I used to feel like I didn#8217;t know Schit. And now that I know Schit, my life is so much more enriched! Im talking about Jack Schit, of course, our host for Arizona Bike Week, which I attended during the first weekend in April. And if you ever feel like you don#8217;t know Schit, you should check out Jack. He is the biker comedian and host at places like the Broken Spoke Saloon in Sturgis and the Dirty Dog Saloon in Scottsdale during Arizona Bike Week. Jack can pack a room full of people and keep them laughing and constantly entertained. Staying at his sprawling ranch-style pool home in Mesa, Ariz., was no exception.
Jack and his high school sweetheart and wife, Diane, already share their home with two blue heelers and a gray parrot, but for Arizona Bike Week, they put up me and my boyfriend, Mark, and my pals Qian and Masyn. They also hosted a revolving cast of visitors, like friends Bean#8217;re, Lola, and Teach and his beautiful wife, Amy, not to mention guys needing to borrow trailers to rescue their broken-down choppers#8212;a daily occurrence.
Having just moved to the Colorado Rockies this year, I couldn#8217;t wait to ride some of my favorite roads once the snow started melting. I figured Arizona Bike Week would be the perfect season opener, and along with Mark, Qian and Mason, I planned an excursion from our Hacienda Hideaway, through the red rock mountains of Utah, and down to where the sun always shines. My longtime friend Genevieve has lived out in Montana for years now, and she warned me that it might not be springtime yet, but we remained hopeful until the day we had to leave. On the morning of our departure, snow flurries deterred our group from riding, and we were forced to trailer our bikes through Utah. Near the border of Arizona, we pulled into a familiar place I#8217;d stayed at before while filming #8220;Motorcycle Women#8221; for the Discovery Channel.
When we woke up the next day, the sun was shining and the weather looked promising, so we unloaded our bikes and left our trailers in Mexican Hat. We took off down my favorite lonely highway through Monument Valley and stopped to enjoy the views and take photos in the same place where, nearly 10 years before, helicopters had flown me and five other women to while filming the #8220;Motorcycle Women#8221; documentary. The crew had filmed us going back and forth and back and forth a dozen times on that picture-perfect stretch of highway.
I think we had about 20 minutes of riding perfection before we realized that the temperature in Monument Valley was only about 38 degrees. By the time we got into Kayenta, less than an hour down the road, we were wearing every piece of clothing we#8217;d brought, including rain pants and Ugg boots!
When we got to Jack#8217;s place in Mesa, we were happy to feel the late-day sun still warming the whole valley. Life within the compound inside Jack#8217;s walls extends well into the night, as he closes down the bar and usually has an entourage with him afterward. Even a girl who tries to get to bed early cannot sleep through the storytelling and laughter that goes on into the wee hours. So mornings begin slowly at the #8220;Schit Zoo,#8221; or as slowly as they can with the variety of noises his parrot emulates. The dead battery of a smoke detector, the ring of a telephone, or #8220;Hey, Jack!#8221;#8212;all this coming from the parrot until Jack actually wakes up, and then you hear a variety of mumbling as Jack tries to talk the parrot into going back to bed.
Arizona Bike Week as an event had its strong and its weak points. First of all, the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Mesa area is large and spread out, it#8217;s hot (or at least it was this week, with temps hovering unseasonably in the 90s), and its freeways are crowded. I don#8217;t go to a bike rally to fight traffic#8212;I go to get away from it. There were obviously spectacular day rides in all directions, but the event location itself was chaotic, with friends spread out all over the city, and connecting became a hassle.
The admission price was $40 for the Wednesday through Sunday event, and if you were planning to attend every day and go to the daily concerts, that might be a bargain. But if you were like us and wanted to spend the bulk of the time riding with friends, $40 seemed like a lot to pay for a few hours spent walking around and checking out the venue. We decided it was worth it to see my friend, the always-awesome musician Jasmine Cain, play, and to visit Diva Amy#8217;s bedazzled Team Diva booth and then powwow with my Hoka Hey pals at their teepee. The event was just starting to pick up as the sun was setting, and Heart was preparing to take the stage after Jasmine.
We spent our days poking through nearby ghost towns and local hot spots. We interfered while watching gunfights, locked one another in outhouses, and were hung for misbehaving among outlaws.
We rode the local desert and mountain back roads that our host suggested. I wanted hairpin turns and we found them! We rode past crystal-blue lakes and stopped for lunch in a local hot spot called Tortilla Flats. We only had one minor breakdown, and that was when Qian#8217;s bike apparently experienced some type of spontaneous combustion in the wiring of her controls. By the time I figured out that she was not behind me, four guys had come to the rescue, taped the wires back together, and sent her on her way. There are benefits to being a woman rider. Every night we watched a red-sky desert sunset that was breathtaking.
We spent our nights at the Dirty Dog until the wee hours, although I did sneak out to Cave Creek one night to have dinner at a cowboy saloon with my mom and her husband, Marshall, who drove up from Green Valley, Ariz., to spend some time with us. My mom still tries to pretend that I don#8217;t have a motorcycle, so please keep my secret. She just thinks I dress weird. She cries if she sees my bike and offers to send me plane tickets to bike rallies. Mark and Genevieve joined us, and we ate and visited in a quiet back room while cowboys played Deliverance music and hoards of girls line danced on the dance floor.
The Dirty Dog was wall-to-wall biker madness, complete with scantily clad girls dancing on the bars, a rockin’ band, and our host with the most, Jack Schit, on the mic making sure everybody was laughing and having a good time. And I must say, he’s pretty darn good at that!
So the next time someone says, “You don’t know Jack Schit,” well, I’ll beg their pardon, because for years it was true—I didn’t know Schit! But now I do, I truly do. I mean, I really, really do! Maybe more than I need to!