Arizona Touring Motocycle Ride – Fan Report

June 1, 2010
By Nicholas Brigham

The views expressed in Motorcycle USA Fan Reports are those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of Motorcycle or its staff.
Touring ride fan report
Taking off from Tucson, AZ the large group of touring bikes headed off looking for an adventure.

I left Tucson, Arizona at 6:30 a.m. on my 2007 ST1300 in a group of eight bikes (2 ST1300s, 1 FJR and 5 Goldwings) and 10 people who were headed to Show Low, AZ for lunch. A fireplug of a retired woman I’ll refer to as ‘Gee,’ who weighs in at 105 lbs and “only” has 95,000 miles on her 2005 S1300T, led the ride.

About a mile before the “Elk Crossing Zone” in Tonto National Forest, a bull elk jumped out in front of us. Very stimulating to say the least. I forgot how big those bad boys can get. Of course being in the back of the pack, it was the 4000 brake lights that got my attention. Along the way, I ran over a rather large rattlesnake and ‘Gee’ had her picture taken with it.

After lunch, we headed into Salt River Canyon. ‘Gee,’ who is an E-Ticket ride in the twisties, took off. I sat stuck behind three Goldwings, frustrated. Although I could have passed, it is frowned upon to do so without a passing zone when pack riding. Once at the bottom, however, there finally was one. ‘Gee’ was sitting on the bridge waiting for us. As we approached, she took off and I heard her already shifting into third gear. The little voice in my head said “get her” so I took off.

Touring ride fan report
It was a long day of riding but after nearly 500 miles it was worth the trip to see all the sights and create some lasting memories.

Headed uphill is always fun and I wasn’t disappointed. A hard sweeping right had me leaned all the way over as I closed in on ‘Gee.’ One of the Wings had started to give chase but quickly gave up. I hit third gear coming out of the sweeper and as I caught up, she decided she did not want to be caught and proceeded to ride away. I was able to stay within 100 yards of her but could get no closer. I had my own line but she kept leaving me, so I used hers. Better, but not good enough. Every time I got close, I could sense her smiling as she pulled away. Several fifth gear sweepers found me with a big grin on my face despite failing in my pursuit. This petite flower can ride! Once out of the canyon, we pulled over to let the pack catch up.

I got home 13 hours and 487 miles after I had left that morning. During the trip, I tried my old Polaroid camera mounted to the handlebars to take photos. Out of 47 pictures taken, only 12 came out. Time for a new camera for sure.

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