~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Special Place

How far would you go to make your motorcycle riding friends feel welcome in your home?  Stock up on their favorite beverage (or hide yours)?  Push aside the rubble in your garage to park their bike?  Throw a clean sheet over the ol' leaky air mattress so they can sleep in style?  Up in northern Arizona my friends Dean and Pam went a little further than most of us do. 
The veranda on the main house that was a cabin

A few years ago, semi-retired (Pam still works) and with more time and energy than money, Dean and Pam decided to expand the one bedroom cabin on the property they bought at the end of three miles of dirt road.   First the cabin was expanded a little, ok, a lot, to make room for them.  Then large verandas and decks were added so they and their and friends could enjoy the views.  A workshop was needed, and finally they decided to add a garage where their motorcycle friends could park their bikes, and oh yeah, a little bunkhouse style set up so guests could sack out after a long ride.  But being work-alcoholics, or at least highly-motivated, they sort of got carried away.  No fat checks were written to contractors, either, they did the work themselves.

Just a little spot for their motorcycle friends
Rob rides in from SoCal
 One idea followed another and more was added to the place, a private room for couples, then another. I asked Dean what his plan was and he said "I don't make plans anymore, I just do what I feel like doing."  Pam told me they wake up in the morning, one of them has a new idea, then they start building, feeding off of each other's energy and enthusiasm.  My kind of couple.

Dean rides in on his new BMW K1600
The shop got bigger than planned and also got equipped with motorcycle tire changing equipment, a welder, and a full compliment of tools. Dean is one of the original founders of San Jose BMW so you'll note a strong BMW influence on the place.

Pam's exercise room.

An exercise casita was added because building and landscaping the place themselves apparently wasn't enough exercise. 

Yes, they really built it all themselves, two people in their 60s did it because no one told them they couldn't and because life and friendship is about doing, not just talking or watching.  

Only rarely was a contractor brought in, mostly it was just the occasional friend or friends to help with painting or tasks like setting huge beams that were not safe to do alone. 

Community kitchen and living room in the bunkhouse.
Couples get first dibs on the private rooms.
Gromit and I arrived late and shared a hide-a-bed
in the workshop.
 No ramshackle desert dwelling, what has become known as MC B&B is nicely finished and far better than would be expected for something built by two people with no construction experience.

The 3 miles of dirt road to get there is easy in a car,
a little more challenging on a bike.
Having met Dean and Pam on-line via the Motorcyclist Cafe forum several years ago, I finally got around to visiting their place last weekend and meeting them in person with my Corgi pal Gromit.  I finally had to see for myself what hard work, determination, and stubbornness built just for their friends.  I must shamefacedly admit we took the car.  There's no one around the vast 40on2 estate anymore to watch Gromit for me so off we went in the car for the weekend.

Gromit fit right in.
The whole place is "off the grid" and solar powered.  Dean did all that himself too.  After Pam and Dean showed me around the place for the first time all I could say was "I don't know what drugs you guys are on, but I want some!"

Sun tracking solar panels power the place

View from the bunkhouse deck at sunset
The place isn't really a B&B in the normal sense of the word, it's Dean and Pam's private slice of paradise for themselves and their friends.  There is no sign out at the road where the pavement stops, the place is not for rent, it's just a private escape built in the name of friendship by two seemingly ordinary people who are not so ordinary.  I count myself as honored to be their friend.

Friendship matters more than brands.

You can read Dean's six year long "build thread" about the place here.  I'm hoping to head back up there next month, this time on my motorcycle.  Dean promised to let me ride his new BMW K1600 and how can I pass up an opportunity like that?


Anonymous said...

Man. I need better friends.

Roger said...

Awesome, I love reading blogs like this. Just brillant.

Drifter said...


mq01 said...

excellent! great place they have created!!!...

Canajun said...

Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

WooleyBugger said...

What a fine slice of pie they carved out there. I would thouroughly enjoy doing that.

Unknown said...


I've yet to see anything quite so incredible. This is just amazing. It combines my love for building and motorcycle work with intelligent, kind people. This is truly an amazing find for a motorcycle and normal human being.

I just read on another blog about packs of motorcycles blocking off highways and acting like morons. On the complete other end of the spectrum you have this. Amazing.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

mq01 said...

im in awe of the last pic, nighttime and porch lights give such a beauty to the bikes dancing beneath.

Doug Klassen said...

MQ, I wish I could say I planned it but it was just one of those moments where I walked outside for something else and when I turned to go back in saw the scene and said "Wow, I've gotta get my camera!"

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