Ron and Ricardo Ride West Texas
Friday morning Frank Navarro, a Tico friend, arrived in Ft. Stockton to have breakfast with us.  While he and Ricardo are old friends, it was my first time to actually meet him.  I have talked with him many times by phone, but at 7:30AM there he was at our motel door in Ft. Stockton.

My BMW F700GS was on the trailer ready to be pulled back to the Bay.  By 6:00 PM Larry and I were home.  And Ron and Ricardo rode off down TX Hwy 385, about a hundred miles south, past rolling hills, beautiful desert and finally into the mountains of Big Bend.  A ride up the mountains to the Basin and they were in the midst of  the wild beauty that I love.  And Chuck?  I was sitting with a “clipped left wing” wishing I was with them.

Friday afternoon they checked into the rustic Chisos Mining Company motel and were off to the ghost town of Terlingua.  Saturday morning, ready to ride the park, Ron stepped out of his room into the mid forties degree mountain air.  So on the bikes, and they headed off down TX Hwy 170 past that abomination called Lajitas.

A short stop and they were off down River Road, the most beautiful mountain ride in Texas.  A day of cool, and occasionally rainy  weather stayed with them.  Presidio, Shaftner, Marfa and Alpine was their playpen for the day.  Back in Terlingua for the night, they decided it was a bit too chilly for them, so Sunday they will begin their ride to the Bay.

And Chuck?  I am sitting here trying to decide if I can be back on my bike by the end of May.  The road is calling, and at my age I can’t waste time sitting here.
Visiting Marathon
Larry left the Bay about 5:00 AM this morning to travel to Ft Stockton.  Why?  Simply because my clumsy butt fell yesterday and I ended up with a broken collarbone.  I cannot ride so Larry brought my motorcycle trailer up to haul me and my BMW back to the Bay.

This afternoon we all took a 65 mile pickup ride to visit the rustic and historical town of Marathon.  We have posted a number of photographs, most taken on the grounds of the grand Gage Hotel.  You should take a look.  A walk around town included a stop in the interesting French Market.

Later it was a dinner of Tacos, rice and frijoles back in Marathon.  Tomorrow Larry and I are off back to the Bay.  We should be back on the Bay before dark.

And Ricardo and Ron?  They will be on their bikes headed through Big Bend Park and then on to Terlingua, Lajitas the beautiful River Road and on to Presido.  And i really hope they visit Cibolo Creek Resort and the grand town of Marfa.  It may not be Baja but they will have a great ride.

Riding The Beautiful Hwy 90
up early to beat the heat, we were on our bikes riding west by 7:00 AM.  Past the beautiful International, Presa Amistad on into Comstock.  Soon we were at the Border Patrol Inspection Station, where they were going to make Ricardo show his passport.  When he told him he was from Costa Rica, all they wanted to was shake his Hand.  By 900 AM, we were at at the Pecos River Gorge Bridge.  

Over 1350 feet long, and resting 300 feet above the water, this is the highest highway bridge in Texas. Majestic, over a beautiful canyon, this always is a photo opportunity.  Please chec “Pictures” on this blog to see Ron and Ricardo enjoying the views.

Finally departing, we were in Sanderson by 10:00 AM, stopping at the main restaurant and department store in Sanderson, Stripes.  We then decided to make a run north up Hwy 285 to Ft.  Stockton Why?  Simple.  Someway I managed to fall and Ron insisted I see a doctor.  And I am glad he insisted.  After a 165 mile motorcycle ride my shoulder was hurting.  And why not.  Ten x rays confirmed I have a broken collarbone.  The doctor strongly urged me to ride no further so the fracture can properly heal.   Being a weakling for pain, I am taking his advice.

Ron and Ricardo are continuing their adventure, but they have decided to ride Big Bend,  The River Road To Presidio and probably Marfa.  Larry Farrah my friend, and neighbor, is bringing a trailer out tomorrow to haul me and the bike back to the Bay.xrays 

We are now in a LaQuinta in Ft Stockton and Ron and Ricardo are off to Domino’s for a Pizza.
Tomorrow they will ride off on their replanned adventure.

Riding West
Ron, Ricardo and I saddled up and departed the Bay this morning at 9:00 AM.  Seventy degrees Fahrenheit, it was cool but clear and perfect for riding.  Our ride took us thru Benavides, Freer, Encinal, Carrizo Springs.....all south Texas oil field towns.  By lunch the temperature was in the low nineties,  gettin a bit hot.  2:00 PM, and we were in the great border town of Eagle Pass.   Hot?  Only 97 degrees!I. And an hour later, 99.6 degrees F.

