After breakfast in Pie Town, Frank Floyd and I went out searching for a wireless signal and found one about ½ mile away at the top of a hill. We completed some correspondence while the rest of the group went ahead to Grants – the plan being to eat in a restaurant, have a few beers, and sleep in a warm bed.
Joe our leader - "where are we?"
There have been dirt roads all the way and we saw two groups of elk – possibly winning the prize for stupidity. They galloped alongside my motorcycle and one darted in front of me – missing me by 10 feet. Later I surprised 4 pronghorn eating alongside the road. They were corralled on the one side by a fence and me on the other. They galloped along at about 50 mph and again one darted in front in me – I guess the instinct is not to stop.
Fascinating geography, mesas, color – but very dry
This is the road we are supposed to travel, without a GPS it would be impossible to find.
There are varied road conditions – sand, gravel and deep ruts. The hairpin turns on gravel going steeply uphill are particularly difficult – with a motorcycle weighing over 600 lbs. and with a driver and fuel over 800 lbs. In the rainy season I would think this is nearly impossible. This is one of the reasons we chose the departure date that we did and are taking the route from south to north.
Riding in dirt is much different than highway riding when your focus is normally far ahead of you. In dirt and gravel you need to not only look far ahead but you need to concentrate on the ground directly in front of you. This makes it difficult to enjoy your surroundings and inhibits the daydreaming which is enjoyable on a motorcycle under less challenging conditions.
The ride has been terrific and we passed through an area where the sedimentary rocks have eroded and left a tapestry of volcanic rock looking as if it were thrown there. The black volcanic rock is commonly used as a feature in gardens.
Volcanic residue after sedimentary rock is washed away
We arrived at Grants around 4:00 p.m. – where Route 66 crosses the divide (now I40). Route 66 was completed in 1926 at about the same time that the automobile became popular. This opened the West to travel by car - “get your kicks on Route 66.”
The pack leaving the hotel
Tomorrow we have 200 miles of dirt riding and will then meet up with my sister Elizabeth Thornton and Susan and John Thornton for a cookout. The following day we will pass into Colorado.