It’s here! I’m here! In Taos, NM, that is, for our annual pilgrimage to the rally near here at the Sipapu ski area. This is the trip that I start counting down for when I get home for the previous year’s trip. “364 … 363 … 362 …” days to the next one.
What I do when I’m on the road and it’s a traveling day (pack the bike in the morning):
Hal and I left home yesterday afternoon and rode 130 miles, just so today wouldn’t be all 550 miles of the total distance. With both bikes in the shop over the summer, we have not had the opportunity to go on any long road trips on the road bikes, and so are a little bit out of long-distance riding shape.
Stopping for fuel, and a break, off the I-40:
I felt it today, for sure. I squirmed and cussed the last 60 miles or so; my shoulders were aching, and so was my back, and, you know how this trip is usually nice and cool? Not this time. It was around 90° F. the whole way across part of Arizona and into New Mexico on I-40. I still hate the interstate, but as I was riding this morning, I asked myself if I’d rather be riding on the interstate or teaching math right then? The answer was not “teaching math.”
This is one of those trips that I think, “Am I really here?” When I left home yesterday, I was trying to make myself stay in the moment, so I could remember every little detail, like the peaks of the mountains glowing in the evening sunset amid the darkness of the low-lying terrain, and the smell of the coolness when we finally got up on the Rim. We even rode the last few miles to our destination in the dark – through elk country. I kicked up my bright headlights, and kept my eyes moving. Hal said he saw a herd of elk grazing at the side of the road as we climbed up onto the Rim. It worried me that I didn’t even notice. I was super-tired, having been up half the night before, worrying about getting lesson plan instructions written out for my substitute teacher, and worrying that I wouldn’t have even one second for planning during that last day. Which was true, by the way. I slept like the dead when I got to the hotel. I don’t think I moved even once.
This afternoon, as we rode into Taos, I said, “Oh, there’s the road (518 to the ski area), there’s our favorite gas station, there’s the fence!” That fence is kind of a landmark that lets me know I’m inside the city of Taos. Yes, I’m really here! My favorite trip of the whole year. Did I say that about 10 times already? I can’t help it, I am so happy to be here.
“Art” shot of the day:
We got to the hotel, got all the luggage off the bikes, and found a comfortable place to sit and have a cup of coffee. Both of us were SO ready to get off the bikes, and the coffee was especially good. I was road weary, no question about that. The air was that sweet smell and texture of the absolute perfect temperature. Weird. There have been so many times when this trip has been rainy and cold the entire time.
Plans for the next few days? Tomorrow, check in at the rally site, then ride a loop through Mora and up to Angelfire ski area. It’s a loop that we did a long time ago, but I’ve been wanting to go back for a couple of years now and not had time. We will probably spend Saturday hanging out at the rally site talking to friends we only see at this rally. It will be such a luxury to not have to choose between a riding day or a “reconnect” day – we can do both!
On Sunday, we will have to ride all the way home, and I am already dreading that. But I won’t think about that now. Meanwhile, I have 48 hours to enjoy!