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Blue Skies, High Speed and Adobe in Santa Fe, New Mexico

November 27, 2009

October 4, 2009 – 288 Miles

I woke up this morning with a headache that was made infinitely worse by the fact that it was raining and I’m quite sick of yellow hotel rooms. I put on the weather channel, took some asprin and jumped in the shower. By the time I was packed and dressed my headache had gone away and my spirits were improving as the I-Phone radar app (I use Accuweather) showed clear skies into New Mexico. This was going to be a short ride today less than 300 miles. The La Quinta breakfast was a joke but they had hard boiled eggs which I was strangely attracted to and ate two with some low fat yogurt. All I need now is a confined space like an elevator or airplane!

I got gas for the bike and hit the road. Rolling into New Mexico the vistas opened up and the weather changed from rain in the morning, to cloudy mid-morning, to blue skies in the afternoon. You can see the distant mountains, the sky is a deep indigo blue and just about everyone driving there rolls along at a very high speed. I was blown off the road by a Ford F-250 pulling a car trailer who I estimate was doing at least 120. He was passing everyone in sight. I hung back and observed him for a while. While driving really fast he was making clean passes and had New Mexico plates so I assumed he knew the road (not that it made much of a difference as it was completely straight for most of the way) I decided to kick up the pace and use him as my New Mexico PD spotter. I don’t use a radar detector for a number of reasons. I don’t think you can hear the thing when you need to or necessarily see it either. I had an Escort mounted to my Ninja 1000-R in college and I can’t remember it being useful very often. In those adrenaline addled days I’m not sure if I paid any attention to it anyway. Mostly it looked cool – until it fell off at speed and disintegrated. Mostly I roll with the traffic letting people get out in front of me far enough so they would be the first to be spotted by LEO’s. If I’m alone on an empty highway my speed is between six and ten miles over the speed limit as I figure most cops can’t be bothered to pull me over as it’s not enough to generate a significant fine. Where I absolutely do watch my speed very closely is any little town. As I’m sure you well know they mean 35 MPH and are glad to pull over anyone going faster.

A ramdon rest area somewhere in New Mexico. The picture does not really capture how pretty this area was. The view was fantastic.

Futura loaded and ready to go. I’m not one of those guys with stuff hanging all over the place. I want everything stowed and packed neatly. I saw this HD boomer so loaded up with crap the tires were almost flat. Lighter is better (and faster).

I arrived in Santa Fe and checked into another Marriott Courtyard. This one was not as nice as the one in Wichita but acceptable. At this point I was still behind the planning ball as ditching my routes and plans for South Dakota I was flying by the seat of my pants. I really wanted to slow down the cash burn and start camping to save money. I unloaded the bike and headed to downtown Santa Fe. Surprisingly for having a great deal of slow moving heavy traffic I managed to immediately find a parking spot and shut down the Futura. The skies in Santa Fe are amazingly blue and the air is clean and crisp. My mood was considerably improved since morning. You can’t take a bad picture in this town. Everything is beautiful and seems to be sharply focused. I guess it’s the sky contrasting against the adobe.

It’s no surprise that Santa Fe is an artist’s paradise. Everywhere you turn in Santa Fe you are surrounded by paintings, sculpture, jewelry, fashion, and art of every imaginable sort. The Indian Market is interesting as there are a large number of Native Americans displaying their crafts; all laid out on everything from velvet jewelry blankets to worn Indian blankets. No Ducati T-Shirts, no carbon fiber tank protectors, no…………ahh, you get the idea. Turquoise jewelry, silver earrings and the like don’t interest me much. There are however, tons of shops downtown; it’s easy to kill a few hours browsing or window shopping. One thing I like about this type of traveling is that it is virtually impossible to make an impulse buy. Every inch of space is accounted for on the bike. If I want to buy something to take with me usually something else has to go. One of the better attractions in downtown Santa Fe is the St. Francis Cathedral. According to Lonely Planet it has the oldest Madonna statue in North America, er……… wow. However it is worth taking a look, the front doors are cool and the interior is very interesting.

Terrace bar at La Fonda

Now that I’ve had my fix of art and religion for the day, it’s time for a drink. One place that I really enjoyed was the La Fonda Hotel. It’s in the plaza in the center of Santa Fe and looks like it’s been there for a million years. The lobby is very cool with places to relax, have a cocktail or dinner. They also had a small shop that sold the New York Times. Surprisingly this is something that I guess being an Ex-New Yorker is absorbed through contact over the years. I absolutely crave an occasional daily read and demand the Sunday paper which is usually read outside with a Perdomo Habano Gordo cigar and a tall glass of ice tea. So paper in hand I went up the elevator to the 6th floor and the roof top bar. What a fantastic view. I ordered a Diet Coke, grabbed a seat to relax, read, and enjoy the view. Apparently this is the place for sunsets in Santa Fe. It’s also the place for bullshit too. Across from me was an older guy dressed in denim from head to toe, cowboy boots and a big cowboy hat. He had one of those booming, self-important voices and he was loudly pontificating to a pair of cringing German tourists. “I’m a movie stuntman – I just bought a 7 million dollar house here, gave the last one to my ex-wife, she was fucking Jack and Warren, driving my truck today because the Veyron is in the shop, too many goddammned people with money in this town….. On and on and on this guy went. I wish I had an extra pair of earplugs. I was tempted to roll up the newspaper and clout him upside the head with it just to get some peace and quiet. But it was a beautiful afternoon and I was in a fantastic place so I just moved my chair away to get a better view and relax.

I climbed back on the Aprilia and headed out of downtown back to the hotel. The prices at hotel restaurant were insane and my spending at this point was way out of control. So I walked down the street, past used car dealers, the Home Depot, Walgreens, and other anywhere in America type stuff to Arby’s. I grabbed dinner and headed back to the hotel. That night I took some time to consult the guide book, map and GPS to figure out a new route and get down to some camping. I found a KOA that was only a few miles out of Santa Fe and booked a two night stay online. One thing about KOA is that they charge you extra if you just show up – they want you to book online entirely. Having the next few day set I crashed out for the night.

Tomorrow – Santa Fe, Los Alamos, kickass BBQ, the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and KOA

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 28, 2009 4:16 am

    That is great


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