Day 1

I’m writing this from the Fairfield Inn in the Albuquerque University district.  I packed and filled the motorcycle with gas and am just waiting for two conference calls to get back on the road.

I rode from home to here yesterday, about a 458 mile ride.  It should take about 6.5 hours, but ended up being closer to 9 hours.  That’s largely because of the 100 miles I rode in the rain and the 3 hail encounters.  Those might’ve sucked a bit.  I got to Trinidad just as I was getting to the edge of the rain.  I stopped at the Big R there and got new glove and wool socks.  The heated jacket liner did a great job keeping my core warm but my hands and feet had had enough.  After I got the new socks on and got back on the bike, the storm caught back up to me, with big hail.  Fortunately I was still in the Trinidad city limits so I was able to pull off at a truck stop and wait the hail out.

I had wanted to take I-70 to Glenwood Springs, spend the night there, then head out again today, going through Moab.  But because of me trying to beat the rain, I took I-25 all the way down.  Stupid weather man.  According to all the weather outlets (accuweather, weather.com, weather underground, local news websites) as long as I got past it in Colorado Springs, I was fine.  It was just supposed to be windy from there out.  They lied.  Just south of Fountain it opened up and dumped on me.  I was feeling confident and fine until I came up on a sign that said “Heavy rains, beware of standing water”  WTF?  Standing water?  That’s the last thing I needed to hit at 70.  That ended up not being a problem but the weirdest thing was the mag chloride.  They use it to de-ice the roads here instead of salt.  The rain pulled it up out of the pavement, so in some spots the road was solid white instead of black.  For a second I thought I was driving through snow.

Once I got past Raton, NM, the rain/hail finally stopped.  I went a little further to stay ahead of it and got to a rest stop and was treated to a gorgeous sunset.  Those last couple miles of daylight I kept thinking that there was a life lesson there.  Keep pushing yourself to go far enough/long enough and eventually you’ll hit blue skies again.  Lame, I know.

The ride into Albuquerque was pretty decent.  Dark, so I couldn’t see anything, cold and windy as hell, but ok.  And the best part was that I got to meet up with an old friend, my boss from my first trip to Afghanistan.  He came by the hotel to pick me up and we went out and had a couple of beers.

All in all, a great ride, although after 9 hours I’m a little sore in the shoulders.  Today I’m off to Phoenix.  Taking I-40 out of the city, then jumping off to 60 at some point to go through the Salt Valley.

Lessons learned:  Wool socks.  Better safe than sorry.

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