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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Breakfast n More Smoke Ride

June 30, 2012
Colorado, USA

We rode out about mid-morning with nothing more than breakfast on our minds. We found it about 20 miles east at the Cowboy Corner Cafe in Eaton, CO. The ride east was a mixed scene of green corn and dry fields. Farmers were plowing mostly dust.

The Cowboy Corner Cafe was packed this morning and the waitresses were bustling. We took a seat at an available table by the window and ordered coffee. We moved to a smaller table shortly after so a family could have the larger table we originally occupied. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns and pancakes. This is the second time we have stopped in for breakfast at the CCC. Our second impression was as good as the first. It is small and dated but clean and cozy. The food is well prepared, portions are plentiful, and the menu is reasonably priced. The staff is friendly and efficient. We think we will check out the lunch menu next time through. After breakfast we strolled through the second-hand store next door and purchased a couple of small patriotic items we did not need.

Cheyenne, WY is about 46 miles north of Eaton on Hwy 85 so we rolled in that direction. We prefer this backdoor route into Cheyenne rather than traveling at a breakneck pace on I-25. The terrain is about as dry as we've ever seen it and we noticed the northern horizon was perhaps a bit more smoke-hazed than we thought it should be. with winds blowing hot and hard out of the west, as usual we assumed that the High Park Fire had flared up. We found out later in the day that Wyoming had its own wildfire burning just north of the Colorado/Wyoming border. Yikes! We need rain!

We visited a favorite indoor flea/junktique market in downtown Cheyenne, stopped at a discount store on the way out of town, and stopped again for a soft drink and an ice cream before rolling back the way we had come. We met clouds with verga that promised rain but did not deliver rain on the way into town.

WE NEED A ROAD TRIP!

Today's Ride = 145.6 miles

Slide show of today's ride (25 photos):

Alternative link to this slide show

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Still Smoldering Ride

June 24, 2012
Colorado, USA

Yep! The High Park Fire is still burning northwest of Fort Collins. The fire started June 9, 2012 and with the record-breaking heat, low humidity and erratic gusty winds it is far from being contained.

Worse yet... another wildfire dubbed the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs erupted yesterday and is burning wildly out of control.

Today we rode out a little ways to check the horizon. A thick smoke haze hangs over the entire front range.

This is the High Park smoke plume from the south beach at Carter Lake (approx 30-40 miles)

We didn't stay out long. Rather we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon on the patio cooking pork ribs.

The makings of a gas grill smoke bomb is water soaked apple and mesquite chips, wrapped in foil, punctured with fork to let smoke and steam escape.

Placement of smoke bombs

Putting the finish on the ribs

Yum!

Today's Ride = 52.4 miles

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Road Trip #2 (Day 5) = The Road Home

June 19, 2012
Colorado, USA

We reluctantly checked out of the comfy Laguna Vista Lodge this morning having rested well every night of our stay. We rolled out of Eagle Nest, NM just before 8 am traveling north on Hwy 38 toward Red River, NM past the now familiar dragon in the field and the small ghost town ruins on the hill and over Bobcat Pass (elevation 9820). It was a crisp, clear morning and the riding was fine.

We had the idea breakfast this morning would present itself somewhere along the road home. Then we remembered that a donut shop in Red River called T-Bucks was on the list of sponsors for the Saint Jude's Benefit Run we participated in just last Saturday. That seemed as good a place as any for coffee and breakfast. We found T-Bucks Hole Thing on the northern end of town. You can't miss it. It is painted day-glo yellow with bright red/orange trim and a red roof. Yep! It looked like our kind of place. Better yet, T-Bucks offered a full breakfast menu so we passed on the donut idea. Tim had a full B&G breakfast. I had pancakes. The waitresses and owner/cook (I believe her name is Theresa) were a hoot, laughing and cutting up with all the customers. It made for a pleasant dining experience. The place was clean, the decor I would call unassuming - let's-get-down-to-business-and-eat/mountain cafe, the wait staff friendly and efficient, the coffee was strong and our cups stayed full. Prices were reasonable and the food was served up in generous portions, fresh and tasty. When we paid out we thanked them for their sponsorship of the benefit run and then they tried to give us donuts for the trip home. We pointed at the motorcycle parked across the street, declined the persistent offer and suggestion we could squeeze a donut on there somewhere and confirmed we would stop by again our next trip through. And, we will.

