Featured The Meteor Crater Ride + More Kicks On Route 66

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Sandi T, Nov 6, 2021.

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  1. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #1 Sandi T, Nov 6, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
    Last weekend four of us departed on a three day motorcycle trip that we'd come to refer to as "The Meteor Crater Ride" Some of our planned route would also take us on parts of old Route 66 as well as the road that most of Route 66 became--Interstate 40. Though the original impetus for the trip was to see Arizona's giant meteor crater which lies about 25 miles outside the town of Winslow. However, we soon realized that we would see far more than that giant (and I mean GIANT) hole in the ground.
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    We always plan our route around the terrific back roads available throughout Arizona. This trip was as excellent as any we'd done while staying within the state, and the four of us agreed that we'd readily do the same trip again perhaps doing it clockwise next time just to mix it up a bit. We stayed in Winslow the first night, visited the Meteor Crater the next day, then rode on to Old Town Cottonwood where we stayed our second night.
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    Day #1: Tucson to Winslow 277 miles

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    Mr. Sandi and I and our riding buddies, Russ and Ron, met up at our usual QuikTrip gas station and were on the road at 9:00AM. Our final destination for this day was Winslow, and our route would take us on some of our favorite roads, some of which I've posted about on this forum in other trip reports. The area known as the Salt River Canyon is spectacular and I think of it as sort of a mini Grand Canyon. We didn't stop at the view area this time 'round as we'd just made a coffee elimination stop ;) in Globe about half an before. The ride to Winslow takes you through a wide variety of landscapes from the Sonoran Desert near Tucson to the river and canyons around Globe and the Salt River Canyon to vast high grasslands as you go further north and nearer to Holbrook and Winslow.

    The small town of Holbrook is known for having a large number of large dinosaur statues along main street. While they probably aren't life-sized, they're pretty darned big! I'd seen them before on a work-related trip and am quite certain (?? hmmm...) that I'd mentioned them to Mr. Sandi. But when he and I and Ron and Russ were talking later and the topic came up, both Mr. Sandi and Russ said, "What dinosaurs?" Ron and I were incredulous and laughed our arses off because, well, we truly couldn't understand how they couldn't have made note of them. And when they Googled Holbrook's dinosaurs, they couldn't understand it either! :joy::joy::joy: Here's an example of just a handful of the m-a-n-y dinosaurs that are part of Holbrook's landscape.
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    Our first night was spent in Winslow--yes, the Winslow that the Eagles song, Take It Easy, made famous.

    "Well, I'm standing on a corner
    In Winslow, Arizona
    And such a fine sight to see
    It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford."


    Winslow has capitalized on this and created a draw for tourists who are traveling Route 66. There's a "Standing on the Corner" Park and a lot of tee-shirts and kitchy souvenirs to be had. :rolleyes::joy:
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    There's even a flatbed Ford parked permanently in this spot.
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    Mr. Sandi and Ron loved this big guitar since they both play so had to have photos with it. :heart_eyes:
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    Day #1 to be continued.....after I get home from riding my motorcycle. ;):):cool:
     
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  2. Ducatitotriumph

    Ducatitotriumph Crème de la Crème
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    I would comment but I don't want to get in the middle of your post!
    oh, bugger....!!!! ;):)
    Brilliant as usual @Sandi T !
    ps, safe riding guys!
     
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  3. Dartplayer

    Dartplayer Crème de la Crème

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    Very nice. I always like tracing through your maps to help “live” the ride Sandi:heart_eyes: and enjoy the write up and pix :cool:
     
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  5. SleepyOwl

    SleepyOwl Crème de la Crème
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    Fantastic pics Sandi.
     
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  6. Bikerman

    Bikerman Crème de la Crème
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    If I didn't love your posts so much I could hate you. y25.gif
    Yet another great write up and pictures to boot, you really do spoil us, this side of the pond.
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Oldskool

    Oldskool Senior Member

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    Looks a great ride Sandi. I often go through Winslow, Buckinghamshire on the way out to Silverstone Circuit, along one of my favourite roads, the A413. Not quite Route 66 but a great road for riding early on a Sunday morning…
     
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  8. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #8 Sandi T, Nov 7, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
    Day #1 continued: Tucson to Winslow

