Another Late start. Necessary, but good, meetings.
The pinnacle of today was through the culmination of transition. Earlier this trip, Paul and I in one of our many different and varied conversations while passing time riding discussed 'how states got their borders'. No definitive answer, though he did mention he once watched a documentary on the subject. We surmise that terrain is more likely responsible for borders than any other reason. It is this transition between terrain that defined today's ride.
Starting near the end of Oklahoma (Boise City), flat and beautiful, built with an ingrained monotony. To a slow and building undulation of hills and scattered but abrupt breaks in terrain, New Mexico defines itself through a subtle crescendo of change. The culmination is that of the rockies in Colorado, the truly awe-inspiring landscape that delivers a deeper connection with change through palatial-like tectonic explosions of terrain.
154 splendid yet metamorphic miles today. 3,824 miles since Nags Head, NC.
After our meetings, breakfast at the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Boise City Oklahoma. Recognizing that we didn't fit in with the "regulars", our waitress asked us if we'd sign their TAT book. She knew immediately by our choice of attire and our 'steel horses' that we were TATers.
I was glad to sign the book, which has a map of the TAT for this part of Oklahoma as the cover. I opened the book, earliest signatures date back to 2014. Six years of TATers eating breakfast, lunch, and possibly dinner at this little Cafe. Then, the signatures start a steady decline around 2016, with a very empty space for 2018, 19, and 20. Not sure of the cause, but a very recognizable gap.
After visiting the Bunk House, Paul suggests that maybe when the Bunk House recognized the increase in motorcycles back 4-5 years ago, they started catering more to TATers than the little cafe and word spread - this is the stop. So, the lovely people at the Bunk House won a battle that they may not have known existed. The battle for attention through good marketing and great customer service.
Paul and I stopped in to introduce ourselves and say hello to the Bunk House. Then we continued on to the end of Oklahoma.
You can't tell it, but this picture below represents the end of Oklahoma and the beginning of New Mexico. I say that because there are no signs, there are no specific borders, there is simply an imaginary line and a soft transition of landscape that delineates Oklahoma to New Mexico.
Here are a few more shots from New Mexico, where not only the landscape changed, we immediately witnessed a small family/herd of antelope's running across the plains of north-eastern New Mexico.
As we continued riding through people's property by way of a public transit system called dirt roads, we both couldn't help but think what it must be like living out in the plains. There is minimal in the way of support, grocery stores are miles and miles away, supplies and food must be stored and prepared for as you can't just drive 10 minutes to the local hardware store. Both Paul and I said that we could spend winters out here for a couple months - this came about because we found 8,000 acres for sale in the valley.
Bring out the "Mountain Goat"
As we drew closer to the border of Colorado (by our route, we only spend about 70 miles or so in New Mexico) the transition is easily marked by the climbing of a rocky, tempestuous mountainside. We both do fine, but in my mind, this road, this mountain, this climb represents a change in our ride and in the TAT. We're both novice off-road motorcycle enthusiasts, but we use the skills we've built and we conquer the climb - but not without lingering thoughts.
Part 1 - Rocky Climb
After taking a break, we complete the climb with Part 2
During the break, I see some sort of a cat walk out right in front of me. As I was pulling up, it slowly creeps out of the crevice it is hiding in. Pauses and looks at me. Doesn't appear to have any confusion to the current situation. He starts to slowly move up the hill and away from me. But continuously looking back at me. I'm speechless as I know it is considering the two options in life that most wild animals have. It isn't close enough for me to completely identify my feline friend, though I narrow it down in my mind to one of two things - Lynx or Bobcat. Though, after further consideration, I lean towards Lynx.
We come across yet more and more cows on our trusty trail. This of course, continues to bring great enjoyment for me as cows are truly interesting animals (you only know this if you spend time with them, instead of just eating them - which I also enjoy).
Other animals encountered in today's eventful 150ish miles: Multiple deer, a prairie dog, and many turkey vultures.
Pause for effect. Another State-line Crossing - NM to CO Complete!
Something to bring up related to maintenance of the motorcycle - Prior to the trip, I upgraded my mirror to the nice breakaway mirrors that provide better configurability and visibility. Yesterday, my left mirror broke off at the base - not sure how as there was no accident etc. Just the use of cheap aluminum where steel would have probably been the better choice for longevity of an adventure aftermarket mirror. I've spoken with Topar Racing here in Trinidad, CO - I'm to come by at 8am and they'll see what they can fab up to support my need for extended-rear-facing visibility.
Let's go back to the mountain climb. A couple things: I'm a novice off-road motorcyclist - I've made this abundantly clear. But, I also have a ridiculous fear of heights. Both things like this mountain climb tests to no end. I also know that there are many many more of these in the upcoming days. We will cross some of the highest passes in the United States - off-road. With continued deprecation and diminishment for deep feelings for heights, we will overcome.
More pictures from the day:
Remember, life is all about perspective.
Life is good.