Feeling fat and sassy, we pointed The Ride toward home. Taking Hwy 522 north out of Questa we made our way to Colorado via the tiresome bump-bump, bump-bump, bump-bump road. Little Costilla Peak (elevation 12,584) dominates the northern New Mexico skyline all along the way.

The historic town of San Luis (oldest town in Colorado est. 1851), about 18 miles inside the Colorado state line was our first pit-stop. The road number changes at the state line to CO Hwy 159. Now we were looking at Culebra Peak on the eastern horizon. It is located in the Culebra Range, a sub range of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the southernmost fourteener in Colorado (elevation 14,047). Due north is Blanca Peak, another Colorado fourteener (elevation 14,345). I should note here, the farther north we traveled the hazier it got and the more it looked like smoke on the horizon. Before long we could get a whiff of smoke now and then. Oh boy! We left our neck of the woods last week with the High Park Fire raging and we knew of wildfires burning in the northwest corner of New Mexico and the southwest corner of Colorado.

Continuing north on Hwy 159 to Fort Garland we turned east toward Alamosa (passing by a huge solar panel plant called SunEdison). I think it is about 80 acres of solar panels. Finally deciding Hwy 285 would be our route home, we turned north on Hwy 17 which runs alongside the Saguache (say-watch) Mountain Range and over Poncha Pass (elevation 9019). We would connect with Hwy 285 in Poncha Springs.

Poncha Pass Colorado (elevation 9019)

We stopped for gas and water at our customary stop in Salida before traveling back to Hwy 285. We were sore tempted to travel further west up and over Monarch Pass, but we stayed our course. Here that Dad? We abstained from piddle-fartin' our way home. Ha! The skies seemed to clear some as we traveled by the always scenic Collegiate Peaks. Before long we were rolling over first Red Hill Pass and then Kenosha Pass (both 10,000 + elevations).

As we scooted into the small town of Bailey, Tim made a quick turn into the Coney Island hot dog stand. It was time to get off, cool off and top off I guess. Ha! We ordered a foot long and a half foot long with sauerkraut of course and fries and a big, cold drink. The place was busy and the line long, despite the fact we were there at mid-afternoon on a week day. We probably waited half an hour for a hot dog. Now, there are many people who will swear these Coney Island dogs are the best hot dogs anywhere... and they were tasty enough but I am thinking that's because we were hungry. They don't come close to earning a "best" in our books. It is a novel stop along the road more than a good place to eat. The place is situated beside a river with tiny and very cramped dine-in tables at each end of what should be a dine-in bar (it was occupied by people waiting on food) and a nice deck/patio. The Coney Island Hot Dog Stand has an interesting history in Colorado and that history lends itself well to the nostalgic charm of the place. A hot dog is a hot dog and a hot dog is exactly what you get - so, if you stop by, you might want to put a leash on great expectations and just enjoy the place for what it is - a quaint little hot dog stand by the side of a dusty mountain road with a river rushing by.



The rest of our ride in was basically uneventful. We continued on Hwy 285, turned off in Morrison, travelling through Golden and north on Hwy 287 for the last leg of our journey home. The closer we got to our neck of the woods, the thicker the smoke from the fire was along the mountains and foothills. A huge plume of smoke could still be seen from miles away.

We rolled into the drive about 6:15, making our ride about ten hours long. It was about 85 degrees with a hot wind blowing. I made a check-in call to the Folks, then we settled in on the patio with a couple of beers as is our post ride custom.

Today's mileage = 407.6 miles. The entire trip was exactly 1300 miles. We enjoyed every s'mile of it.

Slide show of today's ride (80 photos):


Alternate link to this slide show

Monday, June 18, 2012

Road Trip #2 (Day 4) Riding around Taos

June 18, 2012
Colorado, USA

After spending a great morning at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial near Angel Fire, NM we were ready to put a few miles on The Ride. Some of the veterans we met asked us out to lunch with them but they were headed in a different direction than we had in mind. One of them upon hearing our intended direction pulled out a map and advised us on our route. We thanked them, said our goodbyes and after snapping a couple of pics, rolled out shortly after them.

We traveled the short distance from the memorial to Angel Fire and took a turn south on a small country road (Hwy 434). The veteran said the road was small and narrow but paved well enough for him to pull a fifth wheel on it even though the signage said no trailers. The road was exactly as he said (mostly a paved cow trail with no center line the majority of the way and likely prone to flooding in inclement weather) especially once past the community of Black Lake. It was a nice ride, not as rough as we thought it might be but we wondered how in the heck the Vet managed oncoming traffic with that fifth wheel. Ha!



