14 September - Amarillo to Santa Fe: 290 miles
Half way through the road part of the trip, and I do feel sad already. Just want to ride forever.
As the sign says at the Midpoint Cafe: 1139 miles down 1139 miles to go.
Another long one today. GPS shows 309 miles and a rise up to 7348 ft.
You always get at least one 'special' day in a road trip. For me this was it. We're climbing up to the US's highest state capital. With altitude come some issues. Both my knackered lungs and a lumbering Harley will struggle for air. Air cools at 0.6C per 100 m. We climb 1200m today. Therefore we drop 6C just with altitude. Put that together with the rising air driving precipitation and you've got cold and wet. Add to that the potential for storms and tornados...
And 'special', never to forget day it was. And remember, we didn't take waterproofs!
First stop, one of those icons of Route 66: the Cadillac Ranch.
Now what gives someone the idea to plant 11 Cadillacs in a field in Texas? Dunno and it is kinda froopy. Living art. Spray cans provided. Do your own grafitti. Climb over them. Do what you like. Really is quite bizarre. Not a lot to say really. Froopy.
The Midpoint Cafe in Adrian I can really appreciate. Fairly decent coffee, but really excellent pie, ma'am. And of course, they had a souvenir shop. You must stop. And there's an interactive pick-up in the old fuel stop next-door, as long as you have a marker pen.
Starting to enter the big vistas. Horizons that just stretch on for ever.
60 mile stretch to the lunch stop in Tucumari New Mexico. This burgh is exactly how you imagine the Route must have been. Motel after motel after...you get it. We had lunch at a proper old-school diner "Kix on 66". Real American treat. Lots of Mexican dishes on the menu, getting more and more as we head west. Spicey! And a souvenir shop.
Wandered up mainstreet taking photos of the motels and other roadside attractions (including souvenir shops) - could have been there days, but we have to ride. Only 127 miles into today, lots to see and places to be.
Pretty soon the heavens opened. Could hardly see. Soaking wet. Just by a small place called Cuervo we had to stop. The road was flooded. We had to turn around and go back 10 miles and use the interstate.
Watching the clouds was what were doing all the way to the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa. Awesome cars, no Triumphs though. Wandered round drooling more than I had at the Midpoint Caff.
This is were we started to realise that actually, we are in a real adventure. Washed out road was a give away, next was the gathering tornado. Bear said we'd wait an hour before moving as it was very heavy towards Santa Fe. Apparently the Finnish group were riding through the storm. Lots of thunder, lightning and rain. Good call Bear.
Would've liked to have ridden the next 120 miles in the sunlight. I'm sure the runs through the mountains would have been epic. Well, it still was epic. Just we had the rain and darkness to contend with. We had one gas stop in that last 120 miles and ran virtually blind into Santa Fe.
I LOVED every soaking second! This is what riding is about. Through the adversity of whatever the weather can throw at you. You are so much more alive. So much more in tune with the bike. So much more in tune with the elements. I did make one concession to the weather however. I wore my suede facemask. My face was stained brown when we stopped in the basement of the recently renamed Hotel Chimayo Santa Fe at 21:45.
I was out of breath. The bike was out of breath. Wifey was asleep. What a day. 309 miles, 13 hours travelling 7139 ft and a beautiful room with a big comfortable bed after a nice long bath. This is luxury.
Can't remember dinner.