Albuqurque, New Mexicao, Land of the Enchanted

Trip Start Sep 03, 2010
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7
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Trip End Oct 05, 2010


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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Friday, September 10, 2010

Leaving Oklahoma City
Rain gone, clear skies, Bonnie and I rolled out at dawn. The air temperature registering on the Goldwing's system declared 56 degrees. The GPS built into the Goldwing is named Navi.  We are still developing a relationship.  Bless her heart, she sometimes cannot keep pace when she must recalculate in a city with short blocks.  Her rant of "Recalculating!" repeats until her satellite feeds catch her.  She is patient and simply keeps me informed that she is trying.


Cross Winds
We began heading west on Interstate 40.  My old friend I-40 is still presenting high cross winds.  Sans rain this should be manageable.  The route continues across Oklahoma then traverses a bit of Texas. We are now in the open plains of America.  The vastness is incredible.  I have never been able to see so far from such a low elevation.  It was astonishing!


Miles and Piles
My motorcycle instructor, in 2004, described the joy of riding as being able to sense everything about you.  You will witness the sights, the sounds and the smells.  The openness experienced makes riding in a car seem like a cage.  The sounds of the dogs barking, trees capturing wind impact your mood.  The smell of fresh cut grass and flowers blooming bring you into being with the surroundings.  

Oklahoma and Texas still have stockyards.  Despite or because of the cross winds, the smell of cattle invades my nostrils without respite. I have smelled cows in Georgia, but there is nothing like a stockyard smell.  This goes into my brain.  I became one with cattle for a couple of hundred miles.  There were miles and piles of shit to ride through.  This is America, this is how America smells, and this is what we do not smell at your grocer’s freezer.


New Mexico, Land of the Enchanted
Enter New Mexico, state slogan, the “Land of the Enchanted.” Signs advertising Route 66 are everywhere.  This trip will not cover the famous highway of Americana.  Lunch stop was a café with a museum.  The popular TV show was running on a large screen high on the wall of the museum.  Cars, trucks, and motorcycles were on display.

In the sixties, Madd magazine reviewed the TV Show, “Then Came Bronson.”  It compared the two-wheeled adventures of Route 66 to the singular wheeled escapades of Bronson.  It simplified the story lines with disillusionment.  I differ with the editors of Madd magazine.  Bronson was independently cool.  He was Steve McQueen cool.  Bronson gave heart and himself to those needing justice or comfort. The two guys of Route 666 and their adventures were detective-right-the-wrong stories.

I pressed onward in my 7 and one-half hour plains ride.  Mountains curves signs began to appear.  Oh no, not another day of wind dodging!  The cross winds were from the south or my left.  It was somewhat predictable.  However they got worse.  I found myself holding against the invisible breath of the plains. It got to be very tiresome.

I grew weary.  I began to anticipate the gusts by taking note of the topography.  Whenever there was an opening in the land from the south I could brace against the giant breaths.  This went on for two hours.  Suddenly a hard breath hit me from the right or north.  What the hell?  I was looking for a right-handed cross and I got a left cross.

This sudden change in cross wind direction was not fun.  Now I looked over both shoulders wondering when the knock-out punch would come.  I braced and ducked.  I throttled up to pass the ever present trucks.  This maneuver makes me more susceptible to the cross winds.  I settled for the right lane and chanced to pass when all conditions appeared right.  After a couple hundred miles I needed to rest from the bracing.  I found a “rest stop” and landed.

At the rest stop a gentle old man was puttering about.  I dismounted and noticed the trees at the stop were bending over.  They too, were bending to the breaths of the desert. As the codger walked past his truck reading Rest Stop Maintenance Division, I asked, “Is this wind normal?”  He said it was not this high yesterday.  He also offered sympathy by saying there were 60 bikes on the other side at the east bound rest stop. They too were waiting, my guess, resting from the fight.  A woman and her husband pulled in after me.  She queried, “How can you ride in this wind?”  I said it was a challenge.

The Rest Stop maintenance man sat down on a small wall while I tried to light a cigarette in the wind.  He pulled pieces of his lunch out and sprinkled the crumbs for the birds.  This routine was his, despite the goings on of the travelers.  I envied him for landing a job that allowed him to ride out his life outdoors quietly, meeting travelers briefly without encounters. 

I gathered my will, mounted Bonnie and we “Got in the Wind.”  I stopped for gas and met a small group of bikers at the pump.  I asked the guy near my island of fuel if he was experiencing cross winds.  He said, “Yeah, I hate it.  It comes from nowhere.”

I arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with my butt hurting, deaf from the wind, but happy for a shower and visit from a motorcycle club friend.  She is called Sugar Soldier.  She is a lone African-American woman rider, settled in New Mexico.  She also confirmed that cross winds were a part of this country.  It was a good feeling to see a familiar face attesting to the challenge of open plains riding.
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Comments

2soft.. on

First, hello to SugarSoldier. I did not know she was settled there. Wish I had known. I rolled through New Mexico (Las Cruses) a few months ago and can definitely identify with the gust of winds. I will personally take those Texas stockyards, anyday.

Stay safe Day.

Jimmy Hodges on

Great Job Billy D!!! I feel like I am there with you!! Be safe!!

Lady P on

How wonderful that you are sharing your journey and experience so eloquently. Others have the opportunity to experience a side of you that I love and cherish. I am sure your journal will give way to many more heeding the call to "go west young man". You are alive with the challenge and adventure of your quest, I know you are safe as so many are watching over you. Traveling Mercies.

Shadow on

Billy "D",

Enjoy the experience and pleasures of America's frontier.

Wanda on

I know you have wonderful memories and closeness to all the things that cam e your way along your trip. Envious of course, wishing that I had those experiences. It is wonderful that you have shared this with us. Makes you feel like you have been there.

billy_d
billy_d on

Thanks Wanda! It was an emotional event for me. Not just as a fire service professional but as a member of the human race.

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