Lightning, Rain, Snow, and Hail
We had been planning this trip for over a year. We had actually planned to do this in 2002 but a medical detour postponed it until this year. Ron Napier and I had planned a trip to North Carolina. Then my son, Mickey, called and said he would like to go on a trip with us.
Mickey lives in Tucson Az. and suggested if we were interested in coming west, he would fly in, pick up a bike, and ride back with us. Okay. We could do that! So we put away the Southeastern U.S. map and got out the Southwestern U.S. map. Many people asked where we were headed, and when told, suggested places we should see while we were going this direction. It didn’t take long before we had a route planned through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas!
I had a motorcycle safety class to teach that weekend.
Trailer from Michigan
allowed us extra days of riding time. As Mickey had not owned a bike for a while, he decided it was best if he jumped into the class to refresh himself. Mickey flew in and picked up a nice used Honda and started to get familiar with the bike. The last day of class, we rode down, him on his Honda and me on my BMW. This is a new experience for me; packing a bike for a two week trip. Figured I would pack three pair of jeans and four shirts and do laundry as needed. Ron then had a neat suggestion. We all have a drawer full of old underwear. Buy new ones for home, and just use your old underwear for the trip and throw them out each day (and socks). Great idea. Ron and a fellow rider, Jim Hadley, met us after class; we loaded the bikes into the trailer and headed out.
We drove through to Amarillo in 24 hours. Figured it was best to get the expressway part of the trip done
with the truck and trailer. That will leave us more days for riding. We took turns driving but were still very tired.
We left the truck and trailer at Tripp’s Harley Davidson, nice folks.
Tripps H-D (Amarillo)
Offered support - Thanks! Got a good night’s sleep at Kings Inn and woke up ready to roll!
Durango, CO. (May 20) -
We left Amarillo at 8.00am. It’s cold (47 degrees) and very windy. The wind lasted for the first couple hundred miles. The scenery is awesome. We expect to see cowboys, or you could picture our old TV heroes come riding down out of these hills at any time. We are riding northwest across New Mexico to Colorado. The wind has died but it is still cool. We reach Walsenburg, Colorado and head west on 160. It was clear most of the day until we came to Wolf Creek Pass. We could see rain and lightning in the distance (lots of lightning!).
The infamous Wolf Creek Pass. Can’t hardly say that without humming part of the song. You remember the one. “Wolf Creek
pass way upon the Great Divide, trucking on down…..the other side.”
New Mexico Border
A milestone within 100 miles! We stopped and everyone suited up. We headed west again, into the rain. Not a hard rain, but definitely more than a mist. Lots of lightning all around us but nothing close, so we continue on.
Halfway up the pass we stopped at the only pull out on the whole climb. We parked the bikes and noticed a shack just off the road and walked over. We had just got under the eaves when the rain changed to snow. We were talking about our good timing when the snow turned to hail! We watched the hail for about 10 minutes and began to wonder if crossing the pass today was such a good idea. A little later the hail stopped and we decided to get rolling again before the weather turned worse. It continued to rain.
A few miles later, we came to road construction and a sign that said “Pavement Ends”. Now when you hit construction in Michigan the sign will say “Construction next 10 miles” or whatever distance is involved. This just said, “Pavement Ends”. We were riding on loose, muddy gravel. There were a couple of places that were especially greasy and slippery. It would have been very easy to put a bike down and I expected someone in our group might go down at any time (Me!). I began to worry that we could be riding all the rest of the way to Durango on loose, muddy gravel. It was a little scary for about five miles, then the construction ended and we got back on pavement again. What a relief! A few more miles and we broke over the pass. The skies cleared and we were in the sunshine! We rode into Durango in beautiful weather. (Actually, the weather was perfect the rest of the trip.) Colorado was nice but it didn’t get really beautiful until we got near Durango. We filled the bikes up and got a nice room. Next a hearty supper, and a well-deserved nights rest.
Along The Way . . .
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Trinidad Lake State Park
Great Sand Dunes National Monument & Preserve
The Continental Divide
Rain, snow, and hail greet us at Wolf Creek Pass