Arizona Route 66 Motorbike Journey


Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride Oatman
Riders benefit from the winding asphalt on this Route 66 motorbike trip exterior of Oatman.

Route 66, or the Mom Highway, is indelibly stitched into the material of the American psyche. The enduring highway as soon as traced its approach for two,448 miles from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California. But it surely was greater than only a lengthy stretch of tarmac. Route 66 turned a cultural phenomenon that impressed and piqued the American obsession with journey and journey. Songs have been written about it, quirky and kitschy roadside points of interest sprouted beside it, and Individuals longed to traverse it. The Mom Highway was a important artery crossing the torso of the U.S. by which goals and potentialities pulsed heat and crimson.

Associated: Get Your Kickstart on Route 66 –
Riding a kickstart-only 1978 Yamaha SR500 from Chicago to Amarillo on the Mother Road

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride

Scan QR code above or click here to view the route on REVER


Craving to rediscover the highway, the cities, and the magic of Route 66’s path by Arizona, I packed up my BMW R 1200 GS and set out. Fittingly, my trek started Nov. 11, the date on which the Mom Highway was designated a federal freeway in 1926. Arizona claims the longest rideable portion of the unique Route 66, and it has a major variety of points of interest and bustling historic cities.

Driving from west to east, I started my Mom Highway journey on the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation the place the Colorado River separates Arizona from Nevada. After a brief climb towards the mountains on Boundary Cone Highway, I got here to an intersection indicating that I used to be transitioning onto the historic U.S. Route 66. The highway turned curvier and extra attention-grabbing, and the jagged rock formations of Arizona’s Black Mountains turned extra speedy because the highway coiled by the rugged terrain.  

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride Oatman burros
Pleasant burros in Oatman weren’t impressed with my BMW beast of burden.

Inside minutes, I entered the historic mining city of Oatman. In 1915, two miners struck a $10 million gold discover. Inside a yr, the small mining camp grew to a inhabitants of three,500. Current census figures point out there at the moment are simply over 100 human residents. In case you embrace the handfuls of semi-wild burros within the space, that inhabitants is way bigger.

Oatman is a hotbed of exercise throughout any motorbike rally on the Colorado River or in Kingman.  Nevertheless, my BMW was one in all solely two bikes on the town on this crisp November morning. I walked the road beneath the weathered wooden facades of the assorted retailers and watering holes.

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride Kingman
This ride-through picture cease in Kingman is positioned subsequent to the Arizona Route 66 Museum.

Route 66 north and west of Oatman is a pure delight. The pavement is usually clean and intact, and it’s crammed with sweeping turns and hairpins, lots of that are properly banked. There are a number of indicators warning motorcyclists to remain conscious, and these are greatest heeded. With the highway steadily uncoiling, I made my approach towards Kingman, passing a number of deserted open-pit mines that dotted the rocky slopes and at the least one small working mine. 

I used to be prepared for a cup of espresso and a few fuel once I rolled into Kingman, the place my father was an artwork trainer within the native faculty district earlier than I used to be born. It’s a clear and bustling small metropolis totally embracing its Route 66 roots. I finished on the colorfully adorned Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner and parked amidst historic vehicles, vans, and bikes. As I chatted with my server over a sizzling cup of joe, she talked in regards to the twin nature of the town. We have been within the historic downtown district, however just a bit trip up Interstate 40 is the trendy district with chain lodges, eating places, and thriving business. 

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride Mr. D'z Route 66 Diner
Throughout the road from the Route 66 Kingman signal is Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner, one of many many kitschy eating places alongside the Mom Highway that attract curious, hungry vacationers.

After rolling by the economic zone within the Kingman outskirts, I headed northeast on the longest current stretch of the Mom Highway. Small roadside companies dotted the trail towards Peach Springs, every clearly embracing its Route 66 heritage with applicable signage and classic memorabilia. Historic fuel stations have been notably attention-grabbing. Whereas they now not pumped gas, they nonetheless oozed with the nostalgia of the highway’s heyday. 

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride Burma-Shave
Between Peach Springs and Seligman: You may drive / A mile a minute / However there isn’t any / Future in it / Burma-Shave.

After Peach Springs, I rode previous three units of Burma Shave indicators with rhyming slogans, reminding me of childhood. As I rolled and swayed by the excessive grasslands, it was straightforward to think about basic vehicles and bikes plying this portion of the route.

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride Copper Cart
Previously a restaurant that opened in 1952, the Copper Cart in Seligman is now a present store.

Getting into Seligman was probably the most visually nostalgic a part of my trip. This small city is a well-preserved tribute to its Route 66 heritage, with each store, storage, and diner adorned with colourful signage and logos. Out of the nook of my eye, I noticed a small signal for the Route 66 Motoporium. Not anticipating a lot, I threw down my kickstand and walked into the Copper Cart to see what was inside. A bearded man mentioned, “You appear like a rider,” and pointed to a room within the again. It was crammed with the bikes of my youth – each people who I rode and people who I ogled within the pages of bike magazines of the Nineteen Sixties and ’70s. Classic Indians, Hondas, Hodakas, and Kawasakis, particularly the 2-strokes, introduced me again to the enchanting scent of premix laced with single-track mud that was an enormous a part of my teenage life. 

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride Route 66 Motoporium
The Copper Cart in Seligman is dwelling to the Route 66 Motoporium, a small museum filled with classic bikes and memorabilia.

