Having ridden highway 412 for much of our journey we reach Springer, New Mexico and the wider swath of i-25. We stop for expensive gas and fruit at a small grocers. We're ramping up the Eastern edge of the Rockies and the weather hits you physically. The grey sky is claustrophobic and the cold numbs your body. Two girls at the grocer tell us about Cimarron Canyon, a severe pass en route to Taos. I catch glimpse of a thrift store and duck in to buy a large coat, but it's all Disney movies on VHS and bridesmaid dresses. Jordan and I ride up the i-25 onramp and realize we can't make it. There is most likely snow in the canyon and certainly in Taos. We head South for Santa Fe and looking over our shoulders at the cloaked mountains do not regret the decision at any point.
I'm an old school mechanic like your grandpa. I swear by oil changes and whatever the circumstance I change mine when I've reached the bikes service limit. For this trip I've set the old Honda on an accelerated maitenence schedule. Every 1K miles for oil changes, two hundred miles for chain adjustments. In Las Vegas I picked up a couple quarts and some Ensure at the Wal-Mart and prepare to service the bike in gale force winds. Draining into a torn grocery sack becomes an especially offensive disaster considering the green times we live in. Gord thought this scene was hilarious.
"I"m not going green, I'm staying the same". - T. Ware
The ride South is no picnic and Jordan suffers for not having a windshield. I spend much of the time with my hands hidden beneath my gas tank, gathering warmth from my cylinder head.
It's dark in Santa Fe. I expected little from this town, maybe something of a truck stop. Turns out to be the most cultured city I passed through in this part of the country. Jordan and I aimed for a state park and, praise the Lord, never make it. I catch the word "Hostel" in bold letters and swing us around before making it out of the city. Hostels are so cool. I'm such a hippy (not really, I hate hippies.) But I really dug the hostel experience. The staff actually seemed concerned for our well being as the state park was at over 8,000 feet and treated us great. We got a private room, good conversation with other travellers and clean beds for 17$
Here's a real kick in the head, totally stocked kitchen!