We departed Gallup in the early morning with temps hovering in the mid-40’s. The sun was shining brightly as we headed out from El Rancho Hotel. The HD heated seats on toast and heated grips on setting 2 and we were good to go. The on board Sat Navigation was set on scenic for todays ride and it delivered in abundance. It chose Highway 191 all the way through the bottom half of Arizona to Tombstone. Little did we know that would lead us through 200 plus miles of extreme mountain switchbacks. I’m thinking most people do not think of a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic as a proper two up switchback type of motorcycle but they would be sadly mistaken. Obviously a 850 pound touring motorcycle two up with two weeks worth of clothing and such in the saddlebags demands respect but ridden properly it was the perfect motorcycle. All day long we kept expecting the mountains to slide down into the deserts but alas it just kept being ultra tight and twisty with many sections marked with signs that warned “10 MIle Per Hour for next 8 Miles”! It was nervona for us both. Colette is an excellent motorcycle rider and that must contribute greatly to her abilities as a passenger because only rarely was I aware of the weight of a passenger. That does not mean I forgot she was there. The Scala Rider Q3 teamset was very active as we discussed our situation. In short, this was the best day I have ever spent on a motorcycle. That is a big statement considering that I am well over a million miles of two wheel adventures.
When we arrived in Tombstone it was o dark thirty and the original mining town was hopping with Saturday night action. The two or three Saloons had live bands full of cowboys and cowgirls. We of course, looked mildly out of place in our Firstgrear Kilimanjaro’s and riding gear but thats what a steel horse cowboy wears so we were good.
Along the road to Tombstone we came across the largest copper mine in the world. It was 10’s of thousands of acres with deep man made craters. When you stood at the abyss and looked downward the semi trucks hauling material were about a half an inch long. Truly amazing. As soon as we moved South of the mining area into the small town there was a hot dog stand. Perfect! It was now 3pm and we had ridden through lunch so a quality dog was in order. We were approached by the local reporter from the tiny newspaper. Walter Mares is the Managing Editor of The Copper Era Newspaper in Clifton, Arizona. Walter is a lifelong career newspaper editor/reporter who looked, walked and talked the part. Authentic with street cred to say the least. Walt was mildly curious of our journey across America via Harley-Davidson and took a couple of pics as we consumed the steak dog. Well…it was only a hotdog but with our hunger meters at the rev limiter that’s what it tasted like!
As I write this from the backporch of our original Tombstone hotel, The Sagebrush Inn, we have just returned from a quiet walk through the dirt road downtown to breakfast. The Saturday nite partiers have given way to cowboys, dual sport riders and seniors who are gathering at the few places open for breakfast. Our two glasses of red after dinner did not hamper our morning one bit so I’m feeling just about right. The road is calling. Today we are headed to El Paso, Texas. Our hotel is downtown in that border town that is just across the border fence from Juarez, Mexico. It is only a 350 mile day headed East on I-10. With that in mind we are taking time to repack our luggage. By this time you smell your shirts to find the ones that smell less bad and keep those to wear until we get in early enough for a laundry evening. Life on the road via two wheels is like that.
In Gallup we stayed in the Doris Day room number 108. She stayed there when she was in Gallup filming Western movies. Last night our room in Tombstone was the John Wayne room as he stayed here when he was in Tombstone filming. I see a pattern here.
Till next time…
As compatible as we are, sometime we just need to see eye to eye to work things out! JK The Bell Star is the most comfortable helmet I have ever worn. The Scala Rider Q3 teamset gives us clear rider to passenger communication and we used it alot today talking about the majesty of the mountain roads that we found challenging, entertaining and totally fun on the 2014 CVO Ultra Limited Electra Glide. These helmets are the ones that Motorcycle-Superstore and Bell collaborated on for the professional racer program for their sponsored riders. They are the same as the off the shelf $650 model with the exception of the custom paint for their race program. They are ultra light, extremely quiet and flow more air with the four vents fully open than any helmet ever.
This picture show the type of mountain roads we were treated to all day long. Over 250 miles of switchbacks. The funny thing is we had no idea the White Mountains existed and obviously we were pleasantly surprised to be riding these beautiful roads for the entire day. I highly recommend Highway 191 South from just South of Gallup to Tombstone, Arizona.
This is our original rustic hotel in Tombstone. Our room was the John Wayne room where The Duke slept when he was in town for weeks filming. Pretty sure The Duke would approve of the Harley-Davidson as a means to see the American West!