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Old 03-05-2014, 02:58 PM   #16
Dr. Greg OP
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Day 2---Artesia, New Mexico to Columbus, New Mexico

The "continental breakfast" at the Artesia fleabag motel was good enough: cold cereal and a honeybun (which I warmed in my room microwave). Properly fortified, Dr. Greg hit the road---specifically US 285 South out of Artesia towards Carlsbad, New Mexico...but first, a sidetrip to Sitting Bull Falls.

A few miles south of Artesia, a passed the neatly-tended orchard shown in Figure 50. After living here for 37 years, "neatly-tended" is not a word I often use with New Mexico properties...


Figure 50. A neatly-tended New Mexico orchard---pecans?

The reason I speculated "pecans" is because I know there are many pecans grown down around Las Cruces, New Mexico, and that's not too terribly different from here. But I'm not a "flora" person, so I'm prolly wrong.

It was another very temperate morning. That "22 degrees" of a couple days was fast fading from memory...


Figure 51. Now that's what I call a nice morning temperature in late February.

A few miles further south, I couldn't resist snapping Figure 52 of some GREEN---ain't much green in this part of the world.


Figure 52. A rare patch of GREEN in southern New Mexico.


A Visit to Sitting Bull Falls.

Sitting Bull Falls has good memories for me. We took a couple family vacations back in the 80s, and camped there. It is really very cool. If you follow that Wikipedia link, you'll get the idea.

To get to Sitting Bull Falls, one must travel about 35 miles on NM 137, which joins US 285 25 miles south of Artesia. At the junction, there was the information area shown in Figure 53. However, there was really no information there.


Figure 53. NM 137 is a Guadalupe National Back Country Byway---whoopee!

Couldn't resist snapping the reverse side of the sign:


Figure 54. That's what we GS(W) riders like, right?

I have very fond memories of watching the night sky out at Sitting Bull Falls. It's around 5,000 feet, and there are absolutely NO lights of any kind for around 30 miles. I think Mrs. Greg saw her first satellite at Sitting Bull Falls. Cool place!

Unfortunately, I encountered a couple of signs that were not encouraging:


Figure 55. Hey, I'm on a motorcycle---this shouldn't apply to me, right?!



Figure 56. Flooding? FLOODING?!? We're in a DROUGHT!

Anyway, I continued on down NM 137 towards Sitting Bull Falls...had to keep a sharp eye out, cuz this is OPEN RANGE COUNTRY as shown in Figure 57. I've hit deer before, don't wanna hit a freakin' COW!


Figure 57. Gotta keep focused; don't wanna hit a freakin' COW!

The road gets a little narrower, but still nice riding. Ain't nothin' out here...oops, nothin' but the odd petrochemical installation:


Figure 58. About the time you think there's nothing here---a good-sized petrochemical operation shows up.



Figure 59. Getting closer to Sitting Bull Falls---narrow road & lots of nothing...


Sitting Bull Falls---They Wanna Make You Feel "Right at Home"...

Upon arriving at Sitting Bull Falls, they really throw out the "welcome mat"...


Figure 60. I don't wanna have to mount tires again!?!

At this point it's about one more mile to the actual Falls, but if you have thoughts of walking in, uh...


Figure 61. Hmmm...so much for THAT idea...

Looking at the gate, there appears to be a perfect "GSW-sized" way around it:


Figure 62. Hey, a PERFECT gap to slip as GSW thru, right?

However, Dr. Greg is historically a law-abiding citizen, and I figured it'd be just my luck if I dropped the bike going around the gate, and some ranger showed up, and...so I contented myself with taking a few pics around the area.


Figure 63. Interesting little "nipple" at the top of this hill.



Figure 64. Prolly not enough water to make a good falls, anyway...



Figure 65. There's even a foot trail over to Sitting Bull Falls.



Figure 66. The foot trail beckons Dr. Greg---c'mon, it'll be OK!

I finally contented myself with walking just inside the gate, and "thumbing my nose" at the Park Service...


Figure 67. Neener-neener!! Dr. Greg entered on foot!

I'm gonna feel stupid if a request for $500 shows up in my mailbox in a few days...

Anyway, as I found out while talking to a ranger at Guadalupe Mountains Nat'l. Park (coming up just down the road), there were floods in late summer 2013 (remember the Colorado thing?) which damaged Sitting Bull Falls. Thinking back, even though we're in a drought, we had a heck of a "monsoon season" last summer. Oh, well...I guess these signs like Figure 68 are not to be taken lightly.


Figure 68. These arroyos would have swallowed the GSW whole back in August 2013.

So I headed back out NM 137 back to the main highway...WHUPPED AGAIN! But I was still legal (sort of). Even though I couldn't get to Sitting Bull Falls, it was an enjoyable ride; I can't get enough of the wide-open desert spaces. Good for the soul.


