Motorcycling to New Mexico

09/02/08 20:03:00

Posted by: Paul

File Under: Travel

1970 miles, rain, sunshine, caves and UFOs. That about sums up the trip. You can see the pictures here. New Mexico Trip.

Aug. 16th

As for detail, I left early in the morning Aug. 16th. Tried to avoid interstates without going way out of my way. When I went through Hutchinson I stopped and saw my Aunt and Uncle for a short visit. Then rode on to Dalhart, TX. A little over 500 miles, but had to fight rain and detours, so the trip took about 10 hours. Very tiring day. Went to eat at a steakhouse in Dalhart. First time I've ever seen people walking around wearing spurs when they're not in a rodeo. But the food was pretty good.

Aug. 17

Left sometime between 6:30 and 7 in the morning. Pouring down rain. Rode for maybe an hour in the rain. Thank goodness for Tourmaster rain suits. Kept me very dry. Here's a photograph after it stopped raining. Click on the image for full size.

West Texas was flooded, had to constantly watch out for water running across the road, fortunately there wasn't too much. And the rest of the ride to Carlsbad was fairly nice. Total trip today was about 7 hours.

Aug. 18

Rode out to Carlsbad Caverns today. About 25 miles away. Most of the riding I'd done so far in New Mexico had been through scrub and flat terrain. Once I turned off the highway at White City for the final road to the Caverns I was pleasantly surprised to enter a valley with great scenery and a windy road that was quite fun to ride.

I was quite pleased to see that there was quite a large section of motorcycle only parking. So, I parked, locked up my helmet and got out my camera. The Visitor Center was on top of a mountain and I had a great view of the surrounding area. The Caverns are right on the edge of the Guadalupe Mountains.

Go into the Visitor Center and get my ticket. I took the elevator down 750 feet (!) to the Caverns. Ranger Ted took us down and gave us a little lecture about not touching anything. The oils from your hands can damage the formations. I followed the trail around "The Big Room" for about 2 hours being amazed and taking pictures. The temperature is quite cool, they say a constant 56 degrees. But it's very humid. When no one is around you can hear water dripping all around.

Took the elevator back up and checked out the gift shop. Bought a post card. Then rode back to Carlsbad.

Aug. 19th

Left fairly early to go to White Sand National park. Looks like it might rain. About 120 miles away from Carlsbad. Headed north out of Calrsbad, looks like I'm heading away from the rain. Turn left at Artesia and head towards White Sands and the mountains. As I get closer the clouds get denser and angrier and angrier looking. Decided I didn't want to ride in the rain today so I headed back to Arteisa and continued north to Roswell.

Once in Roswell I found the International UFO Museum and Research Center. A shabby little museum, but worth the hour I spent in there. Lots of documents, dioramas and replicas. My favorite was the alien in a vat. Click on the image for full size.

After the UFO Museum I headed back to Carlsbad.

Aug. 20

Woke up with a bit of a bad headache, not a day for riding, so I slept in and just took it easy.

I'd love to say I ate at some good restaurants, but, well, I didn't see any restaurants in Carlsbad that really looked worth going to.

Aug. 21

This is a light day, tomorrow I'm heading back and have a 500 mile plus day ahead. I rode around Carlsbad a bit sightseeing. There's quite a beautiful river that goes through, very green water in places.

Aug. 22

Left early as usual planning on riding up to Garden City, KS and staying the night there. Nice day for riding. Started to get a bit warm around noon or 1pm but not bad. After about 9 hours I arrive in Garden City. Get a quick dinner, shower, relax a little and go to bed.

Aug. 23

Leave early (again, getting tired of this LOL). 7 hours to Lawrence. This is a great day to ride, temperature stays pretty mild, makes it a pretty easy day.

Back home, one and a half days to rest before I go back to work. *sigh* All-in-all I had a great trip.

Again, you can see the pictures here. New Mexico Trip.

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