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  • Writer's pictureJim Clarahan

Almost there, just 80-miles to go

Rewinding to where the first blog of the Ride 4 Dray Route 66 trip left off, the next 5 days covered a meager 882 miles from Flagstaff AZ to San Bernardino CA. But BIG things do come in small packages, or in this case, relatively short rides. Fun twisty roads, elevation changes from near sea level to over 9000 feet above, nearly 50' temperature swings from a low of 52' to a high of 98', and some the most stunning, breathtaking vistas Papa's eyes have ever beheld. Read on to experience the journey.

Day 6 was a fun roundtrip journey from Flagstaff to Sedona on AZ 89A offering up 60+ miles of twisty fun! Then venturing west to Grand Canyon Harley-Davidson in Bellemont and then riding up to the AZ Snowbowl at 9200 feet above sea level just north of Flagstaff, was the leisurely finish to visiting Flagstaff that I hoped for.

And behold, the "Grand Canyon" - Mother Nature serving up her very best, unrivaled beauty! Majestic, breathtaking, jaw-dropping awe! Days 7 & 8 were dedicated to consuming as much of the Grand Canyon as possible.

A sunrise ride to the south rim from my hotel in Tusayan AZ, put Papa first in line at the unmanned entrance station. The welcoming committee of Elk grazing along the road signaled a glorious day was ahead. Riding ~25 miles east on AZ64 to the Desert View Watchtower was a smart start. Stops at various outlooks, including Lipan Point and Navajo Point, provided stunning westward views as the sun painted the canyon with morning light. The 6 indigenous tribes who continue to inhabit this ancestral home are the Hualapai, Havasupai, Navajo, Hopi, Paiute and Zuni. They use the Desert View Watchtower for celebrating and honoring their past, present and future as well as the economic benefits from the year-round bustling tourism trade. After visiting the tower, I rode as far west as possible into Grand Canyon Village, and took a shuttle bus to Hermits Rest, the farthest westward point tourists are allowed to visit. A 5-mile hike eastward from Hermit's Rest to Mojave Point provided was relatively safe, but potentially dangerous, with more exhilarating views and the source of a big fat blister on my heal. Smokey the Bear was gracious to take a picture with me as I exited the park for the final time.

Icing my visit to the Grand Canyon with a chopper ride provided by Pappillion Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours. $270 for 30-minutes was Priceless. This Grand Canyon experience was the first of more to come.

Day 9 the old road less traveled to Kingman AZ - provided another walk back in time, as old Route 66 served up its share nostalgia - especially the 10 sets of "Burma Shave" signs just west of Seligman AZ.

And then Day 10, 324 thrilling, steamy miles, from Kingman to San Bernardino, starting with the thrill of riding the "Arizona Sidewinder" - 191 twisty curves in 8 miles.

Westward from Oatman AZ to San Bernardino CA was along the southern edge of the Mohave Desert. Topock was the last town in AZ on Route 66 before crossing the Colorado River into CA. Then pitstops at the Wagon Wheel in Needles CA (98'f), the Ludlow Cafe and Death Valley H-D in Victorville CA, before finishing the day at the Wigwam Motel.

And finally, the Wigwam Motel, Day 10 done. Each room an individual tepee, round and coned interior with a somewhat comfortable bed. The check-in tepee had fabulous Route 66 souvenirs. A cheeseburger with fries from Rush Burger, a quick serve joint just across old road provided the nourishment I needed.

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