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Trip Route: Roswell, NM to Roswell, NM

The "Terrain" topographical setting tells a pretty good tale of the route.

So, March 1st came around and I decided I wanted to get out and bond with my new SV. The weather has been improving lately and I just needed/wanted to get out and be by myself. Just me the SV and the road. I layed my route out on Google Maps; the goal was to have 300+ miles and to stay away from the main (read 4 lane highways) as much as possible. My original route had me with only a handful of miles on Highway 70 between Ruidoso and my turn onto Hwy 244 as the only time on a 4 lane road. That changed with the final leg of the trip however. I still reached my goal of 300+ miles in the day. Here is the story:

First Leg: Roswell, NM to Capitan, NM

After waking up a couple hours later than I had originally intended, I got to work replacing the clutch cable and new Pazzo Shortie levers on my Wife's GSXR. Finishing that project, I hit the road at about 11AM. A quick stop by the local O'Reily Auto Parts to say bye to a friend and to pick up a little tire pressure guage as I had left my backpack at the house which has my other in it. Off I go down Pine Lodge Road toward El Capitan Mountain.

I'm no more than 2 miles into the trip and I realize that the battery in my MP3 player is caput and I don't have any spare AAA batteries with me. Looks like the first leg will be in silence...or wind noise.



Checkpoint Bravo lies just on the other side of that mountain.


This was the first sign on anything alive that I came across on this stretch of road. There was absolutely NO traffic on this road. They were all clumped together near the cattle guard when I passed them at 75 MPH, they kinda scattered when I turned around and pulled up to take the picture...must be camera shy.



The mountain is getting closer, still no signs of life or traffic. This road does actually have some really good twisties, I just never thought of stopping and snapping any pictures. Partly due to having too much fun and partly due to being scared that a car might come around a corner and take me or the bike out.


Right after this picture was snapped I encountered my first two vehicles of the trip. A Toyota Avalon shot passed just seconds after this picture was snapped and then I saw another car coming from the other direction. Either way, the mountain is definitely getting closer.



These two pictures were snapped after I had already crested the hill and was on my way down into the valley on the other side toward Capitan. I had just finished a pretty twisty section with lots of valleys and peaks...pretty fun ride if you ask me.


The first leg of the trip is coming to a close, Capitan is just ahead. It's now almost 1PM and I realized that I hadn't eaten breakfast I was anxious to get fuel in the bike and myself. Luckily this stretch has a few good straights where I could keep my average speed up and get into town quickly.


I stopped for lunch at the "Smokey Bear Restaurant" in case you didn't know, Capitan's claim to fame is the birthplace and discovery of "Smokey the Bear" the one who does all the "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires" commercials. He was actually a real bear that was found as a cub in a tree during a forest fire decades ago. He became the "Poster Child" for responsible use of fire in wooded areas all over the country.


I had a burrito combo plater with ground beef and green chili. It was Yummy!!! Don't worry, I DID clean my plate...all except that nasty lettuce/tomato mix.


Time to get some gas, batteries, and Excedrin and hit the road...

but not before a quick photo op with a giant wooden statue of Smokey.

Second Leg: Capitan, NM to Ruidoso, NM

The second leg of the trip is a really quick one, only a handful of miles on a really smooth road. Pretty decent curves and running up into the mountains again plenty of great views of the mountains and canyons.

Of course I couldn't leave Capitan without doing my part to help the community bring in some revenue as I met a very nice LEO on my way out of town who promptly informed me that I was doing 47 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. Not 200 yards from where he stopped me the speed limit went straight up to 55 MPH, but he didn't write me up for no insurance or registration (another thing that was left in my backpack). Looks like I will be making a $58 donation to the local surplus. :p

Anyway, back to the trip;

These are the mountains I will be in within the next 1/2 hour.


Found those mountains.
 

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It's hard to believe that less than 100 miles ago, I was in complete desolation. No trees, no people...now I'm in the mountains. New Mexico is definitely an interesting place.


They aren't going to get me twice in the same trip :nana: This one was a New Mexico State Police officer. They are notoriously bad to me...glad I wasn't on the bike when he passed.

So, Ruidoso, NM a nice little village tucked into the mountains. Great place for skiing, Horse Racing, Casino action, they've got events (Motorcycle Rally's, Car shows, ect) throughout the year. It's really a great place to visit.

Third Leg: Ruidoso, NM to US HWY 82 Overlook to Cloudcroft, NM



These were snapped at the lake overlooking the Inn of the Mountain Gods resort just outside of Ruidoso on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. It's a beautiful place with a casino, golf course, concerts, rental boats, horse back riding, 2 5-star restaurants, the works. It's a great place to visit every time I go to Ruidoso, even if I can't afford to stay there.

While stopped to take this picture I had yet another LEO pass me by, I think they have it out for me on this trip, either way, I wasn't on the bike again while he passed.

Back on the bike and down the access road toward Hwy 70, I had to stop at the intersection of the Highway to make sure which direction my next turn is. Thank god for Google Maps Mobile on my Palm Treo. On to my first stint on a 4 lane highway, a few miles down Hwy 70 to NM 244.


This is the turn onto NM 244. I had never been on this road, but I have heard great things about it. I wanted to see if for myself...I was not let down.


Less than 10 miles down this road, my ODO ticked over to 1000 miles. I stopped to snap a picture to mark the occasion...


it happened right after a wonderfully long left hand sweeper and before this beautiful 15 MPH posted right hander, one of many on this road.



These pictures don't do the elevation justice. I am less than 15 miles away from one of the higher peaks in New Mexico and it looks like I'm just cruising through some random valley.