Figure 69. Beautiful southern New Mexico desert country.



Figure 70. MORE beautiful southern New Mexico desert country.


DANG, Forgot my GAS MASK...

On the way to/from Sitting Bull Falls, I passed two signs indicating the presence of "POISONOUS GASES"---one had a blinking warning light. I BADLY wanted to photograph these signs, but missed them both. And I had forgotten to bring my gas mask! Gotta add that to the "trip list"...


Not Gonna Stop at Carlsbad CAVERNS.

Been there, done that. It just didn't fit in the schedule. It was a little early for lunch in the town of Carlsbad, so I didn't stop to eat. I did, however, refuel in Carlsbad, cuz it was gonna be a LONG WAY to the next gas at El Paso, TX...like 150 miles!

I realized after leaving Carlsbad that it was gonna be a long way to food, also. So I stopped at "Whites City" at the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns...there's a restaurant there. I tend to avoid these "tourist" spots, but this restaurant was very empty, and the food was just fine. Had my usual burger:


Figure 71. Not a bad burger at the Whites City restaurant; another good waitress, too!









--Doc
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Dr. Greg screwed with this post 03-05-2014 at 05:51 PM
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:02 PM   #17
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Great report, love the bike. This will be my third year on a 2012 multistrada. Still deeply in love, very interested in your switch to the GS
and current state of bliss!
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:27 PM   #18
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Great report and pics!
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:48 PM   #19
Dr. Greg OP
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Day 2 (con't.)---Artesia, New Mexico to Columbus, New Mexico

After finishing the burger at Whites City, I realized that I should prolly expand my food horizons somewhat...maybe next year. BTW, at the restaurant there was WiFi, so I dialed up "Columbus, NM motels" on the iPhone, and saw a listing for the "Hacienda de Villa Motel" in Columbus. Now Columbus, New Mexico is a very small town right smack on the Mexican border, and is distinguished by hosting the "Pancho Villa State Park." Sounds like somewhere Dr. Greg oughta visit. So that became the day's destination.

As I said, I didn't intend to stop at Carlsbad Caverns; originally I was, but it would make the scheduling/routing of the trip awkward. So the heck with it...like I said, been there done that. So I got back directly onto US 62/180 towards the Texas border.


Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas.

The next stop would be Guadalupe Mountains National Park just across the border in Texas. I camped here over Spring Break 2008 (back before I retired; my riding was limited to academic vacations). I had a good time, although it was a BIT windy. On the current trip I was just gonna stop for a brief time. Those are the Guadalupe Mountains on the horizon in Figure 72.


Figure 72. Guadalupe Mountains on the horizon.


Hey, I'm in Texas!

See, the sign in Figure 73 proves it! BTW, I wonder when the Great State of Tejas is gonna discover the ADVERB? "Drive Friendly---the Texas Way" indeed...humph.


Figure 73. Mister Language Person needs to have a talk with the Texas DOT folks.

See the valley between the two "arms" of the mountains in Figure 74? That's the location of Pine Springs Campground. Back when I camped here in Spring Break of 2008, you could hear the gusts of wind come barreling down this valley several seconds before they'd actually arrive. When they did arrive they'd flatten my poor tent, which fortunately always sprang back. Still use that (Kelty) tent. BTW, the peak wind gusts back in '08 were an honest 100 mph!


Figure 74. The wind comes funneling thru here---it can be pretty fierce (100 mph gusts in March 2008).



Figure 75. Another view of that same area, Guadalupe Mountains, Texas USA.

Today it was relatively calm at the Guadalupe Mts.; peak wind gusts were only 70 mph. While I was, uh, taking a "natural break" a gust of wind just about bowled me over. That coulda been a little messy. Fortunately I quickly regained my balance .

Managed to snap a pic of some wildlife in Figure 76. OK, ok, so it was a diorama inside the Visitor Center. Almost gotcha!


Figure 76. Managed to sneak up on some local critters.


Some of the most IMPRESSIVE open country I've ever seen.

Leaving the Guadalupe Mountains, TX 54 takes you down to Van Horn, TX, from which you can work your way south thru Marfa, Alpine, and onward to the Big Bend country. When I took that route in 2008 the country south of Van Horn on US 90 just blew me away. I've lived all my life in the U.S. West, but the "scope" of that part of Texas just ASTOUNDED me.

Today I wasn't taking that route, instead turning West on US 62/180 towards El Paso. But as one leaves the Guadalupe Mts. area, the descent towards TX 54 carries a little bit of that "awesome" feeling. I tried to capture it in Figure 77; I don't think the pic does a very good job. I'll try again next time...


Figure 77. The view south towards TX 54 and the Sierra Diablo Mts. towards Van Horn, TX. Pic doesn't do it justice.


The Bonneville Salt Flats has a competitor!