    In addition to "Standing on the Corner Park" and the giant Route 66 sign painted at that intersection, Winslow is known for being the home of La Posada, a hotel famous among Arizonans. None of the four of us had stayed there before nor had we even seen it in person so we were very excited to spend the night there. :) And we all agreed that we'd go back in a heartbeat! :heart: Ron and Russ said they'd bring their wives. Mr. Sandi already had his. BTW, I've decided to reveal Mr. Sandi's true name. It's Steve. :cool::D And on the forum from here on out, that's what you'll all know him as. :)
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    La Posada, which means The Resting Place, was built in the late 1920's by Fred Harvey. Harvey developed and ran all the hotels and restaurants of the Santa Fe Railway, eventually building a hospitality empire across the United States. Winslow was chosen as the site for La Posada because it was the headquarters of the Santa Fe Railway and Harvey wanted it to be the best of his hotels. La Posada was only open for 27 years before its doors were closed to the public in 1957. In the 1960's, most of the building was gutted and used as offices for the railroad. In the following years it was faced demolition on numerous occasions. Thankfully, however, the hotel was saved and renovated. If you're interested in reading the story of this treasure and how it came back from the dead, here's a link to the history of La Posada.

    https://laposada.org/history/

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    We all thought it was amazing--and surprising--that there was Motorcycle Only parking at La Posada. But on second thought, perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised since the hotel is on the famous Route 66 which is ridden by numerous motorcyclists from all over the world!
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    The railroad that goes through Winslow is still very active and the tracks are located on the back side of the hotel. Not only are do numerous freight trains go through Winslow all day long and much of the night as well, it is an Amtrak station which is the national passenger line in the U.S.
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    The beautiful iron gate leading onto the platform...
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    We had a wonderful dinner at La Posada's restaurant, "The Turquoise Room". Steve and I had martinis in the bar before meeting up with Ron and Russ a bit later for our meal.
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    I had their signature dish, the Churro Lamb Sampler. Delicious! :yum When in Rome......or when very near the Navajo Nation as the case may be.
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    I finished off my True gin martini (a gin new to me and ok but not my fave) and opted to forego the recommended Lodi Zinfandel. That was mostly because I saw McCallan 12 Year on the menu and had that for desert. Steve had packed a nice cigar and that was his dessert. I have to admit that I absolutely LOVE second hand cigar smoke. We retired to an outdoor patio and Ron and Russ retired to their respective rooms.
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    Day #1 continued...after I have a nip of something on the back porch. :)
     
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  9. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #9 Sandi T, Nov 7, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
    Day #1 continued: Winslow

    During our exploration of Winslow after checking in to the La Posada and before heading back there for drinks and dinner, we made an amazing and adventurous discovery! Well, it wasn't exactly a discovery but it really did turn into an adventure and was one of those things that seems to happen to one while traveling by motorcycle.

    We'd been having a coffee across from the park and then began to poke around a bit on the side streets. Steve was intrigued by an Airstream trailer that he saw which led him--and Russ and Ron-- to taking a closer look at the building next to which the camper trailer was parked. After looking in the window he excitedly called out to me indicating that I would LOVE what I saw. He was so right!
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    I took this photo of the interior of the building by putting my iPhone flush against the window. Wow, I want to live here!
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    It turns out that this cool old building is now a personal residence. I felt a little voyeuristic peeking in but it was clear from this sign on the other side of the building that this happens regularly.
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    So of course we headed right over to the Motor Palace Mercantile to see what this was all about. And the Motor Palace was where we spent the next intriguing and delightful hour talking with the proprietors, Lori and Brian. It might have even been an hour and a half. And you'll see why....
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    The old Ford pickup sitting out front belongs to Lori, one half of the husband and wife team that owns the Motor Palace Mercantile. She proudly told us that this 1948 truck is her "daily driver".
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    Lori used to be a news photographer for a large news network here in the U.S. She left that field about five years ago after working there for about 25 years and explained to us that it had changed dramatically and she no longer had fun and she even had to worry about her safety. She and her husband had bought the brick building in the first picture, intending to fix it up and live there.
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    When Lori learned that we were motorcyclists and were in Winslow on a weekend getaway, we really connected. She and Brian have been in the thick of the motorcycle world for some time, particularly Brian. After looking around the mercantile, which we soon realized was only the first third of the building, Lori motioned to us to follow her.

    Here's the mercantile area open to the public. It has a variety of things for sale--some old, some new, perhaps even some borrowed and some blue. Basically it was a delightful mish-mash of many things. She even had some awesome Schott motorcycle jackets for sale!
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    But then it was on to the "great find" of the whole three-day weekend--which is saying a lot because there were many!

    Through this sliding door into a middle storage and overflow (junk 'n' stuff) area...
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    And finally, back through this smaller door into the very back part of their building and on to the treasure chest of Winslow. :grinning::heart:
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    Continued in the next post
     
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  10. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #10 Sandi T, Nov 7, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
    The hidden recesses of the Motor Palace Mercantile :D Here are Lori and Brian with their buried treasure.