Entering the Lincoln National Forest



I found SNOW!!! It's starting to get a bit chilly, by now it's about 4ish in the afternoon and the sun is starting it's trip down the horizon. I and my nipples are wishing I'd have brought my liner for my Powertrip leather jacket.


I found one of those Giant telescopes they use to look in the windows of the sorority houses on the campus of NMSU in Las Cruces. :nana: I have GOT to get me one of these. ;D

In my next post, I actually went through Cloudcroft and went down the hill toward Alamogordo, NM. I knew first hand that the twisties on this road coupled with the view to be had were too much to pass up. this is the only part of the trip where I doubled back...but it was worth it.
 

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The roads around Cloudcroft, NM are spectacular. I'm talking super steep grades (so much so that they have runaway truck lanes all over the place for when semi trucks overheat their brakes), and some really nice twisties with excellent views of the canyons.


This is an old mining track that they used to get carts around the canyons to the various mines back in the day.


This was a great shot across a canyon, unfortunately the sun wasn't cooperating with me very well.

Just East of Cloudcroft on US HWY 82 there is an awesome overlook that displays some excellent cliffs. I had to stop to take some pictures.







This was a really cool spot.



I tried reving the crap out of the bike on the way down the hill through this tunnel, but the effect wasn't right. My ears hadn't popped yet so I was hearing all muffled. On the way back up the hill, I made sure that my ears were popped. Much better effect. ;D

Forth Leg: Cloudcroft, NM to Artesia, NM

Cloudcroft is another little village nestled in the mountains of SE New Mexico, there isn't as much going on in this community as in Ruidoso, but they DO get a lot of motorcycles through, no doubt due to the scenery and roads.

As I stopped for fuel and a drink, I realized that it would be getting dark soon. It was 5:30 by now and I knew that the sun at my back would be retreating below the mountains earlier than later. I headed out in a hurry trying to get off the mountain before the sun fell and with it the temperature.


Just outside of Cloudcroft, I had passed two Sheriffs trucks parked beside the road, I waved of course. ;D



The town of Mayhill, NM was apparently the site of an big battle between the Apache Indians and the US Army...

Otherwise, it's just another sleepy little town.
 

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The sun is setting fast, but I'm pretty much out of the higher mountains and getting into the valleys leading to the plains of home. I've seen a couple of sunsets so far as I am getting away from the mountains. The best sunset is yet to come.







Stopped for a quick pitstop once I was completely out of the hills. The sun is pretty close to down and the temperature is dropping fast...I'm pretty much going to just make a "B" line to the next checkpoint before the turn home.




Made one more stop on the side of the road to take a few last pictures as the sun is going down...I love all the colors to be found in a New Mexico sunset. Now it's time to get serious about getting back to Roswell.

I passed through the town of Hope, NM at about 6:30 at night. The town was almost deserted...no activity at all!!! It was crazy...no matter, just gotta chug on through to Artesia.

Artesia is pretty much owned and operated by the oil industry and dairy industry. Makes for a really bad smell in the air. But like they say, it's the smell of money. ;D

Final Leg: Artesia, NM to Roswell, NM



Just one last stop for fuel and rest to warm up before hitting Hwy 285 straight to Roswell. I had originally planned to take a slightly different route off the main Highway through the small communities of Lake Arthur, Hagerman, and Dexter, but now it's dark and cold and I just want to get home. Besides, I'll hit my 300 mile goal without the detour and there aren't many sights to see when it's dark outside anyway.

I leave the fuel station and hit the highway...realizing a few miles down the road that I left my ear buds hanging from my jacket and not in my ears. Looks like the last leg will be in silence just like the first leg was. At least this one will be quicker as I just have a long straight highway to deal with and will keep my average speed over 80 MPH.


10 minutes till 8:00 and I'm sitting in my driveway. 306 miles to my driveway and almost 9 hours. It was a hell of a trip, I saw some really good sights and got to just be out on the road. The bike handled it wonderfully. The Gel Seat was great on my bottom. My wrists were kinda sore for the next couple days...pulling the clutch lever was tough to do the last few miles to the house. Either way it was a great time and I'd LOVE to do it again.
 

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Finished posting up everything for the trip.
 

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Very nice trip. I took a trip up to Los Alamos not to long ago and remember the complete lack of trees until you hit the mountains. It was definatly very interesting. I wish I had hit some of those nice roads you did though. Would have made the trip that much more interesting.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to post the pics!:)
It is still icy here for a few more weeks. I will have to ride vicariously thru your post!
 

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That ride is very inspiring. wish we had some mountains like that in my neck of the woods. also GREAT sunset pictures.
 

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sweet ride it looks like. pretty cool to see going from the desert to the mountains. i see that some of the roads look like they were some real good twisties - hopefully that was fun.

beautiful last couple of photos with the sunset behind your bike. looks ethereal.
 

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I should be in ABQ by the end of march until august and I probably won't have a job that whole time. You all are going to get sick of me.
 

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definitely shows the true beauty of New Mexico sunsets...doesn't get better than that...
and you forgot to put in your earbuds? ha...with an M4, i wouldn't say that leg of the trip was in silence...;D
 

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Thanks guys, I see the sunset pictures were a hit. I'm glad you guys enjoyed the write up and the pictures. The ride was quite an experience, one which I hope to duplicate at least a couple more times over the summer. Maybe not the exact same ride, but something similar. Perhaps a multi-day trip.

I really do enjoy living in New Mexico. The weather is good most of the year, the cost of living is pretty affordable compared to many parts of the country and the laws are pretty relaxed as well. Whenever I try to think of any place I'd rather live, I really can't think of any place. I loath humidity, don't like the cold, and once again, I love the cost of living here.
 
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