A long weekend requires a respectably long ride. A respectably long ride requires pizza. On Sunday, I decided to head Northeast and see what I could find. What I found was
The Place: Pizza Time Pizza
2767 Hwy 260
Overgaard, AZ 85933
The Posse: Just me.
The Pie: Pepperoni. I'm always amazed at how easy it is to find good pizza in small towns. Meanwhile, in larger cities, good pizza is exceedingly rare. I was a little anxious going in, given how frequently I've been burned trying new things lately.
Speaking of burned, my pizza was brought out while it was screaming hot. As you know, I can never wait for it to cool, so naturally I burned the hell out of my mouth. Luckily, the pizza was good enough to justify the pain. 4 Crying Luckies*
The Toppings: Average pepperoni, good cheese. It tasted fresh, and they weren't cheap with the cheese. 5 Crying Luckies
The Crust: Hella-crispy thin crust. An excellent topping transport. Not the best crust I've ever had, but I'm really picky. 4 Crying Luckies
The Sauce: I was beginning to think that there was a law against using a reasonable amount of flavorful sauce in Arizona. While Pizza Time doesn't use as much as I'd like, what was there tasted pretty good (and they weren't too cheap with the sauce). 4 Crying Luckies
The Ambiance: Since I was in a small town, it makes sense that I got a small town vibe from the place. It was your basic, cheap, pizza joint, with a screen door that slams shut, fiberglass booths and the expected country-froo-froo decorations. I also got the small town treatment, as in "Who the hell are you, moto-boy, and how long is it going to take to get you back out of here?" As my meal progressed and I proved that I wasn't a jerk, they warmed up. A little. 3 Crying Luckies
The ride: Ah, the glorious ride. I took State Route 87 North until I got to Payson (76 miles), and then took State Route 260 through Heber (52 miles) to Overgaard (about 2-3 miles out of Heber). My ride took me up into the mountains, and the weather was delightfully threatening once I got close to Payson. Not only was it gloomy and threatening rain, but the clouds were so close I felt like I could reach up and touch them.
I stopped for gas in Payson, and had a few tense minutes when my bike wouldn't start again. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and it fired right up again. That was weird. Then it was on to Heber.
The road to Heber is mostly two-lane forest roads. I think that out, alone, on a road like that in the middle of nowhere is where you find the real America. It's not sanitized, homogenized or plastered with marketing materials. It is powerful, free and, sadly, ignored by 90% of the population.
I saw a biker pulled off to one side, and pulled in to make sure he was ok. He was, and asked me where I was headed. He told me there was a ride of some sort starting in Overgaard. What he didn't tell me was that there was a custom bike show as well.
After I got my pizza, I had to swing by the bike show. For the most part it sucked (if I'd paid more than $2 to get in, I probably would have been pissed.) but there were a couple of tasty bikes there. First up was a ratted old BSA. It was the only rat-bike there, and one of the only bikes that looked remotely rideable.
As I wandered, I noticed some bikes that were right up my alley. Low, black, purposeful and tough-looking. I thought "these kind of look like they were built by Exile." Lo and behold, Johnny Goodson - formerly of Exile - has started his own shop, Insane Custom Cycles, right here in Arizona! I talked to him briefly and let him know exactly how much I thought his bikes rock.
Then, it was off home. I apparently was riding right behind the storm, as the road was soaked, but I didn't get rained on. Phew!
All in all, a great ride, even if the roads weren't too technical. 4 Crying Luckies
Overall: I would definitely recommend the ride and pizza. For Phoenix-dwellers, a quick blast up into the mountains during the summer offers a great respite from the oppressive heat. And, hey, there's some good pizza waiting for you out there. 4 Crying Luckies
*For those of you just joining us, a Crying Lucky is a measure of how upset I am when the pizza is gone. 1 is Bad, 5 is Good!