Silver City, New Mexico,
April 05, 2016
by the time I got to my bike and the others were preparing to depart. David Gould went home the previous day due to some issues he needed to deal with. We will miss him.
To get to the mountain roads we wanted to ride, we had to first go south on New Mexico 90, hook up with US 70, than catch a shortcut on Arizona 75. We ended up in Clifton awaiting the arrival of Mike who had taken a picture of the Duncan City sign because his and his wife's dog was named Duncan and she wanted a picture.
Once we got past Clifton the first thing we witnessed is the most unbelievably large copper mine I've ever seen in the community known as Morenci. It is unbelievably large and deep and active. I understand it has been in operation since 1897 and it was obvious that was in full-time operation as we drove past.
Once again the broad expanses of the Southwest in the desert areas impressed me. Unbelievable views horizon to horizon and every which way you look. We then entered the mountains of the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest. Our destination was Alpine, Arizona.
To our delight, we encountered miles and miles of turns and twisties - many of the 10 mph switch back kind. We averaged only about 20 to 25 mph and after 80 miles we finally broke out of the very tight twisties on roads with no guard rails and thousand foot drop-offs on either side. My edgeaphobia grabbed me occasionally as I glanced to my left or right into this vast mountainous area only to have to capture courage and look straight at the road. I did not want to lose my balance.
As we neared the Alpine, Arizona, community we noticed that there were more visible forest fire remnants. In fact, the devastation of forest fires in this area was the most significant visual of the entire ride. At lunch in Alpine we discovered the 2011 fires in this area consumed over 406,000 acres of forest. The damage and devastation was visible for miles and miles throughout our route.
By the time we finished lunch we were all exhausted and we still had a 2+ hours ride back down to Silver City. Fortunately, the route on US 180 was one of the pleasant gradual sweeping curvy kind of rides and we were able to make significant progress arriving back at our motel by 630 local time.
This was a significantly beautiful wonderful and delightful day. But at the end of it all we were all quite weary and decided tomorrow's riding will not be as strenuous nor as long. Keep in touch for additional updates and new issues in the following days.