After a prolonged journey down moto-memory lane, it was time for lunch, and the legendary Delgadillo’s Snow Cap diner was only a block away. Juan Delgadillo and his spouse, Mary, opened the Snow Cap in 1953, and Juan and his brother Angel shaped the Historic Route 66 Affiliation of Arizona. The Delgadillo household nonetheless owns and runs the historic diner, and I had a implausible inexperienced chili burger and onion rings. 

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride Delgadillo's Snow Cap diner Seligman
This 1936 Chevy is an attention-grabbing fixture in entrance of Delgadillo’s Snow Cap diner, a Route 66 establishment in Seligman opened by Juan and Mary Delgadillo in 1953.

East of Seligman is a brief stretch of the unique Route 66 that runs into I-40 simply earlier than Ash Fork, and I seen a couple of remnants of the Mom Highway that at the moment are spurs off the roadway. Past Ash Fork, a lot of Route 66 has been totally changed with I-40, however there are nonetheless a number of cities which have embraced and preserved their historic Mom Highway character.

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride Flagstaff
Route 66 runs by the center of Flagstaff, a bustling metropolis with nice eating places, bars, lodges, and close by points of interest just like the Grand Canyon.

Williams, simply off I-40, was the final city to be bypassed by the interstate, and it nonetheless teems with Route 66 allure. The primary avenue is lined with historic stone buildings crammed with vintage shops, diners, and bars. I motored by one of many extra well-known watering holes, the Sultana Bar, which was opened in 1912, predating Route 66 by greater than a decade.

See all of Rider‘s Arizona motorcycle rides here.

After Williams, I-40 is as engaging as an interstate will be. Views of the San Francisco Peaks tower impressively to the north, and vibrant evergreens line the highway. Flagstaff is the biggest metropolis on the Arizona portion of Route 66 and is dwelling to my alma mater, Northern Arizona College. The unique Route 66 skirted the gorgeous campus simply to the west and north. 

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride Wigwam Motel Holbrook
In-built 1950, the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook is a Route 66 icon.

Flagstaff boasts a number of authentic Mom Highway points of interest, together with the historic downtown practice station that homes the Flagstaff Customer Heart. On the best way out of the town, I rolled previous a number of diners that boast the Route 66 identify, however my favourite is Miz Zip’s Route 66 Cafe. Then I felt the magnetic pull towards the Museum Membership, an iconic Route 66 watering gap and one in all my favourite faculty hangouts.

See all of Rider‘s Western U.S. motorcycle rides here.

Nearly all of Route 66 east of Flagstaff has been changed by I-40. Whereas that could be a disgrace, there may be solace in the truth that most of the authentic points of interest of the Mom Highway period are nonetheless partially or totally intact on the best way to the Arizona/New Mexico border. I took the brief entry highway to the ruins of the Twin Arrows Buying and selling Submit. Up till very lately, each twin arrows nonetheless stood, however the ravages of climate and time toppled one. The buying and selling put up was a fixture on Route 66 since its opening within the late Nineteen Forties. Simply throughout the freeway looms the brand new Twin Arrows Navajo On line casino Resort. 

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride Twin Arrows Trading Post
Alas, just one arrow continues to be standing on the ruins of the Twin Arrows Buying and selling Submit between Flagstaff and Winslow.

Driving one other half-hour east on the interstate, I exited at Winslow, which sits on one other current stretch of Route 66. The loop into Winslow is festooned with varied Route 66 commercials. My first cease on the town was to have a look at the spectacular crimson sandstone St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. After snapping a photograph at Standin’ on the Nook Park, I saddled up and headed to my lodging for the evening, the fantastically restored La Pasada Resort (see sidebar under). 

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride Winslow Standin' on the Corner Park
At Standin’ on the Nook Park in Winslow, Arizona, the writer stands with a bronze statue of a balladeer resembling Jackson Browne, who co-wrote the well-known Eagles’ track “Take It Straightforward” with Glenn Frey.

After settling into my room, I walked the grounds of the gorgeous rail-side resort earlier than sitting with a post-ride cocktail and watching the trains roll by. Later that evening, I strolled again into downtown Winslow for some purchasing and a chili relleno dinner on the tiny Brown Mug Cafe. An unassuming picture on the wall beside my sales space confirmed a youthful Harrison Ford sitting in the identical spot many a long time again (he’s an avid motorcyclist, by the best way, and likewise owns a GS!).  

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride
Some bikes you’ll discover on Route 66 have seen higher days.

After a fantastic evening’s sleep, I had one final stretch to finish my Arizona Route 66 tour. I rode the few miles to Holbrook, which is the final of the unique historic cities on my eastward stretch of Route 66 and residential to the Wigwam Motel. From Holbrook, it’s one other 74 miles on I-40 to the New Mexico border.

I extremely advocate using what you may of any portion of the Mom Highway. This Arizona stretch of Route 66 is greatest ridden from late spring to early fall, because the winters in northern Arizona are chilly and snowy. Pack for variable circumstances, and revel in your trip down reminiscence lane.

Arizona Route 66 Motorbike Journey Sources

SIDEBAR: La Posada Resort

Arizona Route 66 motorcycle ride

La Posada in Winslow is a crown jewel of the historic Fred Harvey railroad resort empire. Designed within the Twenties by famend architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, it’s at present a first-class resort, artwork gallery, and museum in an expansive backyard setting. There’s a connoisseur restaurant on-site, and downtown Winslow is a brief stroll away. The rooms are snug and well-appointed in a heat Southwestern motif, and pictures of the a whole bunch of legendary actors and public figures who stayed at La Posada line the hallways. There’s even protected designated motorbike parking in entrance of the property. For more information, go to the La Posada website.

See all of Rider‘s motorcycle tours here.


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