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    I'll let the photos of this wonderful secret room speak for themselves in the remainder of this days posts. :):heart:

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    Before leaving, we thanked Lori and Brian profusely for sharing a bit about themselves and their lives and dreams and bikes (and pickup truck) with us. Lori has previously lived in Tucson and she and Brian have been considering buying a second home there. We exchanged contact information and will hopefully get the opportunity to host them for dinner when they travel down to our neck of the woods in the near future to do a bit of house hunting.

    So, a chance peek into a building may just have led to not only a neat connection with Lori and Brian while we were traveling through their town but perhaps even a long(er) term friendship and some new riding buddies! I love how motorcycles bring people together. :heart:

    To Be Continued--
    Tomorrow....onward to the Meteor Crater and Old Cottonwood
     
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  11. Dartplayer

    Dartplayer Crème de la Crème

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    Wow Sandi (and Steve :p) the opportunity to interact with Lori and Brian, and see their treasure room was great.
    They obviously know good people :cool:
     
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  12. Neal H

    Neal H Member

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    I just love small town America. Awesome stories and pictures, keep up the good work!
     
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  13. Bikerman

    Bikerman Crème de la Crème
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    Bloody amazing.
     
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  14. Markus

    Markus Noble Member
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    @Sandi T :
    I love your stories and pictures!
    Thank you for posting.
    I'm looking forward to read the 3rd part of your tour!
     
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  15. Vulpes

    Vulpes Confused Member
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    Fantastic stuff, as usual!
     
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  16. joe mc donald

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    love you more and more each trip. Really love the couple up in the window behind you True Love.
    Joe.
     
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  17. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
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    Blimey - what a find that was... the icing on the cake of what's clearly going to be an epic trip anyway. Like someone else mentioned, the whole small town America vibe is one that I'd give anything to experience myself one day. Preferably on a bike!

    Thanks as always, sandi. The hotel looks great too, by the way.
     
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  18. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, Markus! I’ll continue with Day #2 this afternoon when we get home from our Sunday group motorcycle ride. Stay tuned! :)
     
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  19. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #19 Sandi T, Nov 8, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2021
    Day #2: Winslow to Old Cottonwood 123 miles

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    The second day of our three-day trip was short on miles but l-o-n-g on adventure! We started off by taking in more of the sights around the grounds of La Posada as there was much to see. And I have to say there still is. Another trip to Winslow is definitely in order! And we already talked about it with a couple of the guys on this mornings ride who weren't on last weekends trip.

    Our first adventure of the day was the Meteor Crater and Barringer Space Museum which is located only about 20 miles from Winslow. The Visitor Center--and access to the crater viewing areas--doesn't open until 10:00AM so we had a leisurely morning. After a delicious breakfast in The Turquoise Room, we gassed up the bikes and hit Interstate--40 and the small two-lane road leading up to the crater itself. This photo is a Google image that I'm including so you can get a sense of the scale and surrounding landscape. It truly felt moonscape-like as we rode closer and closer. That black line is the narrow road that leads to the Visitor Center parking lot.

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    Our initial rationale for this particular motorcycle trip was to see the Meteor Crater and there's a funny story behind it. On nearly every motorcycle trip that Steve and I have done that has included Russell, Russ has always brought up the Meteor Crater and riding there. If someone would say, "Where do you think we should ride tomorrow?" Or "What route should we take?", Russell's stock answer has been, "Let's go to the Meteor Crater!" All of us would roll our eyes and remind Russ that it was out in the middle of nowhere and off Interstate 40 to boot. So, anyway, when we returned home from our trip up to Las Vegas several weeks before this trip, Russ made a comment (of course) when we were riding back home that we should "Go to the Meteor Crater"! A couple of days later, Steve called Russ and suggested that the two of them FINALLY go to the Meteor Crater. I was kindly invited to join (well, I asked if I could go when I heard the words "La Posada") and the three of us met up one morning with maps in hand to plan the trip over breakfast. As we talked about the route to the crater, Russ commented that is was about six miles in from the freeway, was quite a sight to behold, and that the Visitor Center was great. We looked at him incredulously and said, "What??? You've been there?!" Yep. He had. :rolleyes::p It had just become a running joke. The thing is, neither Steve nor I had been there nor had Ron who wound up joining our group for this trip. And the beauty of this whole thing was that we really, really, really enjoyed it! It was WAY more impressive than Steve and I expected and the Visitor Center was very well done and incredibly informative about meteors in general. Go figure... :joy::joy::joy: Things do seem to work out as they are supposed to. Sometimes at least.

