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A Tale of Two Riders: Riding the Devil's Highway


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This is the start of a ride tale that has not yet happened, but will in just a few hours. My co-author doesn't know that he's writing this too, yet, but if you've gotten this far, Tom, now you know. So I'll get this rolling, and leave it to Tom to jump in. Let's see how this goes.


A few months ago, my riding buddy, Tom (aka azkaisr), and I were talking about taking a trip to the Devil's Highway. Some of you know of this road. It's officially labeled US 191 in eastern Arizona, running from Clifton/Morenci in the south to Springerville in the north. Originally it was labeled US 666, but many of the state's residents didn't like the Satanic connotation associated with that number, and the state graciously decided to change it. I didn't like that they changed the number, but, fortunately, they didn't changed the road. 121 miles of twisting, turning, undulating, pine tree lined, sheer drop-off, narrow, sweeping, technical roadway at the far eastern edge of Arizona. Elevation climbs to over 9,000 feet, so winter is out; too much snow. Summer is a good time, but it's too damn hot getting there and back. Spring and Fall are best, and time was running out for Spring.


But back to the story. Last week I spoke to Tom, and suggested we run the Devil's Highway during Memorial Day Weekend. We can leave early Saturday, and get home late in the day on Saturday, leaving the rest of the weekend free for, whatever. Tom didn't hesitate, and gave me his usual verbose reply, "IN!!"


The plan was set. The date was set. Now we needed to figure out the route. We thought about a few alternatives, but finally settled on the shortest route. We'd meet in the east valley at 6:00 am. Ride east on US 60 to Globe, continue east on US 70 to Safford for breakfast, continue on 70 to US 191, north on 191 through Hannagan Meadow to Alpine, turn onto US 180 which would lead us south on the New Mexico side, continue to Mule Creek, west on 78 to 191, west on 70 to Globe, dinner at the El Rey Mexican Restaurant (great food), descend into the Valley of the Sun after sunset (giving us a little cooler ride when we reach the desert), and home by 9:00 pm at the latest, we hope. We both just rode 550 miles from Torrey to Phoenix, so 600 miles should be no problems. We now had a route. Everything was coming together. We'd keep this ride small this time, see how it goes, and maybe plan it again for a larger group in the future.


I did a 12k service and changed the tires on my RT just before Torrey, only 1600 miles ago, so the bike was ready. Last night I cleaned off the surface dirt and some of the Utah bugs. Checked the tank bag to be sure everything was still in it. All that was left was to decide on riding gear. Do I wear the 'Stitch, or do I wear riding pants and a Joe Rocket mesh jacket. It will be 100+ in the valley and the desert, but only the upper 60s in the high country. Both are laid out and ready to go. I'll decide in the morning. A few more hours of work today, an end of the year party from work to go to tonight, a few hours of sleep, and then it's off to confront the devil on his own road. 17 hours to departure.


OK, Tom, it's your turn. smile.gif

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Tom, if you put off breakfast until Clifton, there is a great resturant in Clifton called "PJ's". It is on the left just as you enter Clifton prior to crossing the RR tracks. It is the place where they sell coffee by the hour. FYI,



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Dennis Andress

Oooohhhh..... I know that road..... 121 miles of footpeg to footpeg curves. Ya'll ride good!

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"I lit out from reno, I was trailed by twenty hounds

Didn't get to sleep last night till the morning came around.


Set out runnin but I take my time

A friend of the devil is a friend of mine

If I get home before daylight, I just might get some sleep tonight....."-Grateful Dead "Friend of the Devil



Ok so we lit out from Mesa instead of Reno and other then RussL and a couple of other fellas from Southwest Sport Touring, there were no Hounds...but Philly and I rode the Devil's backbone!



It is Memorial Day Weekend and the Leo's were out in force. Still in just over 3 hours we rolled into Clifton AZ for breakfast.



Based on a recommendation by JohnLT, we ate at PJ's cafe



Philly getting out of the Stich and telling me how he was going to drink a whole pot of coffee himself.



Little did he know he had to buy it by the hour.



This town dates bake to the 1800's and the old west as a copper mining town. Some neat old houses here.



I couldn't quite finish my plate



Someone needs to go back to marketing and get a new name



It should not go without mentioning that these little towns have a lot of people who have served and been killed in action serving in the military. Clifton has a memorial in the park and also on the bluff above town. That is what this holiday is all about. I spoke with a local sherriff in a parking lot and they had planned a lot of events this weekend.



Close up of the flags.


After adding some oil to the GS and gassing up we left Clifton and headed up route 191 or the Devil's backbone. This highway used to be called route 666 but was changed. Now Philly mentioned it was because of the satanic conotations but my man in the know Max informed me it was because people kept stealing the signs! Thanks amigo for the clarification.



First stop on the ride up was the mine at Morenci. Philly I think was a little afraid of the edge but I managed to show him that the fence would hold.



3billion+ tons of mountain moved to date!



Trucks don't look all that big till you notice the two full size pick up trucks and the guys (not ants) next to them on the right.


The mule was ready to go!




So from the mine the road climbs up and around for about 75 miles in one of the best rides in the country. The other beauty is that this road is out in the middle of nowhere. In that 75 miles we had to pass a total of 4 cars going the same way we were and we had about 20 cars/moto's coming the other way. Now a few interesting things to note. We saw 2 State Troopers patrolling the road heading South. They were on R1200RTP's. I have never seen troopers out in the middle of AZ on motos. Only in Phoenix. Again Leo was out in force because of the weekend even in remote Eastern AZ. There was a lot of gravel in the corners so you really had to slow for them.



Man it was just amazing to have this great road to ourselves on the busiest driving weekend of the year!





Well we did have company as we climbed up to 9000ft. A very speed oriented Sheriff Deputy was kind enough to escort us about 15 miles up the road. BOOOOOO!