Then we were off to Del Rio, the unique border town that is home to Presa Amistad.  A city I love and visit several times a year.  Arriving at 4:00 PM, We are checked into the LaQuinta and Ricardo is out in the pool enjoying a refreshing dip.  And Ron is taking a short nap, building up his energy for dinner.  Barbecued ribs, of course.  This is a dinner Ricardo and I have enjoyed at least once or twice a year for the last nine years.

The bikes ran great, Ron was in fine form, never missing a beat.  Ricardo led and I struggled to bring up the rear.  Tomorrow we are off to El Paso, about 760 kilometer ride.  And will it be hot?  Well, we are in West Texas.
The Best Laid Plans of Men And Mice
An old saying that I have often heard.  Of course it implies that no matter how well you plan something probably will go wrong.  And it did.  The ferry from Guaymas across the Sea of Cortez is down “for maintenance”.  And of course no notice to anyone.  . Thankfully we called today simply because I had a doubtful feeling.  

So what now?  Cancel the adventure?  Not a chance!  We just change our plans.  We are going to Calexico and cross into Mexico there.  The first night will probably be on the Pacific, in Ensenado.  Ricardo and I have told Ron about the beauty of Baja Norte.  Now we will show him.
Return To Baffin Bay
All did not go as planned, but I was back on the Bay by 1:00 PM.  The ride from San Antonio was routine except someplace along the way my BMW Motorrad Navigator VI  flew out of the cradle onto the highway.  As soon as I realized what had occurred I stopped and Ricardo turned around, went back about six miles and found  the $989 Navigator lying right in the middle of the very busy highway.  And it had not even been run over!  And it works fine!

Our  travels took us through three states, with a brief visit to Mexico.  Five thousand kilometers through high winds, high temperatures, occasionally cool temperatures and at least three days of rain.   We road through Texas hill country, two deserts and the beautiful high mountains of New Mexico and Colorado.  Along the way we spent three days at the 2018 Golden Aspen Motorcycle Rally.

Ricardo and Patricia enjoyed every day, even the rainy days.  We are off now safely at home.  Over the next three days we have maintenance to perform on the bikes and I really must get my 2017 BMW F700GS to the dealer to have the overheating problem corrected.

This is my final posting for “The Road To Taos, 2018”.

Riding In The Fog
This morning San Angelo was shrouded in fog as thick as split pea soup.  So what did Ricardo and Patricia do?  They followed me and I immediately took off the wrong way.  It really was not my fault, I could not see where I was going.  The first thirty miles was terrible. We stopped twice because we simply could not see to proceed.

Then by 10:00 the skies cleared and we had a beautiful 380 kilometer ride across the Texas Hill Country.  Twisting and hilly roads, amongst pine and juniper trees.  By 1:15 PM we were in San Antonio, checking into our LaQuinta Inn.  The afternoon was spent exploring the Alamo and then visiting the Riverwalk.  I took several photographs which I have posted.

I left the Riverwalk about six to leave Patricia and Ricardo to explore without me holding them back. After all, if you think I ride badly, you should see me walk.

Tomorrow we head for the Bay.  A quick 350 kilometer ride that I do often.  If all goes as planned we should be home on Baffin Bay in time for lunch.
On The Road To San Antonio
Running briskly down the mountain from Ruidosa to Roswell, the air was cool and the mountains both beautiful and green.  Riding into Roswell, Ricardo was on the lookout for a UFO but I don’t think he actually saw one.

The trail from Roswell to Plains Texas is barren, dusty and somewhat impoverished looking.  But suddenly crossing into Texas, pump jacks seemed to be everywhere and the smell of sweet crude was in the air.  The smell of $1000 bills is striking.  We were in the midst of the Permian Oil Basin, perhaps the most productive oil fields south of Deadhorse {Prodhoe Bay}.  It is amazing the difference in commercial activity here in Texas compared to New Mexico.

Monday we will be in San Antonio.  We will first visit the Alamo.  Then having properly saluted the brave men who fought and died there, we will be off to the Riverwalk.  Dinner on the banks of the San Antonio River and maybe a boat tour.  

We have now traveled over 4000 kilometers and the bikes have run well, except for a persistent overheating problem in my ride.  I finally discovered it is only overheating in “stop and go” city traffic, so I surmise the fan, while running, is not running strongly.  I guess a trip to a dealer in the next couple weeks is in order.
Ruidosa, NM at Golden Aspencade Motorcycle Rally
Ricardo and Patricia seem to be enjoying this event.  Both are actively shopping among the vendors and this morning they participated in the Rally Parade with the flag of Costa Rica perched high above their Yamaha, using a broomstick as a flagpole.  

