By Mike Lavelle
Previous articles have covered various motorcycle trips in the Southwest, to include travels along Route 66, Santa Fe, to Las Cruces, to Sedona, and to various locations in northern New Mexico. This article begins a three-part series that will cover a recent round trip to Bryce and Zion Canyons, in Utah, covering 1,666 miles in a group of 3 motorcycles and 1 car.
While often times road trips involve taking a quick route, for traveling on a motorcycle, the scenic route is generally preferred. As Robert Frost wrote, “And I took the road less traveled, and that made all the difference.” This certainly rang true on our trip, especially traveling on Utah’s scenic byways, which offer unique panoramic views and expansive natural beauty.
As such, on this trip we did our best to avoid the major highways and take the various state roads. Many of these state roads have wonderful views that offer much better views than the major interstate freeways (and are less traveled as well, which is great for motorcycles). Accordingly, we departed Vail early Monday morning, on the 13th of May, enroute to Kingman, taking I-10 to the I-8 turn off before Casa Grande, which goes through Gila Bend. We then proceeded north towards Buckeye and then we had to get on I-10 east to get to 101 north which took us to US 60 east toward Wickenburg where it intersects with US 93. At I-40’s exit 71, US 93 merges with the Interstate freeway until they both reach Kingman, our first stop on our trip. At Kingman, they split, with US 93 heading northwest towards Las Vegas.
Kingman is on the Route 66 path, which is one of the original highways established on 11 November 1926. Traveling along Arizona’s Route 66 would be a wonderful road trip by car or motorcycle. Route 66 begins at Lupton and continues across the northern part of the state, passing through Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams, Seligman, Kingman, Oatman and Topock before going into California.
Tuesday, the 14th, we departed Kingman on US 93 north headed towards Hoover Dam, which as you might imagine was very crowded, both with vehicles and pedestrians, It might be a good idea, if seeing Hoover Dam is on your list of things to do, to plan on visiting early in the morning. Since our goal was St. George, Utah, we backtracked some on US 93, going west towards Henderson, NV, and intersected I-15 north, which took us straight to St. George, Utah. I was surprised to see that the speed limit here on I-15 was 80 MPH, which means, of course, that traffic was running 85 plus MPH.
St. George was our temporary home base from which we would depart to visit Zion, Bryce, and Kolob Canyons. Our next issue will cover our trip to Zion National Park.