Thursday, August 8, 2013

First Arizona ride

The view as we rode west from our house in Prescott, AZ is a lot different from the view we were used to in Vermont.

We're still waiting for our furniture and household goods to be delivered, so with time on our hands and a sunny day, we headed north on the BMW to Jerome, a quirky old mining town dangerously perched on the side of a mountain. Our plan was to take route 89A, which we knew wound through several twisty hairpin turns before reaching Jerome.

We thought we knew how to reach 89A, but spent 20 minutes circling Prescott and ending up back where we started. Not a bad ride since we're new to the area, but we still wanted to get to Jerome. We let the GPS take over and found 89A, the mountains, hairpin turns, steep ascents, and zooming downhill twisties. It's only about 30 miles from Prescott to Jerome, and the landscape changes drastically during that short stretch. We started in the flat valley just north of Prescott and as we entered the mountains tall pine trees covered the slopes and we spotted numerous dry creek beds.

We wandered the narrow, one-way streets in Jerome stopping in art galleries, treating ourselves to ice cream, and reading many of the signs that describe the wild life when Jerome was in its heyday in the late 1800's. Jerome was the fourth largest town in Arizona with 15,000 people, all due to copper mining. According to the historical signs, saloons, brothels and hotels enjoyed a brisk trade. Today about 500 people live in Jerome, catering to tourists.

We just rode 3200 miles from Vermont to Arizona, spending 5-10 hours each day on the bike. It felt good to take a short ride to a nearby destination, exploring the roads and towns around our new home.

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