We started in Kingman, AZ in the Mojave Desert with views of the Hualapai Mountains which range over 8,000'. Kingman is at 3336' elevation, and we wound our way through the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts with views of the shorter Aquarius Mountains at a little over 5,000'. We've been on US Route 93 since early yesterday, starting in Ely, NV. The section from Wickieup to Wickenburg is called the Joshua Tree Parkway of Arizona, and we saw fields of this gnarly, scrubby tree that Territorial Governor John Fremont called "the most repulsive tree in the vegetable kingdom" when he first saw them on a trip through the desert in 1844.
US Route 93 from Kingman to Congress
We turned north off Route 93 and headed on a winding trip up Route 89 toward home. It really is "up" because we climbed in elevation from 3000' in Congress to 4,700' in Yarnell and then even higher to over 6,000' as we rode through the Weaver Mountains into Prescott.
from Congress toward Yarnell
These are favorite roads for motorcycle riders, and we passed two groups of riders today as we twisted and curved our way through the mountains.
The wind picked up as we turned into our street, and by the time we had the bike unpacked I could hear the wind howling through the trees and around the house.
We celebrated as we saw the BMW odometer roll over to 20,000 miles on the first day of our trip. The last week runs together: did we ride up the unexpected mountain pass on the first or second day? Why does the time zone change from Mountain in Utah and Idaho to Pacific in Nevada? Is today really Tuesday? I have vivid pictures in my mind of long stretches of lonely desert with snowy mountain peaks towering over windmills in the valley, lush green parks in Boise, and friendly people in small towns when we stopped for gas or lunch. I remember the feel of the hot wind as we rode through 90 degree temperatures on a bright sunny day around Lake Mead, and the cold wind that snaked under my jacket when we crossed the snow covered mountain passes in Utah.
John Muir, one of the first promoters of preserving wilderness areas, said that "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness." I feel he would agree with me that a desert or mountain wilderness also qualifies.