By JB “Papa” Brostrom – Papa was up early walking the grounds of the Timber lodge searching for signs of life. It was two hours before wheels rolling so not much was stirring. First thoughts were in wonder of Slaw’s condition this morning. Would he be feeling great? Would he be feeling as though he lost to Tyson the previous day? After cleaning windshields and drinking a cup of bad Timber lodge coffee there were signs of life among the rest of the Pack. Papa and Gordito had a “discussion” about the route. Papa wondered if we would travel US 60 through Pie Town. Gordito insisted we would travel 260 all the way to Roswell. Papa had already checked with The Google to know that Gordito’s 260 would cross over the White Mountains and merge with 60 about 40 miles before traveling through Pie Town. As planned the Pack met at a local diner at 8:05 for some breakfast. Papa once again brought up a Pie Town visit. This time he was met with general incredulity from the balance of the Pack. One by one the Pack members visited the facilities and prepared their bikes for the 200ish miles to our next intended stop… the confluence of US 60 and Interstate 25. As the Paco and Doc exited met the rest of the Pack in the parking lot they informed us that a learned local told them the Pie Town fanatic had it right. They were given explicit instructions to the most appealing Pie establishment in Pie Town. We roared off heading easterly on US 260.
The first part of the morning was a cool, not chilly, ride up and over the White Mountains and into New Mexico. US 260 had vanished and we were on US 60. The New Mexico winds have picked up a bit as we come of the mountain. About 4 miles short of Pie Town Gordito’s non DOT approved cover was blown off his head. This brought the Pack to a side of the road stop. Kickstands down, engine off while Gordito proceeded to turn back for his $4.95 non DOT approved cover. Given we are mostly men of a certain age, and the complete lack of traffic we decided to use the roadside as a urinal. Harleys lined up, leathered gentlemen lined up facing away from the road… paints a hysterical picture. Gordito was unsuccessful in his search so we zipped up, saddled up and road on. Soon we approached Pie Town and just as soon Pie Town was in our rear view mirror. Perhaps in the future we will be able to fully partake the Pie Town experience.
Aside from a persistent and nagging wind we had an uneventful ride across the high plains of central New Mexico. Our next point of interest was our travel past the Array. This is where Uncle Sam is listening for otherworldly Uncle Sams. It is interesting but not enough to apply brake pressure. Finally we come down off the high plains into the Rio Grande valley and the confluence of US 60 and I 25. We’ve lost an hour via Time zone so it is now early afternoon. We need fuel for the bikes and bodies. We make sure Slaw gets twice what he thinks he needs. No more ERs for Slaw. 9 mil is his only option. After a restful stop we depart with full tanks and empty bladders. Now we head on I 25 south for about 7 miles before getting on US 380 heading east towards Roswell.
(We were told the highway in Pine Top was the same road that would take us all the way to Roswell. We’re now on our 4th highway of the day… just sayin) It pains me to say this but you’re better off following Gordito than following his directions. When we left the last fuel stop we had about 180 miles before arriving Roswell. Our route of travel would take us through Lincoln New Mexico, about 80 miles short of Roswell. The wind has now become gusty and unpredictable. Dust devils were not infrequently crossing the highway causing some interesting handling characteristics. Thankfully the Pack made is safely but we did have one casualty. Slaw had a Jillian Fund purple elephant bungie cord’d to his passenger seat. As the result of a particularly violent dust devil the stuffed animal was thrown out and down into the oncoming lane. As it hit hard and rolled it was determined we would not be able to retrieve her so we pressed on.
Soon we arrived in Lincoln and pulled over, again with kickstands down. This is a town so little it doesn’t have curb and gutter nor public facilities. It Does, however, have the definitive Billy The Kid museum. Scotty the Museum guy is not only wildly enthusiastic for, but also incredibly knowledgeable about, “The Kid”. We spend a good 30 minutes at this museum, which gave us access to its facilities! We learned that Gordito knows all there is to know about The Kid. We were treated to an explanation of characters and even their Hollywood counterparts for The Kid movies.
Time to roll on. We have about an hour left, About 30 minutes later we turned off US 380 and onto US 70 and proceeded Northeasterly to Roswell. Now any wind was at our back and we had a magical ride for the final 30 minutes into Roswell. As we entered the Roswell city limits Gordito made an abrupt left turn into the Roswell Harley Dealership. We parked and entered the air conditioning for free water and overpriced t-shirts. There was some discussion and marvel at our dearth of drama compared to our Day 1.
We proceeded to our bikes and the engines roared. One by one we got into formation on the apron of the parking lot as we prepared to make the 10 minute run to our hotel. 5 of us were in line and ready. Slaw came last and pulled up behind Gordito. Making a last moment decision to move alongside Gordito rather than directly behind caused Slaw to brake hard while turning sharp right into the down grade of the apron. A quick stop of his momentum and the rest is cinematic history. The rest of us watched, along with some old dude on his softail with a cig hanging from his lips, as Saw slowly and with ballerina precision lay his bike down. There went our drama-less day! Before Slaw could stand up Papa and Doc were there to put the bike back upright. Slaw took a breath to get settled knowing the only scratches and bruising were to his pride. Off we went to our hotel.
We gave ourselves 45 minutes to shower and check email. Gordito had us walking to an average steakhouse. The hotel host suggested we not eat at KBobs. She suggested El Ceritos about 2 minutes further. She did suggest a great steakhouse but it was too far to walk. We try not to ride the bikes to dinner as the after effects of “desert” makes riding dangerous. Well… this is why Uber was invented. We could get two Uber X our an Uber XL… nope! Hotel host lady laughed at our suggestion that Roswell New Mexico would have rideshare services. Sure, they have aliens but no Uber?!?!
Gordito wins and we walk across the street to KBobs. We notice not may cars in the lot… in fact, none. We also noticed the tumble weed and long grasses may be indicating KBobs has gone kaput. No steakhouse tonight. Hotel host lady was right. El Cerito was a lovely Mexican style restaurant. Beer and wine only. WHAT?! Yes. If you’ve Never had a white wine margarita… keep it that way. Paco, knowing Gordito had smuggled in some Russian Mineral water decided to attempt to convince our lovely table server to look the other way while we manufactured our own martinis. Paco lost the battle upon knowing this lovely young woman would lose her job if we were to fail in our stealthy attempt.
Dinner conversation was mostly subdued. Staring with the tragic events in the Houston area, the conversation led to those tragic and seminal moments in our too recent history. It was a relatively quiet evening of reverent camaraderie. These are the moments we will remember forever. …but too will we remember Slaw’s precision lay down.
A quick nightcap at the hotel turned into Gordito inviting us all for morning protein shakes. To accomplish this he needed a blender and bananas. It wasn’t 2 minutes later and Gordito was taking possession, from front desk host, of an industrial blender. Papa is on banana duty in the morning and Gordito was have no excuses to prevent him from providing our healthy breakfast mañana.