Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sunday morning motorcycle ride

 We love going on weeks-long motorcycle trips where we explore new areas and are never quite sure what might be around the next corner. Short rides through familiar areas have a completely different feel, where we're out simply for the joy of being on the BMW, enjoying the sun on our face and the wind at our back. Today we rode 128 miles to Wickenburg, Arizona and back. We didn't actually get to downtown Wickenburg, and instead rode into the Wickenburg Ranch development, turned around, and headed home.

We rode out of Prescott southeast on Iron Springs Road/Yavapai County route 10 through Skull Valley, a small ranching community that used to have a fantastic diner, which unfortunately is now closed. The post office seems to be the most thriving spot in town. We continued on AZ 89S through Peeples Valley, another ranching community and home to Maughn Ranches that spans over 512,000 acres. 

Just past Peeples Valley we rode through Yarnell, site of the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park commemorating the 19 firefighters who died here in June 2013 fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire. It's a rocky, remote, forbidding area and the hike itself is quite strenuous, reinforcing the extremely difficult and hazardous task our forest firefighters face every day. 89S descends 1300' in four miles on a twisting road that snakes down the mountain into the valley.

The haze in the valley is due to the smoke from the wildfires in California, a sobering reminder of the high fire risk this very dry summer. We rode a few miles in the valley, then turned around at Wickenburg Ranch and headed back up the mountains into the cooler air in Yarnell, passing several saguaro cactus that thrive in the hot, dry, lower elevations in Arizona.

A sunny day, bright blue skies, cooler temperatures and twisty roads make this one of our favorite short motorcycle rides and lead to dreaming about longer rides to come.