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Old 09-14-2013, 12:05 AM   #1
Zeid OP
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Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Oddometer: 385
Phoenix to Sedona (Through the High Roads)

The hustle and bustle in The Valley of the Sun has been getting to me lately and after finding excuse after excuse of why I couldn't, I finally decided to my R1200GS Adventure out and let it do what it was made for.

I had researched and seen that if you take the backroads from Phoenix, up to Prescott via Wickenburg, then on up through Jerome and down into Sedona you get to experience some beautiful scenery and epic twisties, my intuition proved to be correct.

Don't underestimate this journey if you plan on taking it yourself, if you stop for lunch, dinner and a few bathroom breaks it will most likely take you 10~12 hours, a full day so start early. I would also advise that if you are even slightly afraid of heights, yet still want to see Sedona you take I-17 to HWY 179 to Sedona. I would rate most of these twisties as expert level, as they can be decreasing radius, camber while on a decline/incline (they like to change drastically in a heartbeat on you) but once you learn them, the road quality is top notch and much fun can be had on them. I also advise that if like me you plan to do this on a dual sport bike you leave yourself a lot more time, maybe make a two day trip out of it as there are a LOT of well groomed and incredibly interesting looking trails along the way that I would rate everything from beginner on a V-strom to Expert level.

My recommendation would be spending the night in Jerome, a small little western ghost town a ways out of Sedona that is built on the side of a cliff and a huge tourist/motorcyclist destination. There are however a lot of great places to stay in both Prescott, Jerome and of course Sedona is a big tourist destination with everything from western style log cabins beneath the red rocks to world class five star resorts (plenty to do there if you have the time). I would also like to recommend the place I ate diner ate, a small gourmet hot dog shop called "Simon's Hot Dogs" which are anything other than your typical hot dog, and at only about $6 a plate you feel like you're coming away from a successful robbery. The challenge however is finding the little place. It's actually inside the Oak Creek Brewing Company in Sedona, I'll leave that challenge up to you.

You begin the trip leaving Phoenix on Grand Ave. (Hwy 60) and take that all the way to Wickenburg. In Wickenburg head Northwest on Hwy 93 (Towards Prescott/Yarnell). A few miles later you'll turn right, heading North again on Hwy 89. This will take you through to Prescott. Once you are in Prescott, take a right heading East on "Gurley St." (Hwy 89) and continue North until you get to the junction of Hwy 89A which turns off to the right and heads East, the signs will begin to direction you to Sedona and give you the mileage remaining. Continue East into the mountains, staying on Hwy 89A (you want to go to Sedona, not Prescott Valley). This will take you up to Jerome and all the way into Sedona. Once you're in Sedona I leave it up to you what you would like to do, but if you take Hwy 179 South it will take you through the Red Rock Canyon and right beside the famous Cathedral Rock. There are a BUNCH of "Scenic View" areas and lookouts off Hwy 179, I highly recommend it for photo opportunities and a lovely ride. It finally intersects with I-17 which will take you back down into Phoenix (it's a scenic stretch of interstate as well if you haven't been down it and want some laid back strait and narrow highway riding).

A brief outline of the route itself.

Some, but not all of the twisties along the way.

The day was an adventure before I even got to Wickenburg, had to pull off on the side of the road and dig a bee out of my jacket sleeve- one which decided to sting the living hell out of me. Luckily I'm not allergic to bees...

Stopped in Wickenburg to get some Jerky, but after seeing a price tag of $10 a bag I walked away as inconspicuously as possible.

Yours truly in the prairie just outside Wickenburg.

About to head up into the mountains headed to Prescott.

Once you get into the mountains things get a LOT greener. You go from one world to another in a very short span of time.

Made it into Prescott right around the start of rush hour. A really neat mountain town, definitely worth a check out if you're here.

Heading out of Prescott will take you by Watson Lake, a beautiful sight.

This is where Hwy 89 splits off to Hwy 89A. Truly beautiful scenery, not far away is Prescott Valley.

Up in the mountains headed to Jerome.

Once the pines end, the red rocks begin and you know you're getting close to Sedona.

Jerome is a very cool little village built right onto the side of a cliff. Beware if you are scared of heights, the streets have very tight little turns and some of the streets put you right out on the edge. Rider discretion is advised. As I mentioned earlier, it's a major motorcycle hotspot, this fellow on the victory had ridden up from Mesa to stay the night at the really neat old "ghost town inn."

The views from there are spectacular...

I was beginning to worry- wondering if I would make it to Sedona by sunset. I actually went the speed limit for a change, maybe even a few over... At last, I made it just in the nick of time and what a perfect time to roll in, right at sunset. It felt just like the old west of eons past, except this time the steed was made out of iron.

