till, but bloodís a rover;
Breathís a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad: when the journeyís over
Thereíll be time enough to sleep"
- A.E. Housman
"Time has come
- The Chambers Brothers
Raton, NM to Alamogordo, NM: US-64 East to SR-325 North to Capulin
Volcano National Monument, South on SR-325 then West on US-64 back to
Raton, South on I-25 South past Springer, Wagon Mound to SR-161 North
to Fort Union National Monument, South on SR-161 to I-25 South through
Las Vegas, to SR-63 West to Pecos National Historic Park, continuing
on SR-63 West to I-25 South to US-285 South to SR-41 South through
Stanley, Moriarty, McIntosh, Estancia, to US-60 West to Mountainair to
SR-55 South to Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument at Gran
Quivira, continuing south to US-54 through Carrizozo, Tularosa, to Alamogordo. (MAP)
Time is everything. And everything is in the details. On a day
like today, itís the timing and details that matter most. Iíve got
almost 500 miles to cover, and 4 stamps to get in the process. I need
to reach four different National Park sites, with the first one
opening at 8:00 AM and the last one closing at 5:00 PM. How much time
I spend at each site, and how long it takes to get from Point A to
Point B to Point C, will determine my fate today.
So what follows is a day
in the life of my life, on day 70 of this odyssey.
7:20 AM - Wake up and
watch the market open on CNBC, as itís 9:20 AM on Wall Street. I
love it when they cut off Maria Bartiromo with a commercial. I set two
alarms today, with my beeper and my cell phone, as waking up early was
vital. But I didnít need either. The phone in the room next door has
been ringing off the hook for an hour.
8:00 AM - Out of bed and in the shower. I should be on the road by
now, but itís cold out there and Iím a lazy bum.
8:30 AM - The bike is packed and rolling. Houston, we have lift-off.
8:40 AM - Ten miles out of Raton and Iím sitting at a construction
site, waiting for the follow car to turn around and make its trip back
8:50 AM - Finally through the construction site, but Iíll be riding
back here after my first stop, and Iíll have to go through it again.
9:05 AM - Turn down the entrance road to Capulin Volcano National
Monument. There are cows on the road here. Lots and Lots of COWS. They
freak out when I ride by, frightened by the motorcycle.
9:11 AM - 31.4 Miles on the GPS and Iím at the Visitor Center. The
first stamp of the day is mine. The park here centers on a cinder cone
left from a volcanic eruption that occurred around 60,000 years ago.
9:15 AM - I driving up the two-mile road that spirals around the
volcano. Hey, itís not every day you can drive up a volcano and walk
9:23 AM - 7,944 Feet above sea level at the crater rim parking lot.
The view spins around 100 miles in every direction along the Raton-Clayton
volcanic field, with dozens of
volcanoes popping out of the plains. I can see the snow covered peaks
of the Rockies along the horizon.
9:35 AM - I hike up around the crater rim to get some better pictures.
But itís very cold and Iím out of breath at this elevation. I get
half way around the rim and turn back.
9:43 AM - Getting back on the bike and heading down.
9:50 AM - Along route 325 I stop to take some shots of a lonely
house, seemingly abandoned
along the range. There are some horses in the field and I wait for
them to move closer for a better shot.
10:05 AM - Iíve spent 15 minutes trying to get the horses
to go where I want them to, but itís hopeless. Theyíre just not
listening to me. You canít find good talent anymore.
10:15 AM - Heading back towards Raton, I pass a herd of 50 antelope.
Itís amazing what you can see on the same road when youíre
traveling in the opposite direction.
10:18 AM - Back in the construction site, waiting for that follow car
again. COME ON. LETíS GO.
10:37 AM - Get on the interstate, heading south on I-25 from Raton.
This is where I would have started the day if I had made it to Capulin
yesterday. And now itís after 10:30. Iíve got to lay down some
miles and get moving. NOW!
11:23 AM - Fuel warning light goes on, 204 miles since my last
fill-up. But Iíve probably still got a gallon and a half left.
11:37 AM - Off the interstate, heading towards Fort
Union. Iíve nailed down 150
miles so far with an average speed of 69.8 MPH. The interstate did the
job, and it wasnít that bad. No cops, and very few trucks.
11:45 AM - Arrive at the Fort Union National Monument. A fort here
served as headquarters for the Military Department of New Mexico. All
that remains are some ruins. I get the stamp and BONUS! Theyíve got
a stamp here for the Sante Fe National Historic Trail that runs along
the site. YEAH BABY!
12:08 PM - Back on the bike. I took the hour tour of the fort in about
15 minutes. Itís time to start looking for some gas.
12:33 PM - Stop for gas at the Texaco Station in Las Vegas with 259.4
Miles on the tank. 5.4 Gallons of 90 Octane at $1.50 a shot.
1:13 PM - Some more Interstate and Iím at Pecos National Historic
Park with 229.5 GPS miles on the clock. Gimme the stamp, please.
