Bisbee Run

For a motorcyclist, the best thing about retirement is being able to go for weekday rides in the country when traffic is light. My buddy Ed and I rode to Bisbee yesterday. Bisbee, of course, is the famous (infamous, when it comes to the history of labor in the United States) mining town on Arizona’s southern border, about a hundred miles from Tucson. They say it was once one of the biggest cities in the Southwest.

We took it easy, not leaving until mid-morning. From Tucson we rode south on Highway 83 through the Santa Rita Mountains to Sonoita, east on 82 to Tombstone, south again on 80 to Bisbee. We didn’t get stuck behind a single car or truck: we had those beautiful, winding two-lane roads all to ourselves. Two hours and change later we rode over the mountain pass into Bisbee and parked the bikes at our destination, a local restaurant called the Bisbee Breakfast Club. It sits in an old industrial area next to the enormous open pit of the Copper Queen Mine.

Ed with the bikes beside the open pit Copper Queen Mine

We both opted for breakfast, since it’s served around the clock. After we ate, I told Ed I wanted to stop for photos just past the Mule Pass Tunnel at the entrance to Bisbee. Riding in, I’d noticed we were up above the snow line. The tunnel is just over 6,000 feet above sea level, so no wonder.

Above the snow line near Mule Pass Tunnel, the entrance to Bisbee

To keep from retracing our route on the way back, we rode north through St David and Benson instead, then east on I-10 at 80 mph to blow the carbon out of our cylinder heads. I was shooting for the Vail exit so that we could ride another curvy section of road on our way home, the Old Spanish Trail, but missed the exit … all these years riding in southern Arizona and I’d forgotten the Vail exit doesn’t say Vail anywhere, apparently a local attempt at humor. I wound up taking the next exit and doubling back … so there!

These are the kind of days motorcyclists live for.

© 2013, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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