Much akin to the machismo testosterone-filled practice of polar bear swimming in the Great Lakes, this event involved awesome bikes in below freezing weather. Our 160-mile run took us from Prescott into Wickenberg, through Black Canyon City and Cordes Junction and back home again. And we do it every year.
What were we thinking? It seemed like such a good idea as the clock struck midnight the night before, but that morning the temperature sputtered trying to reach 20 degrees.
Kevin was silently hoping that the gathering spot would be void of people who were strange enough to think that this was anything like a good idea. But we turned the corner and found the gas station filled with bikes and lots of laughing and smiling friends having a good time. It was clear that these people simply loved to ride and no amount of cold weather was going to stop them. We especially loved riding with people who shared our same values; God and service to country. Kevin put on his happy face and made a promise that he would enjoy himself, no matter what the cost in frostbitten body parts.
With full face masks and lots of wool scarves wrapped around our heads and faces, we leathered up and began our putt, praying for warmer weather. The sky was clear and blue and the north facing mountains were dusted with a light snow as we headed out Iron Springs Road.
Leader Mel, on his Ultra Classic, was followed by 14 other bikes and 21 people. There were Standards, Fat Boys, Classics and Road Kings. Paul admitted he rides Jackie whenever possible, otherwise he’s riding his O’Busted Sportster. Bob was on his Road Glide and Neil was riding “The prettiest Dyna Low Rider in Arizona.” You can quote him on that.
One of the best things about a good ride is the experience of the riders. Everyone stayed in formation and nobody hot-dogged any of us into the ditch. From engineers, to psychics, to retired salty dogs with dripping noses, we all wound our way through Kirkland, Yarnell and Congress, and into the warmer lowlands.
Several of the women passengers shot photos during the ride. We stopped for hot chocolate, coffee, gas and lottery tickets and then made our way down to the Country Kitchen Restaurant in Wickenberg for pancakes.
Gassed up again, the sun finally started to warm our chilly morning air. If you’ve not taken this ride before, put it on your must-do list. From pine trees to cactus, the ride is breathtaking and you won’t be disappointed.
Anyone who has ridden along Highway 17 has probably stopped in Black Canyon at the famous Rock Springs Café for pie. We did and just ate and rolled on, ate and kept rolling. In an attempt to stay 15 minutes ahead of the sunset, we finally blew back into town about 5:30.
These diehards of the Humboldt Thursday Night Men’s Group (and friends) just can’t seem to keep their bikes garaged through the winter. Good time? You bet. Nice to be around happy, crazy bike people for a frosty ride? Absolutely. With mile high winters here in the Arizona mountains, we need a couple of winter rides to keep the bike as well as our own internal batteries topped and charged.
We all thanked God for a safe ride and fellowship and prepared for next year’s gathering with joy.