Today was a series of misfortunate events. I woke up in a bad mood, cranky, down, fatigued and with body aches but after a quick call from someone, I felt better. heh. odd how that happens. I was sneezing all last night and coughing a lot. I feel sick. Either a cold or bronchitis, i don't know, but my head hasn't stopped pounding and i haven't stopped sneezing.
My choice of clothing is next to nil, and i knew there was a laundromat nearby. In haste i went! It was open and they had a soap dispenser. Now for the change machine. No luck there. DAMMIT I guess from now on I'll have to keep about $5 of quarters on me for that, or cleaning the bike (which i haven't done since the last tip over in what... Oklahoma? eons ago).
I reuse clothing on the road. Why the hell not? i know i stink, but i don't care. heh.
I look like hell anyways with the dirty smelly adventure suit, the nasty beard i haven't shaved since i left home, and the bad hair from the helmet. Did i mention boot feet? heh. That's what happens when you wear wool socks in the desert.
I wanted to make up some miles today, so off on the interstate i went, hoping to be well within the Texas border by nightfall.
|riding into the sunrise|
See the white car in the middle of the picture? i know the picture is small (even if you click on it) but take a look at the tires sticking out a good 4-5 inches from the body. I bet when he honks, it's "La Cucaracha".
I really didn't like the looks of the tire. The tread was still ok, but i was worried it would chunk out, and then i'd be screwed.
I went online and found a shop about 6 miles away. Off i went to find the store was closed. crap. annoyance number 4? 5?
I rode around and found a small shop. He didn't have anything but directed me to a big shop that would have it for sure.
I went to Las Cruces Motorsports and they seemed to have everything in there. Suzuki, Kawi, Yamaha, Big Dawg choppers, Honda, Quads, etc. Jesse at the parts counter tried in vain to find one, but he said most stores don't hold inventory. He called another store, and that store had a dunlop D607 in stock. The other store was way south in Santa Teresa, on the border of El Paso Texas. My aim to to head north as i had "planned" to visit something very important up there.
While i was waiting for Jesse, i picked up some very sweet, but very expensive gloves ($120). pictures later.
Oh well, the tire was more important, so i headed south, not knowing the exact location of the store. The address he gave me didn't exist as per the GPS, but i figured a local would know.
Driving through Texas, i stopped at the visitor information and picked up some info and maps
I wasted a lot of time looking for it, driving around Santa Teresa. Locals didn't know the street i was given. I called the number Jesse gave me, and the parts guy at the Santa Teresa motorsports gave me directions.
I was really annoyed by now. I hate wasting time more than anything.
I found the shop and they started right away on the tire It was about 1pm. It was going to take some time and i hadn't eaten all day so i headed out to find a restaurant.
I saw this local Mexican joint called "Ramon's" and it was filled with Mexicans. Worth a shot.
the usual basket of chips, with a really hot sauce. it was burning my mouth. Maybe they were playing a joke on me and saying "haha, look at the gringo". She did keep speaking spanish to me and then switch over to english. I guess when you're about 10 miles from the mexican border, at the border town, people speak spanish. I ordered and she dropped something else off at the table.
a little bowl of chicken soup? odd. my order didn't come with soup, nor did i ask for it. I was a nice home made soup though... wish the bowl was bigger the way i felt.
My food arrived. Shredded beef tacos with beans and rice.
This was bland compared to mexican food i had in southern california. oh well, maybe they were gringo tacos. Maybe because my head is stuffed up i couldn't taste much. who knows... it was still good though.
I got back to the shop and the mechanic said i was really low on oil. damn... i know i was running it hard... i should check it more often.
I asked for an oil change and filter, and that was done.
Went to get gas, put the bike on the stand and left the helmet on the back of the bike. dammit. helmet bounced a few times off the ground.
price tag for oil change and rear tire. ~250. ouch. I still had time to go visit my important point of interest. The White Sands national monument. I won't go into a geography/history lesson, so go here
The monument is actually surrounded by the white sands missle range. This is where the first atomic bomb was ever fired. Hence the reason i think it's important to visit.
On the way there, the bike was acting really strange. If i moved around a little, the whole bike started going into a wobble. This was scary. also, it seems that i lost a bunch of power. crap!
