Wednesday, September 5, 2018

39 days, 8723 miles and 33 states on the BMW

There's a certain symmetry to today's ride, our last day on the BMW on our 39 day cross-country motorcycle trip. 5 years ago we moved from Vermont to Arizona and decided to ride our BMW across the country for the move, because when would we ever have this type of opportunity again?

5 years later, and we just finished an even longer cross-country motorcycle trip.

We spent the last night of our move 5 years ago in Flagstaff, and did the same on this trip so that we could miss the monsoon rains that develop later in the day and also have time to celebrate before the reality of being home with laundry, grocery shopping, taking care of the lawn, and the day-to-day chores took over. We had an outstanding dinner last night at Shift, a new restaurant in Flagstaff owned by husband and wife team Dara and Joe Rodger where we sampled a variety of small plates with amazing flavors and presentation and enjoyed watching the couple as they cooked.

5 years ago we took what we thought would be the scenic route from Flagstaff to Prescott and ended up on a narrow, potholed dirt forest road that thankfully took us to I-17 before we were hopelessly lost or out of gas. Today we traveled south on I-17 straight from Flagstaff, enjoying the scenery on this familiar highway.

5 years ago we marveled at the views between Flagstaff and Prescott that change from ponderosa pine covered mountains at 7,000' elevation in Flagstaff, down a steep 5-6% grade over 18 miles long to around 4,000' in Sedona and 3,000' in Camp Verde, and then climbing back to 5,500' in Prescott.

5 years ago we congratulated ourselves on a one-way cross-country motorcycle trip, looking forward to learning about our new home in the Southwest and discovering fantastic year-round motorcycle riding. Today we're thinking about our circular trip across the country and back and where future motorcycle journeys might lead us.

The odometer rolled over to 11,000 miles when we were less than 10 miles from home. 11,000 miles in the past 5 1/2 months seems incredible until we think about the 250-350 miles that we've traveled day after day during the past 5 weeks. The miles add up: we traveled to places we've never been and revisited familiar areas, visited family and friends in 4 states, crossed time zones at least 10 times, were so hot and sweating we felt like we were riding in a convection oven being blasted by a hairdryer along the Gulf Coast, put on every piece of gear we had to stay warm as we crested 10,000' passes in the Rocky Mountains, endured miles of straight roads through flat farmland and prairies, twisted and curved our way through mountain ranges whenever we could find them, waved to hundreds of other motorcycle riders, and looked forward to what each new day would bring.

Riding two-up on a BMW is our favorite way to travel, whether it's a 2-hour ride for lunch or a weeks-long ride across the country. There are miles more road in front of us and more memories waiting to be created.

Here is the route we took today.