I elected to check out AZ 87 out of the urban sprawl that is Phoenix metro. Not a bad road through the Tonto National Forest. The scenery was sure better than on I-17 between Flagstaff and Phoenix. If ever I find myself going to Phoenix (very doubtful by motorcycle again) I will use this road to get there from I-40.
There was a bit of snow the last 100 miles or so south of the junction of this road with I-40, it made for some cold riding especially as I'd neglected to don the usual fleece layer under my riding coat! We made it to Winslow with no issues however and after a bit of getting turned around, finally located the northbound version of AZ 87 which was a bit east of Winslow. This was the route that the GPS said was fastest to Kayenta, Arizona...the southern gateway town to Monument Valley.
north on US87 from its junction with I-40
The one thing that the GPS didn't let me know, and I assumed, was that there'd be no gas stations between I-40 and Tuba City, AZ! I had counted on there being gas in Second Mesa but no go, not sure what the native-americans of the Hopi tribe do for gasoline in this area!
I was sweating the ability to reach Tuba City but in the end made it without having to tap into the reserve 1.5 gallons of fuel in the spare tank. In fact, I only had to put in 4.65 gallons when I finally got to a gas station in Tuba City. Pheeeew!
From Tuba City it was a mere 75 miles more to Kayenta and I fueled up one more time there after arriving at 3:51 PM. There was time so I dashed the 30 miles or so to the spot where I wanted to capture today's sunset.
I made it to the chosen sunset viewing point with just minutes to spare. I tried Scarlett in a couple of spots and finally ended up pretty much where I'd posed her before on a previous trip with Valencia, my 2011 URAL Patrol sidecar rig: LINK
Valencia, May 2012
Finally I saw the lights of Kayenta! I got back to the junction of AZ163 and US160 and pulled into the McDonalds there to warm up and get a bite to eat. I couldn't get on the Internet so I ended up calling my loving wife who returned home via plane with the boys. She speedily got me a room at the local inn via an online booking site and I went there after finishing my meal.
Did I mention it was cold? It sure felt colder when I went back outside to motor across the highway to where the Inn was located. I checked in and repositioned Scarlett outside my second story motel room in the back of the inn.
I finally got on the motel's Internet feed and checked the weather, it was a cool 19°F (-7.2°C). No wonder it felt cold, though I suspect my body had used up any reserves it had for generating warmth after riding in cold temperatures most of the day.
Assuming the cold doesn't zap the battery on Scarlett, I hope to be back on the road by 8:00 AM for the final (hopefully) day of riding back to the metro Denver area. I plan on using US160 all the way to I-25, the only iffy points will be Wolf Creek Pass and La Veta Pass I think.