Saturday, May 29, 2021

Back on the road in 2021

We started our first long-distance motorcycle trip in almost a year today, and it felt fantastic to pack up the BMW and ride 376 miles from our home in Prescott, Arizona to Farmington, New Mexico. It's the first day of a 2-week trip that will take us to the Denver area to visit our sons, South Dakota, and then - well, we're not exactly sure where we'll head next. 

We headed north from home on AZ 89, picking up I-40E for a few miles to Flagstaff where we once again turned the BMW north on US 89. We were a bit surprised to see snow at the north-facing top of the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff. Named for the Franciscan friars who were doing missionary work in this area in the early 1600's, the San Francisco Peaks are a volcanic mountain range with the highest point in Arizona - Mt. Humphrey's at 12,633'.

We rode through the Navajo Nation the majority of the day, turning east on US 160 and stopping at a Subway in Kayenta for lunch. Due to COVID-19 restrictions there is no in-person dining, so we found a spot of shade outside and enjoyed our lunch.

We can't remember the last time we rode on 160E past Kayenta, and enjoyed watching the changing scenery and the far-off distant vistas.

We picked up US 64E and then just a few miles further crossed the state line into New Mexico. We're still in the Navajo Nation, which covers over 27,000 square miles in four states:  Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. 

 There was almost no traffic on this stretch of asphalt, and we were excited to see the odometer turn over to 30,000 miles. We've had the BMW for a bit over 3 years and are looking forward to many thousands more miles.

We passed a few herds of cattle and saw a small herd of horses off to the side of the highway taking shelter from the mid-day sun under the rock overhang in a wash. There weren't as many motorcycles as we expected, and much of the time we enjoyed the road to ourselves. Riding through the Southwest is a lesson in vast spaces, long distances between often very tiny towns, and lots of open road. Tomorrow we'll head into Colorado and are looking forward to the Rockies.

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