Today’s Mileage: 313 miles
Total Trip Mileage so far: 4973 miles
Before heading out of Taos, I drove around town a bit to get some photos for Sandy. Taos has that small town friendly feeling and it is obvious at every turn that it is a community of artists.
Today’s ride route would start at Taos, where I would head first to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park at Angel Fire, then on to Cimarron, NM, to Raton, NM, to Capulin Volcano, to Clayton, NM, Boise City, OK and on into Guymon, OK for the night. In between Angel Fire and Cimarron was another one of those extraordinary roads I was getting so lucky at finding myself on. I had what I thought would be a really outstanding route selected out of Raton but was stopped by Snow! Had to backtrack and head to Boise City by a different route.
As I entered Angel Fire there were flags lining the road on both sides leading to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park – nice! Although I knew of this memorial for many years, I didn’t really know where it was – I had always wanted to visit it if I got a chance but once the Memorial was built in D.C. I did not think that much about it again – it was just a “lucky accident” that my randomly developed route led me right by it… and that I talked to the guys and found out about it.
The view from the knoll where the Memorial is located is very quiet except for the wind…and your thoughts, this morning mine were stuck in 1969 when my friend Jack was killed barely a month before we both were to go home. We had constantly talked about what we would do when we got back to “world” – he was from Northern California and thought I should come there, we would get jobs as aircraft mechanics, ride motorcycles, and have a great time. We were both 22 at the time – in the world of “what if’s”, I have often wondered what lives he and so many others would have had. It is a very tasteful and welcoming memorial, there are many personal items on display. But when you see things you had or your friends had it is a bit eerie. For an early morning, there were a lot of folks there, I talked with a few but mostly everyone seemed to be absorbed in their own slice of time.
North of Raton where I had that great route along the mountain ridge picked out, I had to turn around and backtrack – an hour and a half or so gone down the drain. But it was a nice ride up to that point. I picked a different route that was not as much of a fun road but was still pleasant. But SNOW! Who have thunk!
But as usual things work out, along the new route was an unexpected interesting stop – The Capulin Volcano – you could drive up to the top on the scariest of roads – no guard rails…
A surprise – I did not realize the Philmont high adventure Boy Scout Ranch was also right on my route. Christopher had fun times here – I can’t remember just now if Cody also went there. Cool find.
Cimarron was a stage stop on the old Santa Fe Trail – hard to imagine traveling across the country in a stage coach. No Hamptons then!
When I crossed into Oklahoma, that was pretty much the official start of the dreaded “flatlands”. And there’s more, with the flatlands you get the big Wind thrown in for free – no real hills again until you pass Oklahoma City. I was going to visit Allan and Kerrie in Moore, OK but the events of the past few days have changed that plan. Allan, Kerrie, and son Alex are OK but their neighborhood is badly damaged. I don’t know how much damage there was to their house. But under the circumstances I decide it is not the most convenient time for them to have a guest so I plan to go around Oklahoma City and stay out of the way. I will plan to come back later for a visit on the Northwest RideAbout. I press on to Guymon since there is a Holiday Inn Express there with my name on it. I found the hotel, but not much in the food department – I have been lucky to have lots of great, or at worst, good meals on this trip so far – well, my luck ran out in Guymon where I had the worst dinner meal of the trip and even 50 miles or so down the road the next morning, the curse continued, got the worst breakfast of the trip. But things turned around by the next meal time…just a momentary blip in food quality.