Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taos, NM - 4th Wedding Anniversary trip - Part 2

After visiting the Earthships, we also stopped (again) at the Gorge Bridge that crosses the Rio Grande. We first crossed it coming into town. Now, I don't remember if I've mentioned this before but, I have a real fear of heights. When we planned this route, I knew we'd be crossing it but put it out of my mind thinking I shouldn't worry about it. It sort of snuck up on me. Since I was leading, I really had to focus on the road ahead so I wouldn't freak out. It isn't very wide and there are people everywhere. There are buses and little shops set up on the side of the road where people can park to walk across the bridge. There was also construction equipment on the side of the road, and lots of trucks crossing the bridge. As we rolled up to it, I started getting anxious. I managed it ok though and we pulled over so hubby could walk over it. I started to head out after him but stopped just at the edge and decided it was a bad idea for me to try that. So, as you can imagine, I didn't get many good photos of the canyon. It was pretty cool. We ended up crossing the bridge about 4 times I think. It got easier each time and was best when hubby was the leader and I could just look ahead at his helmet.

From there we rode up to the Taos Cow for some ice cream. That was a suggestion from the casita owner. It was a very nice ride. It's off the road that goes up to the ski resort in the town of Arroyo Seco. Arroyo Seco was a neat little town that I wish we'd had more energy to visit. Maybe next time. The ice cream was excellent and hit the spot on the warm clear day. We found a paved (yay!) parking spot  right in front of a historic cabin. That was neat.

It was a gorgeous day! I've never seen such blue skies. Awesome! (It was a bit hot though.)

From there we took a different route back into town. We thought we'd visit San Francisco de Asis Church. Along the way my bike started acting up again. I was having issues with it stalling for no known reason. I couldn't reproduce it (which was why that BMW place kept it so long, they spent a week trying to make it stall.) And it seemed to happen for no real reason. The temperature didn't seem to matter either. Anyway, before the stalling, it would surge as I was keeping the throttle steady which was, to say the least, unsettling. But, there was nothing to do really. We were on the road and on vacation. Some how we missed the turn for the church. I thought we'd see it from the intersection but we never did. So, since the bike was being weird, we decided to head back to town. As we hit the square, traffic became stop and go through town for a few blocks. At a stoplight I told hubby I wasn't going to wait for the bike to stall. I hit the kill switch and started it back up. As though rebooting it, the bike was fine after that. Weird and frustrating. (I did eventually get a proper diagnosis and fix once the vacation was done so don't worry dear readers. That'll be it's own blog post.)

Since this was our anniversary day, we decided to take the advice of our host and head to Orlando's for dinner. Mapping it out it seemed close enough to walk. We were a bit hot and tired from riding, and I was a little worried about my bike. And, we wanted to have adult beverages with dinner so, walking worked for us! Orlando's was tasty. There is a nice story on their web site about how they got started. Pretty neat I think. They use lots of family recipes at the restaurant. Hubby had this:
I had this:
Yummy! And the beer was nice and cold!

The next day we waited for hubby's dad to arrive. Hubby's folks live just outside of Albuquerque, about 3 hours away. Hubby and I had breakfast, I can't remember where. (The day before we ate breakfast at a place called Michael's Kitchen, which was also very tasty.) I guess I should have written this up sooner, LOL. Oh, I remember now! We ate our leftovers from Michael's. Our casita had a full kitchen so we brought our leftovers home and put them in the fridge. Thursday morning, we ate those for breakfast and hung around the casita until my father-in-law arrived. FIL rides a Harley Fatboy.
The three of us had never ridden together before. I'd been looking forward to riding with him for a long time. Even my hubby had never ridden with him since hubby came to motorcycling later in life, His dad has been riding for years though. We decided to ride the Enchanted Circle on this day. Unfortunately, I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted to. We rode a lot and dodged the weather a bit. Next time I'll get more photos. :-) We did stop at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial near Angel Fire. I get goosebumps just thinking about it again. That's an amazing place with an amazing story. If you are ever in that area, you have to stop to see it and just be there for a few minutes. It has a fantastic museum that is incredibly well done, especially when you realize much of the funding for the place is through donations. There's even a small library. The outdoor walkway is so peaceful. The building is amazing as well.

 It's a very, very nice place to stop.I'm sorry I'm not more eloquent about the place. It's just some place you have to see for yourself.
We did have one close call on the road, riding the enchanted circle. Hubby was leading, I was second and FIL was behind. A full sized pick up truck veered across the double yellow right at hubby. Hubby managed to lean to the right and avoided the truck. I also pressed right and went right to move out of his way. I'm not sure how close he came to FIL since I couldn't see him. No blood, no foul. We continued on. With our headsets on, I could talk to hubby right away. I was more rattled by the incident than he was. Huge adrenaline rush! I'm sure I kept talking to him for a while before I calmed down. 

I'm sure we all have more close calls than we care to remember or even need to remember. There's really nothing to do about them except learn and carry on. But, it's one thing to have those close calls yourself. It's another thing entirely to see your loved one have a close call right in front of you. I was freaked out for the rest of the trip. I don't think hubby knows that. Even all the way home I kept thinking about that truck and what could have happened. It took me about a week after we returned home to shake that image out of my head. :-( We all ride knowing the risks. We just don't dwell on those things. We take precautions, take classes, practice our skills, etc. so that we don't have to think about what if; we just react and trust that our training will get us through. And that's exactly what happened in this case. We all did what we were supposed to do. In that moment, I didn't focus on hubby or the truck, I reacted to avoid the other vehicle. But, then I had to manage the visual for the rest of the trip. It's all good now. I can talk about it here and other times and it doesn't freak me out. Still. Grrrrr!!

