Saturday, July 25, 2009

AK '09 - Day 35

The last full day on the road, tomorrow night I'll be sleeping in my own bed. But I'm getting ahead of myself, I need to talk about today.

Since we had 518 miles to go, we decided to get an early start. The plan was to leave by 6am, we were pulling out of the gas station at 6:01. Not bad.

I took the first shift as rider because I was concerned about deer. We left town on Hwy 50 and then turned south onto Hwy 69. The road had plenty of twists and turns in it as we worked our way between mountains. It was also very comfortable as the temperature was in the mid 50s.

We stopped in Westcliffe for breakfast, and although it was 7am no one seemed to be open. Luckily we found a little bakery that was open and enjoyed a great breakfast of baked goods. While eating outside we talked to a few folks and it became apparent that we had chosen the right place to stop as the place was beginning to get busier the longer we stayed.

Reagan took over as the rider after breakfast and we headed out of town on Hwy 69 after making a quick pit stop at the gas station. The temperature was rising, after breakfast we were already into the 70's I knew it was only going to get hotter as we went south. The ride was uneventful except for the Antelope and Bucks that we saw along the road side. The farther south we went the fewer mountains we saw.

At Walsen we hopped on I-25 continuing our journey south. We crossed the New Mexico state line with Reagan in the rider's seat. Then in Raton we took Hwy 64 east and left the interstate behind. We stopped in Clayton at the DQ and had an early lunch. Warning, if you order the crispy chicken wraps for $1.49 be sure to get 2 or 3. One is just a snack.

After lunch I took the rider's seat as we continued on 64. We crossed into Texas at Texline and I was finally back in my home state after 35 days. Woohoo! But then I realized I was in the panhandle area where the roads are straight, the wind is steady and the air smells of feed lots.

We trudged down the road until we got to Vega where we stopped for gas. Then we picked up I-40 east through Amarillo. Then south on 287 toward Childress. In Amarillo it was 100 degrees and when we finally stopped for a break at the rest area 30 miles west of Childress it was 104 degrees.

After a rest room break, bottled water break and soaking up some A/C we headed back out to the bikes. With 30 miles to go we pressed on. The temperature rose to 105 before we rolled into town. The Hampton was easy to spot, we pulled in and found some shade while the girls checked us in.

After unloading the bikes and having a drink, we walked across the street to a Mexican restaurant. It turns out the county just went wet and most places haven't gotten their liquor licenses yet. So there were no cervezas with dinner, but the food was ok and service wasn't bad. Afterwards we returned to our rooms and had another drink while we planned our next trip which is going to be out to Big Bend. Hopefully my GS will be ready by then, otherwise I might be on the little Savage while Reagan is her Spyder.

Today we went 518 miles in 10 hours. Tomorrow is going to be a little farther and there's a chance of rain in Houston. At least 97 degrees for a high doesn't sound as bad as 105. At the end of the day, I will be home and not having to worry about packing up the bike on Monday. That's what I'm looking forward to, but I will miss the adventure of travel that I have enjoyed for more than a month. I have to start figuring out how to do this more often.

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