Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Climbing To The Island In The Sky

Here's a video of Ed riding his new motorcycle - the Kawasaki KLR650 - up and down Mount Lemmon, one of Southern Arizona's sky islands.

He started out on the "backside" of Mount Lemmon, formally known as the Mount Lemmon Control Road.  This road was built in the early 1920s and was the first road up the Santa Catalina Mountains.  It's 29 miles long and for the first half of the 20th century, was the only vehicular access to the top of the mountain.

If you're traveling the backside you'll start in Catalina, Arizona at approximately 3,100 feet above sea level.  When you get to the top of Mount Lemmon, you're at over 9,000 feet.  Take in the scenery and enjoy the view before you head down the other side, this time traveling on Catalina Highway, a fully paved and maintained road.  Ed chose to take the backside up and the Catalina Highway down.  It can be done either way.

The Catalina Highway, also known as the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway, offers great views, interesting scenery, and a drastic change of vegetation as you descend from a lush forest of various types of trees to a stark landscape filled with cacti and desert vegetation.  It's like driving from Canada to Mexico in less than 30 miles.

The first half is not for the faint of heart.  It's an off-roader's dream.  Rocks, ruts, dirt, and roads that keep you precariously close to the edge.  They often close this road during winter storms and it's best traveled in a high-clearance vehicle.

Ed seemed to do pretty well on two wheels.  He said there were some challenging spots with more rock than road, but he didn't seem to think it was as difficult as those who warned him about it did.

I'm glad I got to enjoy the video because I can't picture myself anytime soon subjecting my spine to the jarring ride.  The roads in Oklahoma are about as much as I can stand.

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2016: Just Another Day In America
2015: Five Fabulous Foodie Finds
2014: And Just Like That, It Happens
2013: The Midday Bird Got The Worm
2012: Keeping Time In A Place That Goes From Salty To Sweet In Less Than A Mile
2011: Pride Of The United States Air Force
2010: The Dinosaur Rears Its Ugly Head
2009: Kidnapping Is Obviously Not Their Forte
2008: Eddie Friday On Ice
2007: Having Influence Where It Matters
2006: MacGyver To The Rescue
2005: The Weekend

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