We started a week-long trip to Colorado to visit our kids today, riding from our home in Prescott, Arizona to Cortez, Colorado. It's our first time wearing our new helmets; a high-vis yellow Bell helmet for me, and a Scorpion helmet with high-vis yellow stripes for Mike. No one is going to be able to say they didn't see us!
We started at 6:30am to beat the heat, heading north and east. After a few short, quick miles on I-17 we turned east on 260 at Camp Verde, riding through the pines in the Coconino National Forest as we climbed up the Mogollon Rim.
There was almost no traffic on this Wednesday morning, which made for fun, fast riding - until we were stopped for road construction on 87N.
Mike had to ride slower than usual due to loose gravel on the road for several miles, before the construction ended and we rode into Winslow. A couple of short miles on I-40 and we turned north again on 87, riding through the Navajo Nation and then into the Hopi Nation.
This is very sparsely settled land with nothing in view for miles and miles. The Hopi Nation covers 1.5 million acres, and there are only 12 villages within the entire Nation. The Navajo Nation is much larger and is located in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.
Our route took us from 87N to 264E, when we did a happy dance as the odometer rolled over to 48,000 miles. We purchased the BMW 5 years ago, but only rode 6000 miles the first year. The last 4 years we've averaged 10,500 miles per year - and we're ready to do more!
It's monsoon season in Arizona, which means our normally bright-blue, cloudless skies are covered in large, puffy white clouds that can quickly turn into thunderstorms and downpours of 2-4" of rain per hour. We were lucky today and enjoyed only the puffy white clouds.
We rode for 6 hours before stopping for lunch in Chinle on 191N because there simply aren't many places to eat when you're riding through northeastern Arizona. The stunning landscape makes up for the lack of towns, with mesas, rock formations,and even a horse grazing by the side of the highway to keep us interested.
We rode past the Four Corners Monument, the only place in the United States where 4 states come together in one point: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Just a few short miles later we crossed the San Juan River, turned east on 160, and rode into Cortez, CO, our stop for the night.
We're staying at the Retro Inn, a fun local motel with a statue of Elvis sitting on a bench out front. Tomorrow we continue riding northeast, heading toward Salida, CO. Keep your fingers crossed we don't encounter thunderstorms!