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AZ route planning: mid-February


jmseattle

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I am tentatively planning a fly-and-ride getaway from the gray PNW for Feb 9-16 and was thinking of central/southern AZ as a destination likely to be more conducive to sunny (or at least sunnier) riding. With a day of travel on either end, I figure 5-5.5 days in the saddle. Will be two-up with my SO/navigator so priorities likely will be probability of milder weather, shorter daily distances and somewhat better accommodations than when solo.

 

Outside of a couple of past business trips to Phoenix/Scottsdale when I did a bit of touring regionally in a cage when I had any spare time, I have not spent any real time, and no riding, in AZ or NM. There was a write-up of an AZ winter ride in the Jan. '10 Rider that piqued my interest -- he rented a HD touring rig in Mesa and did a counterclockwise loop northwest thru Wickenburg down 85 - 86 - east to Tombstone, Bisbee and Douglas, north thru San Simon and than back towards Tucson before heading north again through Catalina and Oracle state parks towards Mesa.

 

Any comments/suggestions/routing advice more than welcome for a short tour in that region come mid-Feb would be much appreciated.

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Bisbee is great....

stay at the Inn at Castle rock if you get a chance and have breakfast there. (the old mine shaft is in the dining room.

Also in Bisbee you can stay in vintage mobile homes, one completely done in leopard skin.

In Tucson eat at Brundogs Zydeque.......MMMmmmmmmmm,....good.

Be aware that Arizona has been using camera speed traps in the past.......warning signs announce their presence.

 

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Arizona would be great in Feb. And for sure keep your speed at or very near the posted limit especially when you start entering any city. They drop the speed from 75mph on the open road to 45-50 in the city freeways and they sit right there at the speed drop areas to bust you.

 

Kitt peak, Tuscon, Tombstone, Ghila, Prescot, Flagstaff and Sedona are all really nice although the higher elevations like sedonna my be cold and even snowy, and the others are a bit straight and flat, but all nice riding.

 

I highly recomend riding along the Colorado river. On the Ca. or the Az side are both nice. Hwy 95/Intake Ave. from Blythe to Laughlin on the Ca. is a really nice ride for a few hours the cut across the river and head up to Kingman (might be cold) and loop around thru central Az and down into Tuscon area. It would be a nice ride.

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Flagstaff and Sedona prolly snow.

For sure don't try N.M. as the altitude guarantees snow.

Feb. should see sand hill cranes near Bisbee, if you like sand hill cranes. Also a jail to sleep in at Bisbee, no really.

Both Phoenix and Tucson have great desert museums. Walk thru outdoors. (Karen and I use to live in Eugene,OR and understand the value of "drying out.") Phoenix desert museum did have Chihuly's glass intergrated into desert settings. Have a great ride.

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Winter Ride Tale Pt 1

 

Pt II

 

Pt III

 

Pt IV

 

Pt V

 

This is a bit old, but may help.

 

Stay away from Hwy 191 south of Alpine to Clifford - too high for that time of year. North Rim Grand Canyon as well.

 

Great riding around Sedona and Jerome. Chiricahua is worth a look. In Tucson: Sabino Canyon, Saguaro NP East, Mission San Xavier del Bac and the Gates Pass area are all worthy. Edit: Worthy destinations, as for riding, maybe Gates Pass and Saguaro East for short and curvy.

 

The area around Ajo and Organ Pipe doesn't have any nice accommodations that I am aware of. Consider staying at Loews Ventana in Tucson. We got it at bargain rates on Priceline Name your own price feature by choosing "resort" and that subarea.

 

I think Death Valley and So. Cal are both worth including.

 

 

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Thanks all for the excellent suggestions and advice. Will be finalizing the general route planning in the coming days.

 

Twisties -- the Ride Tale was great reading, had done a forum search earlier re AZ riding but had not seen that; my search terms may have been too restrictive. The Santa Ana winds story brought back memories. I lived in SoCal for a couple of years back in the early 80s and remember riding (in SoCal) in those conditions (although minus the flat tire in the desert experience...).

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