It’s impressive that two and half months into our journey we’re just as excited to keep on truckin’ as we were the first week in. But frankly, I’m more impressed with the fact that after 75+ days of 24/7 togetherness, we haven’t ripped each other’s heads off (although we have had our moments). I’m happy to report that we’re traveling very well together and gotten into a really cool groove.
With Sassy pants all refreshed in Denver with new tires and front brake line we continued south through this stunning state. Riding this state was pure joy! Water, trees, mountains and incredible views not to mention ‘regular’ heat, like only 85F vs. the 108F we’ve experienced in Arizona. Halfway down what they call the Million Dollar Highway (named for its cost, the stunning deep canyons and twisty turns or the millions in earnings from mining the area) we found a challenging dirt ride over Ophir Pass just outside of Ouray. Oh Hell yeah white knuckles and all (by the way, the color does eventually return) and no doubt we burned at least 3000 calories, which is a good thing since we make up for it in beer consumption after the fact.
It’s hard to capture with words how magically delicious this road was in terms of beauty, but on a scale of 1-10, it was a 12. I won’t say anything about the use of expletives and an occasional balling out of a jeep trying to pass on an already too narrow road with shear drops offs, cuz that was just part of the adventure. But I will say at the end of the day it was pure pleasure to strip off our sticky wet moto gear and jump into the pristine waters of Trout Lake (very cold peeps, but minimal shrinkage) LOL.
After our last couple nights in Colorado we set off for Taos. Our route was heading right past a forest fire that had started in Mancos the night before. I grew up on a flood plain area so I’m well aware of natural disasters, but I’ve never really been so up close to a raging fire. From a distance it looked like an explosion filling the air with constant flume of smoke and ash. The closer we got the worse the smoke became darkening the sky and blacking out the sun. As we approached what I’ll call the epi center, we could actually see orange/red flames consuming all in its way. Tears rolled as I felt overwhelming sadness for chard forest land, the people whose homes and lives have been impacted and the wildlife.
We spent a couple nights in Taos – rode the enchanted loop with our new friend Dick. We checked out the pueblos and old churches in the surrounding areas, including the Taos Pueblo, one of the oldest ‘towns’ in the US, a Native American population of 150. We were fortunate to see come on the day of their annual once/per year Corn Dance with drumming, singing, dancing and prayers.
On our way to Santa Fe, we detoured for Nambe Lake which was recommended by a guy we met Taos. We drove out to the area and found a metal gate which appeared to be half closed, but what the heck, half if it was open too so we didn’t think anything of it and passed. Within a couple minutes of arriving at the parking lot, we were confronted by a pissed off Indian man who pulled up in a truck. He advised us we needed to leave, noting the park was closed and someone had broken the lock on the gate. After some conversation with him, we turned around and left. As we approached the gate we came in at, it was closed and lock with a reservation police waiting for us. Royally pissed off, he demanded to see our ID’s; Tad asked why is he stopping us and what had we done which he replied “you’re on trespassing on private property and the lock is broken!!!!”. Oh crap! I’m thinking Oh shit! He’s insinuating we broke it and we have no way to prove we didn’t do this. We gave him our ID’s, which he checked out in his truck. Returning about 5 minutes later, he handed them back and let us pass. Thankfully, because I wasn’t prepared to spend a night in an Indian jail. On our way out we attempted to detour on a dirt road only to be stopped in the middle of the road by a female Indian woman who said we needed to get back on the paved road as ‘you have no business being back here”. After some low grade debate between her and Tad about why we can’t be there; we weren’t getting anywhere and decided best to turn around. Tad finally asked if he could offer his opinion and she replied “no”. Sure we could’ve just blown by her but based knew we’d be confronted again a short way down the road and have the same situation. Clearly we weren’t welcome on this reservation and found the Indian population there to be very private and protective. Disappointing…..
We spent a couple low key days in Santa Fe doing some bike maintenance, taking in the history and sites, and then onto the aliens at Roswell. Not exactly what I expected but cheesy enough to warrant a stop.
We have a BMW GS rally in Arkansas and family reunion in Missouri to get to by mid-July. We needed to make some miles to keep on schedule so we decided to pretty much blast through most of Texas and get to Houston, where we spent 3 nights with friends. Humidity is off the charts! I thought the 108F dry heat was bad; but I’ll take that any day over the 86F+ and humidity because it’s torture in our moto gear. Not to mention getting literally eaten by mosquitos and bugs. Holy smokes, I have more bites than a red head has freckles! Boating on Lake Conroe was a blast and we learned that Texan’s wear their life vest like diapers (literally) so they can bob in the water while drinking and smoking cigars. Ha!! A trick I’ll no doubt be sharing with my Washingtonian boater friends.
Few more days in Texas and then we move onto to Louisiana. I can already smell the catfish and fried gater….