Friday, February 10, 2012

Winter Ride—Chapter 2

What I continue to be amazed with on this ride is the wide open road. I have probably logged less than 150 miles on the Interstate—the rest have been on roads. There are stretches on the road where you can literally see for miles. And, with no cops in sight (I’ve only seen 6 on this trip so far) you can really let the throttle out. I haven’t hit 100mph yet, but I’ve come pretty close. And the feeling of just letting it all go is incredible.

I got ready to head out yesterday to some rain. I knew it was coming, but as I watched to the weather coverage I could see that it wouldn’t last long. I just needed to wait for the rain to pass and then I could get on my way. Temperatures were still cold, but it seems I’ve gotten used to the cold. “40-degree” rule is what I call it—if it’s over 40 degrees, I’m not going to get too cold for the ride.

I headed out first to pay my respects to Billy the Kid. Fort Sumner is just a little dot on the map, and I’ve seen places in Central Texas with more personality, but they really hype up the fact that Billy the Kid was shot and buried there. I guess it’s like Hico in that way. The gravesite is 9 miles away from town and is behind the Billy the Kid museum (there are two in Fort Sumner—look up why on Google). The graveyard is small, with some other people buried there. But Billy’s grave is now protected with an iron fence so that the headstone won’t be stolen—its been stolen a few times, as one would suspect. I would have spent a bit more time taking careful pictures there, but I needed to get on the road.

Now, the road riding was incredible. But once on I-40 heading to Albuquerque, the scenery turned majestic. As you finally get through all the flatlands, you begin to see the mountain range surrounding Albuquerque emerge. I haven’t seen mountains like that since California. There was a trace of snow on the mountains, and quite a few shacks, mansions, brush, and small trees. I felt like I was riding my bike through the stretch between San Francisco and Marin County—and I haven’t done that ride on a bike since 1984. Beautiful, breathtaking, incredible. I will pass through there again later today.

I must say, once I settled in to my room in Albuquerque and did some exploring, I was unimpressed. The city itself looks like its either on the edge of recovery or deterioration. The burbs are where all the people live, and the downtown reminds me of a very slow Mobile, Alabama. I would have to say that Mobile has a better nightlife and live music scene. I was greatly disappointed.

The one thing I did get to do was go to the local Harley dealer for their “Mens Night Out”. They were serving free food, free beer, and had a free raffle for gift cards and other things. Their HOG chapter is huge, but you would expect that in a city this large. The Chapter President told me they go on rides every month, even in the cold, and they just had a ride with over 80 bikes! Now that is impressive. I had the chance to finally pick up my winter booties there so the ride home won’t feel so cold on my feet. I had a wonderful time at this event and wished we had things like this more often in Central Texas.

Well, I’ll be presenting a paper this morning on “Why Women Ride Motorcycles”. I’m in the process of collecting interviews with women riders, and the stories have been fascinating and wonderful. But as I look at the weather, I know I’ve got to begin my ride back home this afternoon to avoid the rain on Sunday. I’ll be heading out to Lubbock this afternoon. A nice 330 mile ride—just a ride around the block! It’s all good!

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