Sunday, September 23, 2018

A BMW ride in search of aspens

It's the end of September and we thought we might see the changing leaf colors of the aspen trees in Flagstaff. No Fall colors yet, but we had a beautiful ride through the ponderosa pine forests along the Mogollon Rim.

One of our favorite rides is on Lake Mary Road into Flagstaff, and today didn't disappoint. A dam on Walnut Creek forms Lake Mary, named after Mary Riordan, a daughter of wealthy lumber barons who built the lake in 1905 as a water supply for Flagstaff. There wasn't much water today in the reservoir, and no water at all in Mormon Lake. Unfortunately, Mormon Lake is the largest natural lake in Arizona, and the fact that it has no water today, at the end of the rainy monsoon season, says a lot about the drought in the Southwest.

As we rode closer to Flagstaff the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountains in Arizona, started to come into view.

Our goal today in search of changing aspen leaf colors was the Flagstaff ski area, the Snowbowl. Skiing started here in 1938 at 9,200' elevation at the base lodge with chair lifts taking skiers to 11,500'.

We saw plenty of aspen trees on the climbing, twisting 7 mile road to the base lodge.

The view from the highest point of the road to the ski area is incredible, and a perfect spot for a photo of the BMW.

Today was the first time I wore the new Viking Cycle Ironborn women's textile motorcycle jacket on a ride, and overall I liked the comfortable fit and all the pockets. On the trip home from Flagstaff the temperatures rose to 98 degrees and even with the jacket vents open I was hot and sweating. However, in those temperatures I most likely would have been just as hot wearing my old Olympia jacket with mesh panels for ventilation. Thanks to Viking Cycle for sending me the jacket to review!

We spent 5 hours on the road and covered 267 miles in a large circle in north-central Arizona. Check out our route here. Even in this relatively small area we experienced a wide range of terrain as we traveled from the high desert in Prescott, through ponderosa pine forests, climbed to the higher elevation in Flagstaff, wound our way up to the Snowbowl in the San Francisco Peaks, then descended 6,000' into the green Verde River valley until we finally climbed back to Prescott. What a fun way to spend a Sunday!

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