US 62/180 heading West towards El Paso is pretty deserted. Like a lotta roads in the arid Southwest. While riding along thinking about nothing in particular, I looked to the north and thought "those look like salt flats!" See in Figure 78?


Figure 78. Could these be "salt flats" in Texas?

There was a "historical marker" coming up, so I pulled over. I was right! There WERE salt flats. See? A million years ago...


Figure 79. Some information about the west Texas Salt Flats and the El Paso Salt War.



Figure 80. The "monument" at the Texas Salt Flats.

Man, when you're travelin' around you just never know what you're gonna find...I got so excited I had to stop at the next roadside table and think about it for a while...


Figure 81. Dr. Greg in West Texas thinkin' about the meaning of the Universe (and the El Paso Salt War).

After eating lunch a bit earlier than usual, I found a great-looking little cafe in Cornudas, Texas, about halfway to El Paso. Kinda wished I'd waited to eat, but I had no idea. Next time! Didn't get a pic...sorry.


The A**hole from El Paso?

Now, now...I'm not gonna say anything bad about El Paso. Don "The Bear" Haskins, former basketball coach at UTEP (formerly Texas Western) is one of my heroes (any of you guys ever see the movie "Glory Road"?) Check the Wikipedia link I provided. "The Bear" won the '66 NCAA basketball championship, starting five black players when that JUST WASN'T DONE. A great guy.

But El Paso is a big city, and getting thru any big city is a royal pain. To my relief, there was a quite new "loop road" that circumvented (most of) El Paso to the north. Figures 82 and 83 are taken from that road. Not really scenic, but I snapped 'em, so...


Figure 82. A view from the El Paso "bypass" road.



Figure 83. Another view from the El Paso "bypass" road.

BTW, stopped for fuel at a "Rudy's" station, part of "Rudy's BBQ" (we have Rudy's in New Mexico also). Never knew they sold gas. Hopefully the GSW won't start smokin'...


NM 9 from El Paso to Columbus, New Mexico---even Lonelier than US 50?

Finally started the LAST leg of the day's ride: NM 9 from El Paso to Columbus, NM. This was about 65 miles of---you guessed it---nothing. Except there was EVEN MORE of NOTHING than usual!

I guess one picture will suffice (I took several, naturally). Figure 84 shows a view from, maybe, 25 miles east of Columbus. Those are probably the Florida Mountains. I LOVE this country!


Figure 84. Maybe 25 miles east of Columbus, New Mexico on NM 9.

BTW, in that 65 miles I prolly saw a dozen other vehicles, and the majority of those were the distinctive white & green of the U.S. Border Patrol, which is prominent in that area, not surprisingly. Not a single vehicle passed me in the entire 65 miles. What a great area! Beemer, don't fail me now...it (er, he) didn't. Good Wotan.


Columbus, New Mexico and the Hacienda de Villa Motel.

Finally I arrived in Columbus on NM 9, and turned N on NM 11. Columbus is not very big (to put it mildly), and is named after Christopher Columbus, FWIW. The motel was easy to find:


Figure 85. Yep, this is the place. Good thing I have one of those cards.



Figure 86. The Hacienda de Villa motel in Columbus, NM. Looks like Dr. Greg's kinda motel.

Columbus, New Mexico actually has quite an interesting history, if you follow that Wikipedia link. Pancho Villa 1916 raid, 2011 gun-smuggling scandal...wow! As a New Mexico resident for 37 years, I don't recall that "gun-smuggling" story...hmmm, like I said, ya travel around and never know what you'll turn up. I've heard it said that you should (1) travel when you're young, (2) work like most shmucks during middle age, and (3) travel again when yer a geezer. I'm tryin' my best!

The motel had a perfect room available for a VERY low price, and I was in! My room was around back, and I could park Wotan right in front of my door (seen in Figure 87). This was gonna be a great evening!


Figure 87. Even had the perfect parking spot right outside my door.

After I got ensconced in my room, I set up fixins for a pleasant evening (it was about 80 deg F) of reading and watching the sun go down. Again, these moments are what preserve my sanity. Doesn't get much better...


Figure 88. Dr. Greg relaxin' in the balmy (80 deg F) evening of Columbus, New Mexico.

Didn't need the "noise-cancelling" aspect of the Bose headphones that night, although they're the only ones I brought with me, so I used 'em. There was the odd bark from a dog, but that was it. Ahhhh, nothin' like small towns.

As it got dark I continued to enjoy myself; still reading American Nations on the iPad.


Figure 89. The evening view out the back of the Hacienda de Villa motel, Columbus, New Mexico.

Finally, when I had inquired about a room around front, I'd noticed a black cat lying outside. I was informed that he was "Tomás," and hung around doing his thing. Reminded me of my folks' "Mom and Pop" grocery store/gas station in Valle Vista, CA back in the 50s/60s. We had a black cat we also named "Tom" who was a fixture out front. About the time I was gonna turn in, Tomás paid me a visit, and found the best spot around:


Figure 90. "Tomás the cat" clearly has good taste.

