We ended our 3-day trip to Bisbee, AZ by riding 7 hours home to Prescott. No Black Friday shopping for us! We ate breakfast at the Bisbee Coffee Company just across from the Copper Queen Hotel so we could get a fairly early start. Everyone in Bisbee must have been out of town, because the streets were almost completely empty at 8am.
There aren't many paved roads in Arizona, and since we prefer to stay off the interstate highways as much as possible, our only option was to retrace our route from Wednesday. We rode east out of Bisbee on AZ 80, then headed north on AZ 191. It's fun to watch the names of the tiny towns: Sunizona (population around 300), Sunsites (best known because it's next to Pearce, a mining ghost town), and Cochise. Bisbee and the surrounding area are in Cochise County, named after the famous Apache chief. The ghost town of Cochise was founded in the 1880's as a railroad stop, but today has about 50 residents. Big Nose Kate, Doc Holliday's girlfriend, lived in Cochise after he died. They were part of the famous Shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, and Kate lived in Prescott. The distances in the Southwest are vast, but the people who settled here seemed to travel all over the state.
We rode 20 very windy miles east on I-10, then headed north again on AZ 191 until it intersected with AZ 70 in the Gila River Basin. The 649 mile long Gila River starts in New Mexico and runs west across southern Arizona to the Colorado River in Yuma.
We rode past green irrigated fields and many cotton fields, always surrounded by mountains to the north, east and west.
We picked up AZ 188, which wound through the Superstition Mountains and past 18-mile long Roosevelt Lake, created by the Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River in 1911.
We turned north onto AZ 87, heading toward Payson in the heart of the Mogollon Rim which is the southern boundary of the Colorado Plateau. There is no flat land around Payson, and the highway twists and winds through the tall pine trees in the Tonto National Forest.
In Payson we turned onto AZ 260, continuing to wind through the mountains and forests, finally turning west toward Camp Verde. Somehow the trip home always seems to take longer the closer we get to home, and Camp Verde is only 50 miles from Prescott. These are familiar roads that we travel often, no longer needing the GPS or my written directions.
We didn't see any antelope today as we rode through the Prescott Valley grassland, so the cows will have to serve as our welcoming party.
We traveled 956 miles over the past three days, with the BMW's odometer turning over to 45,000 miles on the first day of our trip. I wonder where we'll be when we reach 50,000 miles?