Having a gut full of this virus, lockdown and quite honestly peoples reaction to it, I did me some riding last weekend.
Man, its perfect riding weather this time of year. Good enough for a leather jacket in the morning some leathers to get over the mountains, and then long sleeves in the afternoon without sweating your ass off. Perfect. I loaded up the bike in the morning and headed east. My bike was purring and it just felt good to get out on the road.
Most of where I rode was through the Apache Indian reservation. Historically, the apaches weren’t your mud farmer, hunter gatherers of the indian nation. They’d keep the peace if it was warranted, but they fuck your day up if it wasn’t. I’ve been reading up on Cochise and Geronimo, and they demanded respect by any cultures measure. This part of the country was invaded by Spain, then Mexico, then the westward expansion. The Apaches were on the front lines of all of that. Part of this ride was that I wanted to get a sense of all that History.
Due to covid 19, much of the Tribe had all the side roads blocked off as I went through the reservation. They run things their own way, so I couldn’t get off and explore so I stayed on the state Highways.
Heading down through Fort Thomas, I found an interesting, almost old forgotten memorial. It was to a guy named Melvin Jones, who was born in Fort Thomas, and later went on to making the Lions club an international organization in 1917. When I was younger, the lions club was everywhere. Our family reunions were held for years on Fathers Day at a Lions Club Lodge in Utah (they still are). Membership has waned over the years, but clubs like the Lions were a woven into the community fabric all across America.
Anyway, I thought it was interesting. Out in the middle of nowhere.
I headed into Safford, and then up a new road into fort Grant. Lots of history up there as well. The old fort is situated on a prison now, and was the site of one of the largest massacres in the US in 1871.
The ride up through fort Grant and into Wilcox AZ was fairly killer. The roads were empty, and it was one of those roads where you just get lost in the moment; my music sounded good and my bike was purring. I was enjoying the hell out of it.
Just past Fort Grant I found this old Historic Store:
If you live in Arizona, it’s pretty much required to see Tombstone. At least, it should be. You may have seen it. The very end of the movie ends with Johnny Ringo getting shot by Doc Holliday. I’ve been to tombstone several times, but I’ve never found Johnny Ringos grave. With a little encouragement from Mike F who’s been a long time follower of this blog, I took the dirt road out to see it.
There’s some speculation on whether doc Holliday really killed Johnny Ringo. He was found propped up at this spot a day later, with one bullet missing in his gun, and a bullet wound in his temple. It was officially ruled a suicide, but several people have claimed to have killed him. I like the Holliday story myself, but it probably was by his own hand. Either way, Here’s the place.
I landed in a placed called Double Adobe. This part of Arizona, people are pretty friendly. They love their guns, and their Independence. Exactly what you’d expect from Arizona — Ranches and farms everywhere, and you can see Mexico from here. There are Trump flags and stickers everywhere. I felt right at home.
I woke up, broke down my tent and watched the sun come up. It was pretty cold, but the temp climbed fast as the sun rose. I headed east toward the border town of Douglas, and then on to New Mexico and then north west to home.
I jacked up my camera phone dropping it off my bike on my last ride. I took a DSLR camera with me to get some pics, and I took a bunch: Some bitchen old buildings and signs in Douglas, Some old Adobe homes in New Mexico, and the spot where Geronimo surrendered to the US in 1886, ending the US and Indian Wars. Yeah, good pics, but I somehow managed to fuck them up on that DSLR. I think rattling around in my saddlebag changed a setting, or I fat-fingered something when I took my first picture of the day. Everything came out white. Oh well. Next time.
On my way home, I found a playlist on my phone: The 100 best classic country songs of all time. My dad woulda loved this shit, and I gotta admit I enjoyed it on this ride. Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, some George Jones…. That song about “momma socking it to the Harper Valley PTA… ” It seemed to fit the country I was in. Kicked a foot up on the freeway pegs, stopped and took some bad pictures, and enjoyed the wind.
A killer ride. That was the last major road in Arizona, checked off my list. I keep thinking I’m done, I always seem to find some new side road I get curious about, so I’m sure I’ll end up going back.
It was a helluva good ride.
2 states, 2 days, 670 miles