Sunday, June 6, 2010

Route 66, Day 10.....The ride home....

Today was the first day of the ride home.  We have passed the apex, and now we are dealing with re-entry.  We started off the morning in Tucumcari, NM.  It was a cool morning with a light breeze when we started.  Since we are headed back south, we are going through the section of New Mexico that I don't enjoy riding through.  Aside from the hideous winds and the stupid heat, there are long stretches of nothing.  Leaving town on NM 209 toward Clovis, the road is straight.  We could actually see the road disappear over the curvature of the earth at one point.  All I could see in front of me was a mesa that stretched from one side of my field of view to the other, and a road that was going straight to it.  After about 20 minutes we got close enough for me to tell that there was not one, but two mesas in front of us and the road curved between them.  That was a fairly disturbing visual on the motorcycle.

The other thing that makes me dislike riding in the desert is the sensation of standing still.  Since the only real features in the landscape is a road that goes straight over the horizon, and a Mesa in the distance,  riding is very disorienting.  The speed limit was 65mph.  While I am watching the horizon, if feels like I am standing still.  There is no movement, just vibration and wind.  There are no close features to see whipping past you an the side of the road.  I looked down at my speedometer and it is still telling me 65.  Then I look at the yellow road markings shooting under my bike, and I feel this sudden blast of acceleration.  It feels like I have just gone from a dead stop to 65mph instantly.  It was very disorienting.

    We crossed the border back into Texas at a little town called Texico.  I have always noticed that when I cross back into Texas from anywhere it just seems to get nicer.  In New Mexico we were fighting nasty crosswinds.  Once we came back into Texas, the winds started calming down a bit.  I have also noticed that the desolation out there looks different.  In New Mexico, everything is just empty.  All of the colors tend to blend together, and the sky just seems kind of dull.  There is some amazing scenery as far as mesas and draws and mountain ranges off in the distance.  I do kind of enjoy running out across New Mexico, there are some pretty views out there, but watching the road go over the horizon and not getting any closer, even after 30 minutes of running, starts eating away at your brain.  It is easy to get your brain into a rut that can get kind of spooky.  You will see a sign that indicates a curve ahead, and you can see all the way to the horizon and there are no curves that are visible.  Then you spot the little draw that drops about 5 feet or so makes a quick curve around nothing at all, and then continues directly inline with the road behind you.

    We also had a major accomplishment today.  This was the first time all 4 bikes made it past the burned out shell station in Anton, TX.  Last time we tried to pass that station, Kel blew her transmission out of her bike.  This is also the first time we all four pulled into the Lubbock Radisson under power.  Kel threatened to kill one or all of us if we tried to stop at that little gas station to get a picture.

Here is the Route for the day:

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