Above: Alpine on a late summer evening
So, it’s been a while since I have posted. I never finished the Taos story from this year, but I am sure you gathered I got home okay. It was another wonderful ride through New Mexico. I am going to tell you the highlights in a minute. Lately, I’ve been struggling through the first anniversary of the car crash last year, and I’m still not driving a car. I know at least one person that I thought was a “friend” who will make some nasty remark, like “big deal,” and tell me to “get over it,” but most people will understand that a person doesn’t just “get over” what to them is a traumatic event. That said, it’s onward and upward as they say. I’m working on it. The struggle is real, but at some point I will “sort of” get back to normal. After all that, though, I still will get on the motorbikes without hesitation, even the street bikes, which is weird, I know, but things can be weird after something happens.
Lately, I have been enjoying the absence of heat where I live, finally, and recently had an especially wonderful weekend ride on highway 191. I will post that story soon. It was probably my best ride … ever.
With that, here is the end of the Taos rally ride:
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Hal and I left Taos later than I wanted to. We rode along the Rio Grande until we reached Velarde. NM. We crept through the small town, then abruptly the scenery changed to more business-like, inhabited town, growing busier the closer we got to Santa Fe. Albuquerque was also busy, for a mid-day Sunday, and then before we knew it, we were through hot Socorro, climbing in elevation to cooler temperatures and cloudy skies.
We started heading north/northwest, and the sky was dark. Up ahead, we saw a patch of road that was silvery from falling rain. But just for a mile! It was so strange. During that mile, we were pelted with big drops of rain for a few minutes, and then suddenly we were out of it. What just happened? I thought, then laughed. I didn’t have any rain gear on yet, but I also hadn’t had much of a chance to get wet.
Farther west on the 60, though, as we headed toward Pie Town, we saw more dark clouds gathering, and I asked to stop to put on rain gear. It was a good decision, because we rode right into a very active thunderstorm. First there was a bright bolt of lightning to the north, then another to the south! Hal said, “this is scaring me!” It was me, too, but I said “we’ve only got about three miles to Pie Town.” We kept going. It turned out that I was right about the three miles, and with relief we turned into the parking lot of the pie restaurant at the west end of town.
The thunderstorm was calm for the moment, but more was coming. We shed our wet gear when we got inside, and sat down. We ordered pie and coffee, and as we started eating, a thick bolt of lightning hit within a mile of the pie store, followed immediately by a shattering BOOM! Hal and I looked at each other, each with a forkful of pie halfway to our mouths. Wow, that was close.
A couple traveling in a car came in, sat down next to us, and we ended up talking to them for quite a while as we waited out the storm. They had, coincidentally, been to the Taos rally last year, and asked us if we were returning from this year’s. That’s how the conversation started, and it went from there. The restaurant was supposed to close at 4 p.m. New Mexico time, but the owners allowed us all to sit and talk as they cleaned up. The storm was slowly calming down, and we finally left.
Hal and I rode the glistening roads to Quemado for our next fuel stop, then got on highway 32. We made good time, and it was beautiful to look at the amazing clouds and spectacular scenery. We’d been on this road before, but it’s always a treat. Along the way, I saw an amazing geological formation with vertical columns of rock right on top of horizontal strata. One could “wax poetic” on such story-telling abilities of the earth.
At last we made it to Reserve, NM. It was still damp, but got warmer as we descended. Once we got on hwy 180 for the last section toward Alpine, it cooled down again, but here, oddly, the road was dry – for a change! I couldn’t remember the last time we’d come through here and found dry pavement. It was fun to ride the turns, and soon we were seeing the familiar outline of the mountains surrounding Alpine. As we parked and unpacked the bikes, I looked up just in time to see an amazing rainbow stretching across the dark blue sky on the eastern horizon behind Alpine.
We walked to dinner, then Hal, whose back had been hurting for most of the trip, went right to bed, hoping he could get up and feel well enough in the morning to make it home. I worried that he wouldn’t be able to, that’s how bad it was.
Maybe because we were in Alpine, Hal’s back was much better the next day, and we made it home. Back to work after that, with our minds already on the next trip soon to come.