We turned off into a picnic area to just enjoy the view.


From there it was off to ride towards Alpine



I was really hoping for a nice cup of coffee and a place to watch the clouds drift by for a while. We stopped at this lodge but they would not serve drop in customers. Whacked.



This guy kept staring at me



At the top of the dragon we decided to head East and run down New Mexico 180 before heading back to Phoenix.



Our Hero in action



180 in New Mexico is also a killer road with great sweepers. We had a hoot riding it and again not all that much traffic



We gassed up in Glenwood NM and took another small break. There were a lot of motorcyclists there. Mostly guys on Harley doing a 3 day loop around the area. They thought we were more nuts when we said we were riding it in one day.



One of the last places I know of where you pump first and then pay for Gas in America



Que Jaws Music....Da Dum...Da Dum Da Dum.......


I mention Leo was out in force?



Some totally cool flowers. I am at peace enough with my manliness to dig a cool flower. Plus chicks dig the softer side of Pimp Daddy.



Philly Hooning through town



The Mountains of Western NM are beautiful in their own right. So about 20 seconds after this picture I pulled out onto the road and a doe jumped out in front of the green bush about 30 yards up in this picture. I never saw her and she missed my by about 5ft tops. Seriously always look for them varmits!



Did I mention how pretty NM is?


Ok this road is as good as Sweeper Madness in UT and just as empty. Mule Creek Road rocks!



Philly kept giggling into the radio he was having so much fun on it!



Road conditions are perfect to for going a little fast.



So there is really only one way to end an almost perfect day. And that my friends is dinner at El Ray.



Howard and I were yammering on for about 100 miles about what we were going to eat.



They know us there and as usual took great care of us hearty adventurers.



This is what we got to ride back into Phoenix with. Temp outside was a pleasant 90 degrees



The tale of the tape...


Hope you enjoy reading this a fraction as much as I had riding it.


Peace out


Kaisr thumbsup.gif

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Sounds like ya'll had a great ride. Did you cut west on 78 at Mule Creek or did you go all the way to Silver City? I'm going to do that loop again but this time go down 180 rather than looping west through ShoLow. Great pics too.

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We rode 666 aka 191 last weekend as our tour away from the Roadrunner Rally in Heber. We spent one very cold night in Heber as part of Roadrunner, then onto Silver City, NM via 180. Sunday morning we had a great ride from Siver City down Mule Creek Pass to Clifton. The LEOs were hidden and got a 3fer with us between Clifton and Morenci. Luckily no sign of them on 191. Our run was cold, temps in the 40's at the top. Still some gravel on the corners if they're marked under 25 mph, if the speeds were marked higher than 25 no problems.

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Dang Man...

looks like i'll need to add that rode 666 to my list of must do's...

lets see a super long weeked from DFW... its doable

great job

thnaks for sharing.

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Did I mention that I hate Florida?? Well not really, but I’m so jealous of you guys out west…..and Tom, yes “The Presence” is out there and I was part of it…here’s sunrise in Florida while I’m at *sigh* work… Sunriseatwork.jpg

You guys get great scenes, I get Interstate construction...no fair..

Enjoy your holiday weekend and ride for me !!!!

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We are back.....this is the teaser for tomorrow morning's tale. It rocked!


Kaisr thumbsup.gif



NOT AMUSED!! electra_glide_in_blue_lge.jpg

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Well done!


I like that helmet better too.....what happen to the yellow motoX pants???


Philly wouldn't ride with ya in them??????



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Uh, that speed indication was due to a satellite glitch. We never went over the speed limit. Honest. Everyone around here knows that I lead the "slow" ride, not the fast ride. No time to give my report just yet, but I will very soon.

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Everyone around here knows that I lead the "slow" ride, not the fast ride.


Yep, those roads just begged to be shredded at a snails pace. grin.gif

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I found that same satellite anomaly when riding with you as well. Strange it only happens when Howard is around. Maybe I’ll contact Garmin and see if there is a Howard patch available yet.



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I love everything about H191...except the deer. As mentioned in a previous post, we used to eat at the El Rey on our way from vacationing at Hawley Lake when I was a kid, some XX <-- redacted years ago.


On another note, my parents are selling their house in Pinetop (Sadly) and are moving to Scottsdale. So next time I blow into town "The Ride is on!" Even if it is just an evening ride around Lake Roosevelt.


Oh and one more thought about restaurant's. If any of you intrepid riders find yourself in Pinetop AZ be sure to check out Kabuki's Japanese restaurant. The owners, Jille and Barbara are good friends of my family. The restaurant was recently listed in a gourmet dining magazine as one of the finest in Arizona. Great food, great atmosphere, great people. Also of note, the Greer Lodge at the end of AZ H373, The Road to No Where.


Cheers! wave.gif

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How do you think to stop to take pictures? eek.gif


While in and around Torrey I would say to myself that looks like a great picture... ohh look how the road turns up there... I just kept going.


I have no view photos at all. dopeslap.gif

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Well done!


I like that helmet better too.....what happen to the yellow motoX pants???


Philly wouldn't ride with ya in them??????




It was a Holiday weekend and I didn't want to get mobbed by the ladies so the yellow riding pants did not come out. As to the helmet, I am still going to get a better flip up one soon. This one just touches my chin which isn't bad for a few miles but 620 is too much. The Torrey Helmet is really just going to be for when I go off roading as it isn't that great for touring.

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regarding the picture captioned The Mountains of Western NM are beautiful in their own right.


Wow. That's beautiful country right there ... thumbsup.gif Thanks for bringing us along!



Chris (aka Tender Vittles )

Little '77 KZ400 in the Big Apple

Black '99 RT for Everywhere Else, such as ...


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