On Wednesday morning I got the bike off the trailer for the second ride of the week. SR 53 is a nice high-desert scenic road, and like most roads through the Southwestern US interior, it meanders largely devoid of traffic through the desert foothills and a few small towns. On the way El Morro National Monument is famous for Native American petroglyphs and name-and-date carvings by various travelers and explorers who passed through the area. Dates carved read from 1605 into the mid 1800s, but the petroglyphs certainly predate these. What looked to be an El Morro tarantula walked by, and I got him to pose for a pic.
Near the Arizona border we got rain, which soon became sleet. At first I thought it was gravel on the road…until the ice crystals started pelting me. Joe later told me that he realized what the “white stuff” was when he saw a truck going in the other direction covered in ice. At that point he looked back to catch me frantically flashing my bright lights and turn signals, and though he couldn’t hear me, I was also yelling, “Joe, pull the car over man, pull the car over!” When riding I usually try to deal with the weather as a part of the experience, but draw the line at ice on the road. I was very glad I had the option of putting the bike back on the trailer. SR 53 becomes SR 61 over the Arizona border, and leads to Hwy 191 north and back to I-40. After a short detour through the Petrified National Forest we headed on to Flagstaff and got a room at the Courtyard by Marriott and dinner at a restaurant next door.
The following day was the best riding of the week. West of Flagstaff there is an original section of Route 66 (the Mother Road!) that runs for about 90 miles and loops north from the interstate through the Aubrey Cliffs and the southern end of the Hualapai Indian Reservation. Taking I-40 about 55 miles west from Flagstaff, we got to the exit for Historic Route 66 just before Seligman and visited the tourist town as we entered Route 66 there. It’s well done and set up to have a little fun, and worth the stop. We pulled the car and trailer over to a wide road shoulder, and after taking a few minutes to clean up the bike from the previous day’s ice storm (it’s bad form to ride a dirty bike on Route 66, right?) I rode on to Kingman and then north on Highway 93 towards Hoover Dam.
Both Route 66 and Hwy 93 are magnificent roads. The high desert and mountains take on the colors of the minerals that make them up—mountains layered red and orange iron oxide, yellow limestone, and blue carbon-based minerals. Combined with the surrounding green of pine trees and scrub, it makes for some simply amazing scenery.
We stopped the entourage (motorcycle leading car and trailer) at Hoover Dam, to look at it, walk over it, and take it all in. Simply put, you have to see the Hoover Dam to comprehend the how massive the structure is, the astounding engineering feat it was to build it, and the gigantic scale of the place. Photos may give you an idea, but unless you see it in 3-D, you cannot get a sense of the phenomenal achievement that is the Hoover Dam.