    Here's some information about Meteor Crater from Wikipedia along with the link if you're interested and care to learn more.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_Crater


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    After parking our bikes we made our way into the Visitor Center and paid our admission. Though it seemed steep at the time ($22 per person), it turned out to be well worth the price. Russell had to be odd man out and park somewhere else. ;)

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    There were many terrific displays and videos in the museum area and I'll just include a couple here. The information ranged from the history of this crater to how it was discovered and analyzed to information about meteors across time and around the globe. I'd go back again just to take more time in the center and museum.

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    Finally the route through the Visitor Center leads guests outdoors to see Meteor Crater and experience its vastness. It is estimated that the impact occurred 50,000 years ago and its diameter is about 1.2 kilometers (.74 mile) with a depth of 170 meters (560 ft). It was breathtaking.

    I took this photo from the highest viewing area available. You can see the next lower viewing area to the right hand side of the photo. There was one additional outdoor viewing area that was at the same level as the Visitor Center.

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    Finally, what's an attraction without a gift shop? :joy: Those of you here who know me may be surprised to learn that I purchased nothing...I didn't even step foot inside. I just snapped a photo of the little guy who's guarding it. ;)

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    Day #2 continued...after Steve and I return from a dinner date with friends this evening.
     
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  20. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #20 Sandi T, Nov 8, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2021
    Day #2 continued: Winslow to Old Cottonwood

    After leaving Meteor Crater and getting back on I-40 we made our way to and through Flagstaff, Arizona--home of Northern Arizona University. Their school/sport mascot is the Lumberjacks. :joy: Flagstaff's metro area is approximately 140,000. It sits at about 7,000 feet and lies just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in Arizona. Humphreys Peak is about 10 miles north of Flagstaff and is the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet. We didn't make a stop in Flagstaff, though. Our destination was Old Town Cottonwood and to get there we had agreed to take one of the most spectacularly beautiful routes in Arizona, 89A through Oak Creek Canyon. And it's a wee bit twisty. Here's part of the route. The YouTube drone video I posted in this post will give you an even better idea of just how twisty this road is!

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    Oak Creek Canyon is a river gorge located in northern Arizona between the cities of Flagstaff and Sedona. The canyon is often described as a smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon because of its scenic beauty. State Route 89A enters the canyon on its north end via a series of hairpin turns before traversing the bottom of the canyon for about 13 miles (21 km) until the highway enters the town of Sedona. (Wikipedia)

    Here's a Google Image of the canyon followed by a terrific 2 minute drone video of the canyon and 89A from above. It actually seems a bit scarier in the video than in real life. But 89A between Flagstaff and Sedona is definitely a challenging motorcycle ride.
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    Our destination for the day was Old Town Cottonwood. After descending down through Oak Creek Canyon we passed through Sedona, a destination in its own right. Sedona is famous for its red sandstone formations and is one of the most uniquely beautiful places I've been in my lifetime. Here's a sample of Sedona's beauty. Again, a Google image as my riding buddies aren't big on stopping at traffic pull-outs so I can play photographer. :rolleyes::joy:

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    It's just a hop, skip, and a jump to Old Town Cottonwood from Sedona. Russ had suggested to spend the evening there when we were planning this trip because he's quite familiar with the area. It's the location of the annual Thunder Valley Rally motorcycle rally and Russ has been to that event numerous times. However, none of the rest of us had ever been to either the rally or Old Town Cottonwood.

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    Russ had also stayed at the Iron Horse Inn which is where we'd all made reservations for the night. Ron was a bit late to the party and snagged the very last room. The hotel accommodations were clean and adequate but it was the inn location at one end of Main Street, the designated motorcycle parking for inn guests, and the tranquil courtyard that won us over.

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    The first order of business was food! Steve did a little Googling and landed on Colt Grill, rated highly for it's excellent BBQ. I had nachos with their smoked BBQ brisket. It's not quite tacos, @ducati2triumph, but delicious! :yum

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    After diner we decided to stroll Main Street and see what there was to see. There were a few vacant storefronts (I suspect due to Covid) but there were also a number of active and vibrant business including more restaurants and bars. When we had walked back down at the end of Main Street (which was about half a dozen blocks long), we saw a sign that led us to do a bit of off-roading in search of water. Being a desert and all, it took us a bit to finally find that water but when we did it was beautiful!

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    After our little hike, we found a bar with some picnic tables set up outdoors and we relived our adventurous day over a couple of beers. As the light dimmed and the temperature dropped, we all agreed that we were lucky--and blessed--to have great friends and to be able to set out on our motorcycles together and do getaways like this one.

    When we went to say goodnight to our bikes, Steve and I laughed at who'd moved into the neighborhood. :joy:
     
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