Chasing History- Southern AZ Day 4

July 29th, 2021 by Robert Theobald

Southern AZ Motorcycle


We have seen historic Spanish missions, historic mines, national monuments, and Wild West history. Day four was our shortest day of riding, but one of the most scenic days. We crossed an immense dry lake, visited another historic mountain site, crossed a mountain pass, visited a ghost town, and road through a very old ranch. We ultimately ended up back where we started in Sonoita without ever crossing any previous tracks.

With my trailside clutch fix still working, we left the campground in Wilcox and followed the road next to the railroad tracks across the Wilcox Playa. The Playa is the largest dry lake in Arizona. The top of the Playa was soft sand which made for a fun section. We connected with the pavement and headed to the Cochise Stronghold. This is another mountain area with amazing rock formations and history with the Chiricahua Apache, Chief Cochise.


Cochise Stronghold


Back on the pavement, we headed for the dirt road pass that crosses the southern end of the Dragoon Mountains; Middlemarch Pass. This was a great ride with some great vista of the Sierra Vista Valley. Off in the very far distance, we could see the mountains where we camped on night one. When Middlemarch pass ended, we were just north of Tombstone and we jumped on the highway to head to the ghost town of Fairbanks. Fairbanks is a more recent ghost town. This was a great stop. It was cool to see the numerous old but intact buildings, including the schoolhouse. Fairbanks has some history that hits close to home. My riding buddy Travis’s grandmother went to school at the schoolhouse in Fairbanks.


Fairbanks Ghost Town



Leaving Fairbanks we headed to our last destination, The Bobacomari Ranch. We entered the ranch on the east side through a locked gate. We had called ahead of time to get permission to ride through the ranch and the caretaker let us in through. This ranch has been a cattle ranch since the days of the Spanish settlers and features a nice creek running through almost the whole ranch. The road through the ranch is based on the old railroad. The old rail lines have been removed, but they kept some of the old bridges. The trail followed along a small creek that runs through the ranch and near the main ranch house there is a very nice little pond, creating a small oasis in the desert.  This was a great section to finish our ride. We exited the ranch near Elgin and road a few miles of pavement back to our starting spot in Sonoita.


Bobacomari Ranch Motorcycles


In all, it was four days and 603 miles of dirt and pavement. Aside from the clutch cable snafu, the bikes worked great. We had a great ride and a great time riding together. Three riders was the perfect number for our group. With all of the history in the area of Arizona, we could have spent a whole week doing the same route and diving deeper into the historical sites or doing some hiking in the Chiricahua National Monument and the Coronado National Forest.


Old Railroad Bridge


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