with the seasons depending on where the beans are grown. consistently good coffees.

  2. Thanks for the tip, we had heard of Old Bisbee Coffee Roasters. Would be great to sample!

  3. Stop in any time! We can talk bikes while you enjoy an espresso (I have a Valkyrie and one of my crew, she rides a Shadow). We're in Peddlers Alley on Main Street on weekends, and roasting coffee in the beige building just as you pull off of the highway Monday through Friday.


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