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Old 05-05-2004, 10:28 PM   #55
MikeO OP
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,676
5th April

Well, it stopped raining – long enough for me to set off, anyway! After doing some retail therapy (Navigator II should be at my next mail drop waiting for me ), I was packed, refuelled and on the road for 1100. As I rode through Carlsbad, evidence of the heavy rain was everywhere – from patches of silt covering large sections of main roads, to debris washed up against bridges in the storm drains.

I head North, towards Roswell. I’m in the high desert now, the road I’m travelling is over 3000ft above sea level. The vegetation differs from the desert at Big Bend in as much as it has few trees and is nearly all low-lying scrub. The place is flat – I mean flat like the top of a desk. The ride, along a dual carriageway, isn’t terribly exciting so, when I reach Artesia, I turn off the main road and take County Road 2 instead. This isn’t exciting either, but at least it’s not dual carriageway…

Roswell is famous, of course, as being the home of the conspiracy theories surrounding Extra Terrestrials and Flying Saucers. In July 1947, the US Air Force claimed to have found a crashed UFO – a claim they quickly withdrew, saying it was a weather balloon. The rumours of cover-ups and conspiracies have multiplied ever since – if you’re bored, try typing ‘Roswell’ into Google and see the screen fill up with weird stuff :P Still, what happened to this aeroplane? Why is it in someone’s front yard? – what is the significance of the statue of a horse…:eek:



As I come into Roswell, I notice the airport looks a little busy…



It seems that they allow the spare taxiways and runways to be rented out to airlines and other operators to store their spare aircraft. New Mexico’s normally arid climate make it an ideal place for this. Until I arrived :P, they hadn’t had rain in Roswell for three years! There are dozens of aircraft stored here.

I suspect any native of Roswell gets pretty fed up with answering UFO questions, but the town does take advantage of its history…



…so where else to have lunch, than the Crash Site Café? (The Best Food in the Universe*).



I have an memorable lunch – memorable because, in the booth across the aisle from me are two 35 yr old adolescents having a really serious discussion about the motives of a character in Star Trek. They were clearly the kind of people who’s idea of a good time would involve abduction followed by gang-probing by a saucer-full of extra terrestrials…

I get back on the bike, putting my thermal liner back in my jacket, for the first time since I left Georgia in February. I decide against taking I70 to the West, but instead ride Highway 246, a meandering back-road, which will bring me out at roughly the same place.



At first, it’s quite pleasant, though it feels bloody cold. Soon, however, it starts to look a bit threatening again…



I stop and put on my waterproof gloves and put the shower cap on the tank bag.

I’ve no sooner set off than I round a corner and execute a copy-book emergency stop – just in time to avoid a group of eight deer across the road. They panic and run in all directions, two of them so scared they stand and stare at me long enough for me to get the camera out and take a couple of snaps…



…whilst trying to get my bum to let go of the seat…:P



I ride on and I’m soon in heavy and cold rain again. The weather suddenly feels a lot colder – I round a right hand bend and I’m a little puzzled by what I see…



…is that snow?



No – if anything it’s worse – it’s billions of hailstones… Thankfully, some truck has driven through the drifts of melting ice and I manage to navigate the wheel-tracks for just over a mile, before returning to good old cold rain…

I eventually get onto the I54 heading South. This is even higher desert – over 5300 ft – you could join the ‘mile-high’ club in the back of your Camaro here…;). To my left, over the mountains of the Lincoln National Forest, a storm is soaking the slopes - to my right it’s bright sunshine. Soon, a fantastically vivid rainbow forms to my left, so I take the arty-farty pic…:P



I stop in Alamogordo at a Motel 6, dry out & warm up…


* A complete lie :
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MikeO screwed with this post 12-11-2010 at 01:39 PM
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