Last evening we had dinner at the Rocking J Ranch, a chuckwagon style dinner in a picturesque old west dinner theater, featuring western singing, banjos and yodeling...right up Ricardo’s alley.
Tonight Ricardo and Patricia will attend a show at the Ruidosa Downs Casino, “Led Zeppelin ll”.
As for me, I probably will stay in and read a book.

If you are waiting for me to say something good about the actual rally, don’t!

Tomorrow we will begin our 1400 kilometer ride back to the Bay.  We are going to make it a three day trek.  We want to spend much of Monday visiting the Alamo and the Riverwalk in San Antonio.

And the Rally.....................I suppose I am not really excited by black leather and tattoos.
Golden Aspen Motorcycle Rally,
Yes, we are in Ruidosa, New Mexico, to partake in the Golden Aspen Motorcycle Rally.  Today’s ride was only 362 kilometers but it was a painful ride, nonetheless.  My good friend BARRY Hall recently paid me a great compliment by saying Paul Simon described me best:  “Still crazy after all these years”.  However, I really did not agree with the description until the last 150 miles of today’s ride.

Leaving Tucumcari this morning at 8:30 AM, we fought gusty forty to 50 MPH winds for the first 75 miles.  Then as soon as we turned onto a twisty but narrow state road, the wind died down, the temperatures began to drop and the rains began.  For the next 150 miles the rain was steady, often fierce and the temperatures dropped to the mid fifties.  Was I miserable?  You bet I was and I know that Patricia was equally uncomfortable.  Within minutes our boots were filled with rainwater, our gloves were soaked, and we were cold.

Twice we stopped for hot coffee and more importantly, I just had to get off the bike and walk.  Finally arriving in Ruidosa about 3:30, we immediately spotted a large herd of elk grazing alongside the road.

When we finally got to our hotel, Ricardo came to my room to help me get out of my rain suit and to pull off my soaked boots.  Ricardo, my friend, my Tico brother.  I simply would not have completed today’s ride without him.

For the next two days we will be attending this Golden Aspen Motorcycle Rally.  A rally for bike riders of all faiths, it is heavily Harley oriented.  In the past years attendance has been around 35,000.  The weather  may impact this years attendance.

And BARRY, only this afternoon did I really agree with your description.

Tucumcari, A Town On Route 66
After Ricardo got my BMW running this morning Patricia, Ricardo and I headed southeast to Tucumcari.  But wait!  Why are we riding north.  Because we cannot leave Taos without riding the fabled Enchanted Circle.   A ninety mile high mountain ride that cuts through several 9000 to ten thousand mountain passes.  

An invigorating and beautiful ride past mountain peaks, rivers, alpine lakes and through several mountain sky villages.  Villages like Questa, Red River, Eagles Nest......villages pristine in their beauty.  Finally taking an unknown road, hopefully headed south, we soon found ourselves on a very narrow, unmarked, twisting paved trail.  And yes, it began to rain.

Finally we came to the village of Mora, obviously named after Patricia Mora.  Suddenly we were back in Las Vegas where I picked up NM Hwy 104.  This is a 106 mile paved trail that runs through starkly barren mountain desert, high mountain passes and past Conchas Lake.  Conchas Lake, known for it’s great Walleye fishing.  I first traveled this road in approximately 1984 with my son, Wayne. He was only About 13 years old at the time and very skeptical of his wandering father’s choice of roads.

Today, it was Ricardo, who was skeptical, wondering how I ever found this road.  But by 5:00 PM
We were safely checked into  a new and nice LaQuinta here in Tucumcari.  Tonight’s dinner was on Old Route 66 at Del’s, a great restaurant that has served continuously since 1953.

And tomorrow we will be off to Ruidosa, a place I have never visited.  Maybe Ricsrdo will know the way.
Overheating Problem
And which bike developed overheating problems?  Of course it was the newest one, the 2017 BMW F700GS that I have only owned for a couple of months.  The bike began slightly overheating the second day of this trip, but we have been a long distance from a BMW shop.

Yesterday afternoon while returning from Pagosa Springs, and while traversing a 9800 ft. Mountain pass, the problem worsened.  Temperature rose to 230 degrees f.  And steam began escaping from the cooling system.  We slowed down and limped our way into Taos where I immediately called  Moto Hank, my BMW mechanic of 12 years.  Shoot, Hank was preparing to leave for a ride in South Africa so......, Ricardo then called Arturo, his brother in Costa Rica and we then reached Christian, a BMW specialist in San Jose.  Christian quickly transmitted detailed instructions and over the next two hours, and many texts, Christian guided Ricardo in making “on the road repairs”.  By morning Ricardo had the radiator fan running properly.  Then Christian told us to not run the bike until we bled the cooling system.  And to my amazement, with Christians text guidance, Ricardo was able to bleed the system and also bleed the water pump.  

