Just posting a ADV style ride report for those who are getting stir crazy and suffering from cabin fever and Parked Motorcycle Syndrome, and to show why you should always be prepared for weather changes lol.
We had a beautiful 3 day Valentines/Prez day weekend and by Monday it had warmed up to 65 degrees. I decided to take the girl home the long way round and we left with plenty of time for sight seeing and pictures. The route we took went along the rim of the Valles Grande volcano caldera crater, one of only a handful of super volcanoes the only other in the US being Yellowstone, here it is on Google. The fingers are sheer rock canyons 100′s of feet deep, making Los Alamos a natural fortress.
I figured it would be maybe 10-15 degrees cooler through the mountains 1500 ft higher, boy was I wrong, heres what we found.
This is overlooking the rim, note the sign they werent kidding, this whole area used to be fenced off as a 400 square mile private hunting ranch with a 5000 head elk herd where independently wealthy outdoorsmen could pay to come bag an elk guaranteed. Its now owned by the state as a preserve. Distances are deceptive, it doesnt look far but its takes a strong spotting scope to see anything across the valley. The mountains in the background are the ones in the center on google and growing several inches a yr for the next eruption, luckily I wont be around then, they expect the shockwave to flatten everything for 400 miles and the ash cloud to bury everything else all the way to Florida, actually that would be cool to see from good distance heh.
The snow just kept getting deeper and deeper as we went, by now my hands were frozen to the grips with my double layers of gloves. I stopped warm up, we’d been riding an hour to this point but it was so cold I could touch the fins of the engine and the pipes with my bare hands they were barely luke warm. So much for that idea lol.
We were headed downhill by now and it was further to go back than keep going, we had to be through the worst right? We passed about a dozen more ICE! warnings and WATCH FOR SNOWPLOWS signs but the road surface was completely white with salt and dry, those signs had to have been up since the last storm… Further on the way down the sharp switchbacks and curves, every corner the snow had been melting and running across the road leaving narrow strips of ice on EVERY turn, exactly where you dont want it. A few were a bit squirely but the ice was only a few inches wide at a time and dry pavement after so it wasnt so bad. The ice kept getting worse and worse the further down we went till we hit some steep walled canyons and sections of the road lined with fir trees where the sun never shines, the road progressed from a solid sheet of ice to several inches of solid snow pack. I’m usually fearless and I’ve ridden through these conditions before, but never while 2 up with this much weight on the bike, it was nerve racking. Some of the stretches were very scary, worrying about dumping the bike with her back there. Sorry no pics I sure as hell wasnt going to stop.
Then Just a mere 30 mins later we ended up here, and it felt like 70 out.
I wanted to check out a road for Patrick and we took a detour down a rickety bridge and narrow 1/2 lane paved road, about wide enough for a golf cart.
Awesome! I cant believe I’ve never found this before.
These 3 tunnels were cut by a logging company for a narrow gauge railway that never got built, very cool.
You might recognize this from the cover of Ron Ayres Against the Wind, my best at duplicating the shot.
Further up the road was barricaded and closed for the winter, it looked impassable past there hopefully it’ll be cleared and the snow melted by mid summer.
Overall we just went 170 miles ish and it took 4 hours to do it. I went home the easy way, 70 miles by super slab lol. And after all I’d just been through the way back was my closest to getting flattened yet. The “hill” on the interstate is about 3 miles long with 1000 ft climb, and my bike chose to hit reserve right there. In all the times I’ve ridden this its never happened in that spot, and as luck would have it I had just passed a Dodge dually truck pulling a big horse trailer. I dropped from 80mph to 50 in the blink of an eye, like a full blown emergency stop, it felt like I was going to go over the bars Wholly Shit! I could hear the truck behind me lock up the trailer brakes slowing down, there was a whole 3 inches of shoulder with barricade to stop falling rocks, nowhere to go to let him by. I did switch to reserve in under a second, but damn… I’m very thankful that driver wasnt on the cell phone and was paying attention at that second.
Be safe out there, hope spring comes to everyone soon.