The road ran near the Mora River in many places and alongside the river sat several camping/fishing cabins that appeared to be long out of use. In fact there were many abandoned structures along the way. Just before Mora we rolled by the Victory Alpaca Ranch. We've never seen so many of those cute little critters in one place. In the tiny village of Mora (lots of old architecture here) we picked up NM Road 518 and travelled a high scenic road back into Taos. This segment of 518 between Mora and Ranchos de Taos passes through the rugged terrain of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Carson National Forest. What a beautiful ride!




Before leaving Taos, we made the hot ten mile jaunt on Hwy 64 to see the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. This bridge spans over 1200 feet and crosses the Rio Grande which wanders through a gigantic gorge 650 feet below. They are working on the bridge which is an amazing thing to see as well.



The trip back to Eagle Nest took us around the Enchanted Circle traveling in reverse of the way we had traveled on the Saint Jude's benefit run a couple of days ago. The trip went well and we had the road almost to ourselves.

As I predicted yesterday, we strolled down to Kawliga's for a burger and a beer. Yep! We are well-pleased with our choice for supper. The burgers and fries were every bit as good as advertised. YUM! And, of course we finished of the meal with ice-cream.


Today's ride = 173 miles

Slide show of today's ride (123 photos):


Alternative link for this slide show.

Road Trip #2 (Day 4) Vietnam Veterans Memorial

June 18, 2012
Colorado, USA

Another restful night at the Laguna Vista Lodge followed by another leisurely breakfast at the Double D Cafe had us ready to roll about mid-morning.

Part of the reason for a trip to this part of New Mexico was to visit the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial near Angel Fire, NM. We made a brief stop the first day of the trip just before a thunderstorm took over the area. The memorial is about ten miles from Eagle Nest, NM. The last time we visited the Memorial (in the late 1970s or maybe it was in the early 1980s) it was a stark but simple chapel situated on the side of a windy hill in the middle of nowhere. I remember a chill wind blew off of the mountains that day. The wind always blows in this area. At that time, the memorial chapel still held the personal effects of the soldier for whom it was built and there were many mementos placed by passing strangers in the chapel.

U.S. Marine Corps First Lieutenant Victor David Westphall III

Following the death of their son, U.S. Marine Corps First Lieutenant Victor David Westphall III, Jeanne and Dr. Victor Westphall (a World War II Veteran) began construction of the Vietnam Veterans Peace and Brotherhood Chapel to honor the memory of their son and the fifteen men that died with him near Con Thien, South Vietnam on May 22, 1968.





The chapel was dedicated May 22, 1971. The Disabled American Veterans took possession of the Memorial in 1982 and began construction on the Visitor's Center in 1985. In 1998 ownership reverted to the David Westpfall Veterans Foundation and in 2004 the State of New Mexico took over the Memorial and named it the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park. It is the only state park in New Mexico that does not charge an entry fee (a condition of the transfer) and it is open 24 hours a day (another condition).

This memorial is among many stops for the riders who make The Run For the Wall.

The grounds now include not only the stunningly designed chapel (which rotates the biographies of men and women who fell in the service of our country during the Vietnam War - always with Westphall in a prominent position) and includes seating for quiet contemplation, but a Visitor's Center/Gift Shop (built underground so as not to detract from the unique architectural design of the chapel), Memorial Garden, an amphitheater, the Veterans Memorial Walkway (a path of bricks dedicated to the service men and women of New Mexico), and the grave sites of the Westphalls. The Visitor Center is filled with displays, memorabilia, historical archive and many pieces of amazing artwork and sculpture. A small theater shows a movie entitled Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam. Outside is a static display of a Huey helicopter from the Vietnam era donated to the memorial in 1999 by the New Mexico National Guard. This "bird" was known as the Viking Surprise. It is one of the first smokeships used in Vietnam. In the Memorial Garden is a moving bronze statue of a soldier by Doug Scott of Taos, entitled Dear Mom and Dad.



We were immediately greeted upon arrival by several Vietnam Veterans and their wives who treated us as if they had known us all our lives. We spoke with them at length. They all had a story to tell and we listened to each one with respect. One of the veterans (his name escapes me) had written a book and serves as a veteran's liaison to the state of New Mexico. Another veteran who upon learning that my Dad served in Vietnam and is a Patriot Guard Ride Captain said to thank him for his service in both regards and then hugged me saying thanks to me for being a child left behind survivor of that era.

