That morning we abused the motel for their free breakfast and coffee, and prolly got out of there by 8am. First we headed over to long time biker friends Steve and Linda who lived on the north side of town.
It was hard to get past their 4 nice bikes in the garage. A '98 ST1100 with 16000 (for sale, PM me for info), a Veradero, a KLR, and Steve has a nice liter Sport bike.
In spite of all those nice bikes they still talk to me.
It was great to see them again, but I had ulterior motives. They both know the local roads from a moto point of view.
They got their maps out over a fresh pot of coffee, and we talked roads from ABQ to and around Taos. They routed us on the little roads where the things to be seen were. It worked out very well.
We found out that they are eager to get relocated to Colorado where they bought a few acres last year. Steve is retired and Linda needs to find a good Job up there. They figure sometime around next spring.
We were on the little roads on the way north on 550 then 4 by the Caldera and past Bandelier Park.
On the way, hardly 30 miles out of town, we stumbled into these hot spring like deposited.
In general we just tooled up the road looking at olden times, and great twisties in the mtns. It was a great day and we were high enough that the temps were moderate.
There were big fires in Northwestern AZ and NM but the smoke that was bad earlier in the week wasn't bad while we were there.
Not far into the mountain we stopped at a view point over looking 'the Caldera'. A caldera is a huge earth crust explosion usually. In this case it's a bowl 10 miles wide and 15 miles long. This one is grassy with no trees. It's protected from hunting and has a large herd of Elk out there.
If you noticed the little animals at all, a mile or more out there, you'd think it was cattle, but signs will correct you if you read them.
They are still little even with my 10 power zoom.
Some other bikes pulled up while we were there. One of them on an FJR said, "I've seen you and that trailer rig on ADVrider". He took a hard look at it up close, thinking that pulling a DS bike with him to Alaska later this summer interested him.
We moved on. Next we passed the entrance to Bandelier Park. I wasn't going to stop thinking it was a day use place with camping. Nip hauled me down and said that we should go there as he'd been there, and it was a good deal more than I expected.
As we entered the Park the Ranger asked if I was going down to the lower level...if I was, I couldn't take the trailer down there. Huh?? OK, I found a place and parked it, then we went the several miles down to the Visitors Center slash gift center.
I'm really glad we stopped at the park as there were major ruins and cliff dwelling down there.
Here's the major Round House. It was surrounded by probably hundreds of cliff residences. Many of which were hollowed out soft rock rooms.
These pictures will explain.....
Cliff hollowed out dwellings. The cliffs even look soft.
There was also lots of masonry housing at the base of the cliffs a few stories high.
Perhaps the most complete of all the ruins.
The holes show where roof beams were plugged into the wall for stories no longer in existence.
After leaving Bandelier we enjoyed curves all the way to Penasco where we had dinner.
Evening approached. We needed food and a campground about the time we rolled into Penasco. There was a small Mex Food trailer on the right.
The place wasn't much but the food was good.
I asked the owner where I could take a wizz. He said to go out behind the dump truck around back....my kind of place for sure.
There were a couple Mex seniors there when we got there. We asked about camping. The eager one said sure, go thru town make a turn and go a couple miles to a National forest campground.
I tried that and got about a mile out of town on a dirt road....hummm .....this can't be right. I stopped and asked some Indian/mexicans at a ranch where the campground was. They said it was a few miles further on that dirt road.
I elected to go back to Pavement and look for a campground over there which we found inside of 10 miles. We had camp set up by 7:30. I don't think I lasted to 9pm before my lights went out.
Red River, Wagon Mound, Springer and more tomorrow......