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BEST MOTORCYCLE RIDE Phoenix 2005 - Phoenix to Prescott via Wickenburg

The first 40 miles on U.S. 60 are nondescript desert. Flat, but with not a lot of traffic -- given the sparse population in these parts, you should be able to get through this in a half-hour or less. A few miles past Wickenburg, things get interesting as you begin the ascent to 5,200 feet on State Highway 89. Highway workers built this road, but it's a gift from the motorcycle gods. Even on the weekends, cars are few and far between as the twists begin and only increase in radicalness as you rise into the cool air. Go too fast and you'll get dizzy. The vistas are plentiful and marvelous, especially at sundown, but pay attention to the road. You'll be shifting dozens of times each mile as you head into turns where the brave rub knees on asphalt.

For the return trip, take State Highway 69, a less technical road with sweeping curves. Still a lot of fun, and a chance to relax after spending the last hour carving canyons. The road meanders for 60 miles before linking up with Interstate 17 for a fast blast back to the big city. It's a 200-mile round trip, and as fine an afternoon in the saddle as you'll find in these parts.

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