Big Bubba’s Ride
Created a few years ago by Brian (Big Bubba) Vineyard and a few of his friends on one of their “let’s get out of town” rides, it transformed into a rain or shine, freeze or cook, no registration, no T-Shirts, no pins or patches, just a “for the heck of it” ride with friends. Taking place the weekend before Superbowl Sunday every year is different, the weather here in Arizona is iffy at best during the winter months, it could be 70 degrees, or 30, calm or windy, rain, even the possibility of snow in places! This particular week we had 3 days of hard pounding rain prior to the Sunday ride. Streets were flooded in places, there were rock slides along a lot of the highways, along with sand or gravel that had washed into the low spots, normally dry creeks and washes were transformed into raging rivers, and I even spotted a waterfall from runoff on a mountain, THAT’S something you don’t see here very often! Yet Mother Nature was on our side, the clouds had kept the temperatures up (if you call 40 degrees up) and the rain had backed off.
The weather cut down attendance this year (wimps!), but so what, regardless of whether it’s 10, or 100 riders it’s always a great ride! The route doesn’t change much, two meeting spots, one in Phoenix then that pack rolls out to Mesa where they meet up with the “East Valley” pack. It was looking kind of dismal this year, it had sprinkled a little bit and the cloud cover was low and very dark in the direction we were heading of course! No worries, everybody was leathered up looking like a bunch of masked bandits and ready for anything Mother Nature was ready to throw at us. The local watering holes were given advance notice and ready for us to swarm the places, it wasn’t much of a swarm this year compared to the last few years (probably 40 of us), but our hosts didn’t care, we’re always a fun group!
Los Hermanos restaurant/bar in Superior is always our first stop, we caught them a little off guard last year with around 100 riders, this year as I walked in our lovely bartendress had pitchers of Bloody Mary’s, and pots of coffee on the ready line. The next stop was the Drift Inn in Globe, same thing there, they were ready for us, plus this is where some riders grab some grub, service is always excellent in both establishments, hit them up if you get in that area!
I guess I should tell you how we got there huh….Leaving from Phoenix, take U.S 60 East and just keep going. Desert riding at first, nothing but flat land for the first 40 miles or so, then the road starts to get twisty and rises in elevation climbing into the mountains heading for the “tri-cities” of Superior/Globe/Miami. All of which are old copper mining towns with a lot of history, old mills and processing plants abound, small shops filled with memorabilia from when they were boom towns. Some of the mines are still active and still producing a good amount of copper. Beautiful country with high rocky peaks and deep canyons on either side of the road, it can be a little intimidating in places to unseasoned riders. With the low cloud cover it was even more spectacular seeing the clouds drape the mountainside and even some rare fog down in the canyons, coupled with some rays of sun poking thru here and there the scenery was awesome!
From the Drift Inn we need to backtrack a few miles on Hwy 60 to stop for fuel and roll out towards our final stop taking Hwy 188 north. Last year we made a little side trip to Punkin’ Center (yes I spelled that right), don’t blink or you’ll miss the turn and “town” entirely, there’s a bar/restaurant, a very small motel (conveniently located next to the bar, a of course the town store. With all the rain, we couldn’t even get IN town, the roads were barricaded and poor Punkin’ Center was literally awash, flooded, WET! Sorry guys, we’ll be back next year. This part of the ride is beautiful also, most of it following the shoreline of Roosevelt Lake, which has 112 miles of shoreline and over 22,000 acre feet of water, NOT a small lake. By this time the temps were up, a little, but in places the wind coming off the water was brisk.
Final stop for the ride is always Jakes Corner, (and our longest stop) which is the northern entrance to Roosevelt recreation area. It’s another one of Arizona’s famous, “don’t blink” towns, gas station, bar/restaurant and a small store comprises the town. The food here is excellent, cooked to order outdoors on a wood fired bbq, steaks, burgers, beans, all the fixin’s, biker food!! Outdoor/indoor eating and horseshoe pits in the back. No horseshoe competition this year, the pits were ponds! Heck, I was ready but couldn’t find any takers to toss with, sploosh! The bartender there, Frank, has been there for a few years and he knows most of us now by first name. We make him earn his tips, running non-stop serving us and never missing a beat, thanks brother!
With full bellies here’s where most of us group up with other riders who live in the same part of the Valley. It’s time to hit the real highway 87 and back into town. Even though it’s a highway the scenery is just as magnificent, it spit a little rain on the way down the hill, but thankfully it was brief. Regardless of the weather, Big Bubbas ride is always a killer ride, great friends, great route, and great stops all the way, who knows what next year will bring, doesn’t really make any difference, we’re going!! If you’re a snowbird (winter visitor) and would like to join us, just search Facebook starting in Nov, or Dec. for “Big Bubba’s Ride” and come join us, we’re always up for meeting new friends!
Ride Safe~~Ride Free