So Tomás had his spot; I went into my room and found mine. I slept well all night through. Dunno about Tomás; he was gone in the morning...

Well, fellas, that's it for Day 2 of this trip. Thanks for any attention you've given me. Tomorrow will be a tough day of riding, so stay tuned. All I'll say now is that I was sure glad I haven't yet shaved my beard off (I shave it off every year on March 8).

Adios,

--Doc
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:56 PM   #20
Dr. Greg OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freshorse View Post
Great report, love the bike. This will be my third year on a 2012 multistrada. Still deeply in love, very interested in your switch to the GS
and current state of bliss!
Oh great, another rider interested in my "comparison"...so I guess I REALLY gotta write it up. J/K...the MTS1200S is a great bike; like I said I put 50,000 miles on the Multi. But at my age, and the kind of riding I do, the GSW is a better bike. Hands down.

I'll try to be objective. I've ridden for over 55 years, and ridden just about everything, so...if I couldn't ride the GSW, the MTS1200S would be next.

Thanks for following, and thanks for your comment. Y'know, just being able to ride ANY of these great motorcycles thru our wonderful country is just almost beyond belief. I feel so grateful...

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Old 03-05-2014, 05:59 PM   #21
Dr. Greg OP
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Originally Posted by ducmons View Post
Great report and pics!
Thanks for following, and thanks for the pic compliment. I use a crummy little "point 'n shoot" camera (that I can use while wearing even winter gloves), so it's always nice when I get a decent pic. Of course a little post-processing helps...

--Doc

PS. Of course, with the Great American Southwest as a subject, it's hard to snap a bad picture...
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:38 PM   #22
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Quote " Y'know, just being able to ride ANY of these great motorcycles thru our wonderful country is just almost beyond belief. I feel so grateful..."

Plus one and an Amen to that brother.....
I am enjoying your report, thanks for sharing with us....
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:39 PM   #23
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Hi Dr. G, nice to see ya back out riding and posting
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:11 AM   #24
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Desert riding got my thirst going , popcorn is made so I'm now set for the next installment!

Love riding NM back roads and the last time was on my Stelvio a couple years ago. My RT is running great, but really enjoyed the total package of the GS, et al type offerings so with the new options on the GSW I too am looking forward to your bike comparison.

Cheers and continued safe travels from another grey beard with a very supportive SWMBO (they are a Blessing).
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:41 AM   #25
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Love the pics, I've added a few places to my "to do list" from thread.

Ride safe


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Greg View Post
I'll take that as a "good luck omen"...you oughta know this country. Hope you're enjoying the ride .

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Old 03-06-2014, 01:10 PM   #26
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Replies...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ks-Rydr View Post
Quote " Y'know, just being able to ride ANY of these great motorcycles thru our wonderful country is just almost beyond belief. I feel so grateful..."

Plus one and an Amen to that brother.....
I am enjoying your report, thanks for sharing with us....
Guess it took me 66 years to figure that out, but now that I have I just hope I have another 66 years to catch up on riding. OK, ok, I'll settle for 26 years . And it's MY PLEASURE to share it...glad you're enjoying.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DCrider View Post
Hi Dr. G, nice to see ya back out riding and posting
Aha, my ol' buddy DCrider. IIRC I never got quite over to your place to visit on my "Civil War" trip. I'm heading east again this summer; maybe we can hook up. Oh yeah, sure glad you said "posting" and not "posing"...


Quote:
Originally Posted by bobw View Post


Desert riding got my thirst going , popcorn is made so I'm now set for the next installment!

Love riding NM back roads and the last time was on my Stelvio a couple years ago. My RT is running great, but really enjoyed the total package of the GS, et al type offerings so with the new options on the GSW I too am looking forward to your bike comparison.

Cheers and continued safe travels from another grey beard with a very supportive SWMBO (they are a Blessing).
Hey, I'm writin' as fast as I can . With one thing and another, my days seem busier than ever this last week. As one greybeard to another (hope you're still my amigo after I shave it off in 2 days ), mi esposa is the best thing that ever happened to me. The ol' RD350 will forever have my gratitude for its part in the courting.

And the desert is the best: both on a dirtbike (grew up doin' that, but not so much anymore) and a "road" bike (as most feel the GS(W) is, although the "knobby" tires make 'em look twice). I'm glad New Mexico has so much wonderful desert AND mountains.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mdsnitc View Post
Love the pics, I've added a few places to my "to do list" from thread.

Ride safe
That's why we share all this stuff, right? Glad I'm helpin' you out...


OK, fellas, I'll try to keep this RR on track; got the whole afternoon to tappity-tap on the keyboard. Sure glad I took that typing course as a sophomore in high school back in '61 (got an "A" too ).

