Day 3
October 12th, 2016
Motel 6
Amarillo, Texas

I slept well and was ready to go when the alarm sounded off.  I vowed a early start and made due on that promise.  

At 5:30 am it was pitch black, might as well been 12 midnight.  It took 2 trips to get all my gear down.  I cleaned off the FJR's screen and front faring.  The Shoei was also a mess but and I took care of it with the Plexus.  The morning was cool so put the Klim jersey under, with leather gloves for the first time since somewhere in Mississippi.

With all revelant trip meters reset, I left the motel parking lot straight up 6 am for a on time departure, and took off West on I-40.  My last trip through here I was on the way home.

My stopping point for the day is a state park in the Santa Fe area where I planned to camp out.

I-40 was nothing but dark, and belonged to the big rigs.  I was a stranger in a strange land as I found my place on the highway.  They were professional and didn't crowd me.  Because it was dark, I rode the speed limit with nothing extra, and sometimes a little less.  When a rig passed me I I flashed my bright to let him know it was good to come back over.  The sky ahead of me had no indication a sun rise was immient.   Even though I couldn't see it, I knew the landscape around I-40 was featureless.   It was too dark to see any of Carhenge.  Y'all's loss, because I've seen it already.

The only lights on the shores of I-40 came from the hundreds of windmills.  It reminded me of a airport runway.  I was good on gas, "Tucumcari about 100 miles, not stopping."

The headlights on the Feejer do a good job in the dark, and the dash is lit without being bothersome.  Before leaving Alabama I added several PSI in front and back to compensate for the high speed running and touring load.  The fact I did that makes the FJ less cushion on bad roads.  I-40 was was rippled and bumpy.  "I gotta do something, this road is beating me to death."  I took the next exit (30 miles) that had nothing but a stop sign to look at.  To set the suspension the Fj has to be in a stopped position. I adjusted the ESA to Standard -5 to soften the ride.  "If this doesn't work I'm gonna go comfort setting next."  I hate going full soft because it makes the bike feel too mush for my tastes.  The numbers I chose seemed a good a comromise and it was.  The bike felt much better traversing bumps and ripples, and no longer jarred my spine.  ESA is a great tool on a touring bike and the Yamaha has alot of settings to choose from.  

The night seemed never ending riding west.  On and on it went, riding away from the sunrise has a price.  Finally as I neared the state line the sun cleared the horizon.

"Finally as I neared the state line the sun cleared the horizon." 

After a long morning I was glad to be in Tucumari.  A sign noted old route 66 could be seen at the next exit.  I took the exit and found my way over to the old highway for several miles.  Riding on 66 made me think it was 1961.  My dad use to tell me stories about a highway that traversed America.  It carried a guy to the promised land of California, where it seemed everyone wanted to live.  My dad never was able to drive 66, but when I was 14 and watching Bronson on TV, I told myself oneday I would.  I have ridden portions of 66 in various states and feel good about that.   The old highway dead ended and I stopped for a pic.

 Old Route 66
Arriving in Tucumari, it was time for a butt break.  I came off I-40 into the business disctrict looking for a McDonalds.  I found one and pulled in for a well deserved rest.  I ordered hashbrowns and a drink and found a booth.  I made a few facebook entries and called Debbie.  It was chilly.  Yesterday it was 91 in Texas, today it is 53 in New Mexico.  It was growing cloudy so rechecked the weather app.  "It says no rain in the area but it sure doesn't look like it." I was sitting in my booth sideways when a lady cleaning came by and said I was cute in my "fancy riding gear."


​Retro motels are making a comeback, like this one in Tucumari, New Mexico

I rode back through the business district and it was like the Yamaha was a time machine, as old motels and drive ins lined the road on 66.  I  gassed at a Shell station before leaving Tucumari on SR 143.  Another route from a previous ride but on this day I was going north.  The road was quiet with little traffic, and the riding was good.  Clouds began to clear and the air warmed up.  I set the cruise on 80 and rode.  I got in some good thinking on 143.

Conchas Dam was the only water for miles.  I passed a few trucks pulling boats.

​Great day for a ride!
​  Clouds rolling over the mountains on SR 143        

I was cruising along when I saw a bush that some joker made a Christmas tree out of.  I played along and stopped to check it out.  It reminded me of Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree.

​The FJR checks out the Charlie Brown Christmas tree on SR 143

After a nice ride I ended in Las Vegas, New Mexico.  I learned on a previous trip the folks here take pride in the fact they are the FIRST Las Vegas, predating the one in Nevada by many years.

Feeling a little hungry I whipped in a local Mexican place for lunch and devoured 2 tacos.  Good stuff.  I brought my atlas in with me to get the big picture my Garmin couldn't provide.  "Hmmm not that far from Santa Fe, today will be a easy 300 something miles."  That was good because the previous 2 days were long and hectic.  Debbie called when I was just finished eating.
"Eating lunch?"

"Yeah, tacos"

"I thought I could catch ya eating.  I'm about to do some shopping"

"I'm getting too predictable in my old age, that when I'm 1500 miles from home you know when I'm eatin lunch"

"I know you eat lunch between 11 and 11:30 if you have a choice."

"well have fun shoppin"

I was outside gearing up to ride out when 2 senoritas walked by.  One of them commented, "Nice bike."  I get that often.   Of my 3 rides, the Yamaha by far is the most commented on.  The chrome and gray with the striking red paint job, and finish are top rate.  

From Vegas I went I-25 South, and quickly knocked down the 75 miles between cities at 90 mph.  I was there before I could finish singing the third song in my head's playlist.  I had the screen up high and spent most of the ride leaned back on my Motofizz tailbag.  Of my 3 bikes the FJR's cockpit is the least comfortable.  The bike has a definite lean to the sport side, the screen and fairing are smaller and lower, so I get more buffeting and turbulence, but nothing that takes away from the ride.  The trade off is the bike is slick in the wind, and leans great.  It is light and agile still or moving.

The GPS took me through downtown, because really no other way to get to Hyde Park from I-25.  This was my first visit to Santa Fe and the center of the city is distinct and charming, but busy.  I cleared it and rode up a somewhat twisty mountain road to the park.  There was a lot of traffic both directions so no leaning was possible.  It was 3pm in the afternoon and it looked like a Sunday.  "Man doesn't anybody have a job around here?  For the first time I was starting to see Fall colors.  

    " For the first time I was starting to see Fall colors."  

 I found the park and pulled in the gate.  The place looked busy, and the road to the campsites did not favor a top heavy FJR.  Rutted, and sandy, it looked like a graveyard for loaded sport touring bikes.  If it was just a short distance I'd do it, but not this.  "Ok this ain't gonna work, so I put in for the local Motel 6 in the zumo and got my route.  It meant I'd have to double back in all that traffic, back acoss the "The Plaza" and out near I-25.  And do he samething in the morning on the way out.  I was riding back out of the hills when the reserve light went to flashing.  "I'll gas up in the morning right now I want out of this mess."

The Motel 6 was located in less than good part of town, but I was too frazzled to shop.  I was granted a ground floor room, and paid my 46 dollars.  and glad to be off the road, after a 338 mile day.

After unloading I went out and cleaned the FJR, then went across the street for a Mountain Dew and popcorn.  I wasn't hungry so skipped supper.

The night went by fast.  I put in notes and made few phone calls, with the TV on.  I went to bed looking forward to the next day's ride and Monument Valley.

Next Day 4- On to Santa Fe