We spent most of the morning, strolling the pathways, studying the helicopter and various displays inside the visitor center, stopping to take photos and read the placards. It is a remarkable and sobering experience.



A slide show of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial (70 photos):


Alternatice link to this slide show

About the memorial: http://www.vietnamveteransmemorial.org/about-the-memorial/2/MemorialHistory/

About the helicopter: http://www.vietnamveteransmemorial.org/virtual-tour/18/HueyHelicopter/

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Road Trip #2 (day 3) Father's Day Pizza Ride

June 17, 2012
Colorado, USA

After another restful night at the Laguna Vista Lodge in Eagle Nest, NM, we woke to clear, sunny skies and warm temps. I made the Father's Day call to Dad and wished him a great day. Ready for a cup of coffee, we strolled across the street to the D&D Cafe for a Father's Day breakfast and discussed what we thought we might do with the day.

We loosely decided to ride in the direction of Los Alamos. Rolling out on a nasty bike, we travelled Hwy 64 through Taos Canyon which was an easy, pleasant ride... a great way to start the day. Even better - we encountered little traffic. Approaching Taos we made a quick turn on a small road (I think it was Hwy 585) that turned out to be a nice bypass around the busy downtown always-a-traffic-jam plaza area of Taos. We rode Hwy 68 alongside the Rio Grande River to Hwy 30 and traveled the scenic winding road through the White Rock Canyon area to Los Alamos. What a beautiful ride! This stretch of road is known as the Senator Clinton Anderson scenic route. And Los Alamos itself is situated on the Pajarito Plateau. Very scenic. We had not expected the ride to be anything other than flat. In Los Alamos, we checked out a few of the streets in town but not wanting to spend such a gorgeous day in stuffy museums and gotcha shops, we found ourselves rolling back out the way we came in. Since we were so close we thought we might as well check out Santa Fe.

We have not been to the Santa Fe area since the 1980s and much has changed. It is bigger and busier than we remembered. The day had gotten hot as we were rolling into Santa Fe and Tim said his breakfast had purt near wore off. We decided to try and find Back Road Pizza. We knew about this place because of an episode on Triple D (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives). I guess we took what you would call the scenic loop through the suburban shopping center nightmare of Santa Fe but we finally found second street and because it sits in a small nonchalant business park we almost missed it (I caught the sign out of the corner of my eye as we rode by). We made the block and parked the ride, ready for something cold to drink and something good to eat.

Back Road Pizza's claim to fame is serving up New York style thin crust pizza with a New Mexican twist. The secret to the crust is they roll it out in corn meal. We ordered the New Mexican of course, with green chile, red onions and pepperoni. Since it was the middle of the afternoon, we had the place almost to ourselves and we had fun looking at the decor and checking out the signed poster of Guy Fieri. Needless to say - Guy is one of our heroes. We think he has one of the koolest jobs on the planet - ride to eat (even if it is in a convertible) and get paid to do it. Ha! Back Roads Pizza is clean, neat, nicely appointed and downright comfy. We loved it. Back Road Pizza delivers and GF of Triple D was dead on - the pizza is awesome!




After consuming every bite of our Back Road Pizza we backtracked to Taos, filled the bike up at the Shell station conveniently located at the junction of our little bypass, traveled through Kit Carson National Forest and Taos Canyon eventually rolling into Eagle Nest more than a little satisfied with the day's ride.

We capped the day off with a stroll through the town to stretch out the ride kinks and made an ice cream stop at Kawliga's. Yum! Apparently, Kawliga's is a favorite stop for people passing through and the food smelled really good. We are thinking this might make a good place for supper tomorrow.

The evenings are so nice and quiet in Eagle Nest, especially when the pass-through traffic eases. The day cooled quickly once the sun went into decline.

Tomorrow we will pay a proper visit to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial at Angel Fire. I am looking forward to it. Yawn!

Today's ride = 262 miles

Slide show of today's ride (125 photos):


Alternate link to this slide show

Happy Father's Day DAD!

June 17, 2012
Colorado, USA



There are many aspects of a woman... and titles we assume as we go through life, girlfriend, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother but my favorite is "daughter"... I love being a daughter, but that's likely because I have such a great DAD!

Happy Father's Day Tim!

