2021 Desert Stars M-BEAT

2021 Desert Stars M-BEAT

Desert Stars
Saturday, April 17, 2021 - 6:30am

2021 M-B.E.A.T. Recap

Well, the 2021 M-B.E.A.T. is history!!  A total of 26 members and friends in 12 Benzes {and a couple of other non-B.E. (British/European), but welcome marques} were finally able to get out on the road and enjoy our vehicles!!  No accidents, no one ran out of fuel, excellent weather (a few sprinkles up toward Flag) and mostly decent roads.  Our only delays were going through Sedona with a more-than-moderate backup all the way from the Airport roadway through the AZ 179 rotary!  It is a very popular town!

After selecting a gift from the center table and a filling breakfast at Denny’s hosted and paid for by Desert Stars member Bob Yoder, 14 pristine cars were on the way heading West and North in the bright sunshine; at least one or two of the cars with their convertible tops down!  Our first stop was at Coffinger Park in Wickenburg for a group photo and an “exhaust noise” contest, the winners being Sergio & Karen Soto in their new GT!  Many others tried, but they just didn’t have enough “snap” in their sound.

Then we were off to the back country heading out of Wickenburg and points North starting out on Arizona Route 89 through the town of Congress and then Glen Ilah (where was it?), and then up the long winding White Spar Highway to the small town of Yarnell.  In Yarnell, they now have a shuttle bus to take you to the Granite Mountain Hot Shots Memorial State Park so you can hike through the area in which the 19 “Hotshots” perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013.

At this point in our journey, we were driving in the high desert through the small villages/wide-spots-in-the-road of Peeples Valley (past the dusty pink T-Bird that hasn’t moved in years), Kirkland Junction, Kirkland (note, the restaurant is open again) and then to Skull Valley where we stopped for a short break.  In past years, we would have had refreshments in the converted gas station, but as many businesses have crashed this past year, we had to make-do with whatever refreshments we had in our vehicles.  After the break we were again on the back road heading toward “Preskitt” (that’s the way they like you to pronounce Prescott!!)

On arrival, many of the group were able to find parking on Whiskey Row which is the main thoroughfare through the downtown area. Our destination for lunch was The Palace Saloon (circa 1877) where we had a function room reserved.  (Did you know the centerpiece of the Saloon, the Brunswick Bar, was built in New Jersey and freighted around the tip of South America to San Francisco and then transported to Prescott by pack mule?) After lunch, many of the group window-shopped and generally enjoyed our tentative freedom from the virus!  One place we found to linger was “Olive U Naturally” on West Gurley Street; very tasty selection of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for your kitchen!

Our afternoon drive took us past the Northern Arizona Veterans Administration health care facility, through the Granite Dells (with interesting rock formations similar to the Wisconsin Dells-if you have ever been there), past Watson Lake and the Phippen Western Art Museum and onto the Pioneer Highway (Arizona Route 89 Alternate) heading along the twisty, curvey road over Mingus Mountain toward the once great city of Jerome.  In Jerome our first objective was to visit the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town to see the Dodge Brothers sedan with 15 “simulated” bullet holes, a fully operable 1902 Studebaker Electric Car with a 40-mile range, the Saw Mill powered by the up-and-running one-cylinder engine, the animals and the other past wonders of the road now rusting away in the Arizona wilderness!!  Note that if you are 80+, entry is FREE!!

From Jerome we followed the road down the hill to Clarkdale, through Old Town Cottonwood and then on a slow drive through Sedona into Oak Creek Canyon where the drive is now extremely smooth since they repaved the roadway (except for a rough 30’ stretch just before heading up the face of the cliff) to Flagstaff.  After checking in at Little America, we all had our pictures taken next to our cars, freshened up in our rooms and headed to Happy Hour, again hosted by Desert Stars member Bob Yoder, and then to an excellent dinner in the hotel restaurant!!  My choice was the Prime Rib which was unarguably almost the best that I have ever had!!!

After a comfortable night in the totally refurbished Little America rooms, and breakfast in the hotel restaurant in the morning, everyone headed back to the city in a variety of directions, some on Lake Mary Road and to Strawberry, Pine and Payson, some to the Grand Canyon for a quick visit, and some back through Sedona (which by the way was much less crowded than the day before) and Cottonwood to do some shopping.

In total, from our starting point at Denny’s at the junction of Carefree Highway and Interstate 17 to Little America we traveled just under 203 miles with the best mileage around 40MPG and the worst not to be revealed!!  It was good to get out of the house and back on to the road!!  Several members expressed the need for us to have more driving events during the remainder of the year; we are trying to set them up and will let you know by a “flash” email or in the Star Dust newsletter when they are ready for prime time!

For those that have never experienced the back roads in Arizona, they should join up with us on next year’s run which is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of April 23/24, 2022!