Another Way Home
Deryle & Wanda Merhten
This past June Wanda and I rode up to Prescott, Arizona to join 21
other SEAT members and guests for the Annual SEAT Overnighter. This
was the first year the Overnighter was in Prescott and except for
the heat is was a great ride, a fantastic turnout. And, it was the
first overnighter for our new-to-us 2002 K1200RS. We call her Rotti,
she’s red, and it sounds like what they called the red bratwursts at
the Volksmarches when we were in Germany!
Wanda and I like to think we know a bit about Arizona, we’ve ridden
down most of the paved roads all across this great state we’ve come
to call home. There’s still a lot more we haven’t seen and every
now and then we get the opportunity to incorporate a new road or a
new roadside attraction into a planned ride. We got just such an
opportunity to do that on our ride home from the SEAT Overnighter.
Back in 1971 according to the Guinness Book of Records the fountain
in the center of Fountain Hills, Arizona was the largest fountain in
the world. Fountain Hills is a small town in Maricopa County,
neighboring the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Salt River
Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and is just north of Scottsdale.
The 33-some million gallon lake the fountain draws from provides
enough water for the fountain to shoot as high as 560 feet when all
three pumps are operating. Seeing as how Fountain Hills is in
between Prescott and home, why not check out one of Arizona’s famous
Our initial plans were to come down from Prescott on Hwy 69 to I-17,
get off at New River Road and take a ride out to Bartlett Dam before
stopping to see the world’s now 2nd tallest fountain. Leaving
Prescott at 6:15 am it was already getting warm. By the time we hit
I-17 it was even warmer, it was going to a hot one. At the New
River exit we decided to pass on riding out to Bartlett Dam, we’d
ride out to the day in the fall when it’s cooler.
Click here to
go to Google Maps to get a closer view.
Getting off I-17 at New River Road we looped around a bit, steadily
heading south toward the Carefree Highway. We were definitely off
the beaten path on a couple of these back roads. At the end of the
Carefree Highway we took Pima down to Dynamite Road/E Rio Verde
Drive and south on Forest Road to McDowell Mountain Road and into
Fountains Hills. All the roads were well maintained and had little
to no traffic early on a Sunday morning. Sweet riding on the Rotti.
Once into the town’s center the lake is the dominating feature. At
8 am there were dozens of joggers and walkers on the inviting paths
that twist and wind around the lake. Lots of green grass and trees
surround the lake, virtually an oasis in the middle of the desert.
A Veterans’ Memorial Park on one end of the lake and a small outdoor
mall next to it were the only attractions or shops we saw on the
lakeside of the road. The other side of the road all around the
lake is occupied by very large and very expensive looking homes.
Pulling into the parking lot that gives the best view of the
fountain we were all set to see the fountain do its hourly spout.
Turns out the fountain show doesn’t start till 9 am, we were way
early. A cup of coffee and some cookies in the shade under a tree
only used up about 25 minutes and it was getting into the high 80s.
We decided to ride on and when we ride through again we’d time it
better. After a loop around the lake we headed to Safford where we
would spend the night.
Leaving town on Grand Boulevard (that turns into Mohave Road) we
connected to Fort McDowell Road and down to Highway 87, the Beeline
Highway. We made a note that on our return to see the fountain do
its thing we would take Fort McDowell Road to Bartlett Dam, the
little piece we did was a very nice back road, for sure. We rode
north on the Beeline Highway to the Bush Highway exit, wound our way
southwest to Usery Pass Road then down to the Superstition Highway
and on to Globe.
Riding southeast to Safford on Highway 70, The Old West Highway, it
got hot, 105 by the time we came into town. As we rode through the
San Carlos Apache Indian Nation we had a 10 to 15 mph tail wind
which made it seem even hotter. Rotti’s fans came on and stayed on
for last few miles. The hotel air conditioning was fantastic!
What a great way to spend a weekend - riding around our favorite
state on our new-to-us K1200RS! Deryle and Wanda, always looking
for another Arizona attraction.