Payson is approximately 70 miles away from where we live in Mesa, which is only an hour and a half (one way). Plus, Payson is about 10 degrees cooler during the day than Mesa.
Destination determined, I tried to find a worthy pizza place in Payson. I had no luck with the traditional research methods, so we decided that we'd get to Payson and worry about finding a pizza place when we got there.
The ride to Payson was a piece of cake. We took highway 87 the whole way from Mesa to Payson. This was the first time either of us took the Vespa up a mountain. We learned that the Vespa, studly as it is, does not like going up mountain grades. Still, Lady Luck was able to maintain a solid 50 MPH, so it wasn't too terrible going up the hills.
When we arrived in Payson, we rode around a little bit to see what was going on in town, and then stopped for gas and water. As we were getting our gear back on to start riding again, a gentleman on a Harley-Davidson rolled over to us, and asked us what the heck Lady Luck's Vespa was. Evidently he'd never seen one.
We talked for a while, and he told we should ride down Houston Mesa Road (map here) for some nice scenery. So, we did.
Houston Mesa Road is certainly scenic, if a little rough. We rode about 20 miles out, and then came across a section of road that was flooded. The water wasn't terribly deep, but I didn't want to try forging the three inch depths on the Triumph. There were plenty of cars crossing the wet section of road with no problems.
Instead of following, I tried to make a u-turn. I misjudged the quality of the road's shoulder, and got myself nicely stuck. After a few minutes of trying, I finally got the Triumph back on the road.
We rode back to Payson, and stopped for lunch at Cardo's Pizza (map and address here).
Cardo's is a pretty cool place - dark, woody and quiet. The music they had playing was pretty terrible (The Worst Hits of the 80's!), but it wasn't obnoxiously loud. Our server was awesome, and took good care of us.
On to the pizza: it's good. The pizza I ordered had pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and green peppers on it. The crust was exactly crisp enough, and the toppings were mighty tasty. I felt the mushrooms weren't cooked completely, but they weren't terrible. The sauce was good, though I would have liked some more (as always). Overall, Cardo's makes a damn fine pie.
After we ate, we checked out an Arts and Crafts festival. Most of it was uninteresting, though we bought some mighty fine fudge.
When we were ready to head home, we stopped to gas up. At the station we saw a Spartan Rider and his female companion taking a break. It looked to me like he was on an old police bike. It was pretty sweet. I nodded to him, and Lady Luck and I continued on our way.
Twenty minutes or so down the road, I saw a bike coming up behind me in my mirrors. I waved, and as the other bike passed I saw it was the Spartan Rider, and he was waving back. I tell you, it blew my little mind. After a day of getting snubbed by R.U.B.s and other lowlifes, I was mighty impressed.
All told, Lady Luck and I spent about six hours riding on Saturday. She was pretty sore, though I was ready and raring to get out riding again. Well, OK, I was a little sore.
Anyway, overall it was a fantastic day, and we managed to find a great pizza while we were at it. Cardo's Pizza gets 4 Crying Luckies.