--Doc
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:46 PM   #27
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Valley of the Fires

Doc, I always enjoy your ride reports and I just stumbled upon this one today. I've only been across 380 once and just west of Carrizozo we ran into the Valley of the Fires. Talk about taking a flat land Texas boy by surprise. I've always wanted to go back and ride those roads you are riding. I'll get there someday, Lord willing. Take care and thanks for sharing with us.
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Old 03-06-2014, 04:13 PM   #28
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Doc, I always enjoy your ride reports and I just stumbled upon this one today. I've only been across 380 once and just west of Carrizozo we ran into the Valley of the Fires. Talk about taking a flat land Texas boy by surprise. I've always wanted to go back and ride those roads you are riding. I'll get there someday, Lord willing. Take care and thanks for sharing with us.
You betcha. I've camped at the Valley of Fires before---it's pretty rugged country. I rode NM 380 back from Capitan thru Carrizozo and on to I-25 last fall, when I had my plugged tire (too late in the day to take my usual "back way").

Glad you're following along now; I'll try to have this thing wrapped up by tomorrow. Thanks for your comment.

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Old 03-06-2014, 06:28 PM   #29
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Doc, as always, very much enjoying your report. As another Greybeard (who only rarely shaves it off) I am curious, and hope you share why you shave your beard on March 8 every year ...
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:45 PM   #30
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Day 3---Columbus, New Mexico to Quemado, New Mexico

I'm happy to report that Dr. Greg slept extremely well. I can't attest as to Tomás' doings that night---after all, he IS a tomcat (hmm, dunno about his "neutered" status)... But we'll assume that he had a good time as well...

Columbus, New Mexico doesn't boast a wide variety of eating establishments, but the previous evening I had sauntered over across NM 11 and found a place. So after sleeping fairly late for me (I'm trying to forget the early days of my career, when I used to have to get up at 0450 ) I wandered over to the place shown in Figure 91.


Figure 91. Maybe the only real breakfast restaurant in Columbus, New Mexico?

The sign said "8:00 a.m. Weekends"---this was Saturday, and I was there about 0803. I almost had the place to myself; there was another old greybeard reprobate besides...he didn't cause me any trouble . I'll describe my prospective route in a moment; suffice it to say that I didn't quite know where I was gonna be at lunchtime. In that event, every ADVer knows to get AS MUCH FOOD AS POSSIBLE while food is available. Kinda like fuel.

Following that train of thought, I opted for "Martha's Breakfast Special"...


Figure 92. The best deal in town! With no idea about lunch, had to go BIG!

It took a while (this wasn't fast food, y'unnerstand), but it was worth it, as Figure 93 attests:


Figure 93. This oughta hold 5-8, 145-lb Dr. Greg for a while.

And it was ALL good ...turns out that eating a lot here was a VERY GOOD IDEA. That's all I'll say for now. After finishing breakfast (it took a while, but I'm sure you can imagine why) I wandered back to the Hacienda de Villa. It was a pretty nice morning, but there was already a buncha clouds forming, see Figure 94.


Figure 94. Morning clouds already in Columbus, New Mexco, hmmm...what's the weather gonna do?

But hey, any morning when it's not pouring rain has to be a good one, right? Prolly the last time it was pouring rain in the morning around here was maybe about 3,000 B.C. So Dr. Greg was pretty happy.


Route Choices.

What I really wanted to do was to continue West on NM 9, thru the teeny-weeny towns of Hachita, Playas, and Animas, New Mexico, then up to I-10 and onward. But the advice I received was that there was no fuel in Hachita, and while there WAS a gas station in Columbus, I chickened out. So I decided to head north on NM 11 to Deming, New Mexico, which is on I-10. I'm gonna explore some more of this country in the future that's fer sure...

There were still a bunch of decisions to make regarding the route outta Deming: (1) NM 26/27 up to Hillsboro (done that, plus it's logistically unsound), (2) US 180 up to Silver City (never done that, but I've ridden 180 from Silver City around to Quemado a bunch of times), (3) I-10 on to Lordsburg, then US 70/NM 92/AZ 75/NM 78 up thru Virden (never been there), and Mule Creek (GREAT twisty road) to 180 and on towards Quemado.

Option (3) was it then. Plus it would give me THREE states: NM, TX, and AZ. I'd really only expected to ride thru NM. All right, then...

Tried to get a self-portrait in Figure 95 as I was ready to leave Columbus---guess Dr. Greg is taller than he thought! Sigh, if only that were true... OK, ok, enough self-pity. Moaning is not gonna make you taller.


Figure 95. Ready to leave Columbus, New Mexico. Maybe Doc has gotten taller?


North from Columbus to Deming along NM 11.

