Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Les is more

Leslie and Marty blow through the Old West - Day Four

Recommended Posts

Les is more

Rested and rear ends recovered, we left Alpine, Texas and headed off on a scenic ride through Fort Davis. There was a brisk wind and the countryside was beautiful. Marty took a loop out of Fort Davis that wound up into the Davis Mountains. I always find it so fascinating to watch the vegetation zones change as you gain elevation. We began to leave cactus and creosote behind and came into pinyon-juniper country before transitioning into big pines and oaks.

Besides noticing the visual changes, the varied elevations of these back country rides are always an olfactory adventure. The warmth of the sun excites different aromas from the plants and the land and the cool, fresh, mountain morning air almost tingles as you breathe it in. The vistas were spectacular. We dismounted for awhile to enjoy yet another unexpected aspect of Texas.

 

157457-Medium.jpg

 

About the rest of day four, I can only say that it really blew!! We picked up the interstate again after our stop in the mountains and headed for Demming, New Mexico. Marty had mentioned circumnavigating (read- avoiding like the plague) the charming (read- dusty, smelly, frenetic) city of El Paso. He had a route for a small road that skirted the border. Alas! It was not to be.

 

With each mile we rode, the wind, coming from our left, picked up. By the time we reached El Paso, I was thinking that it would have been pretty convenient if my head had been mounted on a gimble. It would have been a whole lot easier to keep the horizon level. That, of course, was contingent on my head actually remaining attached to my neck. One gets a really clear idea of how heavy a helmet is when the wind tries to rip it from one's head. I was pushing so hard on the left bar, that I wondered if anyone had ever scraped pegs going straight. All thoughts of side trips were . . . well . . . gone with the wind (sorry!).

 

Have any of you ever noticed the inordinate number of feed lots in El Paso? My dance with the wind was rendered even more interesting as I realized that I was now breathing aerosolized cow dung - miles and miles of it.

 

The wind picked up some more as we approached Las Cruces. We heard later, on the news, that it was blowing a steady 35 mph with gusts up to 49 mph. Riding behind Marty and to the right of my lane, I found myself in the adjacent lane twice as I was blasted by a couple of those gusts. "Okay," she thought "this level on the Beaufort Scale calls for a different tactic. Otherwise I'm gonna end up as a speed bump for a semi rig." Pushing on the bars and leaning were just not cutting it so I went to the shoulder drop, torso twist, low over the tank position. Low and behold! The bike righted itself a little and the force of the gusts was somewhat mitigated. I was riding as if the freeway was entirely composed of twisties to the left and I was keeping a constant straight forward motion. My high school geometry teacher was right! It is useful in the real world! grin.gif

 

As we sailed forth, I noticed a sign that challenged my bladder control. It read, "Dust Storms May Exist" What genius thought up that wording? After miles of breathing cow shite and eating grit, I read that and burst into gales of manaical laughter. Tears streaked down my manure coated cheeks and the tension created by the wind was dissolved.

 

I have another question. How do truck drivers see when there is almost zero visibility? A dust devil was forming off to our left. As it built and rose and began to move toward us, I began to think of it more as a dust "Satan" or a dust "Beelzebub" or a dust "all that is evil and wrong with the universe." This thing got huge and came swirling across our path, obliterating all visual contact witht the road. Marty and I, being relatively sane, slowed the bikes. The semis on the other hand moved to the left and passed us at full throttle. I can only assume that life on the road gets a little boring and tiny amusements like driving at high speeds through blinding dust storms bring some relief.

 

Demming was a welcome sight and waltzing with the wind had left us plumb tuckered out. We called it a day and went to our motel room as soon as we got our land legs back.

 

Coming soon - Tombstone and the end of the tale.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
russell_bynum

That sounds like the wind that I had on my ride...all the way from Gila Bend to Fort Stockton. crazy.gif

 

I too did the "hang off the side of the bike like a MotoGP racer" thing and although it's exhausting to hold that position for a long time (300 miles), it does work, and it's fun to imagine people's reaction as you go screaming past them like that. laugh.gif

 

My favorite was when I passed a sign that said "Windy" as I fought for control somewhere across New Mexico. "Windy"...yeah, no kidding. That's like the warning label on NyQuil that says "May cause drowsiness." laugh.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Les is more

shocked.gif Wow!

 

I shared a riding style with Russell Bynum!

 

I'm somebody now! wink.gif

 

Share this post


Link to post
ghaverkamp
As we sailed forth, I noticed a sign that challenged my bladder control. It read, "Dust Storms May Exist" What genius thought up that wording?

 

If it helps your understanding, on my ride through this territory in February, I continually saw signs about dust storms, high winds, etc. I never saw any of it. I had rain, but rain kept the dust down when there were bouts of wind, which were never too bad. And lightning perpetually (thankfully) off in the distance. smile.gif

 

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Mjames

I can only assume that life on the road gets a little boring and tiny amusements like driving at high speeds through blinding dust storms bring some relief.

 

Great tale! Beautifully written! Reminded me of riding through blinding fog in N. California (I-5?)where the traffic didn't seem to flinch no matter how bad the visiblity. Not surprisingly, that stretch of road is known for its high accident rate. In the area you're talking about, semi's get blown off the road during those storms with frequency.

Share this post


Link to post
akafranz
..."Okay," she thought "this level on the Beaufort Scale calls for a different tactic..."

 

I can't believe there are many that know what the 'Beaufort scale' is, but it sounds like you exceeded the scale and nearly got into the 'tree limbs bend, break and come onto the roadway' scale.

 

I will never again be able to cross the Great Basin and not remember your 'Dust Beelzebub' or 'Dust all that is evil in and wrong with the universe...'

 

Thanks for the great ride tale imagery!

Ken

 

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...