Before we leave Espanola, we gas up. We've picked up to additional riders...no probs. We talk about the ride, the roads and get our warning about riding our ride. There are going to be twisties!! Whooohooooo!!! So while I don't get to ride in with the Run, I get to ride twisties. Makes up for it....almost!
The weather is still holding. Of course, it's only been about 20 minutes since our fearless leader pointed it out, so it's too early to expect anything. Talking with the new riders, I quiz them on their preparedness for mountain riding. Have they ever ridden in the mountains and did they have cold weather gear? I told them I was putting mine on--because I know what it's like to ride up at high altitude and we were headed there.
I have my layers on. While it's nice to have them when it's cold...well, it's not cold now!!! So I'm pretty much sweating...and on a hot motorcycle. Not the good kind of "hot" motorcycle either. I know that it will soon change, so off we go.
Not much to think about; I settle in the groove of enjoying the ride. We do start to climb in altitude and get into the twisties. Clouds are there. The music of my iPod gets ignored as I concentrate on riding.
There is a fair amount of traffic on the road. We are in a loose pack, so I'm not in a hurry. The leaders, however, want to ride rather aggressively. So they take off and somehow I end up leading. Not a big deal, by any means. Except I'm leading a bunch of folks that I know very little about and riding down a highway that I've never ridden.
Great. Now the pressure is on. Ah well, just concentrate on the road ahead...
As we climb in elevation, the temperatures drop. I'm glad I have my gear on. That's one distraction that I don't need right now. And of course, with twisties, there are also....bicyclists.
No, I'm not anti-bicyclist. I used to ride one as my main mode of transportation. All I ask is that they share the same respect for the other vehicles on the road. I don't like the ones that assume that I'm watching for them or think they have right of way just because they are on a bicycle. I still watch for them, however.
This time, it wasn't the bicyclist. As I am going around a blind curve, I see the bicyclist coming down the hill in the opposite direction. What I didn't see and obviously didn't see me was the big van that decided to pass said bicyclist in blind curve. And by passing, I mean, ride in my lane. I swerved and managed to get out of the way without getting hit. Boy, I did have the beejeebers scared out of me. I was too startled to really get angry...until I got down the road a bit. Uttering a few choice words and wishing that the idiot was close enough that I could give him an unedited rant of his decision...well, not really a good thing to be distracted with while I'm still riding the mountain pass.
I try to shake the whole thing off since I do not want to miss a turn and end up crashing, I press on. My fun for this ride has certainly come to a low. Miserable weather, missing the group to ride, and now this....grrrrrrrr......
Oh yes, and we never do get rain but it sure does get cold!! Yeah, I'm having fun...NOT!!
Finally, we get to Eagle's Nest. On the way down, we pass the Angle Fire Memorial. If you haven't been to the memorial, I suggest that you do. It's an amazing place to stop. As I pass it, I remember that the memorial was built by a father in rememberance for losing his son in Vietnam and has become a symbol of those lost to war. As much misery as I've felt these past few days, I think that it is insignificant to what those families endured. OK OK OK, attitude adjusted.
My little group disbands. I'm stopping for coffee to warm up. One of the riders in the group mentions my close call with big van. I respond that I wasn't too happy, but in the end, no riders crashed so it was a good ride.
My friend Speedo Jack meetup and we decide to hit one of the local watering holes for dinner and wait for the rest of the Run folks to show up. We get a chance to visit and hash the day out.
It's all good.
My friends pull in and we putz around until the official Run for the Wall Dinner at Angel Fire.
Oh, the ride isn't over yet....wait until you hear this one.....
Keep the Shiny Side Up....
~The Rainbow Wahine