Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Riding South This Week: New Mexico & Arizona

The Ride

I’m going to back up and start my ride report from the beginning since I‘m back home now. I posted two days of this trip from the from the road but blogging from the road is hard. I only had internet two days of the trip and I didn‘t have very much time to spend in front of the computer, so not all the pictures were included in those two posts.

I brought two cameras on this trip and ended up shooting 693 pictures with my Pentax Optio W10 that was mounted to my bike and 740 pictures with my Nikon D40. Needless to say, I will be spending a few days processing pictures from this trip.

This being my first multi-day trip of the season I had plenty of time to get ready for it. I had started working on the route even before I picked the ST3 from the dealer. I have been through New Mexico a few times in my life and I have ridden the ST3 once through New Mexico briefly in 2006. There was so many roads I wanted to ride and so many things I wanted to see. First I created “the route” I wanted to do, riding all the roads and seeing all the places. The trip ended up being 16 days long and even though I’m unemployed and have the time to ride, I could not afford so many days on the road and I couldn’t justify being away from the computer and doing the daily job search.

In the end I cut my route down to a few days but I left it flexible enough, where I could change my mind and come back early or stay another day or two. I could never to that while I was working, my vacation days were few and my trips were always planned to the minute and pretty much set in stone. The only thing was set in stone for this trip was a sport-touring event that I was attending in Silver City, NM. This was actually the reason why I was riding out there.

The Plan

I was planning on leaving today - Wednesday, even though I woke up on Monday to this white stuff all over the ground. This being Colorado and it being Spring now, by Tuesday it had all melted and everything was starting to look very green outside. The temps were supposed to get warmer by Wednesday and even though there were a few days of rain forecasted for the Front Range while I was gone, where I was going, it was looking very nice, dry and warm.

Two days before I leave - I wake up to snow

By Monday I was in full packing mode. Thinking by Tuesday I’d be done and ready to go Wednesday morning. I needed extra time to pack for this trip for two reasons.

The day before I leave - snow melts and Spring is back

#1 - I have not toured on the ST3 since May 2008. The first multi-day trip of the season is usually rough getting ready for. Getting back in to touring requires remembering all the things that one needs to take and how to pack it on to the bike. It usually helps having done some longer days rides, but I haven’t done any yet this year. Even my motorcycle gear that I use for touring was still put away.

#2 - Something I usually don’t even have to worry about. And that is finding everything I wanted to bring on this trip. Since I have not toured on any bike since moving to Colorado, I would have to go through a bunch a boxes and find some of the stuff that I wanted to bring.

I’m glad I created a “packing list” a few years ago, that allowed me to just go down the list and automatically gather up the stuff instead of having to sit down and think about what I wanted to bring. But now I had additional items that I was bringing that weren’t on the old packing list, stuff for camping and hiking. I didn’t think thing much of it until I started to load the bike up on Tuesday. All the stuff I wanted to bring just wasn’t fitting.

The Plan "B"

I didn’t need to leave early on Wednesday, because I was only riding 280 miles. So I still had time to finish packing the bike on Wednesday. Tuesday came and went, and Wednesday morning I decided to unload everything again, go through all the stuff and re-pack the bike. But mother nature had a different plan for me, she showed up on my door step Wednesday morning with a gift. The ladies will understand what I‘m taking about. For the guys, well, if you watch enough commercials you’ll get it too. I won’t go in to details about it here but it is something that can really screw up a ride.

Needless to say, at this point I didn’t feel like riding, or packing the bike and I definitely wasn’t excited about camping tonight. But I didn’t want mother nature to run my life, so I gave it go to re-pack the bike but it just wasn’t happening and at some point I realized that even if I left late, I’d be arriving at the park toward the end of the day and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the place. Having never been to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, I really wanted to spend some time at the park hiking and seeing everything.

My route goes from 3 easy days to 2 longer days - riding from Fort Collins, CO to Silver City, NM (marked by the star)

So unfortunately I decided to leave tomorrow instead of today and leave the Great Sand Dunes National Park for another time. I took my time packing up the bike, re-did the route down to Silver City, NM now riding there in two days instead of three days, and relaxed the rest of the day.

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