Home » 2015 Solo Cross Country Motorcycle Trip

I40/Rt 66 to Flagstaff, AZ

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 3:30pm by Herb
500 miles and 9.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Respect from Ronald McDonaldRespect from Ronald McDonaldStill on Central Time, I was up at 6:00 to be one of the first ones at breakfast. I normally enjoy a full breakfast at home, but on the road it seems almost essential to stock up with some high caloric waffles, eggs, bacon, and coffee of course.

The bike was wet, but for now the skies where cloudy without any measurable precipitation. I entered the freeway and quickly got up to cruising speed. Skies were beautiful as the sun tried to poke through the morning clouds. Todays ride also held the promise of some elevation change. After riding 1000+ miles of flat Texas and Oklahoma I40, crossing the 7000' foot peaks in western New Mexico would be a treat.

Wigwam Motel Teepees with BikeWigwam Motel Teepees with BikeToday, route 66 has been largely superseded by I40. There remain lots of signage encouraging the traveler to exit and experience the legendary route 66, but most of these are simply efforts to encourage tourism on a bypass that otherwise has little to offer of substance.

However,,, there was one stop on the original Route 66 that I wanted to try an visit. This was the legendary Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ. I had seen photos of it's 28' concrete teepees and even considered spending a night in one.

But first, it was lunchtime and I experienced my first "motorcycle parking only" spot at an Albuquerque McDonalds. It was good to get some recognition as a long-distance motorcyclist if even only from Ronald MacDonald.

Pee Break SelfiePee Break SelfieIn 150 miles further along I40 it was time for a pee break, which conveniently coincided with another R66 classic rest stop, the Arizona Painted Cliffs. The cliffs themselves are visible from the highway and invite a visit just from the natural beauty of the red sandstone cliffs. However, in classic Rt 66 tradition, natural beauty can always be enhanced, and this case it is done with the addition of full size sculptures of deer, elk, horses, teepees, and Indians, that dot the edges of the cliffs above. This is Navajo country and they seem to have learned how to merchandise their heritage with large signage announcing the "Lowest Prices on Indian Artifacts". I managed to avoid the gift shops and steered my trusty iron steed back out onto the highway.

After a few hours more, I exited I40 and got to the legendary Wigwam Motel. While I was too soon to stop for the night it was a good place to photograph some of the "classic cars" that adorned the parking lot outside of the Wigwams. Perhaps it was for best though, as it seemed as though the Wigwam Motel had seen it's better days, and was now just trying to hang onto the memories of whatever stature as a vacation destination that it once had.

Tacos Los AltosTacos Los AltosI continued down I40, and at mile 500 pulled off in Flagstaff for as good cheap mexican dinner at Tacos Los Altos. Across the street was a Super 8 where I spent the night.

Morning at the Super 8 was the usual breakfast and pre-flight check of the bike before heading out for the days ride. However, this morning a girl loading her car in the parking lot noticed the NJ plate on my bike and seemed genuinely impressed that I had ridden the bike from NJ to Flagstaff. She even took a selfie with me and the bike to show to her boyfriend. It felt good to get an unsolicited confirmation that my cross-country ride might be something extraordinary.

I40/Rt 66 to Flagstaff location map in "high definition"

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