Updated: Feb 15
A story from the Archives - 2017
Steve, our geriatric artisanal friend, thought it a good idea that the group of us heading south to Choppertown and El Diablo meet in Morrison, CO at the unreasonable time of 7am. But, like I said, Steve is old so we cut him some slack and went along with it. We do that sometimes for the elderly, we go along with things just to make them happy. Truth be told though, we were all happy. Though the temperatures were just barely peaking over 30 with no sign of it warming up anytime soon, we were all thrilled to be on the road and finding our way, first, to Arizona.
The air was thick with anticipation as the group gathered, 4 of us in total, and finished topping off our tanks and jaw jacking about what we hoped to see and do. For all of us this was a much needed adventure, and each for there own reasons. Weather it be work stress, stress from everyday life or simply that it had been to long since being on the road, we all viewed this trip as therapeutic and as far as I know, it was a success in that regards. Not a short trip this would be, but a rather sizeable one in fact. 4,000 miles of some of the finest roads this country has to offer as well as an excursion into Mexico was just what the soul was begging for.
Off we went, everything we needed strapped to out motorcycles in a fashion that worked and no more. 5th and 6th gear always seem to find themselves on mornings like this. The curves yearn to be carved and the skies had never been so blue. Nothing would hold us back. Not the cold nor the wind nor the bumps in the road could damper our moods. This, we told ourselves, would be the adventure of the year. This would set the tone for the riding season. We set our sites for the Million Dollar Highway, the quintessential Colorado mountain road that perilously weaves its way from Ouray, CO to Durango. Edges so sharp they are literally undercut, don't miss that curve, I told myself. No recovering from a mistake like that. Rocks, fallen from the walls towering above litter the road, weave, dip and swerve your way through. Don't hit a rock, I told myself. The road climbs and climbs and climbs, well into the high country where snow stands proud along the white line. A hallway to the heavens it seems. This is Gods country I told myself. If you can't find yourself here, you are truly lost. Down the back side, up and over another pass and down again, a rollercoaster of awesome with Durango being the prize, everyone wins in this game. Durango, back to red rocks and desert. Durango was our first destination, and no complaints were heard about that. A stop to visit our friends Megan and Bill at Animas Tattoo was a great way to start our visit. One of the best parts of these trips is being able to visit people you hardly ever get to see, there are so many of them. Sadly though, our visit was brief as we all had things to do.
Day 2. Destination, Payson, AZ. I've grown to develop quite the fondness for Arizona. Not sure why exactly, but my opinion of it has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. I suppose that for a long time I pigeon holed it as a baron, desert that never dipped below a blistering100 degrees. I couldn't be more wrong, it's nice to be wrong sometimes. I mean, It isn't as if I had never been to the mountains of Arizona, its not like I didn't already know all this, but for some reason I refused to see it. Until now. Arizona is spectacular. In addition to its incredibly diverse landscape, incredible roads such as Highway 191 (AKA Route 666), and the majority of my family being there, it is also home to the Choppertown Camparound.
For the past 8 years Long John and Pinky of Payson, AZ have hosted this wonderful event for all of us chopper tramps to partake in. A perfectly simple camp out that stands as a reminder of what this all about. What this "scene" should be. Family, friendship, camaraderie and of course, our love of choppers. A no frills, as-it-should be chopper party in the forest just outside of Payson. If you missed it this year, don't make the same mistake next year. Bring your tent, bring your chopper and leave your attitude at home.
Kayla and Louise had gotten a late start from Colorado which meant it was time to double back east and meet them at our agreed upon destination of Silver City, NM. This was a perfect destination as it gave us the opportunity to ride the famous Route 666 I mentioned earlier. The only down side to riding the beloved Route 666 is finding enough flattering words to describe it. All the obvious ones of course, like curvy, scenic and other overused and boring accolades just don't do it justice. I'm talking about 100 miles of pure motoring bliss. Curves so tight they make certain body parts pucker, sweepers that seem to pull the bike through effortlessly, Pine trees, red rock, rivers, vast overlooks and narrow canyons. Hell, there's even one of the worlds largest copper mines at the end of it. 100 miles of curves and 100 reasons to ride it. Route 666, hellishly good.
Though we would have loved to have ridden this road a dozen times in a row, we also loved the idea of meeting up with Kayla, Louise, a warm meal and a hot shower. So off we went, over the hills and through the rain to Silver City, NM where we would join the remainder of our group that would then find its way to San Felipe, Baja for the popular El Diablo Run.