There is a little bit more to Columbus, New Mexico that what you see in Figure 94, but not much. Heading north I quickly exited the Columbus "metro area" and was into the wonderful open desert again:


Figure 96. After leaving Columbus, the view to the north on NM 11.

More lovely riding conditions: cool, but not too cool. Nice scenery (if ya don't mind brown ). After maybe 15 miles I spotted a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint up ahead. They took a while to "shake down" the fella ahead of me; gave me a chance to snap Figure 97. Prolly cuz he was a Texan .


Figure 97. Gotta get ready for the brutal U.S. Border Patrol shakedown.

When my turn came, I never even had a chance to put my foot down---the ossifer waved me thru immediately. Gave me an idea: Dr. Greg must look awfully innercent---you guys got any contraband you need run up to the "upper 48?" Nah, on second thought, anyone that won't ride around a locked U.S. Park Service gate better stay outta the "rum-runnin'" bidness.

Once clear of the clutches of the Border Patrol, I snapped a view of the Florida Mountains, which are to the East of NM 11. Last spring on Milledue I camped for a few days at "Rockhound State Park" to the north of the Florida Mountains.


Figure 98. The Florida Mountains: Rockhound State Park is north of those.

I had some good trips on Milledue and Milledue II (hope there ain't gonna be no "Wotan II"). A few inmates have expressed interest in my comparison of the 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200S and the 2013 BMW R1200GSW---I'll write something up as soon as I can after finishing this ride report. I'll have to put it up on the UNM Mechanical Engineering Department server---that machine is at the mercy of one of my ex-colleagues (a Russki to boot ), so I hope it's reasonably stable.

As I neared Deming, New Mexico and I-10, I saw from this field that there must be some water around here somewhere. Otherwise, this is dry country, as you can tell. We have our 4 inches of rain a year all in one week, around mid-August .


Figure 99. Must be some water around here somewheres...

I was gonna refuel in Deming (BTW, ADV inmate "RuggedExposure" spotted me riding thru Deming---saw my sidecase lettering) but, checking the map, it would be better to take I-10 to Lordsburg and refuel there. That's because after Lordsburg, there might not be any fuel for a LONG time (turned out to be a VERY good decision).

It's a little over 60 miles on I-10 from Deming to Lordsburg, New Mexico. There was a strong headwind---I find that's one of the times when the GSW cruise control is VERY useful. Really reduces the fatigue. Thank you, BMW engineers!!! Shame on you, Ducati engineers---ya shoulda given the MTS1200S a cruise control (I flashed in cruise control S/W from Oz company Tuneboy LTD anyway...highly recommended for all Ducati MTS12 LD riders).

After about 30 miles on I-10 I came to this exit. My possible route (1) thru Hachita could have dumped me out here. Maybe sometime I'll hook up with inmate RuggedExposure and explore some of this country.


Figure 100. Prolly shoulda fueled up in Columbus and come thru Hachita to I-10...next time!

About 10 miles further along I spotted this string of 20-30 flatcars carryin' something---couldn't figure out what these things were. Eyeball Figure 101 and lemme know if you can figure it out. Just curious.


Figure 101. Long string of flatcars carryin' something...what?


20 Miles from Lordsburg, and WHAM!!

Things were goin' fine along I-10 until milepost 42, where I-10 takes a 30-degree turn to the North. What had been a headwind was now a "quartering" wind. And it seemed to treble (that means 3X ) in intensity! UGH... When I finally got to Lordsburg and stopped for fuel, I was hammered! Little did I know...

Took my time at the "Travel Center" and finally got my courage screwed up to head NW on US 70 towards the Arizona border. My route was to actually leave US 70 just before the AZ border for NM 92 thru the little town of Virden, then on into AZ and the junction of 78 thru Mule Creek, NM. When I turned on 78, I oughta get a break from the wind.

Once on US 70, at least the traffic dropped off to typical "rural southern New Mexico" levels, i.e. NONE. That's just fine with me. Like I said before, "don't fail me now, GSW!" He won't. Still had a fierce wind from the left. And the clouds were continuing to build up---beginnin' to look downright ominous.


Figure 102. On US 70 in NM, heading NW towards the AZ border. Gettin' colder .


Turnoff US 70 to NM 92 and thru Virden, New Mexico

As I said, just before the NM/AZ border I turned NE onto NM 92. The road began to descend (see Figure 103), and I crossed a bridge over the Gila River---there was a decent amount of water in it! Uh, for New Mexico. For you folks in, say, Kentucky, there ain't no water to speak of in the entire STATE of New Mexico . Unfortunately, I couldn't get my camera ready fast enough, and---as usual---there was NO place to stop. So I missed the Gila River. Next time!


Figure 103. Descending NM 92 towards the Gila River; Diablo Mts. in the distance.

I didn't really expect there to be much at Virden, New Mexico---if ya don't expect much, ya won't be disappointed---and I wasn't disappointed. Figure 104 shows about as much as there is in Virden---a few houses, ranches, lotta ranch equipment, etc.


