Road to Ruidoso


July 9, 2015

After a quick breakfast at the hotel in Taos, Hal and I packed up, said our good-byes to one of our favorite places, and got on the road. It wasn’t quite as sad as when we usually leave in September, mostly because I knew we were riding toward new adventures on the road, and didn’t have to return home yet.

We rode south on NM 518, the road that takes us past the rally site at Sipapu ski area. It was kind of weird seeing it in full summer greenery.

The incredibly beautiful little river that runs right next to the road:

We didn’t stop, it seemed like we should leave it until when we are there in September. I glanced over my shoulder as we passed and saw that the burned area of the main building looked like it had been redone.

Burned lodge (photo from last year):

An explosion and fire burned the main room in that building just before our rally last year, and although the rally was still held, that part of the building was not used. It had been the main meeting room where everyone socialized, and I am hoping it’s been restored now to even better condition than it was before the fire.

We rode on through the amazing beauty of the area, through Holman-Cleveland-Mora, but instead of turning north as we usually do when we ride this area during the rally, we continued on 518, one of the fun twisty roads that we love. We followed the road south through Las Vegas, NM and then the terrain changed to flat scrubland. We rode in flat high desert for most of the remainder of the day, under a sun and clouds sky. The temperature was around 80° F. which was perfect for riding.

Our first fuel stop was in Vaughn, NM, and we took a break for a few minutes. I had put some wet laundry in a mesh bag that I lashed to the top of my clothes bag, and when I stopped in Vaughn, I put the mesh bag into one of my side cases because the clothes were already dry. Yes, that is the natural clothes dryer that I use when I must rinse a few things while I am on the road!

It was south of Vaughn and through a few little towns that I saw several buildings that I wanted to “shoot” with my IR camera. I should have stopped and gone back then, and I don’t know why I didn’t. The sky was perfect for it, too. Now I will have to make another trip. Oh, darn! 😉 I don’t mind making another trip, but I still should have stopped because I don’t know if I will ever again have such a perfect sky for IR images.

When we got to Carrizozo, we turned onto 380, then onto 37 near Nogal. The terrain was a type that I have not experienced yet in this state. It rolled steeply up and down, then climbed up to higher elevation and stayed up. Soon we were riding into the mountainous terrain that surrounds Ruidoso, our destination for the night.

As I rode into Ruidoso, I had to keep glancing down at my tank bag where the directions were written on a piece of paper. Hal had written them, but not memorized them, so I had to direct us by talking over the intercom. He’d gotten the directions from Google maps, and it routed us a convoluted way. I kept looking at all the steep hillsides and crazy streets around me as I was riding, wondering if I was going to have to ride my fully-loaded touring bike up a steep muddy hillside to get to this motel! Without “knobby” dirt tires, either!

It turned out that we could have just stayed on the main road without juking around through small winding streets, the country club, and a road that ended with a steep uphill at a stoplight. Happily, when we got to the motel, the parking lot was reasonably flat, and it was a nice little place!

We had left late that morning, taken our time, but we still got to Ruidoso in enough time to unpack and take a leisurely walk to dinner. Our mileage for the day was only about 270 miles, but I’d enjoyed every one. When I am on my bike, that is the only time that I am “in the moment,” and all is right in my world.

Hal and I were hungry for something vaguely “comfort food-ish,” and so we walked about an eighth of a mile to a Cattle Baron restaurant for a roast chicken and salad dinner. Then we walked to a historic mill museum that told about some of the history of Ruidoso.

I took a few photos, and then we returned to the motel. It had a nice relaxing little garden area to sit in, so we sat companionably in the semi-darkness under the soft lights, talking about motorcycles and riding until we were almost too tired to keep our eyes open.

Tiny hummingbird sitting on a wire above us, making the clicking sound that they make:

I fell asleep that night listening to the rain from a thunderstorm that moved in with the darkness.

Things I thought about today:

  • There is nothing better than being on the bike, traveling, and knowing that all you need is right there on the bike with you.
  • I like to be at a destination about two days, and then I am ready to move on.
  • I wish I would never have to be hot and sweaty again. More overcast days would be super-nice, too.

Update: the bottle of beer is still safe in my pack!

**

Next: White Sands, and Alpine, AZ

Coming Soon: I have just returned from another trip, this time to the White Mountains with the dirt bike, and will have those stories for you when this series is finished.

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