Part 3 – Durango, CO, July 29, 2016
Gas stop. When we have a travel day, this is mostly what we see:
Hal and I left Heber, AZ at 8:45 a.m. The earlier in the trip, the more eager we seem to be to get on the road. The temperature was in the low 80s F., and the bike felt really great. I was on Katerina Maria, my 2009 BMW F650GS, the bike I toured on last summer. It was the same wonderful feeling; I felt very content and positive. I rode through the high grassy plain, feeling the cool morning air and looking forward to a good long day in the saddle.
We fueled up in Holbrook, AZ, and headed east toward Gallup, NM on I-40. The I-40 hasn’t been my favorite road in the past, but it was calm and reasonably pleasant (for it) today. I had dialed my suspension up a half turn because it felt just a little “off.” The bike was fully loaded with all my gear, and me, so adjustments must be made! After that, Kat felt really great, floating over the road, tires singing.
The time on I-40 passed very quickly, and soon we left Arizona behind (I am always glad for that, no matter how temporary!), and then we were getting off the interstate at Gallup, NM to take the 491 north to Shiprock. We fueled up again at the northern edge of town at the same stop where last year we spent two hours waiting for the road ahead to be cleared of mud!
This year, those places that had been covered in mud due to flooding last year, were under construction. Bridges were being placed, presumably to prevent the same thing from happening again. Even as I rode, I saw in the distance the dark clouds that can produce heavy rain in the afternoons. It was much later in the day last year when we passed through here because we had been delayed by “a series of unfortunate events!”
The 90 miles to Shiprock seemed to go by really quickly. I was completely in the moment and enjoying the feeling of being on the bike without a care in the world. Before I knew it, we were in Farmington, our last stop before we reached Durango.
We turned onto our “secret road” that takes us into Durango the back way, and as we passed into Colorado, it grew cooler and prettier. It is magic! We got into Durango at 4:00 local time, barely six hours on the road, including stops.
The sky was overcast, and as we entered Durango, it began to sprinkle. I found the Animas River running high and fast.
After checking into our hotel, we walked up to the narrow gauge train station. We were able to watch all three trains return from Silverton as there had been some sort of delay with the first one, so all were late. It rained harder as we stood at the train station, and I loved it. It was a lovely, classic soft rainy afternoon watching the trains come into Durango, the moments that I think of to calm me when I am frustrated by my job.
Later, we got food at the deli in the grocery store and ate while we watched the Animas River rushing and plunging over the rocks. So exciting! Tomorrow is a down day in Durango, just like last year, which will give us time to explore and possibly do something fun and different.
I wondered what inspiration for creativity I would find here this time?
Next: Hanging out in Durango for a day