Welcome to Miami – Arizona, that is


It’s November 4, and I am still wearing my mesh riding jacket, I thought.

I had just ridden onto the freeway near my house, on the way to Kearny, AZ, for breakfast. I was on the F800ST, and it felt like a rocket. I don’t know what my mechanic, Josiah, did the last time the bike was serviced, but the bike runs better now than it ever has. He probably just put his magic hands on it and somehow that was enough.

The reason Hal and I love going to Kearny so much is mainly because of the road that leads there, Arizona 177. The road was deserted, as it usually is, and free and clear for us to really enjoy the ride. The temperatures were in the 60s and 70s F. We were looking toward 80s F. by the time we returned home, so it was another day of layering up, then shedding those layers as we went along.

As we rode, we enjoyed every turn, and there are many. Then there was the drop down the 10% grade while looking at the spectacular Pinal Mountains in the distance. Today, they were blue and hazy, the sun golden. We passed Ray Mine, an open pit copper mine, flying along through that set of perfect turns, and soon we were in Kearny.

At the West End Café, we ordered breakfast, and noticed that the decor had changed drastically. As we talked to the waitress, we learned that the restaurant is now under new ownership after having been closed for a couple of months over the summer. Of course we did not know this because we don’t ride out here during the summer. It is too hot, and sustained riding in temperatures over 110° F. is not very enjoyable. It can be done, but usually not by choice!

One of the best things about the “new” West End is the coffee. It is GOOD! I am not saying it wasn’t before, but now it is noteworthy, and a very pleasant surprise this morning. Soon, breakfast was served:

It didn’t take long to polish that off, and soon we were on the road again. This time we were headed to the Globe-Claypool-Miami area, which is essentially one long continuous mining town. But the reason for going there was again all about the road. We flew through the canyon between Hayden, AZ and Globe. I’ve ridden this road for years now, and I never get tired of it. Why are there no photos? Well, I was too busy riding to stop. Soon we were in Globe, where we fueled up. My BMW F800ST got 71 mpg.

We continued west toward home, but before we left town, we stopped at the Miami end for me to take photos. I have always wanted to stop here and do this, but we’ve always been more focused on riding. I limited myself to about a half an hour today of shooting, otherwise it was going to get too late in the day. It seems that I always have too much to fit into a single day!

I started on the main drag, which is a little run down. This used to be a busy mining town, but it isn’t anymore. Mostly, it is crumbling, but there are bright spots of renovation and re-purposing, which is what these photos are about.

First, we have the buildings that are dry-rotting and crumbling:

The next street over was filled with hope for the town. Some of the buildings house art galleries, antique stores, places to eat, and an internet café. This building was on the side of the street that seemed to be a transition point:

This is the internet café:

This amazing little antique shop was very inviting:

There were tiny wind chimes outside of it, moving in the light wind, and making a small clear sound. The door under the large metal star outside beckons you in, as if you can find your most magical dreams inside. It is an enchanting island in an otherwise crumbling place, and full of intriguing things.

One of the things that is not the greatest is usually being in these places when the sun is at its zenith, when it is most harsh. I try to work with the light I have, but it seems we are always at our daily destination mid-day, which is the worst time for shooting with a camera.

Soon we were on the way home, on yet another wonderful road, the U.S. 60. As we went into the Queen Creek Tunnel, which has a steep grade, downhill the way we were going, we saw brake lights in front of us. It is enough of a shock to go into the blackness from the bright sunlight, but then to try to gauge where you are on your motorcycle as you are braking and watching other vehicles’ lights float like little red dots in front of your eyes, sometimes it’s a little weird. We crawled along in the dark, behind a truck that seemed to be having trouble keeping its speed down. The driver was using engine braking to keep it slow, and the sound was echoing mightily through the confines of the tunnel. It was loud even though I was wearing earplugs, as I always do when I ride. Finally, when we reached the exit and came out into the sun, the driver went into the pullout on the side so the traffic behind him, including us, could get by.

We swooped into Superior, which is another interesting place, but we did not stop today. We rode through Superior, up and over Gonzalez Pass, and soon we were back in the Phoenix area. It was 90° F. when we returned.

Will the heat never end?? We’ll see. A cold rainy storm is promised for next weekend, but “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

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