Sunday, October 15, 2017

50,000 miles on our BMW R1200GS

Today we rode our 50,000th mile on our BMW R1200GS.

We started from home with the odometer at 49,972 and decided to mark the occasion of hitting 50,000 miles by riding out on Williamson Valley Road. The north/south road is paved and busy with local traffic near Prescott, but as we rode north the houses thinned out with views of Granite Mountain to the west. This used to be ranch country, and today many of the ranches have been developed into subdivisions with names like Inscription Canyon, American Ranch, and Talking Stick. My favorite, however, is Hootenanny Holler, which sounds like it belongs in the mountains of Appalachia instead of the Arizona high desert.

The subdivisions end and Williamson Valley Road turns to dirt, continuing to wind north 45 miles toward Seligman. Williamson Valley is named after Lt. Robert Stockton Williamson who was a government surveyor in this area in the 1850's. This is truly ranch country, with no houses or structures except for long lines of fences and a lone windmill as far as we could see in every direction.

About 4 miles down the surprisingly well-maintained dirt road we stopped to celebrate our 50,000th mile. We purchased the BMW in July 2012 in Albany, New York when we were living in Vermont. We rode to Kentucky in 2013 and 1 month later across the country to Arizona when we moved here. In the past 4 years we've ridden through every western state, many of them more than once. We rode through a hailstorm in southern Arizona, across snowy mountain passes in Colorado, along the Pacific Coast Highway, across the Mississippi River, through more midwestern cornfields than we'd like to remember, during hard rain downpours, on days so hot I felt like I was melting inside my motorcycle gear and on other days so cold I couldn't feel my hands even inside my heated gloves.

Mike's thinking about a new motorcycle in the near future, and until then we'll continue to put more miles on the R1200GS, looking for the next curving road with no cars in front of us and the beautiful countryside all around.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

BMW motorcycle ride for lunch - and more

What to do on a sunny Sunday morning in October when we don't have anything on our schedule? A motorcycle ride to Cottonwood for lunch!

We ride the winding, twisting hairpin turns on 89A into Jerome several times each year because the narrow 2-lane road through the Black Hills mountain range in the Prescott National Forest is a gorgeous route made for motorcycles. Tall pine trees cover the hills, stone walls tower over the side of the highway, and off in the distance we can see the high cliffs of the Mogollon Plateau.

89A winds into Jerome, an old copper mining town precariously perched on the side of a mountain. On the way into Jerome we followed two slow-moving cars so we had to content ourselves with poking along while we watched the scenery. On the way home, however, Mike took advantage of the clear road in front of us to zoom through the hairpin turns.


Cottonwood lies in the Verde Valley along the Verde River, one of the largest perennial streams (meaning that it has water all year; many streams and rivers in Arizona and the Southwest are dry except during the rainy season) in Arizona. Our favorite lunch spot is Bocce where we like to sit outside while we enjoy the Sunday lunch special of 1/2 pizza and house salad. Today we watched numerous Corvettes of various vintages drive up and down the main street, part of the local Verde Valley Vettes poker run.

Because it was such a beautiful day, we took the long way home on the old Black Canyon Highway. Originally built in the 1870's, it was the main stagecoach route from Phoenix to Prescott. Today part of it is incorporated into I-17, and there is about an 8-mile section that runs from the Prescott Country Club subdivision in Dewey-Humboldt to the La Quinta Inn in Prescott. Parts of the road are still dirt, but probably not as bumpy as during the stagecoach days. The BMW is built for off-road riding and it's always fun to get off the pavement and ride on dirt.

Arizona-blue skies, mountains off in the distance, hairpin turns, dirt 'highway' - today's ride reminded us of why we love living in Arizona.