Sunday, July 29, 2018

Cross country BMW motorcycle trip begins!

Mike and I have been planning a cross-country trip on our BMW motorcycle for months. The goal is to ride the BMW in every one of the lower 48 states. Because we lived in Vermont before we moved to Arizona 5 years ago and we love traveling on our BMW, we only have 19 states left. However, these states are spread throughout the country. We're starting our trip on the southern route:  heading east from Arizona through the southern states all the way to Florida. Then we turn north through the east coast states and stopping in Vermont for almost a week to visit family and friends before we head west to eventually ride through the northern states. After South Dakota, we plan to ride through Colorado to visit our oldest son and then finally back home to Arizona.

We'll be gone 5-6 weeks depending on weather and whim. It's the first time we haven't had a set return date on a trip, and we're loving the freedom of taking the trip one day at a time.

Today was our first day of the trip, riding on familiar roads from Arizona to Farmington, NM.

After a short ride north on I-17, we turned east on AZ 260, riding through pine forests leading to the top of the Mogollon Rim. The benefit of starting out at 6am on a Sunday morning is that we saw very little traffic, and most of the day had the roads to ourselves - except for some of the local wildlife. Just before we turned north onto AZ 87, we saw two large female elk grazing in the forest just off the side of the highway.

The landscape changes from forest to high desert on AZ 87 north to Winslow, with long-distance views to the shadowy mountains to the north and west. Winslow is famous for being part of the Eagle's song "Take it Easy" where there is a statue 'standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona' and it's on the old Route 66 that crossed the U.S. from Chicago to Los Angeles.

From Winslow, we continued north on AZ 87 through the Navajo and Hopi reservations where we saw more horses and sheep than cars.

At Second Mesa on the Hopi Reservation we turned east on AZ 264, and then north on AZ 191 where we stopped for lunch in Chinle. The Navajo Nation covers 27,000 square miles, and the smaller 2,500 square mile Hopi Reservation is surrounded completely by the Navajo Nation. Riding through both of these reservations the miles slide by quickly because of the lack of traffic and people, plus we make great time on the lightly traveled roads.

4 years ago we discovered Indian Route 13 that winds through the Chuska Mountains between Lukachukai in Arizona and the Red Valley in New Mexico. It's one of our favorite motorcycle roads because of the steep, twisting, winding road that runs over the Buffalo Pass - our first mountain pass of our trip.

After crossing in New Mexico we rode past Shiprock, the remainder of a volcanic eruption 30 million years ago. The prominent rock formation that rises 1500' above the desert is sacred to the Navajo.

From Shiprock we left the peaceful 2-lane highways and headed north on the busier 4-lane divided highway US 491 to the town of Shiprock, then east on US 64 along the San Juan River into Farmington, our stop for the night.

Starting our cross-country trip on familiar roads gave us the opportunity to ease into the routine of motorcycle travel. Tomorrow we continue east riding through the mountains of northern New Mexico. More steep and twisty roads are in store - our favorite!


  1. Have a great time and safe travels!

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