u:p:
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”.
A Rainy But Safe First Day
Rain!  Mucho Lluvia!  It never rains on the Bay, only the first day of every ride!  This morning I awoke at 5:00AM to heavy rain. We finally rode away from the Bay at 8:07AM in light rain.  Within 30 minutes it was pouring.  Our destination for the first day was Del Rio.  Normally an easy five hour ride but today it was a wet and difficult seven hours.  

Thru Kingsville, it was light rain.  By the time we got to Concepcion, it was pouring.  Benevides, an old oil town,  made sure we stayed wet.  Freer, raining;  Encinal, raining; on to Corrizo Springs and the rain lightened.  It may have even stopped for 90 seconds, Then it poured.  Eagle a pass, wet and a bit cool.  Finally arriving in Del Rio at 3:00PM, the rain stopped, the skies even cleared.

After checking into our hotel, we hopped on our bikes and crossed the border into Cuidad Acuna.  Why?  I wanted to show Patricia the beautiful  dam of Presa Amistad.  A few photographs (which I have posted) and we turned to make the 20 mile ride back to Acura and then across the border back to the USA.  Dinner was at Rudy’s and of course consisted of Pork ribs and coleslaw.

The new BMW and Ricardo’s trusted Yamaha ran flawlessly.  Today’s ride was slightly more than 500 kilometers.  Not bad for an old gringo in heavy rain.  Tomorrow Ricardo wants to introduce Patricia to the Three Twisted Sisters.  I tried to convince him it was a mistake but.......
Salute To Jorge Mora And His Devoted Family
I never met Jorge Mora but I do know two of his daughters and they loved him intensely.  This morning my guest and friend, Patricia Mora, told me that she had received a call during the night informing her of the passing of her father, Jorge.  At 91 years of age., Jorge  had been in failing health for several years and only two months ago his wife of 70 years, Yolanda, passed.  Now Jorge and Yolanda are united  once again.  Later this morning Ricardo led Patricia, me and several of our friends in a word of prayer and a moment of silence in honor of Jorge and his family.
Anticipation
Yes, I am ready to be on the road seeking new adventures.  My Tico brother, Ricardo Collado and his friend Patricia Mora, flew into Corpus a week ago and we have spent days planning our route and preparing the bikes for the road.

Ricardo will be on his trusted Yamaha 950 Tourer and Chuck.  I will be on a newly acquired 2017 BMW F700GS. (Don’t even ask what happened to my 2013 BMW.  Suffice it to say I cremated my much loved steed).

This week we have spent hours preparing this new BMW for our kind of travel.  It is ready and I think I will be well satisfied.  My good friend, Ron Ryon, ably assisted by Ricardo, changed shocks on the bike so it would better fit me.  Then we had to install new storage containers to the bike.....and other minor adjustments.  Now the bike is ready to travel to all points of the Americas.

This adventure will begin in two days.  First Del Rio, a jaunt into Mexico, then off to Roswell NM.  Ricardo must introduce Patricia to his many “alien friends”).  Then eventually a few days in Santa Fe, a visit to Los Alamos and Bandolier National Monument,  on To Taos for several days.  A ride or three up into Colorado to explore new canyons, rivers and mountains.  On September 20 we expect to be in mountainous Ruidoso NM to attend the 2018 Golden Aspencade Rally.  A few days later, we will be back on the road.  


Beaches and Turtles of Guanacaste
I have established a new album, The Beaches and Turtles of Guanacaste which contains all of the photos I took Monday and Tuesday in the Northern Pacific Province of Guanacaste.  The weather was perfect, mostly dry and warm.

Leaving Siquirres Sunday, we were headed to Liberia, the capital of Guanacaste.  The route we selected took us past Volcan Arenal and then around Lake Arenal, a beautiful long ride around the still largely undeveloped alpine lake.  By 4:00PM we were in Liberia, stopping by the new Walmart.  Slightly after sunset we arrived at the farm of Patricia.  Over the next two days we visited most of the towns and beaches in the area.  Monday we visited the Junquillal Beach to discovered a group of volunteers digging up newly hatched baby turtles and releasing them into the ocean.  These baby turtles were only about the size of a lemon but in years to come will reach three feet in length.

I urge you to visit my photos and see the amazing pictures of the turtles making their first rub toward the Pacific.  This afternoon we arrived back in San Jose and tonight Ricardo treated us to a fabulous steak dinner at an Argentinian steak house.

Tomorrow we will have lunch with our friend, Art Smiley, and begin preparing for my return to Baffin Bay.  First thing, the bikes need be washed.  My flight does not depart until Saturday morning but we have a lot to do.

This will be my last posting for Costa Rica, Fall 2017.

A great BBQ at Farm of Luis Diego (And Halloween Party)
The entire morning has been spent preparing for the Feast.  Yesterday, Luis slaughtered three young Cordero's (lamb) and today some specialists have been cooking them (six hours near open fire pit).  You really must look at the photos to appreciate this culinary art.  Ricardo and I traveled to the store and bought 150 cervazas, some water and soft drinks.  Later today I will post several photos of the actual party but for now visit the album and look at the preparation.

It is now evening and it has been a great day and evening.  Many of my M-14 friends made the three hour trip to Luis Diego's great BBQ.  The food was simply great and the company, even better.  We capped the night off with a Halloween party and I have included several Halloween photos.

Tomorrow will be a long day.  Pray for dry weather and sunshine.   We are headed for the northwestern part of Guanacaste.  Why?  To visit Patricia's farm and the Pacific coast.  I don't expect to have internet so this may be my last post for several days.