June 17, 2012
Colorado, USA


Yep! we are out and about trying to top last year's smile... stay tuned...

Happy Father's Day Military Dads!

June 17, 2012
Colorado, USA

Happy Father's Day

Click on the pic for a larger view.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Road Trip #2 (Day 2) Enchanted Circle NM

June 16, 2012
Colorado, USA

What a peaceful night's rest at the Laguna Vista Lodge! We were up early and rarin' to ride. We walked to the courtyard (beside the Saloon) and registered for the Saint Jude's Enchanted Circle Bike Run sponsored by the Lodge. This run is the reason we backed up our mini-vacation and rode in on a Friday. I didn't know about it until I booked the room.

After chatting with the sponsors for a bit and watching a few other riders roll in, we sauntered across the street to the tiny dive known as D&D Cafe. It's just our kind of place. We were greeted as we came in the door, seated ourselves at the last available table and ordered breakfast. It was a good breakfast - eggs were over-easy no matter how you ordered (that's how I cook them at home) so Tim didn't quite get his sunny side up. I didn't get my pancakes but I think it was due to lack of caffeine on my part for not making it clear (when given the choice of white or wheat) to Curtis (the waiter) who was really busy. It was no big deal. A day without pancakes sure isn't going to kill me. The food was good, the portions were plentiful and the coffee was hot and rich and despite how busy they were refilled at 1/2 a cup. The place has maybe six to eight tiny tables and it was clean. I would describe the decor as "decidedly dive". We loved it.

About 10:15 we rode out ahead of the other bikes. Traveling west on Hwy 38/578 we traveled through the Carson National Forest and over Bobcat Pass (elevation 9820). It was a brisk morning but we were comfortable in denim jackets. We rounded a cliff a few miles out of Red River and Tim pointed out a flock of turkeys crossing the road ahead of us. What we didn't see was the rest of the flock (3 or 4) coming in on our left side apparently anxious to join their buddies. One dusted our helmets as he flew just over our heads. I am fairly certain he tried to take us out. I can see trying to explain to other bikers - ya see we were assaulted by a gaggle of gobblers. Ha!

Arriving in Red River well before 11:00, we traveled all the way down Main Street, and toured a couple of the side streets before parking in front of the Bull of the Woods Saloon (our first ticket stop) which had just opened the doors. We ordered coffee and strolled a portion of the street before collecting our tickets and riding on - again, just ahead of the crowd. We agreed Red River will be a mini-vacation destination one of these days.

As we approached the small town of Questa, we noticed the tailings of a mine from a good distance away. A Chevron sign was posted at the gate of the facility and we wondered what sort of venture they had in the hills of New Mexico. Post ride research reveals what we saw was the Chevron Molycorp Mine. It is a molybdenum [mo-lib-de-num] mine. I learned this element is used as an alloy to strengthen iron that is used in the production of items like high speed cutting tools. This mine is the largest private employer in Taos county.

At Questa we turned south onto Hwy 522. Our next ticket stop was the Midtown Lounge about 18 miles from Questa. We found it by accident. We would have missed it altogether if we had not pulled off at a convenience store to look at the run map. What luck! As it happens, the lounge is attached to the convenience store. We ordered another cup of coffee, collected our tickets and chatted with another biker and his young son playing pool at all the stops. The group of bikers behind us did miss the stop (I admit, we grinned as they rode by - shameful!) and came rumbling back about the time we were ready to roll out again.

As we rolled along scanning troublesome skies we decided to skip the next stop (Don Carlos's Tavern). It was supposed to be the lunch stop along the route but the ride description said, narrow road, pot holes and gravel road to the top of a hill. We learned later from other riders there was no food when they arrived.

Back on Hwy 64, we rode (basically walked the bike) through busy traffic-jammed Taos. We have never been to Taos when there was not a traffic jam. However, we have been through Taos when the traffic was worse than it was today. The next part of the ride was 19 miles through scenic Taos Canyon. It's a great ride through a twisting, turning not very imposing canyon.

Our next stop was in Angel Fire but since we were well ahead of schedule and the threatening skies had yet to open up, we made a quick stop at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It has been over 30 years since our last visit. It has changed some since the state took it over but it is still an awesome (make that sobering) experience. We will give the memorial a proper visit before this trip is over.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Angel Fire, NM

A sharp crack of thunder and a few drops of rain made us take the clouds more seriously. We rode the short distance (maybe 3 miles) to Zeb's on the outskirts of Angel Fire.

