Saturday, May 26, 2007

Riding to Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO, by way of New Mexico

Temps in the high 40s to mid 70s, mostly sunny skies with some clouds in the afternoon.

I left the house shortly before 0800 and headed quickly down the I-25 Slab, went through Colorado Springs and Pueblo without getting snagged by the many wolfpacks of colorado state patrolmen who were out in force giving out "performance awards" to cagers.

I made it all the way to Colorado City which is South of Pueblo before tanking up at 0947hrs and taking a small break to stretch out the legs. I was back on the road by 1010hrs after having accumulated 133.8 miles on the trip.

I got to the New Mexico state border sign at 1112hrs and took the requisite picture of Maria and the border sign:

Once in New Mexico I traversed Raton Pass, not a particularly overwhelming or scenic pass, nice but that's about it. I was almost through it before I saw the sign that said I had passed the summit. I got to Raton and south of there I took US38, Santa Fe Trail, SE towards Taos. I cruised through Cimarron where I got a bit more gas and wrote down some directions since I did not have a map of NM with me.

On the way to Eagles Nest (I think), saw where this outfit called had setup to take pics of riders as they headed to the Rally. Pretty good idea I thought, people are bound to want a souvenir of their trip to the rally. Here's what I look like on the motorcycle, looks like I need longer pants legs for my riding pants.

What do you think? Worth $20 for an 8x10?

After that, as I circled the Taos Ski Valley to the North, I made my way past Eagles Nest, ran smack into a big biker rally in Red River. The streets were choked with parked cruisers, mostly Harley Davidson and crowds of leather clad bikers. I think I was the only BMW motorcyle to cruise through at this time and drew some attention. In fact the only other BMWs I saw were the Police RT-P Bikes who were pulling over people on the West side of town as they headed towards Red River! Saw three RT-P units in total.

Once I managed to escape Red River's traffic jam of bikers, I headed towards Questa and NM522 North. This lead me to the town of Costilla which is the last NM town before I once again crossed back into Colorado and the road turned to CO159. New Mexico was nice, nothing spectacular about the areas I traversed. Lots of big valleys with scattered mesas and pine forests. Oh, and lots and lots of Harleys, traveling in their herds.

Once back on CO159, I took it all the way San Luis (oldest town in Colorado: LINK)and finally onto Fort Garland where it meets CO160. I saw about three Civil War Reenactors dressed as Union Cavalry, mounted on horses and moving towards the museum at Fort Garland. Turns out there's a reenactment this weekend. I may get a chance to check it out.

I got to CO160 and headed West towards Alamosa which was my final destination and where I was to meet up with the family. I got there at 1500 on the dot and checked in with the wife. After resting a bit, we went out and got dinner at a pub in downtown Alamosa. Alamosa is a small crossroads town but has plenty of choices in terms of restaurants and fast food joints.

After dinner we decided to check out the sunset at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Here's some pics of the dunes.

We're going back tomorrow so more pics to come I am sure. I will not be able to get Maria close to the dunes I'm afraid, they're too far away from the pavement.

About 6.5hrs in the saddle today, did not feel too sore, Maria did great and I've added another state to the list of ones I've motorcycled in!

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