I wanted to go somewhere cool, and also to practice what having butt in saddle for 340 miles in one day felt like. Not bad, but I still want to get a custom, more distance friendly seat for the Fairbanks trip.

The route was easy. Head south from Maricopa to Stansfield and then down through the Res to Kitt Peak. I think most of the drive was Res land, and in nearly 120 miles I never saw another car or person on the road. I did get a glimpse of some wild horses. Or at least, horses running wild.

Route Map


Along the way there were many roadside shrines. Monuments to family members and loved ones who had died on that road. It was hard for me to imagine that road being a dangerous place. Wide open views, few side roads, and little traffic. It was a reminder of the fragility of this whole life experience. And a reminder to keep sharp while riding in the wind – anything can and does happen.

You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle!

— Dan Aykroyd

Looks like the folks who work there used to play basketball at one point. This court hasn’t seen much action lately.

The Observatory looks to me to have seen better days. There are many closed buildings, some needed repair to amenities and lots of old “touristy” types of things that have not been maintained well. And that is probably OK with me. The place has character, patina, a sense of history.

This wheel with a hole in the middle seemed odd to me. Odd, you know, in a good way.

One of the most interesting thing about the natural landscape up on top of the peak is that you have a 360 degree look at the Sonoran Desert below and all around. It is simply an incredible view. I wish there hadn’t been so much haze in the air when I made my ascent.

The larger observatories are off limits to the public and are quite fascinating even from a distance.

The twenty or so miles into the observatory from 86 are full of turns and steep grades. Definitely a fun ride, but do be careful. Summer rains can deposit lots of sand on the corners, and some of the sharp turns come up pretty fast.

A really great ride though. I recommend it.

And BTW – it seems like its about 10-15 degrees cooler up top than at the bottom. Nice for a spring or early summer picnic.