It's been far too long since we've been on an extended BMW ride, and this trip checks off several boxes: Mike just retired from AFLAC, we're seeing our kids in Denver, heading to Portland OR so I can run another marathon (state #49!) and stopping to see friends along the way. We're not sure exactly how many days we'll be on the road, which adds to the fun.
We loaded up the BMW and left home at 6:30am to try and beat the heat, which basically worked since the temperature only hit 100 degrees for a minute or two late this afternoon. Thank goodness for overcast skies!
We've seen a wide variety of wildlife on our motorcycle rides, but this is the first time we've seen bighorn sheep in Arizona. They weren't afraid of us at all, waiting patiently while we turned around so we could take photos.
I'm always amazed at the changing scenery when we ride through Arizona: tall pine forests, wide open pastureland, scrub brush, multicolored rock formations, and even irrigated farmland.
We stopped for lunch in St. John's, the county seat of Apache County along the Little Colorado River. We saw the sign for El Camino's restaurant and were glad we went a couple of blocks out of our way to enjoy the friendly staff, quick service, and great Mexican food.
Our original plan was to ride through the Lukachukai Mountains, down into the Red Valley in New Mexico, and past Shiprock, the 'winged rock' sacred to the Navajo. We turned right when we should have stayed straight, and enjoyed riding through Narbona Pass, which winds through the caldera of an extinct volcano.
At the top of the 8,721' pass the temperature dropped to 77 degrees, and then rose sharply to the high 90's and flirted with 100 degrees as we descended the winding road with 100 mile views across New Mexico. We ended our 442 mile ride 9 hours after we started, spending the night in Farmington, NM.
Tomorrow we head for Colorado and the Rocky Mountains!