By 10:00 AM we were on the road but Christian cautioned me to visit the first BMW shop I can find and buy a new radiator cap.  Christian has many customers who ride the F700 GS and faulty radiator cap is the norm.

In any event we are back on the road headed to Tucumcari, on old Route 66.  My next posting will tell you more.
Exploring Taos
Yesterday we spent the day visiting the many wonders of Taos.  Ricardo and Patricia spent a couple of hours touring the 1500 year old Taos Pueblo.  It is believed this five level adobe structure was build around 1350 AD and it has been continuously inhabited since that time.

Then we were off to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.  This bridge sits over six hundred feet above the Rio Grande River, making it the 10th highest bridge in the U.S.  The canyon it spans is the most phenomenal in New Mexico. 

Of course we had to stop by the Earthship Biotecture Center.  It is here that the most natural build houses in the west are.  All passive solar in both heat and energy, these homes are build from only locally found natural and unrecycled material) beer and wine bottles, discarded tires...).  And of course they are very spaceage in design.

Dinner was at the Gorge Bar and Grill on the Plaza.  Afterwards I visited an exhibit of the Forbidden Art,  paintings by the controversial English writer, DH Lawrence.  It was to Taos that he fled when his writings made him unwelcome in England. (Lady Chatterly’s lover among others).

And today we took a beautiful ride over the mountains to the Colorado town of Pagosa Springs.  Know for the many natural hot springs, this town is quaint, but beautiful.
The High Road
Yes, we are in Taos, arriving today at 2:00PM.  And we took the High Road from Santa Fe to Taos.  Running some 75 miles of scenic, winding road through high mountain desert and through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains,  this is a beautiful ride.  Through numerous small villages and past ancient but beautiful churches, the road is a visitors treat.  

Of course we had to stop for and hour in Chimayó to visit the Santuario de Chimayó.  This is without doubt a sanctuary that should be visited by everyone, regardless of your faith.

The road is paved but narrow and curvy.  Paved unless you take a wrong turn and head up a forgotten rough dirt logging trail like Ricardo did.  Of course Ricardo was only following Chuck (his first mistake).  We are now in a two bedroom apartment that I booked on line for three nights.  The apartment is satisfactory and that is all I will say about it.

Later this evening we are visiting the Taos Plaza where their will be Celtic singers performing.  And tomorrow?  Another adventure, we just have not yet decided where.

A Visit to Santa Fe
By 10:00AM this morning, Patricia, Ricardo and I were back in the Santa Fe Plaza.  Of course we strolled the block in front of the Palace of Governors.  It is this one block, under the veranda of the Palace that many Native Americans display their magnificent silver crafts, mostly jewelry,  all for sale at a significant but fair price.   My morning was spent sitting in the Plaza with a book.  However, I did visit the fantastic La Fonda Hotel for an hour sitting in the bar...No, It Was Coffee in my cup!

Patricia and Ricardo covered the entire  area.  Certainly they visited The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi and also the Chapel at Loretto.  This Chapel is known for its magnificant spiral staircase, making two full circles, rising to the loft, this staircase is supported by neither beams or any type of support beams.  Built entirely of wood, it has no nails, only wooden pegs.

As I write this, Ricardo and Patricia have yet to return to the hotel.  They were going to attend Mass at 5:00PM in memory of Patricia’s father.  

Tomorrow we will visit Chimayó, NM, and spend time at the Santuario of Chimayó, a church known for it’s miraculous healings.  Then we will be on the High Road To Taos.  This is a small mountain and desert road running through nine small villages,   Picturesque  and historical, my riding partners will love it.  I promise to take and post many photographs.
An Afternoon In Santa Fe
Up early, Ricardo and I strolled the Las Vegas Plaza and visited an antique shoppe.  Breakfast at the Ranger Cafe was great...two cups of coffee for me and a virtual feast for Ricardo.  Finally we were off to visit the United World College and enjoy the expertise of Jose Pablo Rojas, the Director of Alumni Engagement at the College.  Founded in 1982 by Armand Hammer, the college is officially the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West.  The goal is to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.  Jose is actually a graduate of this institution and was an excellent guide.

The architectural centerpiece of this campus is the Montezuma Castle, now officially known as the Davis International Center.  We took many photos of the interior which I have posted.

