this last week i bought a new sleeping bag and to test it out i decided to go to new mexico and camp at the capulin volcano. apparently there is no camping there so i stayed at a koa near there in raton, nm. <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=111623399503996656507.000492de18bdacb274ea3&t=h&ll=38.218931,-104.41246&spn=2.955298,1.0562&output=embed" width="425" frameborder="0" height="350" scrolling="no"></iframe> the new bag fits inside of the old one that gave me so many problems on my first journey out SO much smaller! woot! the ride down was pretty windy so i didnt take much in the way of pictures, but when i got to Raton, set up camp and then had dinner. the raton koa is like a parking lot so if you are looking for scenic camping- go somewhere else. also, if you DO have to stay there, sleep with your earplugs in because it is right off the street, and i would have honestly prefered one of those princess sleeping masks because the parking lot was lit all night, it was like forgetting to turn off you room light. i hadnt eaten yet so this was especially delicious then next day i relaxed a bit and then packed up and headed to lunch. i ate at K-Bob's Steakhouse. now if you want to eat a steaming pile of meat (a steaming pile of really delicious meat) and have what looked like a nice salad bar- this is the place to go. Its in raton, you seriously cant miss it, its right near the koa, which as a koa customer you get a 10% discount off your meal- which kindof made up for the parking lot chique). after meeting with a local i set out to capulin volcano its soooo cute! this is the volcano, it doesnt look like much from the ground but i assure you it was a breathtaking ride up, and i dont mean in beauty. though it was pretty, it was so vast and a long way down that... you had to pay attention- but not for too long, it was a fairly short ride up. the view was spectacular though and the rocks were weird, too- if you tapped on them they sounded hollow the sign said this was a 103 foot incline i just thought this was fascinating, i had never seen a real volcano, let alone stood at the vent of one. i always thought it was like a science project where you would fall into a giant vat of hot pudding if you stood too close to the outer ring of the crater. i am sure active volcanos are like that, but i couldnt ride to one of them in a day. the local i met at lunch told me about a nice ride from capulin to folsom to branson to tijuana that links you back up to i25 from there so i decided to take that and i cannot thank that guy more, it was a beautiful, twisty ride with enough straights that i could really get into the throttle (still playing into mine since i only bought the bike a month or two ago). this really was a great sunday afternoon ride. there was no one on the road, so it really was just me and the view. after i got to tijuana i stopped to refill my camel back and realized it was not on my back. i figure i must have left it at the volcano and someone just scored a nice new camelback (lucky bastard)... until i got to my bike and realized it didnt fall off the back, it just got stuck- right over the exhaust pipe... oops... but it does still work, so i guess i really am a lucky son of a bitch. even more lucky that it didnt actually touch the pipe, just hung over the end so the exhaust itself melted it- it didnt melt all over the can... note to self, add "crap resting on bike- now off bike?" to checklist before takeoff. my luck got even farther tapped when i got onto i25 from tijuana. i was tagged going 95 in a 75 and the state trooper and i just stood around talking bikes for about 30 minutes. i wanted to get a picture of him but i didnt want to push my luck... personally i think he was expecting some dirty dude to pop out of that helmet and was shocked to find some pink haired dirty girl with pigtails instead. in fact, he even mentioned it, we talked about my hair color for at least 7 of that 30 minutes. just as i was pulling away from the officer i had a little trouble getting the bike to start. after a number of tries pushing the button it turned over and i was on my way to my next gas stop. i get to a 7-11, fill up, and i can not for the life of me get the bike to turn over. i had this problem with my 440 when i first got it. the story goes; the guy before me thought the starter was out and broke it while disassembling it. he put it all back together (in pieces) and gave the thing to my friend mountain who gave it to me. after we fixed the starter we traced everything back and thought, in theory, if we did everything correctly the bike should start. it did not because we realized there was a huge cobweb in between the button contacts. i felt confident that history was repeating itself with the b-rex so i took a gamble and took it apart in the parking lot of the 7-11 (there was good lighting there) i evicted a spider and hit the contacts, the starter turned. great, so i put it all back together, retesting the contact after each thing i moved around just to make sure i wouldnt have to do it again, geared back up, and hit the button- nothing. ... so i took it all apart- again, and cleaned every part of the spring coil... every contact- the one thing i forgot in my tool kit? the ONE thing? a piece of sandpaper, so you can clean these contacts the first time. note to self. so i reassembled it, testing twice as often as i did last time, and finally got it to work again. after that 2 hour delay i was just happy that i got it to work. i was eyeballing the motel across the way so i am very happy i didnt need to go that route, i was only an hour away from home. it was all in all an awesome trip, and i am glad i was lucky enough to go on it... and lucky in so many other ways, too. i think this might be the last trip for this year but i will have to see how things pan out. anywhere i go as winter sneaks up has to be farther and farther south to avoid winter actually catching me. as for the sleeping bag i got the big agnes lulu. its a 15 degree synthetic. i like to sprawl out when i sleep- one of the benefits to being single. the big agnes gives you a lot or room to do that with. for good measure i have a thin fleece bedliner so i can kindof cuddle up a bit more and it was very comfortable. i do not have a thermometer as of yet but it was pretty chilly out if i were to make a guess at least 40, and i woke up with my zipper open.