At first the people at Zeb's said they were not part of the run. I showed him my documentation and said - somebody forgot to tell us and at least the dozen or so bikes that will be rolling in behind us. They seemed pleasantly surprised by that comment and gave us our tickets. We were set to have coffee and pie but it started to rain and blow so we settled in, opened the menus and discovered CATFISH! I, for one, had no trouble deciding to live without a free weenie at the end of my day. Tim agreed. We both ordered catfish dinners. YUM!

The ice cream on my day... CATFISH!

The storm rolled through, spattering everything with a fast, hard rain. The high wind that came in afterwards covered everything including the ride with dust that blew across the parking lots.

Fat and sassy from our great meal, we then rode back to Eagle Nest just as the rest of the group were arriving at Zeb's. Yep! Most of them were a bit soggy having got caught in the canyon in that storm. I guess at this point I should clarify - we were not being anti-social by staying ahead of the rest of the riders. We do not drink (alcohol) and ride and it is our policy to steer clear of those that do when at all possible.

Back in Eagle Nest, Tim dropped me off at the motel and went in search of a car wash. There was a car wash at the other end of town but it was out of order. The closest car wash was ten miles back in Angel Fire. Well, we weren't happy about it but we will ride a dirty bike. Ha!

The end-of-run festivities were scheduled to begin at 4pm at the Laguna Vista Saloon and courtyard so we moseyed over as the other bikes started filtering in. I am guessing there were about three or four little groups. The lodge cooked "fat" hotdogs and had an impressive array of sides. Yep, Tim ate again. I settled for a snack and a beer. We discovered Michelob Ultra was a bit pricey the day before which made this a Bud Lite night. The weather turned chilly and it wasn't long before we collected our jackets from the room and returned to find the other bikers had pulled their jackets on as well.

We had a few beers and visited with some of the other bikers, meandering in and out of the saloon and set by the fire for a while with an older biker from down Ruidosa way. They had a decent DJ and some good music blaring in the courtyard. We bid on a couple of silent auction items then collected a couple of door prizes (gift certificates to local restaurants). At one point one person called the silent auction closed and then another person reopened it for another fifteen minutes. OOPS! Auction foul! That did not set well with a few people.

They live-auctioned off a door prize item Tim had his eye on from the very beginning. I was fairly certain it was going to come home with us. He got in a bidding war with a youngster for a Harley Roast n Roll (thermos with stainless cups in a neat little kit form). As it turns out he finally won the auction which we officially dubbed his father's day present. ** grins ** I came away with a salt crystal night light from the silent auction. Yep, it's going to be real interesting getting home with that sucker.

Tim's bidding war prize

Happy Father's Day!

After the auction everyone started heading for their bikes or rooms. We watched a storm dance across the lake from the window at the back of our room and then settled in to tinker on our new smart phones and watch Triple D and the Pickers which seems to be the only thing on TV whenever we bother to turn the TV on in a motel. That's OK. We like Guy and Mike and Frank.

It was a fun day. This is the first time we have ridden the Enchanted Circle on a motorcycle. The road was a bit rough in places but other than that - it was a great ride. We saw some new places and revisited other places. I do not know how well the first effort for this benefit run turned out although I am thinking it fell well short of the goal. I know they were expecting more bikes. I am guessing they had about 15-20 bikes at the end of the day, maybe a few more. I think they might should have posted the flyer a little farther afield. We did not see flyers posted along the way, even at the scheduled stops. Like I said, Zeb's did not think they were part of the run at all. The Bull of the Woods Saloon seemed disgusted by the turnout. Here again - I saw no flyer posted on their door. We received a rather lacklustre welcome at all of the stops. Hmmm... Even the D&D Cafe across the street from the lodge was unaware of the event until we told them about it. Lack of communication seemed to be the biggest part of the problem. Advertising (post that flyer everywhere!) followed by accurate information and organization are always key to getting this type of event off the ground. You cannot rely solely on the internet to get the message out. One other thing, the door prizes donated by local businesses and individuals were handed out in white envelopes without mentioning the type of prize or a thank you to the donor. Both donors and bikers should have had a thank you very much. Big mistake that. Otherwise, all of the items in the silent auction seemed to go for a decent price and I know the one live auction item that Tim came home with brought a good price. No complaints here - it was all for a very good cause.

We have a couple more days to spend in this area and we are looking forward to tomorrow's Father's Day ride.

