Can't make South Dakota this year? Cheer up: Motorcycle rights organization A.B.A.T.E. (American Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education) presents Plan B -- "Too Broke for Sturgis," a weekend of motorcycle fun, Friday, July 25, through Sunday, July 27, at Mormon Lake. Motor up on your own, or ride with the East Valley A.B.A.T.E. gang, leaving at 8 a.m. Friday from 1138 East Campus Drive in Tempe. And don't worry if you're not a member. Registered nurse Roe Born describes the group as "very, very friendly. People let their hair down (literally!) and have a great time. We're just a bunch of people with a passion for riding -- just like for needlepoint." Well, maybe not just like. We bet Granny never played Too Broke bike games like "The Weenie Bite" (like it sounds) or "The Old Man's Home," wherein the contestant jumps out of a window onto his bike and speeds away.
Even if you don't stay for the weekend, join the poker run at 10 a.m. Saturday, and bare what you dare for the tattoo contest on Saturday night. Born's husband Don wears a patch on his riding vest that says, "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand." If you need no explanation, ride on.
Per-person cost is $10 per day, $20 for the weekend; couples pay $30 for the weekend. Food and lodging are extra, and camping is available. Bring bucks for shopping: Vendors hawk bike accessories, lingerie and all things leather. For more event details, call Mary K. Biggs at 602-751-3180. To learn more about A.B.A.T.E., see www.abateofaz.com. - Kim Toms
Native writer signs his latest book
Dubbed one of the top writers for the 21st century by The New Yorker, Sherman Alexie is a whirlwind of creativity. So far, his résumé includes award-winning short stories, novels and poetry, filmmaking (including the screenplay for Smoke Signals), and even standup comedy. Alexie's latest release is the critically acclaimed Ten Little Indians, a collection of sarcastic, humorous short stories about a variety of Native American characters living urban lives -- much like the writer himself, who was raised on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington, and now calls Seattle home. Alexie discusses his book at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 24, at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. For details call 480-730-0205. - Michele Laudig
Glide through the summer heat indoors
As summer temperatures climb into the triple digits, why not make a triple play? Head to the Polar Ice Center, and go aerial with a triple axel or triple lutz. Looking to stick closer to the ice? Opt for a sit-spin or a leisurely glide around the rink.
Adults have the opportunity to get in some lunchtime exercise from noon to 1:20 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, while escaping the sweltering heat. There are two locations at which to chill -- 15829 North 83rd Avenue in Peoria and 7225 West Harrison in Chandler. Ice time is $7, including skate rental. For more information, call 480-598-9400 or visit www.polariceent.com. - Eric Schandel
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Science fiction an fantasy have landed
Ever feel like going out to slay a dragon, cast a spell, rescue a maiden or cleave a skull with a rusty ax? If so, you might want to attend the 13th annual HexaCon Science Fiction and Fantasy Gaming Convention, set for Friday, July 25, through Sunday, July 27, at the Embassy Suites at I-17 and Greenway Road.
For $25, hustlers of all ages can engage each other in board, card, computer, role-playing, live action and other competitions. Even chess.
"This is something you can do for life," says event coordinator Ivan Erickson. "Board games in the past were linear in nature, but these games teach diplomacy, strategy, negotiating and other life skills." Not to mention a bit of skull-cleaving. Visit hexa con.org for details. - Henry Cabot Beck