N 33d 47.665′ W 110d 30.183′

Yesterday was a dull and cold ride through the Tonto Forest to the town of Show Low AZ, on our way south to roads close to the Mexican border, for the third time if we can get a stop-and-go tire change in Tucson.

But today, wow.

First of all, #77 from Show Low to Tucson, about 205 miles, is first class riding the whole way.

But about 40 minutes along we entered a canyon on a sport bike perfect two lane road with wide shoulders and rediculously good camber. It was the best sport bike road in 12,000 miles, and way better than the lauded twisties of North Virginia or anything in the Appalacians. It was track day in the mountains. I’ve seen pics of Euro mountainous ascents/descents but I can’t believe anything there is so custom bike built for lobbing hardware into. But that’s only part of the story, it gets way better and I was a bit transfixed by the spectacle.

I round a corner in this slice of heaven and there’s a mess of sport bikes in a large overview, all lined up for something, the obvious. This is about 2/3rds of the parked bikes. I couldn’t get them all in without stepping out onto the road, which is not what you want to do here. All the guys (and two girls) are fixated on watching the big sweeper hugging the canyon wall in front of them.

And below is a GPS grab of about a five mile section of the road. (There’s another 50 miles of it, but not as dramatic.) Yup, 5 miles or so seems long for the track below but these corners are really huge, and banked, with runoff. The pic above, was at the top right of the pic below, just to the left of the ’60’.
Screen shot 2012-12-10 at 7.35.14 PM
So we pulled in, careful not to line up with these gladiators. Then the main event: in the near distance a screaming of rip-your-face-off engines was bouncing off the canyon walls, magnifying the sound to the point it hurt .  Then two bikes appear downhill, about 500 yards away, and you couldn’t hear anything below a yell due to the giant speakers of the canyon walls assaulting you. And opposite the viewing area these very solid riders came at us at seriously high speed, carving to the left in front of us, flat out. And the position was excellent for watching them exit the medium sweeper and set up for the next corner, a right that they scrubbed very big speed for. I’ve never heard a sound like it or seen a situation like this. They did this in groups of two, sometimes three. It was very impressive. After two came by there was a long gap, maybe 5 minutes before two more would set off, sometimes with a nice wheelie to the canyon base and some warm up turns for a mile or so before turning around and showing us their attempt at maximum impressiveness. The two girls laughed every time at the boys on full display.

The riders nearly all come from Phoenix.

Some road pics. There were only a couple of pullouts so not the best, but enough to get the idea. Like this corner?

At the canyon bottom, just to get into things and create some noise before over the bridge and up to the right

Fast and open with a big carousel, you can peg it here between the 100K turns

We waited until there were as few riders as possible and eased out, trying not to be noticed, which was impossible as the audience watched your every move. A perfect time to leave the kickstand down I thought.

So there’s my vote for the best bike road in North America of those I’ve seen so far. The post title coordinates will get you there.

Then on to Tucson through beautiful hills
P1020485We explored some dirt roads but none of them advanced us closer to Tucson so we reversed them. This one was almost artificial

Then, as we approached Tucson, cactuses began to appear straight out of a postcard. We’d never seen these before and they looked almost comic. We found a rocky road that led us across a plain of them

Finally the beautiful city of Tucson. Here’s an excellent pic of a girl checking tire pressure and topping up while her boyfriend stared at his shoes, with the hills behind the city behind


4 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Tom,

    Seriously fun looking road!
    Too bad you didn’t have some street meats on the bike – show them kids a thing ‘er two!

    What’s with the last photo? looks like some guy peeing in the dirt while the other guy is stealing the wheels…

  2. Sounds like a wonderful experience Jeremy!

Leave a Reply