Figure 104. This is about all there is in Virden, New Mexico---that's OK.

I'll betcha those trees in Figure 104 are nice and leafy green in the summertime---of course, it'd be about 200 deg F that time of year around here! No, not really. I might actually try to get down here later this fall. Especially NM 244---gotta ride that road a few more times before I shuffle off this mortal coil (remember, Lord, I'm countin' on 26 more years).

The relaxed pace (35 mph mas ó menos) of riding thru Virden let me reflect a bit. Can you imagine what it would be like as a kid growing up in Virden, New Mexico? Prolly not too dissimilar from the tiny northern Nebraska towns I remember (Verdel, Monowi, Lynch, Bristow) from my Lewis & Clark trip in 2012. I mean, I grew up in a small town, but not like THAT. Although with modern communications, virtually nobody is really isolated anymore. As for schooling, he*l, Mrs. Greg homeschooled all our four boys, and they've done OK.


Rain?!? That Wasn't in the PLAN! Humph...

The rain quickly snapped me out of my reverie. I TOLD you guys the weather was getting ominous. Yep, it settled in to a nice cold drizzle---about 50 degrees F. And I still had my "Beatles" sweatshirt on as my "middle" layer (Dr. Greg T-shirt underneath; KLIM jacket as outer layer). The "middle" layer is critical. I badly needed to don my Gerbing heated jacket liner instead of the sweatshirt.

Crossed into Arizona, and at the junction of the road to Duncan, AZ my highway changed numbers to AZ 75. Another 10 miles in the rain brought me to the junction of AZ/NM 78, which I've ridden before. At this point I was at about 4,000 feet, but NM 78 thru Mule Creek climbs up to well over 6,000 feet, and is VERY TWISTY. That's usually GOOD (that's why I was coming this way), but when it's cold and rainy...well, not so much.

However, at the junction of AZ 75 and AZ 78 there WAS a place to pull over and put on my Gerbing jacket liner. I took that occasion to snap a coupla fotos for you guys...couldn't get a "selfie" cuz there was no place to set my camera.


Figure 105. Switching to warmer gear in the cold Arizona rain at 4,000 feet.



Figure 106. This is where I was headed: up into the mist over 8,200 feet!

BTW, I know it doesn't LOOK very rainy in Figures 105 and 106---that's cuz the Arizona/New Mexico parched ground soaks it up so fast you can hardly see it. Trust me, it WAS raining...


Up into the High Country: Rain, Sleet, and a little Snow...

Sorry fellas, but Figure 106 is the last foto for a while. The rain caused me to put my camera into the pannier (camera not waterproof). Also, NM 78 up thru Mule Creek is just too mountainous and twisty to allow me to safely take pics (see, Mrs. Greg, I AM bein' careful). And there are very few places to stop...like, none.


FACE SHIELD FOGGING: I've tried EVERYTHING. Or almost everything. None of the "creams", "gels", or "liquids" seem to do anything at all. My last attempt (which I'm using now) is a Respro "Foggy" fog mask thing that fits over your nose inside your helmet. The main effect seems to be to prevent me from wiping my nose (which tends to drip constantly ever since my bronchoscopy in 2011 when I almost died). I've re-adjusted the "Foggy" mask a couple times, and I'll keep fiddling with it, but...I'm not optimistic. I think the only solution is to quit ridin'...consider that for a while. Oh yeah, one other OBVIOUS option---why didn't I think of that?---DON'T WEAR A HELMET! Problem solved. I'll keep that in mind on the next trip...

As the elevation went up, the temperature went down, and the rain intensified and turned to sleet. 45 degrees, 42 degrees, 39 degrees...both my face shield and my glasses were fogging up. I'll tell ya, riding with a fogged-up face shield/glasses is the SCARIEST thing I've ever done. As I crested Saliz Pass at 6,435 feet, there was nothin' for it except to flip up my face shield and just "take it" as far as my face being pelted by the rain and sleet. OUCH!!! This is where I was very happy that I still had my beard.


Looking for a Motel in ALL the Wrong Places (Reserve, New Mexico)

As I neared Reserve, New Mexico (at a little under 6,000 feet elevation) I decided I had to find a motel. My previous goal had been Quemado, where I knew there was a motel. But between Reserve and Quemado, one must ride over "Quemado Gap" at 8,200 feet. I thought there might be snow up there, so...best to look for lodging in Reserve.

I stopped at the Reserve store and asked the tall, young, long-haired kid in there if there was a motel in town. "Hmmm..." he thought for a moment, "waaal, there's one about 7 miles back thisaway," pointing from whence I came (there was nothing back there), "and there's one about 3/4 mile up thataway," pointing the opposite direction from Quemado. Although I had little faith in his advice, upon walking back out in the rain, I saw a crude sign indicating "Cabins: 3/4-mile --->". All right, then, I'll try it.

