The trip to Bagdad is a motorcycle rider's dream: 2-line paved road with very little traffic, winding sweepers, tight turns, and open countryside in all directions.
Mike and I headed out from Prescott at 9:45am, planning to meet Barb, Jay, and their friends Patty, Steve and Doug in Kirkland. We rode southwest on Iron Springs Road through Skull Valley and met up with everyone at the intersection of Route 96 across from the Kirkland Bar. Iron Springs is a popular road for people on two wheels: motorcycles and bicycles, but today we had the road almost to ourselves.
Saguaro cactus are found only in the Sonoran Desert. They don't grow in Prescott due to the elevation and colder temperature, but we see them as we head south into Phoenix or west into Bagdad. Saguaros live to be 150-200 years old, and it's amazing that these 40-60' tall cactus thrive for so long in the desert.
Route 96 is the only paved road into Bagdad, although periodically a dirt road snaked off to the side. It's about 30 miles from Kirland to Bagdad, and along the way we saw isolated ranches, dry streams, piles of huge granite rocks, and a rolling countryside backed by mountain peaks and mesas.
We ate lunch at the Bagdad Diner where the hamburgers come with two meat patties and a huge pile of French fries. It's a favorite stop for motorcycle riders who always seem to plan their rides around places to eat.
The Diner is the kind of place where the waitress jokes around with the customers and everyone immediately feels at home. Today is Jay's birthday, and everyone in the Diner joined in as we sang Happy Birthday.
We sat and told motorcycle stories after finishing our meal, and then continued the conversation outside talking about future motorcycle trips, the twistiest roads in Arizona, past bikes we've owned, and bikes we dream about owning in the future.
We retraced our route back home, enjoying the twisting, climbing roads and the warm February day. We'll stay in touch with everyone and look forward to more days spent riding our BMW through Arizona.