Lao Tzu once said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step,” In my mind my journey began the moment I committed to joining this six day 2,000 mile ride. A ride that begins in Tucson.
I’m from Southern California and originally thought that I came the farthest. Not a chance. At our meet and greet dinner on Saturday I find out that three riders are from Anchorage, two are from Sonoma, California, and one is from Reno, Nevada. Everyone that is on the Jaz ride was personally invited by the rides creator Joey. I first met Joey three years ago on a ride from Key West, Florida to San Diego, via the US/Mexico border. A total of 3,881 miles, one way. Joey and his friend Chris were on super-fast sport bikes and I doubt that they saw much scenery at those speeds.
I like to point out now that if a lack of money is the reason for not doing a ride/adventure, then you just haven’t wanted to do it bad enough. Plus, it also helps allot if you are blindingly optimistic about life and unhearing of any nay-sayer’s.
Three days into the Jaz ride I find myself sitting at GO Arizona BMW in Scottsdale, Arizona waiting on new tires. ￼The ride started taking it’s toll early on.
Anytime that one runs hard and fast for anything in life, you eventually need to stop and think about maintenance. This maintenance is also good for mind, body and soul.
In my case it was only a motorcycle tire and oil change. For my Reno friend Shelby it was a worn chain that kept getting looser by the mile. For another rider it was a bad battery.
Our (Joey’s AKA Jaz) ride started in Tucson and ended back up in TUCSON or anywhere we wanted to bail or abandon the ride.
If you are interested in recreating this ride/drive then here are the details.
Our Planned Dates: April 2021
Day 1 (330mls) We left Tucson and headed south to kit peak before making our way south to the historic Gadsden Hotel in Douglas, Arizona.
Unfortunately, the observatory roads we planned to see for it’s amazing twisties was closed. We back tracked to the main track before stopping to assist with our first motorcycle accident.
I’ll share with you now how no one gets lost on a 2,000 mile ride. Joey gave everyone a garmin gps chip that we insert into our Garmin gps. The route magically shows up as a blue line. Follow the line and you don’t get lost.
Our ride style is not to ride as a large group or to draw attention to ourselves. Therefore, we are lots of mini groups. Sometimes they are called packs like our group of three Harley riders from Anchorage, Alaska.
Unfortunately for one, a combination of high speed and loose gravel on a recent bad road patch job sent one flying off the bike and sliding across the pavement.
The rest of us upon arriving at that location witnessed Harley carnage and patches of raw meat you could see through holes in his street pants.
Everyone else in the group ride either BMWs, KLM, Ducati, or Honda all ride with street protection clothing and motorcycle boots.
Day 2 (350mls)
Our group spent the first night at the historic Gadsden Hotel in Douglas, Arizona before heading onto the Coronado Trail. This is one of, if not the best roads anywhere as it twists and turns all the way north to our second hotel in Quemado, New Mexico.
The owners of the Gadsden (first night) gave us a personal tour of the prohibition era basement where everything, liquor, prostitution, gambling was available to those with the money and right connections.
The start of the Coronado trail runs through an active copper mine that then enters a forested area before dropping back down from 9,000 feet of elevation.
Quemado, Arizona was not our best lodging choice but, there’s room for improvement in 2022.
Day 3 (360mls) – Our group of twenty left New Mexico and headed to monument valley and then onto Mexican Hat, Utah. At the hotel is where Joey observed and pointed to my rear tire and the rest is now history.
Earlier, a 1290 KLR ridden by Shelby from Reno had a badly worn chain. Roberto stayed with him till the replacement was found. Today he is calling it quits and heading back to Reno.
And since I’m now two states away from the rest of the group after my rear tire and 12k miles service I don’t believe I’ll ever catch up with the group.
So, I now write this story from Mesa, Arizona, after spending the night at an old Army friends house.
Day 4 (350mls)
The rest of the group left Mexican Hat and then some the red road option (just a detour that sees different stuff). Some inquired about whether the ferry back to the main route to Spider Rock, Bryce Canyon was running. That nights lodging was in Panguitch, Utah.
Day 5 (340mls)
The group then leaves Panguitch, Utah and heads south through Kanab and then onto Page through Jacobs lake, then to Winslow for the night.
Day 6 (270mls)
The final night for the group was inn Winslow, Arizona. The road back to Tucson went back south through Theodore Roosevelt lake and a ride through mine country.
When you’re riding and the temperature drops to the high 20’s with hail and freezing rain all around, that’s an adventure. When there are no cars around for hours, and the only thing missing from the scenery are buffaloes, that’s an adventure.
For hours on end, I nearly froze in my motorcycle mesh jacket. But that’s not what makes an adventure. It’s our willingness to keep struggling through, to present ourselves at the doorstep of nature. This then creates the experience that I can call – living in the ‘moment’ of an adventure.
It may be a momentary ‘high’, like my stop to visit a Tucson mission or the center of the world attraction or riding in the pack with the likes of Gil and Ron or Roberto and Shelby; and then Joey passes us up like we’re standing still.
One can easily remember those moments. Those type of moments, like the one in the picture below, present one with an uncommon experiences that give life an eternal expectations.
Now that’s an adventure!”
Day 1 Gadsden Hotel
Address: 1046 G Ave, Douglas, AZ 85607
Phone: (520) 364-4481
Day 2 Largo Cafe & Motel
Address: US-60, Quemado, NM 87829
Phone: (575) 773-4262
Day 3 San Juan Inn
Address: US 163 & San Juan River, Mexican Hat, UT 84531
Phone: (800) 447-2022
Day 4 BryceWay Motel
Address: 429 N Main St, Panguitch, UT 84759
Phone: (435) 676-2400
Day 5 La Posada
Address: 303 E 2nd St, Winslow, AZ 86047
Phone: (928) 289-4366