As I mentioned earlier, there's a place in Sedona called Simon's Hot Dogs, it's inside this place here, the Oak Creek Brewing Company, which is just about a block off the main street coming into town, in a little alley.

$5.95 ($6.95 vegan style) will get you any hotdog, chips and a pickle. Let me assure you, the pictures as good as they look do them no justice. Unbelievably good, not your average gourmet hot dog.

When I left after sunset, I went down Hwy 179 South which goes right past cathedral rock through the "red rock canyon." There are scenic viewpoints all over the place. The frustrating part is that my crappy little camera refuses to take night time photos, even with a full moon and a billion stars out. I have never seen a night so clear, so brightly lit by the moon and stars, this is the best I could capture it as I headed out. Riding through here on such a clear, beautiful night was an incredible experience.

Heading down Hwy 179 takes you back to I-17 which in itself is a beautiful ride all the way from Flagstaff down into Phoenix. Speaking of which, if you've never been around Arizona before I'd recommend going up another 40 miles to Flagstaff.

This ride can be done on just about any kind of motorcycle, just be about your wits and use caution, there are some very high points next to cliffs and sharp turns that could lead some one coming in too hot right off a thousand foot drop. If you're from out of state our overseas, keep in mind you can rent quite literally every kind of motorcycle imaginable in Phoenix. Fully equipped adventure bikes, Harleys and Cruisers, Sport Bikes, Touring bikes, you name it there are places here who rent them by the dozens.

Well I hope you folks enjoyed, happy trails!

Zeid screwed with this post 09-14-2013 at 12:11 AM
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Old 09-14-2013, 03:58 AM   #2
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Joined: Oct 2004
Location: India Wharf
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Hey - That is my tour loop! I lived in Scottsdale in the 80's. Friends and family from California would visit and I took them on that loop, but the other direction. Up Scottsdale Blvd to show them the fantastic homes planted on the slopes of Black Mountain. Then west to pick up 17 north to Montezuma Castle. Then to Sedona. South on 89 to see the Tuzigoot ruins. Then Jerome, Prescott and Wickenburg to the 60 east.

My people were always amazed by the distinct changes in terrain and weather. Within a one day loop they could see lush desert, grassy ranch land, red rock country, alpine country and even a little snow during the right time.

Jerome was a mining town. My long deceased father worked there in 1927.

Thanks for the RR. I just closed on a little place next to the Boulders resort. I'll be there next month to set up my new garage. I can hardly wait. I think 89A is one of the best motorcycle touring roads ever. That and highway 12 in southern Utah.
Straight ahead and faster -Bo Weaver 1970
"There I was..." -Griffin Niner Three Hotel
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:06 AM   #3
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Location: Arizona
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It never ceases to amaze me how diverse and beautiful Arizona truly is.

Thanks for the photos and report.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:29 PM   #4
Zeid OP
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Oddometer: 385
Thanks for the replies! Glad you folks liked it.

And yes I agree, it's unbelievable how diverse the landscape is here and all within a day's ride.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:38 PM   #5
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Joined: Jun 2004
Location: Durango,CO(not quite Purgatory)
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89A Rocks. Love that road.
I find your lack of faith in the force disturbing.
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Old 09-14-2013, 02:30 PM   #6
Joined: Sep 2013
Oddometer: 29
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That has me drooling, to be in AZ and to have a BMW GS !!!

I just "discovered " AZ this March, down there for 10 days with a
bike club (bicycles) from MN in March. Loved it! One day we bicycled from
Apache Jct to past Tortilla Flats, til road turned to dirt. Where does that
road go, ever ridden it on your GS?

We recently retired and want to try out AZ for a month this winter so
if anyone knows of a decent house/condo/mobile home rental for one
month, please let me know.

I'm currently thinking about getting a new R1200GSW and your post makes
me want one real bad...... Any rental companies have the GSW in their fleet??

Bob in MinnySnowta MN
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:26 AM   #7
Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Newnan, GA
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Nice write up! My GF and I did a loop(by POS rental car) from Chandler to Sedona via Payson, Pine, Montezuma etc. on Hwy 87. On our way back thru Prescott we detoured to Jerome for dinner. Wow, what an awesome little town! It actually reminded me of the hill towns in Tuscany, built slap on the side of the mountain. If I remember right, it was a copper mining town.
Going to Jerome was the GF's driving leg. She almost had a heart attack parallel parking the car on the cliff where that red car is in your first pic of Jerome.

Thanks for the memories

2002 DL1000
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