Meanwhile, back to the story …
Taos, 2014, Day 4
The sky was overcast again this morning … or was it??
Looking out the window when I got up, I saw mostly gray, but after I got dressed, it looked like there was blue sky showing in small areas. Judging from yesterday, I thought the blue parts would only get bigger as the day went by.
After a late breakfast (the one hour difference from Arizona to New Mexico kills me!), we topped up the fuel tanks, and found a wonderful Praying Mantis on top of the gas pump!
Whatever you think about insects, you have to admit that this guy is beautiful:
Which is his best side?:
He was a beautiful creature, so I had to take the time to photograph him. They are such weird (in an extraordinary, beautiful way) insects. After we finished admiring him, Hal and I rode out to Sipapu Lodge, about 20 miles away. It was a glorious ride on a curving road that I’ve ridden many times before, but I enjoyed every moment.
We parked the bikes at the lodge then went to the upstairs part where we listened to a presentation by two women who had recently ridden to and within the state of Alaska. The presentation was in a small room, and it was standing room only. It was a very interesting presentation, especially since Hal and I are entertaining thoughts of going there as well. I wouldn’t take a BMW there, but the two women did. I am amazed that they got there unscathed and that the bikes worked well the whole trip. I will be taking a Suzuki DR 650 (when I get one) to Alaska, along with some parts in case I need to fix it. That would not be possible for me to do with one of my BMWs, and I probably won’t need to fix anything on the DR!
After the presentation, I talked to my friend, Voni, for a little while. Voni has ridden over 1,000,000 documented miles on a BMW. Yes, you read that correctly, ONE MILLION. She started riding in the 1970s, long before I did, and she and her husband travel extensively by motorcycle. As we said when we finally finished our conversation and parted for the day, we will never run out of things to talk about. I wish I had more time to talk to her; she is awesome, and we think so much alike.
Most people were out riding by then, and the rally site was comparatively empty. The day before I had seen the alpaca ranch, and since it wasn’t that far away, only about 40 miles, we decided to ride to Mora valley again and go to the alpaca ranch. Once again, after we left the rally site we rode under cloud-darkened skies, but when we got to the alpaca ranch it was not as overcast. We rode into the gate at the ranch, onto the dirt and over a sketchy cattle guard (I was on my road bike, remember), and parked in front of their small store.
Unfortunately, we had just missed the official “tour,” but we were allowed to walk over to the paddock area so we could pet and feed some of the cute little guys!
Alpacas are so cute:
I love the “just got out of bed” look on this one, with the hay all over him!:
We took lots of photos, hung out with the sweet alpacas, and then we walked over to the store and went in. The lady that works there was telling a small group of people about the ranch, so we tagged along and listened.
She gave the history of Victory Alpaca Ranch, which is where we were, and then talked about how the alpacas are shorn, how the fiber from their coats is woven into different things, for example, skeins of yarn, sweaters, socks, all different things. Everything was expensive to buy, too, so I settled on a soft pair of socks for my husband, and a small bag of alpaca fiber straight from one of the animals (named Goldilocks!). I wanted to show my school kids when I got home, and tell them about the alpacas. We spent an hour or so at the ranch.
Once we were back on the bikes, the sky was very dark again. The dark blue clouds had been looming, surrounding the ranch, and once again, we rode right back into it to return to the rally. I will never get tired of riding this road because of the wonderful curves, and I tried to enjoy it fully because I knew I was riding it for the last time this year. I wanted to fling the bike into the turns faster than ever, but good sense (and the threat of cops) made me keep my speed down. Again, we managed to avoid the rain.
When we returned to Sipapu, it was cloudy, windy, and cold! We got some hot drinks then sat down to watch another presentation, this time where a mechanic was tearing apart a BMW “airhead” engine. After a while, the sun came out again so we moved into the sun to warm up.
This is what we do at the rally, hang out, and look at the beauty; some people camp while they are staying there, but we never do because it can get very cold and wet at this rally:
Yeah, I know, I was trying to keep from being hot, but I wanted to be a little warmer than I was when the wind started blowing! We sat with friends and talked “bike talk,” I wrote in my journal for a little while, and soon it was time for dinner.
I was actually looking at the dog in the water, but I think it’s cool that there is a bike on the road behind me as well:
Dinner was beef brisket, cooked to perfection so it melted in your mouth. I don’t eat much meat, normally, but that was too good to pass up. Besides the beef brisket, dinner consisted of potato salad, lettuce salad, roll, and then cherry or blackberry cobbler and ice cream for dessert. Mmmmm! After that, the temperature dropped again because the sky cleared, and at that point, it became cold. We were ready to leave then; there was a good band playing, but since the part of the lodge that burned usually housed “the entertainment,” Hal and I felt like we were done for the day. I am embarrassed to say that I plugged in my heated jacket liner to go back to Taos! I only turned it on for a few miles, and then the extra layer was all I needed. About five miles out of town, we stopped to take a photo of the spectacular clouds and sunset.
Soon after we got back on the bikes, we both realized independently that what we were looking at to the north was a silver wall of rain coming toward Taos! Then, I wondered why my bike felt like it was on rollers, moving sideways all over the road. It was because of the strong wind that had kicked up, the wind that preceded the storm. It got dark very rapidly, and it was difficult to see through the swirling dust. It was wild when we got to the edge of town, and I could hardly see. Hal turned immediately into the parking lot of the hotel, but I had to wait for a stream of cars. I was hoping the rain would hold off until I got the bike parked and covered, and I just made it in time. I was throwing the waterproof cover over Pearl just as the first huge drops of rain hit.
It rained hard and the wind blew for some time. We got some more coffee and warmed up while shaking a few drops of water from our riding clothes. I thought it’s always like this on the last night, where something happens that makes it feel wonderful and cozy, and then I hate to leave even more. All I want is rain, cool weather, and overcast skies, and I could be really happy.
Tomorrow we ride toward home already. While I miss my husband, my dog, and home, I am always sad to leave Taos. It is truly “enchanted” and beautiful, and I never get tired of being here, or coming to this rally.