2023 Karl Fox Memorial Fall Tour – Devil’s Highway

Photo of BMWs on Devil's Hiway

By Rob Anthony

This year’s BMW CCA New Mexico Chapter Karl Fox Memorial Fall Tour kicked off on lucky Friday the 13th of October, 2023. We opted for something new in joining forces with the BMW CCA Roadrunner Chapter from Phoenix for their bi-annual run of Devil’s Highway on the Arizona-New Mexico Border. 

The weekend began with a westward drive on US-60 from Socorro, winding up the foothills of the Magdalena Mountains and traversing the Plains of St. Augustine, home of the Very Large Array. We stopped for a break hoping for pie at Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town, but sadly, the plan was not to be. The eclipse brought so much tourism that Pie-O-Neer had sold out of everything! We settled for ice cream at Café Chubasco in Quemedo – not a bad consolation prize.

Photo of BMWs
The NM BMW Crew about to depart from Alpine on Saturday’s Drive.
From Left: Scott and Donnette Wagner’s ///m240i, Phil Undercuffler’s 1974 2002tii; Curtis and Andi Holloway’s ///m850i, and Rob, Christina, and Rayleigh Anthony’s 128i
(photo: Ed Burchenal)

We then continued on to the tiny town of Alpine, Arizona, which bears the nickname “the Alps of Arizona.” After checking into our accommodations at the Aspen Lodge’s rustic Bunkhouse just outside of downtown Alpine, we enjoyed a group dinner at the hot-rod themed Alpine Grill and Still

Saturday morning began with breakfast with our compatriots from the Roadrunner Chapter at the Bear Wallow Café. While we missed being in the direct path of the annular eclipse, we did get to enjoy glimpses through eclipse glasses Christina picked up from the University of New Mexico Physics Department before we left Albuquerque.

Photo of Chaptermembers observing the solar eclipse.
Scott, Rob, Phil, Andi, and Curtis view the eclipse while Rayleigh (dog) and Donnette patiently wait their turns.
(photo: Christina Anthony).

The New Mexico Chapter then prepared for the ambitious task of keeping up with Roadrunner Chapter Secretary and event organizer Steve Harris in his track-prepped 1987 325is, complete with an S52 engine (from E36 M3 fame). Immediately behind Steve was a squadron of four 2016 F87 M2s from the San Diego Chapter that had been acquired together through BMW’s now-defunct European delivery program.

Photo of an E30 BMW
Steve’s S52-swapped 1987 325is can’t be accused of “all hat no cattle.”
(photo: Ed Burchenal)

So much of having fun on these drives is having a leader who knows the route and can navigate it in a manner that is safe while allowing these cars to be exercised as the engineers intended. The first half of the drive down US-180 was a warm up of sorts as everyone did their best to keep up with Steve and the M2s.

We had lunch at Michelle’s Bar & Grill, where Michelle had opened up on Saturday just for our group. I think we all knew to save plenty of room for “dessert:” Devil’s Highway was up next. 

If you are a sports car junkie like me, there is not much better in life than hustling your car through scenic, curvy roads with Bimmer friends new and old. With over 400 turns, including 100 hairpins, the Devil’s Highway offered this experience up in spades. At the group dinner at the Foxfire at Alpine later Saturday evening, we all reminisced about our adventure on “Tail of the Dragon on Steroids,” as Steve fondly refers to it. 

We departed Alpine on Sunday morning, taking a more leisurely pace back to the Land of Enchantment. Stops included Ella’s Café in Reserve for brunch, followed by a short hike to the sandstone La Ventana Natural Arch at El Malpias National Monument, before going our separate ways home.

Thank you to the Roadrunner Chapter leadership for welcoming us to the Devil’s Highway and to all who joined in the fun! We hope to see these same familiar faces and some new ones from our chapter on next year’s Karl Fox Memorial Tour.