Jim, I'd be in favor of the #2 plan. However, my $0.02 would be to stay in Springerville or Alpine vs. Show Low. Getting hotels in Alpine can be difficult without a lot of advance notice. I've stayed in Sportsman's Lodge and Tal-Wi-Wi and both are good. I usually stay at the Best Western in Springerville (actually in Eager), also a good place. Again, early notice necessary.
Staying at Springerville or Alpine takes about 1.5-2 hours off of a loop on Saturday.
BTW, while we're in the neighborhood, be sure to ride FS-249 from Alpine to Big Lake, then AZ-261 from Big Lake to Springerville. Some exceptionally tasty tarmac that most folks don't know about.
Last edited by bbolesaz; 08-12-2019 at 02:45 PM.