Hangin’ at the Hideaway
Cave Creek, Ariz., Apr. 6–15—Back in the late ’90s a guy set up a little bar “somewhere in Cave Creek” and got busy selling suds to thirsty bikers who rode through town on their way to other biker destinations. Nowadays, two decades later, that same little bar has become a ride destination all its own and people come from all around the world to visit the place where the motto, “There are no such things as strangers, just friends who haven’t met yet,” is painted on the wall.
These days, motorcycle mayhem in Arizona is officially kicked off with a 10-day celebration known as Cave Creek Bike Week. Riders come out in packs to join the tens of thousands who celebrate life in the desert by bellying up to the bar at everyone’s favorite desert oasis, the Hideaway Grill. Notorious as the friendly spot to go for pub grub and a bit o’ booze, that’s just the tip of the cactus thorn. A visit to Cave Creek is a step back in time and the Hideaway is a bucket list destination for riders who just want to kick back and enjoy some tunes and the company of fellow motorcycle maniacs. The kitschy place is packed with all things biker and is a fun place to hang out. Just down the street at the Hideaway’s sister digs sits the Roadhouse where old bikes dangle from the rafters and folks enjoy the warm hospitality. During bike week, the parking lot is filled with vendors of all stripes, including artist Eric Herrmann, the Big Belly Crew, Double D Indian dealership and a plethora of Arizona bike builders.
Partiers rocked the joint during what has grown into a veritable mini-Sturgis. Bikes parked along either side of Cave Creek Road and stretched as far as the eye could see and surrounding properties filled with pop-ups offering everything from bike parts to bit parts in a movie. The multi-talented musician, Charlie Brechtel, set up housekeeping at the Roadhouse and was busy filming auditions for riders to be in his second biker movie, The Rough Boys, while enthusiastic attendees walked the street back and forth between the two biker bars. The more venturesome visitors take a trek across the street to visit the authentic cowboy bars and everyone gets into soaking up the wild, wild West vibe. Harold’s, the oldest bar in Cave Creek, was opened in 1935 to serve the workers building the nearby Bartlett Dam and is still known for great grub and nighttime dancing. It turned out to be a perfect place to hide from the wind, which was substantial during CCBW. Weather reports had predicted high winds for both Thursday and again Friday the 13th and they weren’t wrong. Strong gusts and blowing sand pelted attendees sending vendors scurrying to hold down their pop-ups. The local psychic, however, was a second too late and her tent sailed off into the cosmos.
Just down from the Buffalo Chip Saloon, where bull-riding lessons are routinely offered, is another cowboy hangout, Outlaws Saloon. Hosting a variety of cowboy activities all week, including a live bull riding contest with competitors representing all five nearby bars, Outlaws had a bevy of pretty girls slinging suds and hanging from the stripper poles out front, but the heart of the week-long biker gig is clearly on the north side of the road. Organized rides came and went from either the Hideaway or the Roadhouse daily. The pandemonium on the patio at the Hideaway was nonstop. Sexy barmaids came from across the country to work the week and tended to break into fun frolicking in between serving thirsty partiers with a nod and a smile. Now and then they hang upside down to twirl hula hoops. Down at the Roadhouse everybody’s favorite hunky dude, Sloan, provided a little eye candy for the ladies. Famous for his antics while bartending in Sturgis, it was fun to see him bare-chested behind the bar in the sunny southwest, too. We ventured even further down Cave Creek Road and found a new shop a little past the Dairy Queen. Cowboyz and Engines, owned by Debbie Lebsock and her personable pup Knucklehead, is an apparel shop for both guys and gals and was worth the trek if you’re into new or vintage clothing, but getting to pet the charming bulldog who seemed content to just lay at visitors’ feet with their shoe in his mouth was pretty cool, too.
Just as they have done for the last 20 years, friends Jay Allen and Hideaway/Roadhouse owner Mark Bradshaw led a pack of happy riders that stretched off into the horizon for a day of shenanigans in the desert during the Gypsy Tour on Friday. Later that afternoon the little town was awash in a sea of yellow as a pack of Hamsters cruised in and dropped their kickstands at the Roadhouse for a bit of libation while checking out the big wheels entered in the Sickest Bagger show judged by notorious bagger builder John Shope. Both first- and second-place bikes in the bagger category were won by the same builder. The owner of Infamous Customs in Phoenix, Arizona, Mike Battista, was invited on stage by first place winner/bike owner Chad Huston to share in the excitement of receiving the award for his beautiful build as John Shope handed over both cash and a plaque.
One of the aforementioned Hamsters, famous East Coast custom builder Dave Perewitz, hosted the Show and Shine Paint Show that topped off the week of fun on Saturday. Dave Perewitz and his land speed record-holding daughter Jodi each made a beautifully-painted top award for the show. The last day of the whoop-it-up, the ever-popular “Sunday Funday,” was the drawing for the raffle bike built by Trask Performance, which went to Dean from Ohio. Although he wasn’t present for the drawing, the lucky guy hopped a plane to Arizona immediately to claim his badass bike.
If any of the staff from either the Hideaway or the Roadhouse was wiped out from the week of wicked partying, they never let on. Pleasant and patient, the staff continued to serve patrons with a smile. Down the road, however, parking lot trolls were much less endearing and focused on harassing drivers for trying to park in the lot at the Horny Toad restaurant, which is a bummer because that place had friendly servers delivering killer grub to the rustic tables. I’d opted to utilize the shuttle from my room at the CIVANA resort to avoid traffic issues but the shuttle driver was harangued for just pulling into their lot, even though he was dropping off guests with a recommendation to dine there. Later, the same guys accused me of parking a Prius in the lot and were not convinced when I denied owning such a thing, which would have been humorous if it weren’t so irritating. As consolation I took a trip through the Buddy Stubbs H-D boutique to get one of their cool Cave Creek Harley shirts and moseyed on back to hangout where I knew I’d be welcomed: the Hideaway Grill, where there are no strangers.
Cave Creek understands the culture!
As always, Felicia Morgan makes me feel like I was there. She does a great job of capturing the event in interesting pictures. It makes me long for the actual experience but I guess that will have to wait for next year…..
Wow, never seen so many bikes in the road before. It was so much fun reading your story, it makes me want to go and see the event myself. The photos are amazing, it makes me feel that i was actually in there. Cant wait to visit and experience this glorious event next year and meet some of the biker’s myself.