I rode about a mile, seeing nothing. I knew the road I was following turned to a dirt USFS road soon...then I saw a crude sign pointing "Cabins" to the left. I stopped and looked. Didn't look like anyone was around, but at least I could ride down and turn around there.


Wotan gets a little Sleepy.

I rode down onto the dirt 2-track, and aimed for a patch of gravel near one of the "cabins." The rear tire squirmed in the mud---man, it was SOFTER than I expected---must have been rainin' here all day! I got to the patch of gravel and parked. Got off and walked around. The place was deserted!

Nothin' for it but to turn around and ride back to the main road. I surveyed the scene: the road was rutted, but not too steep. I cranked up the 1170cc mill and let in (out?) the clutch. It sputtered and I remembered "oh yeah, traction control!" I selected ENDURO (instead of "RAIN") mode and tried again. Much better. I made the U-turn successfully, but the dirt between the two ruts collapsed, and OVER I WENT. Like a good ADVer, the first thing to do was get my camera out!


Figure 107. After a long day, Wotan finally got a little tired.

Being a 98-lb weakling (well, 145 lb weakling), I made a moderate effort to pick up the GSW, but didn't want to hurt my back again (like I did picking up the dropped 2010 Multistrada 1200S on my TEST RIDE). There was a ranch house nearby, so I walked over, still fully geared-up. The teenaged daughter of the rancher came out of the house, and uttered a little shriek when she saw me in my Darth Vader helmet and spooky KLIM outfit.

She quickly recovered, however, and got her dad ("Tim") with whom I rode back in his pickup to right the bike. This was all in Catron County, New Mexico, where they are NOT happy about the re-introduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf. In true "Catron County" fashion, Tim had to slide his Model 70 and a bunch of .30-'06 ammo out of the way so I could get in. My kinda guy!

Tim was a little huskier than me, but a heckuva lot stronger. We quickly had Wotan back on his feet, and I got set for the assault. The road in Figure 107 looks ridiculously easy, but we all know roads look a LOT better in photos than for real. All I'll say is that the GSW just chugged right up through that soft muddy dirt like a CHAMP!! I LOVE that bike!!! If I hadn't had those TKC-80s mounted, I'd still be down there... Anyway, whew!


Weather be Da*ned, Quemado here I COME!

As I approached the paved road, I didn't wanna stop and lose my momentum, so I hoped there was no traffic. Turned out there was (naturally) a pickup, but he saw me making the run and slowed down (I waved to him---it's all good). As I got back on the tarmac, I thought to myself, "man, both Wotan and I need to get OUT of Reserve as quickly as possible!" So we did.

The rain turned to sleet as I crossed 7,000 feet elevation, and the temp dropped to 33 degrees. Face shield open, I was glad I had the cruise control, cuz my glasses were fogging up (on the outside, luckily) and I could use my left hand to wipe the left lens, and my right hand to wipe the right lens.

Finally I crossed Quemado Gap at 8,200 feet in a light snow, but fortunately it wasn't sticking to the road. The temperature was an even 32.0 degrees F. Whew! Made it! I gave a yelp inside my helmet as I crossed The Gap...

The descent into Quemado was uneventful; however I rode at about 45 mph instead of my usual 65 mph. At that point I was glad just to be alive. Got to Quemado at about 1630; well before sunset. Went into the Largo Cafe, and got a room at the Largo Motel. Once de-geared, I jumped in the shower to warm up. My Gerbing jacket liner had been intermittent: one of my homemade connectors, I'm sure. Gotta debug that soon...

After dressing, I walked over to the cafe and got a big bowl of Green Chile Stew. Mmmm, good! First I'd eaten since that big breakfast in Columbus, New Mexico (see, that WAS a good idea). What a day. Even forgot to take pic of the food. That means I prolly had mild hypothermia (most common in the 40s/50s F) . I've had it before---on pushbike trips.

And now ol' Wotan even looks a little bit like an "ADV" bike:


Figure 108. Wotan looks better with a little mud, right?

This was the first winter storm we've had in New Mexico for over a month. A week earlier it had been unseasonably warm---that's the kind of weather I'd been hoping to catch. But this episode will be fun to remember...

Anyway, that's it for the day, fellas. Made it to Quemado safe and sound, which was my original goal. Saw some new country, Wotan got to take a nap, and...well, it was a memorable day. Tomorrow it was a scant (but scenic, in a brown way) 150 miles home to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Thanks for following this; as I've said numerous times I enjoy writing these stupid ride reports---they make great reading over a chilly winter.

Adios for today,

--Doc
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2013 BMW GSW
2000 Kawasaki KLX300R
1992 Ducati 900SS
1991 Honda Hawk NT650 (commuter)
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