I was getting pissed off at this point. another sore point is that my GPS sound was starting to not function at all. I knew this was a risk because it was failing two years ago, and was replaced under warranty last year. Because i was leaving on my trip last year and they didn't have the part in stock, they shipped me back the old one, and i got it working well enough for the duration of that trip. I figured i'd risk the old part again so i'll have a new one to put on when i get back home. too many annoyances... AHHHHHHHHHHHH1!!!
Here's a pano of a small part of the bomb range.
I pulled over and figured that because it was a new tire, i should have lower air in it. I lowered the pressure which seemed to help. I checked the oil and i was way above the fill line. WTF is wrong with you mechanics. there's a fill line for a reason. Kawasaki engineers are smarter and get paid more than you, so do what they tell you. piss me off. Now the air filter will be screwed again, and i'll gum up the engine and possibly the carb.
I got to White Sands (going through yet another Border patrol checkpoint.. .these guys are serious about illegals)...
Stunning scenery. I'll let the pictures do the talking.
|at 12x zoom. that person was a spec to the naked eye|
My attempt at some panoramic shots... not bad, not great... but i'm lazy.
Walking down the dune, it reminded me of walking down a snow slope and i almost caught myself being giddy. heh. It was bittersweet though. Was i starting to become homesick? was everything wearing me down? did it remind me how far i really was from home? where is home? what's at home for me? blah.
"I don't know, I don't care, it doesn't make any difference"~ albert einstien.
Quite fitting, as his work in the field helped develop the bomb that was tested in this missile range.
I got some souvenirs, and let the GPS plot a course for me. The GPS sounds cutting out were bugging me. There's a loose connection inside the base and the only way to get it working is to push on the audio cable a certain way and hold it there. Zip ties to the rescue. I used a few small ones, and so far so good. I wonder if it will last a day, a week, or until i get home. heh. If not, no more music or directions until then.
Next Stop, New Orleans. Ambitious i know as it's over 1000 miles away. I didn't feel like thinking at this point. I don't think there's much in Texas i want to see. I'm here to see natural wonders, odd wonders and real human achievements. Not big shopping malls. blah.
I passed through Alamgordo, and the GPS only had hits for the regular chains of motels. I figured i'd keep going.
|GPS says "over those mountains is what you seek"|
Up i went... and up and up... I didn't realize it but i was going through Lincoln National forest. Neato.
it's a real twisty road actually, going through a tunnel so far... and up some more i went
last picture of that area.
and up we went. The sun went down at an alarming rate and was twilight at this time and cold. real cold.
I looked around for a room as it was getting dark, there are many animals, this is a very twisty/technical road, there are rocks all over the road and i just didn't feel like riding any more. I found a place called the Cross-eyed Moose and Alpine Motel in Cloudcroft. that's a winner for sure.
It's a little cheesy , but i hope to get pics in the morning of the cross-eyed moose. heh.
the motel was a little on the expensive side, but it has good wifi (except i'm the furthest from it so it cuts out) a good shower, a nice soft bed, and best of all, heat on demand. It's a retro court type, single story. The neat thing is this old 60s toaster type heater in the washroom. heh. step out of the shower and into the heat. I hope they don't get mad i used all their facial tissues (on my nose)
I wouldn't be surprised if there's frost on the bike in the morning.
Thankfully i bought these bad boys today.
|tourmaster winter gloves. awesome.|
So why bittersweet and disappointed in myself?
I should have bought the tire and strapped it on the bike and change it a long time down the road. I should have done my own oil. bittersweet in the sense that i have a new tire and fresh oil and filter.
The gps is crapping out, but i fixed it for now...
Hemlet fell about 4 feet to the ground. a little scuff and no cracks... it didn't bounce so much as roll around. maybe it hit the ground at the right angle. doesn't matter, can't find a good replacement out here. (not many wear helmets)
Saw the white sands. bittersweet.
disappointed in myself... spent way too much money today... upwards of $600. that's bad. guess i'll just skip a meal or two... oh wait, already skipped supper. heh.
Time to go have a nice tall chat with my two new best friends Mr. Mist and Dr. Pepper.