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Silver City, New Mexico,
April 04, 2016

What a day.

We awoke to a thermometer that read 27° but by the time breakfast was finished and we were ready to mount it had risen ...

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to the upper 30s. A little chilly but it warmed up rapidly.

Our first destination was the Solarspot near Cloudcroft, New Mexico. This was a short 20 mile jaunt down a nice mountain road with a stop to overlook the White Sands Missile Range from the mountain on which Cloudcroft sets. Although the temperatures were chilly the ride was invigorating and wonderful system. I will edit this entry later with information about Solarspot.

There are patches of snow that still linger in the shadows on the mountains in this area and as you climb higher on the mountainside the ponderosa pine and spruce trees dominate. From the Solarspot location we journeyed back to Cloudcroft and then down into Alamogordo. The journey down was exciting with many rock formations to be seen and travel through. The temperature had warm by the time we reached Alamogordo and the White Sands National Monument. So much so we were sweating.

We took a few pictures of the group at the National Monument and then proceeded on one of the straightest stretches of road we been on so far including those from the previous days. It was a high-speed run across the White Sands desert until we reached mountains that could be seen the entire trip far, far away. Every time I travel the desert I am in awe of the pioneers who have traveled the deserts before me and how it must have taken them days to cover the 60 miles or so to get to the mountains they could see every morning. As always it is quite awesome again to feel the expansiveness of this desert.

We stopped for lunch at a place called the Valley Café in Hatch, New Mexico, and from there launched into the mountains after having traveled through the foothills for a good hour or so. We rose into the mountains to an altitude of over 8000 feet on one of the most twisted roads we've ever been on. I have traveled the Dragon's Tail in North Carolina and its 333 curves and turns in 11 miles. This route we followed into Silver City contains far more than 333 turns and it is four times as long. It was an exhilarating set of twisties that we are likely to take on again tomorrow from the opposite direction.

Along this route we came upon vast swatches of burned forest, a grim reminder of the massive forest fires of the 2011-2012 season.

I met Mike Egan, who had reserved the room that we will share at the motel, and we swapped stories and a few lies. Then Rob Golden, Don Morse, Mike Egan, Barry Solomon, Jack Hoffman, and me went out for supper at a local quaint little restaurant. A great riding day with more to come.

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