Let me start out by saying Arizona hwy. 89A between Cottonwood and Prescott kicks ass, takes names, then kicks ass again just to make sure you get it. How about a dozen 10mph switchbacks in a row with large drop offs? Or the town of Jerome perched on a steep hillside with narrow twisty roads and hundreds of tourists walking around? Or a 3,000 ft. elevation gain in 10 miles (see switchbacks above)? Now I know why people talk about this road. Luckily for me I rode south to Prescott, then turned right around rode it back north, so I got to do it twice!!
There were no opportunities to stop for pictures, but I did get some in Jerome:
The town reminded me of Italian villages carved into the side of mountains.
After all that it was a quick fill up of gas (53 mpg) and north to Sedona. They call it the red rock country and you can see here why that is:
This was taken 20 miles south of Sedona and the red rocks are appearing. One of you scientists/geologists can correct or confirm this, but I believe the red rocks were formed during the Iron Age, hence the rust. Yes yes?? 🙂
Sedona – I don’t know what to say. I’m sure somewhere inside there is a real town but all I could see was thousands of tourists (and I’m not exaggerating, it was nuts!), buses, cars and bikes everywhere, and honestly, nothing that looked very interesting. Even with a motorcycle there wasn’t a place to park so I just rode on. Maybe it’s better on weekdays or I just didn’t spend the time required to see past the glitz, but I had the feeling of a town that’s way over-sold.
The road out of town was crowded, narrow, and full of motels, cabins, campgrounds, and parks that charge entry fees. I was hoping to find a place to pull over and chill but it wasn’t going to happen. I did get a picture of some of the rocks:
Don’t get me wrong, the valley where Sedona’s located is beautiful. The rocks and soil are bright red and the mountain’s back right up to it.
After Sedona and such the road began to get interesting again. The traffic thinned out and the switchbacks appeared again. It got a little dicey in places with gravel and sand on the road but my bike held in there and gave me the confidence to push harder. YEE-HAW! After a long climb I pulled off at an overlook and got this pics of the road:
That’s four layers of roads if you look closely, and here’s where the road came from:
From there it was quick jaunt into Flagstaff and after a short nap I went exploring in downtown. It’s a classic scene from any small town with a large college, lots of shops, restaurants, bars, live music on the streets, and lots and lots of hippies. Sorry, Bellingham, but Flagstaff’s hippies put yours to shame.
Tomorrow I head east to Snowflake to visit my aunt Jeanne and her husband Cas – how long has it been since I saw Cas, 15 years?? I have no idea how I’m getting there, it’s either on the interstate (boo!) or back track the way I came and spend the whole day cruising 2 lane roads. Guess I’ll figure it out depending on when I wake up and get going.