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Day Seven Recap: Really feeling it now!

Excellent day. Slept in, took my time getting ready, and left the America's Best Value Inn in Las Cruces around 9:50AM. Showed up at Yamaha Rio shortly after 10AM and they had nobody in the shop and a tire available that fit my bike! Barely an hour later and only $110 out of pocket (that's sick, last time I did a rear tire on my bike it cost $300 in the big city and took like four hours) I was on the road again!

Really excellent day, though there were a few disapointments! Maybe I worked myself up too much... first of all, I headed out of Las Cruces on a round-a-bout way towards City of Rock, only about 90 miles away. I took 185 north out of town because I thought it wound up the side of a mountain next to the Rio Grande - nope! It actually wound NEXT to the mountains, haha.

And oh man, the Rio Grande is anything but! I expected something like the Mississippi or the Potomac or something... lol. Not a crappy 20 foot stone bridge and a little sign that said "Rio Grande" next to a dried up river bed with barely a trickle in it. Doh! Wrong time of year I guess, maybe wrong spot too.

After that I wasn't too stoked at first, but then I got a couple neat surprises - I guess I ended up heading onto the Apache Reservation because I had to wave at some border guards, then I got to roll onto 26 West which was SICK! How to describe this... this road was so long and so straight and so flat that in the far far distance the road actually reflected the sky. At one point I started counting how long it took between seeing a car in the distance and passing it - with both of us travelling at 70+MPH I got up to a slow count of 45-50 every time (probably over a minute). At that combined speed we're closing at roughly .04 miles every second, so I was seeing cars over two miles away! Sweet.

Then a quick stop in Deming for some supplies and gas - and hey, why not hit a random taco stand? Holy crap, best choice ever! I had four carne asada tacos that were INTENSE! So good. One thing I've noticed out here, though, is that the "default" salsa they serve everywhere is pretty spicy - definitely stays on your tongue. Anyway, after that it was a really short blast up to City of Rock, which was just as advertised...

I read about this place in this book about motorcycle trips in AZ/NM/CO that I bought... the way he describes the initial arrival is so true. You follow a sign on this road and really don't see anything interesting but flat desert everywhere. As you go around a corner and crest a low hill, suddenly this place is spread out before you... and it's SICK. You have miles and miles of flat desert and then these massive boulders strewn all over in a nice neat grouping. There's one huge set and a couple smaller groups. It's so bizarre. Where did they come from? Why are they here? What is up with these things!

I road around on the neat gravel/dirt paths that wind through the rocks for awhile (scary on a motorcycle btw, thank goodness I had tread on my rear tire since I almost got stuck a couple times), then eventually picked a camp site that was really cool - sheltered from the wind by big rocks, with a fallen tree blocking part of it and giving it a really secluded feeling (aside from some RV's I only saw one other campsite in use though). Then I started walking around - wow, really, just wow. I will upload pictures at some point, but wow.

After climbing around on a bunch of random rocks (you can see my exploring on the map until I turned off my gps so conserve battery), I found a sweet spot near my camp about 30 feet up (only had to climb around 15 feet on my side) to watch the sunset. Again, absolutely beautiful and serene. One thing I was NOT prepared for - night before last I heard coyotes/wolves a lot, but tonight they went CRAZY when the sun set! Sounded like they were at the bottom of the rocks too, even though I've watched enough Discovery to know they're probably miles away. Really neat and a bit scary (they're still yipping sometimes and I half expect to turn around and see one staring at me).

Oh, did I mention that as I was exploring I saw a rattlesnake? WICKED. Needless to say I was a bit paranoid after that - no Bear Grylls impression playing with the snake, that's for sure!

Okay, I know, I'm rambling a lot tonight, this was just really exciting, which probably sounds bizarre since, what, I climbed around on a few rocks in the desert right? :p

Whatever, your fault for reading. After the sun set it was star gazing time! I set up with my compact scope and tripod (a Slik ultracompact which was a fantastic purchase) and sighted in on Jupiter first - could clearly see four moons even at 12x, really neat. Then I started poking around, as I said below I really wanted to see a nebula. Unfortunately I think the light from the 1/3 or so moon may have been too much, or maybe I'm just not good enough or didn't have a big enough scope - no dice. I did however get to see the triangellum (sp?) galaxy, first time I've clearly seen another galaxy in anything with my own eye - pretty cool! So many stars, straight up you could very clearly see the brighter band of the milky way. Neat neat neat!

Okay, so now I'm getting ready to read a bit and then close up for the night. Checked the weather and it's a low of 44 tonight out here, so hopefully it won't be too bad - no ice on my tent in the morning please! Tomorrow I head up to Gila State Park (or something like that, I'm too lazy to get out the map), short ride and another chill day outside. So stoked.

I realized sometime this afternoon that this whole thing really is a bit extreme, and that I'm really kinda running away from the stress work has been over the last year. I'm not quite ready to go back yet - I thought for sure when I left that I'd be checking e-mail every day and thinking about work within a couple days. But nope. Still running. Maybe next week I'll be ready to start thinking about it again.

P.S. From Christina's stories of Halloween being Banana #7 would have been pretty awesome! Doh!

City of Rock blah



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