Day 5 of Rte 66 ride - Friday : July 17

I posted yesterday's blog early this morning, and today's will be late this afternoon, of necessity.

I'm in Taos, NM!! at about 4:00 Mountain Man Time.But more about Taos later.

Today was a bit different for a couple of reasons; I had "back home" business to take care of via cell ph and email prior to starting out. Then when doing my regular bike inspection prior to leaving I found a couple of things that had punctured my rear tire that gave me pause. One looked like a small nail or wire, and the other actually looked like a small but sharp piece of stone. I decided that I'd ride as planned, on old 66, to Santa Fe, where I knew there was a Harley dealer. I decided that I would pull out the two intruders once I was safely in their parking lot, just in case I ended up needing a new tire. It looked like I'd make it there no problem, especially on the old road at slower speeds. By the way, south of SF rte 66 followed the old Santa Fe Trail! Talk about fascinating history! It turned out that the wire was in the tread only an eighth of an inch or so, clearly still in the tread portion. The other item was a sharp piece of small stone. 90% of it was also in the tread rubber, and the rest was clearly far from puncturing the carcass, let alone the tube. In time it would have worn its way in, so I'm glad I pulled it out, After touring the large HD store, and talking with several folks there, I headed for downtown to see the capitol building.

The area south of SF is very nice until you're about 5 miles from town. There is something about spreading development in the sage brush plains and on tops of the hills that really looks unattractive and out of place. SF is very much a horizontal city, not vertical. 90% of the buildings are made to look like the tan adobe common to the southwest, even the malls and offices.

After asking 3 times for directions I finally located the capitol. It is a round adobe building, 2 stories high, completely hidden in a yard dominated by trees. It certainly doesn't look like the typical capitol. But then again nothing about SF looks like the typical capital city. Its southwest and Hispanic influences affect every part of the city.

I decided to head north seeking cooler weather. Like the last 3 days, SF was expecting record highs for today. It was very hot - depending on which bank sign you believed it was somewhere between 94 and 104 - I suspect 94 was more accurate.

The first 20 miles north from Sante Fe is quite ugly, frankly. Lots of development in the barren sagebrush plains. Traffic was heavy, with lots of road work. Once able to leave all that behind the ride up to Taos is very nice. A huge surprise lay in store for me in form of the Rio Grande Gorge, an amazing deep gorge cut across an otherwise level plain about ten miles west of Taos. it's an amazing sight that pictures don't do justice.

Taos is everything I thought it would be:a very busy and congested tourist town, a new age site, an arts community, and a refuge for those seeking to leave the rat race. It is also a very southwestern city, with adobe construction the norm; everything from churches to gas stations wear adobe garb.

In a bit I'll leave the McD's where I'm tapped into their wireless and head out to find a campsite. Though it's still in the low 90s I suspect tonight should be nice and cool once the sun goes down, making comfortable sleeping, unlike OK or TX where it stayed near 80 all night.

Tomorrow, north into CO - probably Durango.