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It’s a real easy and quick trip from North Phoenix, Arizona to the tiny biker hamlet of Cave Creek. Not being a Phoenix denizen myself but traveling there at least a few times a year for the last 10 years, I know first-hand how stressful riding a bike on the freeways in the Valley of the Sun can be. There are freeways everywhere forking off in all different directions, with cars and trucks cutting back and forth across the many lanes at a high rate of speed, finding their way to destinations all over the country. Not only do you have to watch out for the traffic buzzing by you like a hive of angry bees, you have to watch out for the cops who glare at you, itching to write you a real expensive ticket if they see you fuck-up, no matter how minor or severe. It’s funny though how they seem to miss so many assholes out there that are an accident waiting to happen. But then again, they’re probably overwhelmed by the infinite number of dumb shits inhabiting the interstates and highways these days. I’m thinking a guy doing 85 in a 75 zone is probably going to be given a pass seeing as there will be a guy doing 90 or 100 going by if they just wait for a minute or two.

One of many hillsides covered with saguaros alongside Cave Creek Road in Cave Creek.

Story & Photos by Marty Bachman

Cave Creek, Arizona: A legendary biker outpost

Laura DeMarzo of Phoenix, Arizona.

One thing I always wondered is why does Arizona even have speed limit signs? I’m the only one who obeys them and I don’t hardly go there. I’ll see signs that say “Construction Zone” and “Slow to 55” and while I’m driving 55 looking out for the construction guys and gals, I’m being run over by semis and passed on the right by nearly-blind snowbirds in oversized RVs that stop all the time for no damn reason. It’s not a town for the weak-hearted biker but the perfect place if you like the challenges an urban environment has to offer. Myself, I prefer to ride the quiet desert highways most days but often I need a gridlock fix and so I head to the metropolitan areas for some action.

It was on the tail-end of a severe cold spell in mid-December when I decided to venture out to Phoenix to hang with one of my favorite girls, Laura DeMarzo. We were just going to have a late lunch or early dinner and I was planning on riding back to Blythe before too late — but she suggested we go to Cave Creek and party some. In my opinion, life was invented for three reasons: To ride my Road King, to party hearty and to hang out with a beautiful woman. So when you get to ride your Harley with a serious-looking honey on the back and you're headed to a party, you're living correctly. I said yes and we set out on what turned out to be one of the coolest adventures I had been on in a long time... and I've been on some really cool adventures as of late.

To get to Cave Creek, if you're coming from out of town, you have to catch the 101 Loop that runs off of Interstate 10 both on the western and eastern edges of the Phoenix metropolitan area (That's probably why they call it a loop). When you get to the top of the loop, you exit the 101 at Cave Creek and head north. If you're coming from the eastern side of the loop, though, you might want to exit on Tatum and head north because there doesn't seem to be as many lights on that road. If you're coming from the south or north, Interstate 17, which runs through the heart of Phoenix, also connects to the 101 just west of Cave Creek.

Traffic is usually heavy on the 101, as it is all over Phoenix, and when you exit at Cave Creek Road you'll find yourself in thick stop-and-go traffic for quite a few miles before the traffic begins to lessen and the lights become fewer. It's a quick ride though, only about 20 miles or so into the foothills just beyond the city limits.

As you reach the city of Cave Creek you're surrounded by rocky, green mountains that are covered with desert saguaros. I've lived in the desert most of my life and I've seen saguaros everywhere but I've never seen entire mountain sides covered with them. Maybe I need to get out more but that's the way it is in Cave Creek and that was the first thing that impressed me with the place.

A giant boot, pots and old western knick-knacks cover the grounds of the Tumbleweed Hotel in Cave Creek.

Saguaros line the median of Cave Creek Road in the small downtown.

We traveled through this old western-looking town that had a bit of a touristy feel to it but it was classy and it seemed like all of the businesses bought into the look. We went to the far end of the town and stopped at The Hideaway, a biker bar with an outdoor patio that has giant gas fire pits you can sit by and stay warm. Nobody came and asked if we wanted a drink so I eventually went inside the bar to grab us a couple of beers. The bar was super crowded and, for some reason, the hot little bartender was balancing herself on the shoulders of some guy and the shelves in back of the bar, hitting her head on the TV that was mounted near the ceiling. When she started to make her way back down to the ground, she stopped midway, opened up her shirt revealing some seriously nice looking tits that were pierced and had silver tassels hanging off of them, and she proceeded to shove those fine things into the guy's face while everyone cheered. Welcome to Cave Creek people.

I managed to get us our beers and we sat and talked by the fire for awhile when a cab pulled up and a real fat guy, or he was in a costume that made him look fat, opened the door and fell out of the cab while, again, everyone at the bar cheered. He got up and with a half pitcher of beer in his hand, he made his way up the steps to the patio and went inside the bar where everyone seemed to know him.

We sat and had a couple of drinks and the sun was beginning to go down and in an instant, the crowded bar emptied. It was a Thursday night, so I guess that wasn't all that unusual, but it was getting cold and I was wanting to smoke some bud if I was going to party and I didn't want to have to ride my bike, so we decided to get a hotel room in town and walk back to the bar.

There's only one hotel in the heart of town, The Tumbleweed, and it turned out to be too far away for us to walk back to the Hideaway, but still there were a few other bars and restaurants within walking distance, so we decided to stay.

The Tumbleweed is a very interesting hotel with a western theme to match every other business on Cave Creek Road. The lobby, front and sides are loaded with colorful pots painted in bright colors and other touristy knick-knacks that snowbirds probably buy up by the carload to take back to wherever they come from so they can show off to friends that they had actually been in a real western desert town.

A room for the night with two queen size beds set me back $117 and it reminded me of that old Roger Miller song; “No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain't got no cigarettes.” I guess they have a pool somewhere but there wasn't a phone in the room so if I needed to call the front desk I would have had to look the place up on my smart phone and call. The heater had the knobs for some of its switches missing but luckily I carry a handful of tools on my bike so I was able to make it work. Other than that, I had no complaints about the place. It was a very unique-looking room with wood plaques on the walls that really gave it an old-fashioned western warmth. The bed was comfortable and they had DirectTV, but we opted to listen to Pandora on my computer because they did have Wi-Fi.

We drank some beers in the room and smoked some of the green stuff and were having a good time there before we set out to have some dinner and drinks.

We went to the Smokehouse next door and had a drink and ordered some dinner. I was going to get the salad bar cause it was late and I don't like to eat too heavy too late, and the soup sounded good, but I backtracked and ended up choosing the Italian cannelloni special for me while Laura ordered the brisket. The cannelloni was good but not something I would travel 20 miles to eat again. I had a bloody mary and it was good, too, but nothing standout. The service was excellent though and I was so enamored with my company and our conversation, the food wasn't really on my mind.

After we ate we went back to the hotel and partied til late in the morning before I had to take Laura home and make my way back to Blythe. It was sad saying good-bye because it was one of the most fun nights I can remember having.

I would recommend Cave Creek to any biker that is looking for a good party. We were there on a Thursday and from what I've heard, the place really rocks on the weekends. Maybe next time it will be a weekend trip but there are so many other places to visit, it might be awhile before I return. Then again, I have such a great memory of that night, I might come back again real soon. 

The Hideaway, a really cool biker bar in Cave Creek.

The Tumbleweed Hotel in Cave Creek.

The front of the Tumbleweed Hotel is the place to shop if you're a tourist.

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