The Devil Went Down to Morenci
Editor’s Note: This is the first in our series of community contributions, courtesy of member Silence808. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. -SF
While it may be that you can get your kicks on Route 66, you take all the risks on Route 666. Highway 191- formerly Route 666, sometimes called the Coronado trial, often called the Devil’s Highway – is a drive with 450 hairpin turns, 6,000ft of elevation changes (often without guardrails), and multiple topography changes in the course of 100 miles. Imagine the Tail of the Dragon, only for six hours straight. If America’s Highway, Rt. 66, winds like a gentle dream across the US, then Route 666 twists wildly like the unrelenting nightmares of a madman.
Last Fall, the Devil’s Highway played host to a group of S2000s from Arizona and New Mexico. The trip kicked off with a lunch sponsored by Phoenix’s own Science of Speed, where Jimmy John’s subs were consumed amid race-stripped AP1’s and carbon-fiber-bodied NSX’s. S2kI’s Adrs2K gave a pre-brief, handed out the itinerary, and then everyone hit the road. On the way out of Phoenix, our convoy passed at least one other S2k (watchdogd) who hailed us with an engine rev and a wave. On the way out of town, we fell upon the gas station which is the usual fill spot before Highway 88 runs. As 14 cars simultaneously pulled up and started pumping premium, the station nearly shut down, the fuel flow dwindling to a trickle. The attendant remarked that he had not seen this happen in the 10 years that he had worked there. From there, it was off to a lodge in Greer, which would be our base of operations for the Devil’s run. It seemed fortuitous that we passed the Hon-Dah Casino (no joke) on the way.
Having endured the summer in Phoenix (where 115 degrees is average), Greer was stunning; trees, mountains, log cabins, and cool, quiet air. When we got underway the next morning, coats were on, tops were off, and spirits were high.
The drive can only be described as ‘epic.’ Our group crossed Sonoran desert, alpine meadows, cool green forests, breathtaking mountains, and ancient copper mines over the course of six hours. Fires in the summer had left many stretches of forest burned out and blackened, but this added to the theme of the drive. Traffic was limited to bikers with similar driving ambitions, and ore trucks with ten-foot-tall tires (they weren’t actually on the roads, but we did drive through and under a lot of mining equipment in Morenci).
Much of the road is without cell phone coverage. While there is GPS coverage, most of the route twists like intestines and does not offer alternate directions.
Dramamine is advisable 30min prior to the start; there are very few places to pull off to the side to get sick, and if you mess up your car there’s no place to get cleaned up until you complete the drive. We were lucky; there was only one reported episode of vomiting, though the perpetrator maintains that it was from bad chicken wings in Clifton.
The drive was epic, the sights were spectacular, and many tales will be told for years to come. The owners of the Amberian lodge, where we stayed, went above and beyond to be welcoming and accommodating to our group. After the drive many choice beverages were consumed (by our group and by the owner of the lodge), hot tubs were overflowed, and security cameras were rearranged for comic effect.
This year’s Devil’s Run is being scheduled for mid-October. The interest thread can be found here.