Highway Gothic: AZ SR 89

Highway Gothic: AZ SR 89

I'm waiting for Elon Musk to premier his line of cologne, moon boots, and outer-space sports drinks.  Have you noticed his face is everywhere?  My wife asked if I wanted to apply to Elon's space program and I said no.  It's not that I'm afraid of taking risks – I am, after all, a motorcyclist.  Yet some things should be left to professionals, so my best shot for touring Jupiter is Arizona SR 89A.

Prescott, AZ, is on this road.  Steve McQueen, one of America's most popular motorcyclists, swapped his bike for a horse here and shot Junior Bonner.  One of the casts' hangouts was the Palace Restaurant and Saloon, the oldest such establishment in Arizona.  It is something to see – an authentic Old West experience.  It's also a great place to kick over your ride to head toward the landing zone.

To get there, you have to pass through Jerome, which is one of the most surreal motorcycling experiences in North America.  What do I mean by surreal?  Apparently, nobody has told the residents that their whole town is sliding down a hill.  Also, according to the government, Jerome is technically a ghost town.  The problem is that there are over 450 recorded people who live there.  Where?  Nobody is quite sure.  If you missed The Twilight Zone, riding through Jerome will get you caught up.

Heading north past Jerome, there's what some people call Space Station Sedona.  According to Cheryl Costa and Linda Miller, authors of UFO Sighting Desk Reference: United States of America 2001-2020, the people of Sedona, AZ, see more UFOs per capita than anywhere else in the U.S.  Even California, which is supposedly the extraterrestrial hot spot.

My theory is this – if Sedona is my best chance at seeing a UFO, then it is also my best shot at hitching a ride on the rear pegs of one.  If they have made it here, then the specs on their ABS system probably beat Elon's solid fuel-based hardtail.  I'm not riding around in Musk's Model T if I have a chance at being abducted off the back of my 650cc, which hasn't had a warranty on it since 1978.  In addition to being one of Arizona's four scenic highways, SR 89A offers the Old West, a town slipping sideways, and a chance for a hookup with a cephalopod who's daddy's bagger will probably do light speed in third gear.  SR 89A is magnificent, and if the aliens stand you up, you can always visit the Grand Canyon.