Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day 8

Well, I've put some more sport in "sport-touring" today. I know now that the mythical biker's Eldorado is in New Mexico. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Breakfast was as good as expected. No bacon, but nice little burgers and eggs. And real maple syrup on nice pre-made waffles.

Thanks to the handy map of scenic routes they gave me at the NM visitors center, I picked the High Road to Taos Scenic Byway. It's a mix of several connected roads with different style and scenery, but every one a pleasure to ride as well as look at. It starts with fast sweepers through Carson National forest, then twists a little tighter through some fine desert canyons and small indian villages, then opens up to fast sweepers again. The few cars I caught up with were almost always polite and slowed dow or even pulled over for me to pass. Nice people indeed.

A sign for a side road says Lake, so I quickly swerve that way. A very narrow and twisty road up and down a canyon side leads to a small desert lake. No swimming allowed (}¥»±#!!), but very beautiful and well cared for nonetheless. Chatted with some guys that were fishing. Everyone is surprised when they hear about my trip, but genuinely approving of the endeavor. No envy, just "damn, I wish I could do that, but I'm happy someone is". I won't lie to anyone and say it's easy, but the reward justifies the price tenfold.

Next leg was to Bandelier National Monument. That one was twisties and scenery galore, from riding the mountain ridge to descending deep into he desert canyon. A brief hike led me to the ancient stone dwellings. A coyote was strolling by like a bunch of tourists are nothing to be afraid of, and they weren't - two New Zealanders asked me if it was a wolf and whether they should worry about him :).

From Bandelier I continued on towards Los Alamos, with the idea to start going back from there. Just before the turn, I remembered how nice Jemez mountain was last time and how sorry I was for riding it just after sundown. Well, with plenty of time to return, up the mountain (9,000ft) I went, with a vengeance. Then down the mountain to the caldera for a short gravel ride to the visitors center. Nothing for me there today, they don't let private vehicles in (probably for the best, that gravel is no place for Suzi, although I wouldn't resist flogging her). Turn back towards Los Alamos and up and down Jemez mountain again. What a blast this ride was. Scenery here is fine (beautiful pine forest), but not good enough to distract from the fine pavement and a well engineered road perfectly suited for both me and the bike. Another "synchronicity" 100% in-the-zone ride.

The guy at the checkpoint in Los Alamos (all vehicles subject to inspection) commented on the bike and asked for ID. I saw a bit more of LA this time, but didn't hang around except to gas up.

The return was the same way I came, via High Road to Taos, but this time even faster. Boy was it fun!

Came back to Taos with time to spare, so decided to nave a good dinner (a nice little genuine Mexican eatery with a very nice patio) and then do my laundry. I'm typing this on the Blackberry as I,m waiting for the wash to finish.

Weather was perfect today - 25-32 and mostly sunny. Heavy clouds were hovering over the higher mountains (still snow covered) but never dumped a drop where I was.

Managed to install the new GPS with the suction mount on my speedometer glass (it wouldn't hold to the windscreen). It held very well all day. Garmin is no match to my hacked Curtis in versatility, but it's simple to operate and solid. We'll probably keep it for the car - the bikes need something that you can order a "scenic route" to.

At Bandelier, as I was getting ready to leave, a loud chirping sound emanated above me. I thought mocking bird again and kept looking for it until I saw the source of the noise standing on the chimney - a squirrel. Several other people noticed it too and all were surprised it was a squirrel. I took a little video, I hope it turns well.