postheadericon Riding SoAZ Goes North – Part 2

Some of Sedona's red rock formations

In Part 1, my wife, Melodie, and I had driven from Tucson to Sedona via a route that was new to me and one that both my wife and I found to be quite enjoyable. I left the scooter in the van over night for a couple of reasons. First, there was no need, that evening, to have it. Second, the hotel has a policy that each “resident” may have only one vehicle in the hotel parking area at a time. I was welcome to park it in the lot next to the hotel. Scooters are too easy to steal, so I elected to keep it in the van. I had an idea for that night.

That next morning, I eagerly unloaded Iron Buddy from the back of the Caravan. I had a few places in mind to ride while in Sedona, but I was most looking forward to riding and shooting video of the ride up Oak Creek Canyon. I decided to do the Oak Creek ride the first day.

The ride from our hotel to the switchbacks of the canyon takes 20 minutes or more, so I waited until I was a few miles up 89A then I pulled over, attached the Go-Pro to my helmet, turned it on and took off up the canyon.

Green Trees and Red Rocks

It was a beautiful morning. One thing I am not used to anymore, is riding near trees. Riding in and out of the shadows of the trees gave me the sense of great speed, which is only increased in the video. So, I felt as if I was screaming along the road, yet I was still able to look around and taking in the incredible scenic views of this ride because I really wasn’t going all that fast.

Several RAAM guys had stopped along the side of the road during the climb.

Another surprise I had in store was passing bicycle riders involved in the Race Across America (RAAM.) We had seen a couple of them the day before, between Flagstaff and Sedona, but I didn’t realize they would still be in the area that next morning. In fact, we saw RAAM cyclists for the first 3 days we were there.

Not great quality, but this is what a Cushman looks like when it scoots past you.

Another surprise I got along the ride was passing a group (flock, herd, gaggle?) of Cushman scooters! I believe they were all Cushman Eagles. I seriously considered turning around and following them so I could check out their bikes and talk scooters, but I didn’t want to miss this ride up the canyon. I also figured there was a decent chance I would see them again somewhere in Sedona when I got back to town. (I didn’t.)

I tried to swivel my head as much as possible to give folks watching the video as good a view as possible. As I review the video, I can see the I didn’t turn my head nearly as much as I thought I did. I’m still a novice with the Go-Pro, but I’m learning as I go along.

You can see 89A climbing the wall of Oak Creek Canyon.

Oak Creek Canyon is a box canyon of sorts, at least as far as the highway is concerned. The best part of riding this section of 89A is when you get to the end of the canyon and the road climbs the wall at the end of the canyon. In a little over 2 miles, the road climbs almost 1000 feet in a series of tight switchbacks and short, steep straight-aways. The edge of the road is a shear drop-off resulting in beautiful, yet terrifying, views (at least for those of us with a fear of heights.)

I arrived at the bottom of the switchbacks just behind a bus. I thought about pulling off and waiting  a while so I could ride a bit faster up the cliff. During the summer, though, there is a LOT of traffic through here, so I figured I would just wind up behind some other larger and/or slow vehicle, so I just stayed on the road and began the climb.

I passed a couple more RAAM riders during the ride up. I tried staying fairly close to the edge of the road to give the camera the best possible view. As mentioned earlier though, I have a serious acrophobia and it was all I could do to ride a few feet from the edge and look toward the edge. Additionally, when you see the video, you’ll see that the edge of the asphalt is also the edge of the cliff. In quite a few places, erosion has resulted in the guardrail posts not actually being anchored in anything but air.

Here's one place where I was trying to look over the edge.

Thanks to tourism, this road is very heavily travelled. Unfortunately road quality has suffered as a result. There are many potholes and cracks in 89A between Sedona and Flagstaff. Be vigilant as you ride here. Large rocks in the roadway are also not uncommon since they fall from the cliffs above.

About halfway between that van and I you can see where one of the rail posts is hanging in the air.

I reached the top of the climbed and pulled off into Oak Creek Vista at the top of Oak Creek Canyon. I don’t know if it is held daily or not, but there was a nice little “flee market” kind of thing going on at the top with a lot of native American jewelry and the like being sold there. Additionally, there is a nice visitors center and a well maintained path that takes you around the edge of the canyon.

Here's the flee market at Oak Creek Vista

Looking south down Oak Creek Canyon toward Sedona.

This is the meadow at Oak Creek Vista

Well, since my first edited video from this trip only covers the ascent of Oak Creek Canyon, this seems to be a good a place as any to end this post. I will work on the next video and post it soon. I hope the video isn’t too corny.

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4 Responses to “Riding SoAZ Goes North – Part 2”

  • Stuart:

    The video is great! What i really like is the south down Oak Creek Canyon and the meadow at Oak Creek Vista the beauty of nature.

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  • Thanks for dropping by, Steve. It was a great ride. I’m hoping to do another ride soon and hope to be sharing video from it as well.



    great vido and hello form GOLDEN MEAD0W, LA.

  • ron truex:

    it looks like you had a great time, to bad it is so far to go. i wood like to see a run on south side of town.

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