Monday, June 15, 2015

Ride north along Lake Mary Road

It was 82 degrees at home Sunday morning at 10am when we decided to escape the heat and head north - sort of. Riding north typically means the weather will be a bit cooler, but then we also have the changes in elevation that actually make the temperatures go UP in some spots even when heading north.

We rode north on I-17 to 260 East (one of the warm spots is Camp Verde until we start climbing up on the Mogollon Rim) past scrubby bushes and trees and looming rock formations that make the road twisty and fun.

We headed northeast on 87 for a short few miles until we turned left onto Lake Mary Road at Clint's Well in the Coconino National Forest. Lake Mary Road winds and twists through Ponderosa pine forests, periodically opening up for a small meadow.

Lake Mary Road is a two-lane paved road used primarily by motorcycles out for a fun day and campers heading to one of a variety of different campgrounds.

There are two lakes along Lake Mary Road. We first came to Mormon Lake, the largest natural lake in Arizona. It was more a shallow puddle than a lake, because the water comes only from snow melt and rain. Sometimes it even dries up completely, which says a lot about the moisture in Arizona, where typically the rivers are dusty sand until the monsoon season.

A few miles down the road we came to Lake Mary - and this is a real lake or more accurately, two reservoirs:  Upper and Lower Lake Mary, complete with speed boats and a sailboat.

Lake Mary Road ends up in Flagstaff at 7000' elevation, where the temperature was in the mid-70's. As we ate burritos sitting outside, the puffy white clouds turned dark and grey. We took I-17 home, riding south through a short rain squall and cool weather until the temperature reached 105 degrees around Camp Verde.

As we rode the final few miles toward home, we saw dark rain clouds all around us. Sometimes when it's hot and dry like today, the rain almost completely evaporates before it hits the ground.

We rode 230 miles over 5 hours, enjoying the wide variety of landscape and weather that Arizona offers.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Why not ride the BMW to lunch?

I can't believe I haven't posted a blog since 2014! Mike rides the BMW regularly for work, and in February we rode to Apache Junction and in March to Flagstaff, but somehow my photos were lost. Today we finally put it all together:  a ride with friends to Congress, AZ that was the site of a thriving gold mine in the late 1880's to 1928, then became a ghost town, and today is the site of Nichol's West Cafe, our destination for lunch.

We started off riding west and then south on Iron Springs Road out of Prescott toward Skull Valley on a sunny and warm day with almost no traffic to slow us down. We turned onto Yavapai County Road 15 in Kirkland, then south on State Route 89 through Peeples Valley and Yarnell.

State Route 89 at one point was the primary route between Phoenix and Prescott. Today it's a favorite for motorcycles because of the twisting, turning road that cuts through the Weaver Mountains and descends 1300' in 4 miles from Yarnell to Congress.

We ate lunch at the Nichol's West Cafe, sitting outside in their courtyard surrounded by flowers and trees.

Heading home, we retraced our path back up to Yarnell. Look closely at the photo and you'll see the road snaking up and around the mountain.

Instead of turning west toward Kirkland we continued on SR 89 through Wilhoit and into the even twistier section of 89 that runs through the Prescott National Forest between the Bradshaw and Sierra Prieta mountain ranges.

We're planning a combination of short rides, overnight trips, and hopefully a longer trip or two this summer. Stay tuned!