We watched lightning and listened to thunder as monsoons rolled into Kayenta last night, glad we arrived before the rain. Today we left at 6am, saving breakfast until we reached Flagstaff to beat the monsoons that are forecasted to start in early afternoon.
Kayenta is a fairly large town of about 5000 people in the Navajo Nation. It sits at 5700' elevation about 25 miles south of Monument Valley. We rode on US 160 west out of town, with the early morning sun turning the hills a warm red.
Perhaps it was because of all the rain recently, or riding so early in the morning, but the air smelled bright and clean with a sharp, herbal freshness. I notice outside smells more on the motorcycle vs riding in a car, even when the car windows are open.
US 160 ends at US 89, where we headed south toward Flagstaff and breakfast. Flagstaff, a city of about 70,000 people, is at the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau and within the largest contiguous Ponderosa pine forest in the United States. We watched the San Francisco Peaks, high mountain peaks just outside Flagstaff, come into view as we rode closer to town.
Franciscan friars named these mountains in 1629. The Navajo call them "the summit which never melts". Humphreys is part of San Francisco Peaks, and is the highest mountain in Arizona at 12,633'.
We stopped for a quick breakfast then continued south on I-17 to home in Prescott, watching the clouds build over the mountains south of our town. We were home for about 2 hours when the monsoons hit, triggering flash flood warnings throughout our area.
We rode 1755 miles over the past week through Arizona, Colorado and Utah, stopping to visit our sons in Boulder, traveling on familiar roads and finding some new destinations. In two weeks we fly to Ireland where we'll rent a motorcycle from Celtic Rider and enjoy exploring Ireland for a few days. We'll trade hot weather and sunny skies for rain gear and more shades of green than I've ever seen.