This afternoon we rode the 63 miles to Santa Fe, checked in to our hotel and then visited the historical plaza.  Ricardo and Patricia visited shops and the beautiful churches in the area and later we had dinner in a local eatery,  nothing fancy but good.   Tomorrow Patricia and Ricardo are going to again explore the “old town” and attend mass in the late afternoon.  As for me?  I probably will just visit the Plaza and historical and elegant La Fonda Hotel.  Walking is not something I do very well.

We will be in the Santa Fe area until Sunday morning.  Then back on the bikes for the scenic ride to Taos.  We have an apartment rented in Taos for three nights and we have much exploring planned.
Las Vegas, New Mexico
Las Vegas, home of New Mexico Highlands University, is often an overlooked gem.  Located 80 miles south of Taos, this is a city of great antique shops, numerous art galleries, fantastic architecture and  numerous fine restaurants and saloons.  This was our destination for the day.

Prior to leaving Roswell we stopped by Allied Locksmith to get a spare key made (just in case).  Once on the road we discovered that the next gas, store or......was 93 miles across the desert.  After about an hour traffic was stopped for about 30 minutes due to a terrible automobile accident.  Finally allowed to proceed we got back up to speed when suddenly I ran out of fuel.  Luckily a local man came to my rescue with a gallon of gas which got me to the next service station.  (Art, I ran out of gas near where you ran out in 2010)

Finally arriving in Las Vegas we took a tour of the elegant Plaza Hotel and finding it to be so nice, we have checked in for the night.  This afternoon Ricardo and I rode out to the small town of Montezuma to visit the United World College.  It is lovely, but we were only able to take photos from the outside.  Tonight Ricardo, Patricia and I were walking thru the hotel when Jose Pablo Rojas stopped us and asked if we were from Costa Rica.  Juan Jose is from San Jose, Costa Rica and he was very happy to talk with Ricardo and Patricia.

And guess what!  Jose Pablo works in Director of Alumni Engagement and Giving at the United World College and tomorrow he is going to give us a tour of places seldom seen by visitors.  And Ricardo wii take many photos which I will soon post.

Las Vegas, New Mexico
We finally made it to Las Vegas, New Mexico.  This picturesque college town is an often overlooked gem. 
Land of Enchantment
Five hundred kilometers, that seems to be the length of our ride each day.  This morning it was clear and cool as we left San Angelo.  As we entered New Mexico, The Land Of Enchantment, Patricia spotted a herd of antelope. And to her delight several more herds were sighted.  Our destination?  Roswell, NM, a city allegedly inhabited by numerous aliens stranded here when their UFO crashed in 1947.  Fact or Fiction?  Ricardo knows it is fact so he took Patricia to meet his many alien friends.  

While Patricia and Ricardo were visiting the aliens I took a ride out to the deactivated Walker AFB.  This base, which was closed in1967 was once, for a brief time, the largest Stratrgic Air Command Base in the USA.  Now it is used as an aircraft junkyard.  Two private contractors are dismantling what were once proud aircraft.  I wonder how many people remember the important role that SAC played in our defense during the “Cold War”.  And General Curtis LeMay, the cigar chomping General who founded the Strategic Air Command, what a warrior!

Tomorrow is a bit uncertain.  I suspect Ricardo will want to spend more time among the aliens and I need to visit  a motorcycle shop.  By mid morning we will be off to Las Vegas, NM, a quaint mountain college town.  And then..........some adventures are not fully  planned.
Elk, Deer, Antelope, A large Porcupine, Even an Emu
The twisted, hilly treacherous backroads of the Texas Hill country beckoned early this morning and we were off to enjoy the visual feast that only Real and Edwards counties can offer.  Rocky, heavily forested and very remote,  this is the home of the small towns of Rock Springs, Vance and Camp Wood.  Sparsely inhabited by mankind, it is home to many species of wild animals.  Soon a herd of antelope were sighted in the meadow next to us,  then suddenly Ten to fifteen young axis deer were running back and forth across the road right in front of us.  I saw the first porcupine I have ever seen in Texas and Ricardo saw an Emu someplace along the ride.

We road a back road from Brackettville to Rocksprings and it was on this road that we saw many Amina’s “in the wild”.  We  stopped in Rocksprings for fuel.  From there we were off to the Three Twisted Sisters (Highways 335, 336 and 337).  These three roads, about 30 miles each, are well known among motorcycle rider. A short stop at the Frio Canyon Stop and we were off to San Angelo, where we are spending the night.

Once again we rode about 500 kilometers, but in much better weather.  Tomorrow we are off to Roswell where Ricardo and Patricia will visit the museums and shops featuring the crashed “flying saucer”.