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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Riding to Roswelll, NM

I had the opportunity to ride down to Roswell, NM back in the summer. The company I work for has a manufacturing facility there and circumstances prompted that I visit. A co-worker was also going and we looked at one another and said....


The ride down was uneventful. We had beautiful weather and it was fun to be on the road instead of the office. I've never ridden in that part of New Mexico, so it was a nice trip of wide open spaces.

Coming back, however, was another story.

Heading out of Roswell, the trip, again, was unevenful. Our first gas stop at Vaughn, New Mexico, was the first indication that the trip "might" head south was when my friend stated, "we have to get around that cloud--there's a front rolling in".

No problem, out stop was short and off we go.

As we ride north, the skies grows more and more grey. Can we make it to Las Vegas? We do, and the skies seem to lighten a bit, thank goodness. We take another fuel stop and decide to press on. Next fuel stop planned is Raton.

Leaving Las Vegas (ha ha, pardon my pun), we head north on Interstate 25. The clouds again grow dark and I feel the temps drop. I know it is going to rain. Being a big believer in donning rain gear before the rain sets in, I signal to my friend to question whether she was ready to do so. No, she signals back, let's go a few more miles.

A few miles later, it starts raining. Any rain while riding on the interstate is no fun. I'm thinking when we should stop--when my partner in crime rides up and tells me that we need to don gear at the next exit.

No worries, can do. By that time, it is really really coming down. And the off ramp is about a mile down the road. At the exit, we discover that we can't pull off--the ramp is closed due to construction. GREAT! Traffic is also due to one lane since the state is regrading the right lane. DOUBLE GREAT!

At that point, I decide to stop under the next bridge and put my gear on. At least then I'll be able to not get any wetter. Unfortunately, the construction is still in place and I'm having to navigate the uneven asphalt, the grading of the right lane.....on the interstate with traffic and the pouring down rain. Getting to the shoulder was quite the challenge.

I do get pulled over and out of the rain. As I don my rain gear, I'm wondering how long the rain will last and if we can wait out the storm. My friend and I discuss the option and she seems to think that this is an all-day storm and we would be sitting for quite a while. So the decision is to press on. I have ridden in the rain; I survived.

Back on the road (and in the rain).....we ride on the shoulder. For safety--for trying to enter back onto interstate traffic with the torn up lane was very dangerous. Besides, who wants to ride on the interstate in the pouring down rain??

We finally do get back into the traffic and fortunately, the rain lets up to practically nothing. At this point, we are between Springer and Maxwell. With the rain stopped to an occasional spatter, we are just that much closer to home.

Unfortunately, the next problem arises--lightning.

I am, deathly afraid of lightning and being on the bike. I watch the lightning that is 10 or so miles away....silently wishing that it stays "that far away". Unfortunately, it doesn't. When the bolt of lightning flashes in the sky directly over head, I'm done. Pull over time.

However, being where we were in New Mexico created a problem. Not only are we in the middle of no where--there was no where to take shelter! No where to run, no where to hide, nothing to do but press on. Geez, was this day get any worse?

We finally make it to Raton. Fortunately, we were on the other side of the storm, so the rain stopped, the lightning was behind us, and it looked like the rest of the trip would be uneventful. So the decision to press on was made.

Just over the Colorado border, we stop for fuel. At that point, the rain gear comes off and my friend and I just laugh about the experience. Well, we were relatively unscathed except for being a bit damp and having the beejebers scared out of me, so the only thing left was to find the humor.

Okay, we press on. Unfortunately, when we got north of Trinidad, the encountered another front. Another storm? Well, it was pretty far off and we were riding in the sunshine. Maybe we'll miss this one.

Continuing north on I-25, we encounter wind. No worries, the stretch of highway here is typically windy. Except it's a 50 mile an hour cross wind with gusts. So, here we are, after rain, construction and its the 45 degree right hand lean. Greeeeeeaaaaaaaaaatttttttttt.

I'm annoyed by the wind, but am also greatful. After all, we are still in the sunshine. There are rain clouds around us, but somehow we are magically riding in a small corridor of sunshine and blue sky. So I deal with the wind and don't mentally gripe--too much.

Except something strange then starts to rain--in the sunshine!

I immediately pull over in the rain--no bridge needed. Put my rain gear on and mentally's deja vu three hours ago!!! I grit my teeth and get back on my motorcycle. I am bound and determined to get home one way or another!!

Fortunately, the rain wasn't so bad as it was before, but the wind never let up. I didn't even bother to stop to take off my raingear after the rain stopped. I figured if I stopped to take it off, it would start to rain again.

We had 50+ mph winds all the way home. I was never so happy to see the Woodmen Exit in the Springs. My friend and I parted ways and I rode the short way to my house.

The next day, we rehashed the trip with the rest of my office co-horts. While not fun, it was a funny story--especially since we survived the whole escapade unharmed.

Close another motorcycle story. Hey, as long as no one crashed, everyone was safe, and we got to our destination, it was a good ride....LOL...

Until the next adventure....

Keep the shiny side up!

~The Rainbow Wahine


Rick said...

Sounds like a long day! I recently rode for 8 hours in the rain. Not a sprinkle, but a constant down pour. I can certainly relate.

Beaker said...

Great story Christine!!