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Dodging Asteroids, JFK Jr., C19 & Route 666

Photos and text by Koz Mraz

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Packin heat and ready to ride
Packin heat and ready to ride

Armageddon and apocalyptic end times are all the rage! Between conspiracy theories, the November 2nd asteroid, Nov 3rd elections and the pandemic it’s definitely time to take an “End of the World” motorcycle ride. I suggest avoiding toxic zombies in metropolitan areas and, the petrified people of Covid suburbs. Get Out! as fast as you can to high country.

I picked up my Harley-Davidson Road Glide at Sedona EagleRider and headed to Meteor Crater, the Petrified Forest and Rt. 666, the Devil’s Highway all the way to Mexico in my EOTW ride. Most people don’t realize that Arizona has some serious mountains with Humphreys Peak topping out at 12,633 feet! Flagstaff also has the perfect underground hideaway from the impending cataclysm.
 Lava Tubes of Flagstaff
Lava Tubes of Flagstaff

The lava tubes of Flagstaff were formed through a volcanic vent. As the lava flowed from the vent, the outside hardened into a tube-like formation. This newly created tunnel filled with molten lava creating a fiery faucet. Once the flow was done the cave cooled and what remains is a 700,000-year-old mile-long tunnel for all of those brave enough to explore it. Its officially closed but easy to sneak into if the world goes to Hell.

Motorhome Hits Earth!
Meteor Crater is only 43 miles from Flagstaff and is the best-preserved impact crater on earth. On November 2nd another vehicle sized spinning asteroid will pass earth, and doomsayers claim it’s destined to hit and throw us off our axis—doom (guess it didn’t happen). This Meteor Crater impact was an asteroid only 100 or so feet in diameter and was equivalent to a 4.5 megaton explosion (300 times larger than Hiroshima) creating 900 mph winds. So, a 25-foot motorhome hitting earth at about 38,000 miles per hour would cause quite a ruckus. Especially if it parked itself at the Phoenix Stadium during a big game. Meteor Crater is definitely the place to visit for a cosmic view of life in our solar system and get some serious impact perspective. Don’t miss visiting Meteor City.

WigWam Bunkers
Continuing east on the 40 fwy for 58 miles you’ll hit Holbrook and the WigWam Motel, a Route 66 icon since the 1930s. Only two of the three surviving motels are located on historic U.S. Route 66. The one here in Holbrook, and San Bernardino, California. They are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Have you even been inside one of their Tee Pees? It’s like an Apollo space capsule with a bathtub, actually not so bad if your dodging meteor impact blasts. Very tempting, but I need to keep riding, Mexico may be my only escape.
Petrified Forest
Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest / Painted Desert
I am told there are many trails in the Petrified Forest that take you to the Blue Mesa and Crystal and the Tepees. Painted Desert Rim Trail has remarkable views of the painted desert. But I’ve no time to actually look at the pretty rocks, the end is near. Less than 0.5 mile from the I-40 exit is the Painted Desert Visitor Center which houses books, petrified wood exhibits, and park information. A film about the park is shown continuously throughout the day. The visitors center is adjacent to a restaurant, gift shop, and gas station; restrooms are still available. Although 200 the million-year old petrified trees are absolutely amazing it’s another reminder of how little time is remains.

Painted Desert Rim Trail
Approximately one mile after the northern park entrance is the pull-off for Tawa Point, where the Painted Desert Rim Trail begins. The trail travels along the canyon rim and includes several information panels about the wildlife, geology, and ancient people of the region. In 0.5 mile, you’ll reach the Painted Desert Inn and then Kachina Point with its panoramic views of the red, orange, pink, and purple rocks. From Kachina Point, the trail enters a 5- to 8-million-year-old volcanic area. Once you reach Kachina Point, turn around and head back to the Tawa Point parking.
Painted Desert Inn
Painted Desert Inn

Painted Desert Inn
The restored 1924 Painted Desert Inn is 2 miles north on the park road. The inn was built with wood and stone in the Pueblo Revival style with flagstone terraces and earth-textured walls two feet thick. In 1940, the Fred Harvey Company managed the magnificent Inn serving passengers traveling on the Santa Fe Railway, then it closed in 1942.
Scheduled for demolition in 1976 The National Park Service stepped in to list it on the National Register of Historic Places and saved it. The Painted Desert Inn reopened in 2006. Though it no longer operates as a hotel and restaurant, the museum and bookstore feature extraordinary architectural details, such as hammered-tin chandeliers, local pottery, and a vivid mountain lion petroglyph, one of the finest in the region.

Get your kicks on Route 666
In 1992, Arizona requested a new number designation for this highway to hell, arguing the road signs on Route 666 were the most frequently stolen in America. This beast of a highway traverses the entire U.S, from Mexico to Canada. I hit Rt 666 south (now designated Rt 191) and rode from Sanders to Springerville. A desolate, flat 80 miles of two-lane ribbon even the devil has no interest in. But hey, there’s not a soul here, so if the world ended, I’d never know. So I just keep riding. It’s 367 miles to the Mexican border, I know I can make it before all hell breaks loose.

Finally, the White mountains provide some great riding relief, and I stop at the Tal Wi Wi Lodge for much needed grub and a brew. There are a lot of grim bikers here. Are they all making an end of the world run? Perhaps this is the safe haven I’m looking for? I tell my end-of-the-world-run-to-Mexico-before-disaster-strikes story to the bakers at the bar. I can’t look back, if I make it to the boarder at Agua Prieta I’m home free! The riders stare at me blankly and tell me the CDC just downgraded the pandemic to an outbreak, toilet paper is readily available and I no longer need to wipe with dollar bills. The asteroid won’t hit earth, there wasn’t a civil war, JFK Jr. didn’t return from the dead and the new boss is just like the old boss.
Perhaps I have whipped myself into a freak-out frenzy. Oh well, if the West Coast does fall into the ocean Phoenix becomes expensive ocean view property. I guess I can just go home now.

Turns out the cruise back on U.S. Route 60 to State Route 260 to Camp Verde is a thrilling 200 miles of descending high-speed roller-coaster sweepers that drops 4000 feet. lots of passing lanes kept me in front of the pack. I don’t know the speed limits because 80 felt just right. Flying through Pines, Douglass Firs and the Spruce forests crisp scented air and expanse mountain views cleared my head. I don’t know what the future brings but I’ll take it as it comes. My fretful escape birthed a renewed optimism and a magnificent homebound ride. I hope yours will as well.
Special Thanks to Mike “The Animal” at Sedona EagleRider

Don't Miss the Women's Racy 5-Ball Racing leathers Jacket with built in sweatshirt. Just click on the image.
Don't Miss the Women's Racy 5-Ball Racing leathers Jacket with built in sweatshirt. Just click on the image.

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