We made a pit stop shortly after that. I was able to process the event, shake off the heebie jeebies and continue the ride a bit more focused. Here is my hubby and his dad. :-) FIL wasn't too happy about the double yellow creeper either. But it was a good day anyway. :-)
After the Enchanted Circle, we had dinner in Taos after dropping off the bikes at the casita. We walked to a brew pub on the square. Beers all around and some appetizers to share made for a nice dinner. I love wheat beers!

There was also music in the square. We didn't get a table on the balcony though. 

 After dinner we walked back to the casita.
FIL spent the night on the pullout couch so that we could all ride to his house the next morning.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Overdue Ride Report - Taos, NM - 4th Wedding Anniversary trip - Part 1

For the 2nd year in a row, hubby and I have made a motorcycling anniversary road trip for our wedding anniversary. We'd planned a much different trip initially but then my GS started having issues. We weren't sure we'd get to go anywhere at all for a while. Fortunately, I got my bike back the day before we decided to leave. Or rather, once we got the bike back, we decided to do a different trip. It turned out to still have issues but we didn't really know that at the time. (Cutting to the chase, don't take your moto to Foothills BMW in Lakewood, CO. They suck.)

Our rule has been to go somewhere neither of us have been before. And on the motos, of course. :-)

Original Plans
Hubby had heard from a buddy of his who recently bought an RV about this place in Nebraska called Pioneer Village. "Nebraska?", I thought. Ok! It fit the rule and was within the 600-800 mile radius that is our one week moto trip limit. Once he convinced me it was a good idea, I set to planning. There is a town in Kansas called Nicodemus, that is a national historic site that I've always wanted to visit. It would fit as well. And there were lots of other interesting places we could stop to visit - a few parks, wildlife areas, historic towns, etc. I did really worry about the heat and all the saddle time but we'd survived Wyoming in the summer pretty well. But then, the bike started having stalling issues. I won't bore you with the mind numbing and infuriating details but I took the bike to the closest shop, they kept it for a full week, found nothing wrong with it and gave it back to me. They said I should just ride it and if it stalled again, bring it back. That week of not knowing however, made us change our plans. We didn't have enough time to really make the route we'd planned, we were unsure of the problem with the GS, and I wasn't sure we should go anywhere.

New Plans & the Trip
Hubby then suggested Taos, NM. Hmmm. That seemed like a great option. We could ride there and stay in town and just relax. We could ride around the area if we wanted, or just wander through town. Taos is also very close to his parents, who I love and wish we could visit with more often. Taos sounded like the perfect back up last minute plan! We picked up the bike on Saturday evening (grrrrrr!), spent Sunday & Monday packing and making last minute arrangements, and hit the road on Tuesday. 15,822 miles were on my odometer as we set out from Starbucks.

The skies were threatening so we made a pit stop in Jefferson, CO to put on some rain gear.  And I bought a South Park sticker for the side case. :-)
We had lunch in Salida, CO. I am quite fond of the greasy spoon breakfasts.
I can't remember exactly where in Colorado this stop was. We did get gas there. It's probably in my notes somewhere. The wet seat wasn't worrying me too much since I had my rain pants. But, it was sopping wet!
Ahhh...the land of enchantment!
We didn't stop much after this, not for photo ops anyway. After about 334 miles, we made it to our casita - Taos Lodging! Woot! These were very nice lodgings. The woman who ran the place was very helpful. She gave us good recommendations for dinner and also for a nice anniversary meal. I wouldn't mind staying at this place in the future. We stayed in a one bedroom, one bath, with a full kitchen and laundry. There was also a pull out sofa bed, which came in handy when my father-in-law rode up to meet us. And we were just a few blocks from the square where there was food and beer and shopping. :-)

That gravel parking lot was a little scary. I can't believe neither of us dropped our bikes! Hubby had to help me as I backed into the spot when our neighbors car was parked in the spot next to ours. When it wasn't there, we could both pull our bikes in pretty easily.

Tuesday evening we had a tasty dinner at Eske's Brew Pub. Hubby had the green chili beer. :-)

Wednesday was our anniversary! On that day we decided to do a little riding around. We wanted to visit the Earthships. (We considered staying there but decided being able to walk into town was a better plan.) There are self guided tours through the property. When you arrive at the visitor's center, you sign in and get a badge. From there, you are free to wander through the center to view the displays, watch videos about the that building and other projects, examine the indoor gardens, and also wander a bit around some of the buildings that are under construction. It was pretty cool. I think we both enjoyed being at our own pace for this one. It was a fairly hot day so we could check out outdoor features and then return inside for some water and the cooler temps. There weren't very many other folks besides us who were visiting. Definitely check out their web site for more info about the place!

Unbelievable blue skies! This is the visitors center.
 Bottles, cans and tires used as filler in the wall.

 Me and my love!
This is a wind turbine that was being installed when we arrived.
This was a new building. Those round shiny things are cans.
 This is the old visitors center, I think.
The motosmotos parked in front of our own earthship. :-)
The sun room and garden.
Mushroom logs. :-)
Bottle detail in the wall. :-)
I really liked this decorative feature. :-)