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Silver City, New Mexico,
April 03, 2016

I'm not certain how to describe today's ride. But I'll give it a shot.

We launched at 9 o'clock in the morning in crisp, cool air but not as cool or cold as yesterday morning. We left Midland and headed towards Cloudcroft which was our end of day destination. We have found driving through this section of New Mexico ...

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something we have found every time we drive through this section of New Mexico: is as flat as a slab of concrete and almost as uninteresting. It is necessary to endure the high plains of Texas and New Mexico just to get out of Texas and then to get into the mountainous areas of New Mexico. You need to go West young man - go West.

Somewhere around Artesia, New Mexico, we drove through at least 50 to 75 miles of nothing but oil pumps from as far as you could see from one horizon to the other. It seemed as though there was an oil pump every 100 yards in every direction and accompanying the oil pumps were the oil storage tanks. This portion of New Mexico is the eastern edge of the Mojave Desert and, as such, there is little, if any, greenery unless you were to move through the area within a week of a rainfall.

The expansiveness of this territory is impressive. It is most difficult to understand how large the earth really is in its smallness of the universe. However, when you ride through these vast expanses of nothingness you can, if you try, form some sort of grasp on the actual globe itself and it makes you feel very, very small. There's not much to do when you ride these unending straight, smooth roads in this part of New Mexico except to think or to listen to what you may be able to drum up on the radio. Most of the thinking evolves into an appreciation of the freedom themotorcycle gives you. I listened to a few national public radio interviews which I found quite interesting but did not listen to much music today. A brief episode of Casey Casum and his top 40 from the early 80s held my interest for some short period of time but soon I turned off that noise and listened only to the silence and the hum of the engine within that silence of the ride.

We rode up into the mountains, the Lincoln National Forest, on our way to Cloudcroft, New Mexico, and as we climbed the warm temperatures of the lower altitudes dissipated. We were quite chilly when we reached Cloudcroft at an altitude of over 6500 feet. Along with that altitude rise the oxygen thinned and many of us had to exert extra effort to make what used to be simple moves in our childhood. After checking into a quaint inn where we occupied all 10 of its rooms we walked down to the little bar in Cloudcroft for a couple beers and an unending, so it seemed, supply of stories, jokes, lies, tales and innuendos. The walk back to the inn was a serious effort as it was uphill the entire way of about 500 yards and demanded our lungs work extra overtime.

It was a great day. There's not a lot of beautiful scenery pictures. The only nature type pictures occurred after we were ascending toward Cloudcroft. Otherwise, it was desert living within oil fields with at least thousands of pumps nodding like birds drinking water out of a fountain and pulling the black gold up to the surface. We did notice the price of gas has jumped significantly in the past few weeks and at one place it exceeded the two dollars mark.

We leave tomorrow on the third leg of the trip to reach Silver City. These three days are merely prologue for the two days we'll spend in some glorious wonderful mountain biking that will come on Tuesday and Wednesday.

As a side note, Barry Solomon's bike threw its drive belt and we had to leave him behind in Midland. But he found a Harley-Davidson dealer who would be willing to work on his bike after they opened on Tuesday. So he rented an automobile and caught up with us in Cloudcroft. He will travel with us to Silver city with his vehicle where he will ride as a passenger on Don Morse's Spyder and then drive the car back to Midland where he will pick up his repaired motorcycle to return to his home in San Antonio.

Lots of laughter and lots of fun. 10 weary riders calling it a day.

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