|04-16-2007, 10:03 PM||#106|
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Portland, OR
I decided I couldn't bear two days back in the truck, ok, I couldn't bear two more days of Brian and Gustavo, but pssst, don't tell them I said that It had been 10 years since I last rode US191 from Clifton to Alpine when I lived in Tucson and even though I'd been spoiled by the roads in Mexico I had a woody to try it again. I figure 4 days riding back to Portland.
First off, while G&B were getting some makeup applied to their trailer queen I headed off to Badlands KTM to get a new one of these put on (ain't she purtty, though it didn't look so good 2 days later after 3/4 of a day crossing US50 in NV).
Awesome shop. Gotta love KTM only dealers though they service any bike, I should have snapped a pic of the Hardley on the stand, I joked with the shop owner about it and he just shook his head. Seriously, A1 shop. Give them your business if you're passing through there.
After this I was on my way north. Ran into the Trailer Queens heading south with their newly made up steed, look ma, no flats. Got onto I25. ~70 miles later, first port of call was Hillsboro NM. It had been 10 years since I last went to the General Store for lunch. It was a bit early for lunch but some things just need to be done.
Last time I went through it was up for sale and it is again, got $325,000 in your retirement account looking for somewhere to spend it? Hey, it's motorcycle friendly.
I recalled the pithy quotes on the bathroom wall. Sure enough still there:
Including a new bike specific one left by a fellow traveller since my last visit:
It's a nice place inside, I hope it's still the same in 10 years time when I'm next passing through.
The BBQ joint that used to be just up the street from the General Store is no more, owner died. Man, I still have nightmares about the porta-potty at that place. Anyways, time to press on. I wanted to ride NM152 to Silver City, cool twisty road. People coming in said it was snowing on the pass, great.
Bt the time I got going the storm had rolled through, road was wet and on the East side the pavement started to dry out. Like I said, nice road. A lot twisitier than this but I always like pics of back to back curves
Get gas in Silver City. It's cold and it's looking rather ominous to the North. Also something isn't working with my electrics so I put the one piece rain suit ($35 Gene Brown special which my girlfriend amusingly refers to as the Golden Girls suit because of it's rather distinct purple, teal and black coloring -- hey, perfect match for the Orange Katoom).
Heading North on US180 I run into
I get to the junction of NM78, moment of truth. It looks really iffy to the North, I can either keep going North on 180 or do what I came here to do, take NM78 to Clifton and then US191 North to rejoin US180. There is a guy stopped at the intersection of US180 and NM78 so I ask about conditions. He says there was a fair bit of snow up high, I tell him I'm thinking of riding US191 and he says that'll be fine ... you mean US191 south ... no, I want to go north ... NEVER go north on US191 ... you mean never this time of year or never never? ...... We seem to be not communicating well and my interest is waning. He parts telling me "you were warned", schweeet. I head down NM78, about a mile later run into a guy on an R12GS. I ask him about conditions. He said there was snow on the ground in Alpine day before but it all melted by early afternoon and he thinks it'll do the same today, of course he's not going North on US191. He prefers the sweepers of US180. I decide to push ahead and soon cross the border into AZ. Been a long time plus it's looking more promising ahead.
Road is good but wet so I keep the speed down, switching it's way down towards Clifton
Heading into 5 point or whatever the 78/77/US191 junction is called and the weather is starting to look, what is the term? Unsettled.
I get gas at the Circle-K in Clifton, it's raining hard now. Snap the required shot of the copper mine at Morenci
Run into a fleet of State Patrol cars escorting a wide load and ask about conditions ... "winter storm coming in" ... and so I start heading up US191
Road is as twisty as ever but rain is heavy and visibility soon starts to drop as I head into the low clouds. Face shield is fogging all the time and I'm getting cold as the electrics are barely working. About 18 miles up start running into heavy gravel in all the corners and visibility is down to maybe 100 yards. It's 70 more miles to Hannigans Meadow and I've seen noone on the road for the last 15 miles. Decide to turn back as I just don't want to get stuck up there.
Backtrack my way to the Circle-K, get more gas, then head back on 78 and North on 180. That was a nice 2 hour diversion (something I somehow manage to keep repeating on subsequent days). It's really getting grim now and I'm cold. Oh, I forgot to add that 4 hours earlier some water got inside the KTM speedo and it started to malfunction, switching endlessly between mph and kph and then locking me into low-fuel mode on the odometer which means I can't tell how far I've gone.
I'm heading North on 180 futzing with it when a pack of 8-10 elk run out right in front of me. I'd never seen multiple in close formation like this, I was pondering how little gap there was between each of them as I braked furiously. Warmed me right up that did.
From there the last 15 miles into Alpine is crappy, sideways sleet. Real nice and from then on, it's just cold cold cold. Run into more snow on the ground before St Johns, of course it's dark. Lots of motels in St Johms but decide to press on to the intersection of US191 and I40 to find a motel, of course forgot that this is the res and motels are thin on the ground. I find one at the next exit West on I40, huge but strangely only 2 cars in the lot. Sign on door says to go to the gas station for rooms, they want $85+tax for a room. Explains why it's empty. Decide I'll have to ride 40 miles East to Gallup. Get there around 11pm, wet and cold but I get my $40 motel.
crazybrit screwed with this post 04-16-2007 at 10:26 PM
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