1:30 PM - Preserved in this park are the ruins of a 15th
century Pueblo and two Spanish missions. But I donít really care.
Iím leaving. Iíd rather get lunch than see another Indian ruin
1:38 PM - Having lunch at the Dairy Queen in Pecos. Burger, fries and
a shake. Real good healthy food. Yeah, I know, but there werenít any
other restaurants open in Pecos and I was hungry.
2:11 PM - Leaving Dairy Queen. What the hell took me so long?
2:18 PM - I stop to put in my earplugs before I get back on the
highway again. I knew something didnít feel quite right.
2:34 PM -Turn off to Route 41, and this smaller road looks like it
might get slower from here. My average speed so far is 70 MPH and
Iíve traveled 253.3 GPS Miles.
3:24 PM - Just past Estancia I drive by the largest pumpkin farm
Iíve ever seen. Bright orange dots fill the view for miles
3:38 PM - I reach the Visitor Center for the Salinas Pueblo Missions
National Monument in Mountainair. The GPS read 327.2 miles with an
average speed of 69.9 MPH. Thatís not bad at all.
4:04 PM - Iíve watched part of the film about how Spaniards tried to
force Christianity on the native Pueblo Indians during the 1600s. It
didnít go very well for either side. I got the stamp, but Iíve
still got to visit one of the three Mission sites that make up the
monument. I turn south on Route 55. Iíve got a long way to go till I
reach my final destination for the night.
4:28 PM - Gran
Quivira is the stop and I take
a quick hike around the ruins. I made it with a half-hour to spare.
The only other people here are a still photo crew from Japan, with a
model, a photographer, makeup people, wardrobe, and a couple
assistants. They look just slightly out of place here in the middle of
4:55 PM - On the road again.
5:17 PM - 200 Miles on the tank, and the reserve light goes on again.
Time for some more gas.
5:32 PM - Route 55 ends into US-54. The road I just ran looks like a
staircase on the map, and it only had 15 turns over 55 miles. There
were only 4 other vehicles the entire length of the road. WOW.
5:42 PM - Another Texaco. This one in Carrizozo. 411.1 GPS Miles, and
231 Miles on the tank. The damn pay at the pump doesnít work and I
have to go inside the station, twice. I hate when that happens.
6:21 PM - The sun sets, but itís not nice enough to stop for
pictures. I have to take my sunglasses off while moving and put them
in my pocket. You try doing that.
6:40 PM - Reach Alamogorda and take a swing through town. I like to
ride down the main street of my evening destination and scope out the
motels. Iím looking for something cheap but clean, within close
proximity to dinner.
6:50 PM - Iíve decided on the Western Motel, right next to the Best
Western and surrounded by a bunch of dinner choices. The room is about
6:55 PM - In room 19, and itís not bad. Looks like a good cable
7:00 PM - The bike is unloaded, and Iím doing the most important
thing I do every day. Iím calling Mom. Time to get some grub, and
then write some journals. The day is done.
At 10:24 PM this evening, Jena Allee gave birth to a 7 pound 14 ounce
son, John "Jack" Gabarino Allee Jr. The proud father, John,
is resting comfortably, as are the mother and child. Congratulations
guys. I still think that Daniel would have been a good name choice.
Either that or Alamogordo.
Miles Today: 471.9
Total Miles: 21,226
Time on Motorcycle: 6 Hours 45 Minutes
Average Speed: 69.7 MPH
States Visited today: 1 (NM)
Total States Visited: 32
National Park Service Passport Stamps: 5
NPS Stamp Totals: 159 Stamps, 29 States
Weather: Started chilly, turned mild, Paper Thin Clouds, replaced by
Number of Texaco stations Iíve stopped at to date: 20
SEEN ON THE ROAD:
"I Love Aliens. They Taste Just Like Chicken" - Bumper
Sticker on the back of early 80's White Ford Gran Turimo, heading
south on route 41, just past Moriarty.
One of the most important pieces of gear I have is also one of the
smallest. Earplugs. If youíre going to ride a motorcycle for a
significant distance over a significant period of time, you must have
earplugs. Endurance riders wear them all the time. every time they
ride. Itís not the noise from the motorcycle that youíre trying to
block. Itís the wind noise inside your helmet.
Try riding 300 miles
without earplugs and see how you feel at the end of the day. Youíll
be fatigued, and youíll probably be working on a big headache. But
if you use the plugs youíll be a different person. Iíve gotten so
used to wearing them that I feel strange when theyíre not in. Iíve
tried a bunch of different types, but the ones I like best are the
bell shaped orange foam jobbies. The Howard Leight Company calls them
the MAX-1 and theyíre the best 50 cents Iíve ever spent. Some
vendors make custom plugs, using a personal mold to create the pieces.
But Iím not sure I want to spend good money on something so easy to
lose. I can wash the MAX-1 a couple of times, and when they get nasty,
I break out a new pair.
Earplugs. Donít leave
home without them.