Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 13 - Bitter Sweet

Today has been bitter sweet because we have pointed our route toward home and there's a clear end tothe  trip. It'll be nice to get home, see Reagan and sleep in my own bed again. But this also means the peace and tranquillity of riding in new places every day and encountering new people along the way is coming to an end. Of course, there's always the next trip to plan for.

This morning we wanted to get an early start to ensure that we could make it to Van Horn, Tx before dark. So we got up and loaded the bikes by 6am. When we pulled up to the local cafe (same as last night) the lights were on and people were already inside. This looked a lot better than yesterday's breakfast. We ordered the special (1 biscuit w/ gravy, hash browns and 1 egg). Coffee was servered quickly as was breakfast. The waitress was friendly and good at her job. We finished breakfast and were on the bikes by 6:45.

Heading east on 180 meant we were riding right into the sun. At the early hour of the day it meant the sun was low and would pop out around corners at the very worst times like in the middle of a corner. The first section of 180 was the best, it was twisty and mostly down hill. Temperature this morning was warmer than previous mornings but there was still a heavy frost on the bike as we started but at least Doug's thermometer didn't bottom out.

180 continued, meeting up with 12 and heading south all the way to Silver City, NM. The farther south we got the warmer it got and the straighter the road became. But the speed limit was generous and law enforcement was scarce so it was a good ride down.

We stopped in Silver City in search of a fat quarter of clothe for Laurie, Doug's wife. She plans to make a quilt out of his findings. It should be interesting. The quilt store was a nice old fashioned store from the past. They sold fabric, greeting cards and office supplies. It was a classic small town type store that you just don't find any more. With fabric acquired, we resumed our travels south on 180.

From Silver City we headed down to Deming where 180 ran into NM 11. We followed 11 down to Columbus, NM. It was neat to see all the crops being grown like Maze, Peppers and more. Then just a few miles down the road it was high desert. When we reached Columbus we turned East onto NM 9 to follow the US/Mexico border. We expected this to be a very lonely and peaceful stretch of road. It turned out to be quite busy. At one point a very large oversize 18 wheeler loaded with one of those mega sized dump truck buckets, was heading west on our quiet road. It was so large I had to pull over to the very edge of the road to let him pass.

The road eventually led us into El Paso where we took the 375 loop north of town. There seems to be a lot of construction going on at Fort Bliss right now. Finally 375 met up with 180 and we continued east to the Guadalupe Mountain National Park. A quick stop at the visitor center and then we turned around and caught 54 south to Van Horn. This stretch of the road was riduculously mis-marked speed limit wise. It was marked as 55mph but there wasn't any legit reason why it shouldn't have been marked as 65 or 75 like 180 was. But of course there were plenty of DPS cars along the way to make sure drivers obeyed the speed limit.

About 5:15 we rolled into town and after looking at various motels, we decided to stay at the Motel 6 and eat dinner across the street at the Pizza Hut. Well if you ever stay in Van Horn, skip the Pizza Hut. They don't have a salad bar, can't serve beer and have pitiful service. With dinner complete, it was time to write this blog.

Today's ride went well, we covered 462 miles, my odometer rolled over 47,000 miles and we got back to Texas. Tomorrow night I'll be home, the bike will be back in the garage and the trip will be over. I don't expect tomorrow's ride across I-10 to be very special so unless something exciting happens, the next blog post will be a recap in a few days. There's several things that I need to fix or include before the next trip.

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