Today's ride = 97 miles.

Slide show of today's ride (116 photos):


Alternate link to this slide show

Friday, June 15, 2012

Road Trip #2 (Day 1) Eagle Nest NM

June 15, 2012
Colorado, USA

Road trip! And it's about time, but we might have gotten into the vacation mode a bit prematurely for this trip. We did not roll out as early as we normally do when heading south. Let's blame it on night shift - yawn!

This morning Fort Collins was filled with the haze of smoke from the wildfire but the smell of smoke was not too bad yet. The plume of smoke from the High Park wildfire could be seen from I-25 and the wind was howling straight out of the west which means that smoke was on its way. Traffic was heavy on the interstate but did not bog down until about the halfway point across Denver. Then it was stop and go for a good stretch of road with the normal stupidity that goes along with metro-mess traffic. Friday traffic, distracted drivers, lost tourists does not make for a good commute. We were glad to finally put the city in the rear view mirror.

Traffic was heavy into the Springs as well. Delays in Denver put us in the Springs at the peak of rush hour. What a surprise it was to see so much smoke in Colorado Springs. Our smoke. There was not even a glimpse of Pikes Peak today. By the time we cleared the city limits of the Springs we had nothing but open roads, breakfast and coffee on the brain.

First stop was the Southwest Grill on Hwy 50 in Pueblo. This is our usual breakfast stop in that area. We've been eating breakfast at this restaurant for about four years now and it is always good. This is where the locals eat. We like the breakfast special (eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns, pancakes - yum!). It is clean, fast, friendly, no fuss, reasonably priced and the portions are generous. We have never had to wait for a table. Add to that a great cup of coffee and you can color us content. We tinkered with our new smarty-pants phones while we waited (a really short time) on our food.

Rolling south again we made good time, detouring through downtown Walsenberg for no particular reason other than we like the downtown area and the architecture of old buildings (the courthouse is quite striking). Back on the interstate, we continued south over scenic Raton pass into New Mexico.

Despite traffic delays in Denver and the Springs we were making good time. The day was warming fast so we looked forward to the cooler temperature of higher altitude. Eagle Nest, NM sits above 8000 in elevation. Rolling west on Highway 64 toward Cimarron we also enjoyed the slower pace and the wide open spaces. Cimarron is a sleepy little community trading on the legacy of old west outlaws and a handful of resident artists. The Philmont Scout Ranch is nearby as is the historic (and some say haunted) Saint James Hotel.

As many times as we have driven and ridden New Mexico we had yet to ride Hwy 64 past Cimarron so the lure of a new stretch of road kept us rolling. The road and the scenery improved a few miles outside of Cimarron. The prehistoric Palisades Sill rock formation (cathedral-like cliffs) in the Cimarron Canyon is amazing. This area dates back millions of years and is popular with geologists. The skies began to grab our attention as we neared our destination.

Before long we were rounding a bend that revealed our destination - Eagle Nest, NM. We rolled slowly into the tiny town all the way through (Main Street is about a mile long) and circled back to our lodging. We checked in at Laguna Vista Lodge and we are well pleased with our comfy accommodations. The lodge is owned and operated by an American Veteran and that's a plus in our books.

Tim gassed up the ride and bought a six pack of beer for the fridge in the room at a station just down the street while I unpacked. After freshening up, and taking a gander at the ever darkening skies we covered the ride for the night. We strolled the boardwalk, found the saloon and had a seat at a tiny table where we polished off a couple of beers.

Tim relaxing with a beer after a great ride to Eagle Nest NM

Vik relaxing with a beer after a great ride to Eagle Nest NM

It was still early afternoon, so we strolled Main Street before deciding on supper. Calamity Jane's next door to the saloon won the toss today. It is perhaps a bit pricey but the portions were generous and the food was excellent - every bite of it.

Chicken-fried steak dinner at Calamity Jane's Restaurant - Eagle Nest, NM

After dinner, we strolled to the other end of town and wandered out behind the lodge for a look at the lake. The skies still rumbled in the distance and eventually spit on us. We sat in the sheltered hall on a bench outside our room for a while, but before long we were perched on the comfy king size bed flipping through channels. We will turn in early tonight. Tomorrow we ride the Enchanted Circle for the first time in the Saint Jude's Run for Children sponsored by the lodge.

Today's ride = 360.4 miles

Slide show of today's ride (125 photos):


Alternative link to this slide show