Mom always told me that a big motorcycle ride always started with a big breakfast. Well, OK, she didn't actually say that. But she did try to get me to finish my plate every morning.
Cave Creek has been a popular destination for motorcycle riders around the central Arizona area, what with all the touristy western shops, the biker bars, and the beautiful riding. On the weekends, it's slammed with bikes. But today, on a Wednesday afternoon, it was peaceful easy sailing for the three of us.
That third person happens to be Paul, otherwise known as Arizona Harley Dude among motorcycle bloggers. We met Paul just about a year to the day last year in Tucson when he rode down to meet us during Road Pickle. This time around, we were in his neighborhood, and he suggested we meet at "The Place", apparently one of the better breakfast choices in the Valley.
After Sash and I threw down plates of chicken fried steak and eggs with hash browns swimming in a pool of country grave, enough to fuel for her to raise Hell like a rude biker chick with an axe to grind, Paul led us on our ride to Cave Creek plus a side trip to Bartlett Lake.
Not having ridden out Cave Creek before, I must say I was impressed with the amount of money that's been spent on the real estate out there. Now I know where all the golf shirts and Dockers pants ended up at. And while I did love the yellowy Palo Verde trees in blossom along the Cave Creek Rd, I swear some of the Saguaro cactus I saw on the street corners were impressing-looking fakes.
But otherwise, Cave Creek is a great little afternoon destination on a warm beautiful Maricopa day like today. Sash opted to stop at Cartwright's Sonoran Ranch House just because her maiden name is Cartwright. Apparently, the restaurant was named after Reddick Jasper Cartwright, who had operated one of the largest cattle ranches in the Cave Creek area.
Paul wanted to show us one of his longtime favorite places. Bartlett Lake.
We continued up Cave Creek Rd and took a right at Bartlett Dam Rd. The road takes us into the Tonto National Forest, and offers up some entertaining twisties and great views of Saguaro cactus and Palo Verde Trees. At the end of the road is Bartlett Lake, where Paul used to go fishing in his younger days. Except these days, the lake looked to be half the size it's supposed to be due to drought.
On the way back, Sash led the way back into Cave Creek with a itchy throttle hand and put her 20,000+ miles of riding experience to good use. Where signs posted curves at 35mph, it seemed she did well to round them at 50mph or perhaps more.
Back in Cave Creek, we took one last stop at Tap Haus for another beer and appetizers before calling it a day.
But for Sash and I, the day didn't end there.
We ended up meeting her old high school friend Kelly for dinner at Z'Tejas, a mexican restaurant chain local to the south west area. Sash and Kelly seemed to hit it off as if they were still at Fontana High, talking about gossip and guys.
Day 4, we're heading north for higher ground.
|Paul and Sash after a huge breakfast at "The Place" in Glendale, AZ|
|Paul leading with Sash behind, along Cave Creek Rd|
|Sash saw a sign for "Cartwright's" and had to stop here because it's her maiden name.|
|The three of us hanging at the bar inside Cartwright's|
|Paul leading us to Bartlett Lake, with Sash and I following behind|
|Sash leading us back to Cave Creek from Bartlett Lake, with Paul and I behind|
|Stopping in at Tap Haus in Cave Creek for another refresher|
|Hop Shock IPA from SanTan Brewing, on tap at Tap Haus|
|Sash and Kelly, with Kelly's daughter in the middle, at Z'Tejas in Phoenix|