Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 3 - Eagle Nest, NM no Colorado City, Co

Today we slept in a little longer and didn't get up with quite the zeal of the previous day. Partly due to the impending weather and partly because we were on vacation and wanted to get some rest. But we finally got up and started getting ready to go. There was a free continental breakfast down stairs so I lugged some stuff down and stopped for breakfast. While loading the bike I met a fella from Houston, Mississippi. He seemed pretty interested in the Beemer and told me he had a cruiser and his son had a sport bike they had intended to trailer with them on their trip out west but mechanical issues prevented it.

After breakfast was done (Reagan just had coffee) we suited up and went across the street to fill up. Yesterday's travels' netted a 36.76mpg value at the pump. That seemed pretty much on track for the type of riding we did.

The weather was ominous. It was very foggy and rain seemed imminent so we put on our rain gear and took off. The fog was so bad that the XM Radio wouldn't even receive a station. But 10 or 15 miles west on I-40 and everything changed. The sky started clearing and after a reset of the gps I once again had XM radio.

As we crossed the New Mexico state line Reagan wanted a picture of their welcome sign so we pulled over and snapped the picture. While stopped I shed the rain covers and opened the vents on my jacket. Then it was back on the road heading for Tucumcari, NM. We stopped by the post office to mail some post cards and then headed out of town north on 104. This was a typical New Mexico road, long and straight. And a speed limit of 55 mph. Really??? give me a break what are they worried about, hitting a bug?

Finally in Las Vegas (NM) we turned north on to 518. It was getting close to our lunch time and Reagan was hungry since she had skipped breakfast. We looked for a place to grub but 518 out of Las Vegas doesn't have much in the way of local eateries. So we kept going. At noon (CDT) we rolled into Mora and found the Cowboy Kitchen. Of course it was only 11AM local time but we were hungry and they were open. The local folks were friendly and interested in where we were from. The lunch special was a Salsbury Steak for $5.99. It was a good deal and tasted good for a small greasy spoon.

With our stomachs full we figured we'd be in Eagle Nest within an hour and a half. That meant we'd be trying to check in at 1:30 local time. Since tomorrow would be a 300 mile push into Denver, we decided to push on and find a place closer to the Denver area. The exact town we'd stop at wast undetermined.

So leaving Mora we continued on 518 to Taos and stopped for gas. Our mileage for this leg of the trip was 40mpg, Wow! Then we picked up 64 to Eagle Nest. This road was wonderful lots of sweepers. We climbed to 9500 feet before slowly descending into Eagle Nest. The temperature was comfortable with my liner in. But as we descended I started opening the zipper vents to let a little air in.

We passed through Eagle Nest around 1:50 local time and turned onto 38 toward Red River. This road was more of a slow steady climb across a flat plain. I was wondering if I had made the right decision in continuing on. But eventually we reached the mountain passes and it once again became fun.

In Questa we turned onto 522 heading toward Colorado. Our travels to this point included wonderful winding roads along babling brooks, mountain passes and flat high plains. This was a great ride. The temperature was continuing to rise though and we pulled over to ditch the liners and continue on.

Before I knew it we were stopping to take a picture of the Colorado welcome sign. As I continued north on 159 there was something that was clearly evident. We were heading into rain. Not just a little, it was was real honest to goodness rain in the mountains. Just after passing through San Luis we pulled over on the side of the road to put on the rain gear as the rain was starting to come down. Then we jumped back on the road and headed north.

In Fort Garland, 159 ends so we headed east on 160. As I turned I noticed a local motel that we could stop at for the day, but I failed to ask Reagan how she was doing. Ooops! Note to self, in the future check with my co-rider more often. A simple nature break could have made the afternoon more enjoyable for her. By Fort Garland we were just riding in a light sprinkle but the road was wet so as we weaved through the mountains I took it easy and observed the speed limits. The further into the mountain pass though we finally cleared the rain and the road was drying out. So I cranked up the throttle a little and enjoyed the sweeping mountain twisties.

Finally as we were coming down out of the pass, about 16 miles outside of Walsenburg, Reagan came on the intercom and asked for a stop at the first possible point to shed her rain gear. So I applied the binders and pulled off into a driveway leading to a large ranch. We took 10 minutes or so to shed the gear and stretch. Since a nature break was needed we decided to detour to La Veta just 5 miles off of 160. OMG! this was one of those dreaded tourists traps. We stopped at a gas station, checked out the restrooms, bought some water and gatorade. Then headed into town to look around. The local lodge wanted $95 per night so we decided to head on down the road to see what we could find.

Back out on 160 we came into Walsenburg. We passed one affordable place that had a grand opening sign but Reagan vetoed it claiming it was a "Fred" motel. So we pressed on. I was really looking for something in the Choice Hotels chains so I could save a little money with my AMA discount. So we headed north on I-25 toward Denver. Finally we see a sign for Days Inn and Reagan gives me the thumbs up. So I pull into Colorado City. There's a Shell station, liquor store and local diner so we've got everything we need. The front desk clerk was pretty cool and hooked me up with a special $62 rate which was better than the $68 rate that he initially started with. All I had to do was talk about bikes and cars. That was easy.

After checking in, I jumped on line and signed up for a Days Inn reward card. I've stayed with the chain before and been pleased with the rooms and rates I get when I just stop in while on the road. It's better than with my MoTow or AMA discounts with other chains. So if I'm going to stay at the chain I might as well benefit a little.

With everything in the room it was time to have a drink or two, and then shower before dinner. A quick upload of the gps showed that we had traveled 459 miles in the day's travel. That's the farthest Reagan has been in one day. The lack of enough nature breaks and not expecting to travel so far today made things a little hard for her. She was seriously wiped out.

The plan was to go to Golden tomorrow and tour the Coors brewery. The only problem is that they don't do tours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so the tour is out. I also tried to get a tour of a local Colorado whisky distillery but that may not work out either as they only offer tours from 9:30 to 11am by appointment. I left my name and number, if someone calls early enough we'll hop on the road and go check it out. Otherwise the plan is to take a nice 222 mile ride up through the mountains west of us and stay in Denver. Of course who knows tomorrow we may change our minds, but at least we have a reservation in Denver for a room.

We have a problem with the intercom system. I think it's related to the mic mute module I added and will try to contact the manufacturer tomorrow. If worse comes to worse, I'll just uninstall it tomorrow evening. But I really don't want to have to pull the tank while we're on the road. At least it's only a 30 minute job and I have all the tools.

1 comment:

Fred said...

Missed a good deal at that Fred motel...