I've been itching for a longer ride as the weather has warmed a bit. This past Sunday I rolled up 340 miles to Patagonia and back, a distance the big ST makes happen with ease.
No, I didn't wander to Patagonia in Argentina this weekend -- it's Patagonia, Arizona, a charming little town in southern Arizona about an hour from Tucson. If you think all of Arizona is rocks, cactus, and rattlesnakes you'd be very wrong. The terrain of the state varies a good bit and Patagonia is in a lovely, rolling hill area at about 4,000 feet. It's not really lush and green there but it's very nice and definitely not the stereotypical idea of what Arizona is like.
I determined that the weather this weekend would be ideal for riding. Sadly, Saturday was lost to getting the 4,000 mile service done on the Honda and my 2005 taxes fettled by the tax accountant. I did manage to squeeze in a visit to a motorcycle dealership (Harley) while I was were up in the big city area. It was demo ride day. No, I wasn't planning on buying a Harley (been there, done that 20 years ago) but far be if from me to turn down an offer of a test ride. I putted down the road a bit on a new Road Glide and it rode just as I remembered Harley's riding. Not bad, just not what I want anymore.
So Sunday was the day for a ride and I was up and smoothly motoring down the road at the crack of 8:30 and headed southward towards Patagonia. The first stretch leaving our little town is unavoidable freeway. There are other ways to get there that are more interesting than the superslab but I didn't want to spend all day getting to were the good riding started.
Off of Interstate 10 south of Tucson you can pick up Highway 82. Judging by the number of motorcycles we saw on 82 and later 83, it's a popular road for southern Arizona riders. Mostly I saw H-D's on the road. Harley riders are said to often pity those of us riding non-Harleys but I can assure you, from the seat of the ST1300, the view was reciprocal. My thought was that for all the Harley posers out there, there's still a whole bunch of H-D folks who get out and ride. Good on 'em as the Aussies say. (Secret confession: I enjoyed the Road Glide although the brakes and shifting were terrible.)
The roads to and from Patagonia are smooth, curvy, and run up and down the rolling hills. The pavement is smooth and well maintained, the sort of road that urges indiscretions with the throttle. There were more motorcycles than cars on them and I don't think I saw a patrol car all day. I didn't ride terribly fast though, it was too nice a day and the scenery too pleasant to miss it all by blitzing the curves.
Patagonia is a great place, I could even get interested in retiring there. There is a growing art community in Patagonia and some very talented people therein. It would be a great place from an art and motorcycle perspective to spend my golden years while refusing to "go gently into that good night."
Often times artists tend to lean towards the liberal, touchy feely political-social direction. Patagonia seems to be attracting it's share. Picture a an old Volvo with a Kerry For President bumper sticker on the back parked outside an art gallery downtown. In Patagonia though, the other side of the spectrum appears to be proudly represented by the P.I.G.S.:
I settled down to lunch in Patagonia at Santos Mexican Café. There were snazzier looking places in town like the Velvet Elvis Pizza parlor but Mexican food is a favorite in our little house and we thought I'd take a chance on Santos instead of Elvis:
As it turns out, my choice was well rewarded. The tortilla chips were dull and the salsa a bit too zippy for for my tastes but the burria tacos were excellent, amongst the best Mexican food I've had in Arizona.
Other places of interest around town: Church or nightclub, they've got you covered in the same building:
After visiting the art galleries in Patagonia and talking to exceptionally friendly people I motored off towards the towns of Elgin, Huachuca, and Sierra Vista. More wonderful roads and opportunities for photographs which may or may not get turned into watercolor paintings by the Mrs.
In the little town of Huachuca ("wah-choo-ka") there's a old auto junkyard that appears to be long closed. The place is for sale and to my surprise contained not the usual array of dull '70s and '80s Detroit boredom-boxes but all sorts of ecclectic things from a '41 Chrysler to Nash Metroplitans. Everything about the place says that someone very eccentric was the proprieter and was much better at collecting junk cars than selling them.
Peering through the chain link fence into the vast jumble of rusted fenders, car bodies, baskets of 1930's headlamps, vending machines and more, I spotted a motorcycle. I wandered over and there wedged in the tangle of junk was the remains of an early '70s Suzuki T500 Titan (500cc 2 cylinder, 2-stroke engine). "Hey!" exclaimed to myself. "A Titan!" I used to own one of those. Bought it new about 1971.
After the junkyard fun I headed towards home, retracing my route on highway 82 rather than jumping onto the freeway north of So. Along the way we took a few more pictures of the bucolic sort, landscape stuff mostly for future art reference but one of some cows relaxing by a windmill and old water tank. I suppose when you're a cow life isn’t too stressful, at least not until you realize too late that you're not going to ever make it to retirement age. Final photo for today: bossy relaxes and gets more tender in the "ja-cow-zi":