V Star vs. the hurricane

Second funeral in less than a month prompted another trip to Ruidoso this weekend. They say things happen in threes, I wonder whats next.

The weather was much warmer this week, no more stopping every 50 miles to warm up my hands and chisel my feet off the boards. Perfect weekend for a relaxing ride or so I thought. As I rode the wind progressively got worse and worse as the day warmed up until I was leaned over at a 45 degree angle to go straight down the road and the sudden gusts would blow me onto the shoulder or into the other lane. The wind gusts were like getting hit by a truck, luckily I was out in the middle of nowhere and wasn’t worried about meeting any oncoming traffic.

The wind noise was fairly bad, I’d learned from the Point Blank Trip to use ear plugs to save my hearing from the wind noise (I still have a ringing in my right ear 5 weeks later from that but its slowly getting less noticeable). Even with the plugs the wind noise was bad and by Corona my ears were hurting, now I know why others say they cut them in half first. The noise was as bad as any other windy day I’d been through in my new helmet and didn’t think they were working too well and stopped in Corona to take them out. Less than a mile down the road I pulled over AGAIN to put them back in. Without them the roar was so bad I couldn’t hear myself think.

The funeral was nice, it was the first time in 15+ years that the whole family had been together. They didn’t agree if I was still the tallest cousin or not but I did get the longest hair award. Also found out I had a few relatives in Albuquerque just down the road I didn’t know about and got some phone numbers for the big trip in July.

I wished I could have come earlier or stayed longer to visit more but the winds were supposed to only get worse through the weekend and pick up later in the day. According to Weather Underground the wind would be west to east until the afternoon and gradually shift north to south in the afternoon, great just perfect for me to have a headwind the whole way if I went through Socorro or cross winds the whole way through the narrow rough road through Corona. Having fought crosswinds the whole way yesterday I decided to go with the headwinds, looking back this was a terrible idea.

Oh my poor, poor bike, with its measly 33 horsepower… I was barely making 65mph at WOT pushing all that wind and periodically the clutch would slip and I’d drop to 55 in the blink of an eye like I’d hit a brick wall. The bike would rev like crazy then catch again and struggle back to 65. Those Barnett Clutch Springs upgrade are starting to look like a real good idea.

About that time I passed the still smouldering ruins of a Chevette on the side of the road smelling like burnt rubber and asphalt. The hood had been ripped off the hinges and smashed into the windshield when they’d tried to put out the fire. Suddenly my problems with the bike struggling against so much wind didn’t seem so bad. With all the dozens of burnt spots on the shoulder of I-25, especially on La Bajada Hill, is this many car fires a New Mexico thing? or is it a common occurrence in other states too? Even my Taurus was smote by the car gods on I-25 outside Belen with a freak electrical fire.

Usually I hit reserve at 135 miles commuting to work to 170 miles on nonstop trips. “I can make the 100 miles to Socorro easy, even with the wind…” I thought in the back of my head. When I hit reserve at a new record low of 88 miles still out in the boonies I really started panicking. Oh Crap! I caught up to an RV and tailed it to San Antonio and some how I managed to make it to Socorro on fumes and to not bust my ass trying to park in hurricane force winds.

Socorro Springs

Socorro Springs

I stopped at the new Socorro Springs restaurant to rest my aching neck and shoulder. A 10 inch wood fired pizza and a micro brew for $12 not bad. The pizza wasn’t as good as I remembered from my college days but easily as good as Il Vicino and hands down better than any chain pizza joint. I wasn’t the only one with the idea, I talked with a couple on a teal and grey Road King a while and we kicked back and waited for a break in the wind. Good company, they were on their way to Michigan, wow. The guy said he was exhausted after fighting the wind the whole day and they’d got a hotel room up the road to call it a day already at noon.

The blowing sands through Los Lunas and Belen were so thick it was riding through a blizzard with 30 ft of visibility. I now know what it must have been like during the Dust Bowl. Remind me to rewax everything, theres also a slight haze etched into the windshield now, I hope I can buff that out eventually.

I collapsed into a coma on the couch as soon as I walked in my door and woke up a few hours later to the Emergency Broadcast thing going off on the TV warning of Severe Wind, a little late don’t ya think? The news later that night said there was 72 mph wind gusts measured through where I’d ridden, just shy of a category 1 hurricane. No freaking wonder that sucked so bad! If I ever have to experience wind like that again it’ll be too soon.

4 comments to V Star vs. the hurricane

  • Patrick Eilers

    Always an adventure. You take great pictures.

  • Well, I remember when tim told me about this trip to ruidoso. It was very interesting to hear on the phone. After I read the story on the blog. I found it pretty sad and fun. I think riding through the wind is very scary also for the bike and exspeically when your on the bike. I have been through the tough wind when riding with tim from Albuquerque to santa Fe, it’s not fun sometimes. Anyway that how see it now and feel about riding but it’s still fun after all. Yep!

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