Saturday, June 10, 2017

Big Bend & The Land of Enchantment - 1

Off we go
I have now logged geocaches in every county of the 10 most westward states by motorcycle. Adding New Mexico to this list would make a somewhat straight north south geographic line down from the eastern borders of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and then New Mexico. I had envisioned son, Yancey, joining me on this venture but he had a new job and I knew he was very busy. Meanwhile, I learned a motorcycling friend was planning a trip to the Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas. Making this trip alone was not really desirable from the standpoint of safety and to have a very experienced motorcycle traveler like my friend Sam along could be a much safer and more enjoyable trip. So I approached Sam with the proposition that I would go with him to the Big Bend country if he would accompany me along the perimeter counties of NM and put up with my geocaching stops. He had accompanied me on some short motocaching trips before so he knew what it was all about. Sam readily agreed so I began the planning months in advance.

Planning involves first selecting routes choosing back roads as much as possible and then selecting geocaches along the route that seem interesting and to serve as navigation points. I selected one alternate route going down and one alternate coming back in case of snow in the high country. I ended up with over 200 geocaches selected. Then as the time approached for the trip I reviewed each cache to make sure that it was still active and actually there.

Sam hates the heat and wanted to go in April but he also wanted to ride through the CO mountains on the return trip which was fine with me. However, I pointed out to him that it well might not be possible to get through those mountain passes that early. So we agreed to leave the 9th of May immediately after his pickle ball tournament which would also give me time to at least open up the farm.

Horseshow Bend
The appointed date arrived cool and clear and we departed from my house about 6:30 am. We stopped for a cache and a break at the top of the White Bird hill. We didn’t stop again until the Sheep Creek Rest Area north of Riggins. We made our way down Highway 55 and stopped in Donnelly to get gas and picked up another cache. In Horseshoe Bend we had a picnic lunch in a small park.

It’s always a real hassle getting through Boise and today was no exception. We took the Eagle Road route and it was very warm but could have been much worse. We rode I-84 with the 80 mph speed limit all the way to Bliss. It was nice to leave the interstate and we traveled down through Hagerman and Thousand Springs on Highway 30 and bypassed Twin Falls making our way to Jackpot, NV, where we had


A Bad Piece of Road
Sam at Cactus Pete's
I had the scariest part of the whole trip after we checked in the motel and I decided to pick up a couple geocaches in the area while Sam stayed behind to enjoy his “happy hour”. The cache in my sights was off the highway and up a hill. I noticed there was a dirt road going up the hill and as I was riding my Triumph Tiger XRx I thought I should be able to handle it. Shortly after I began up the hill the road got really bad and there was nowhere to turn around. Now this wouldn’t have been a problem for an experienced off road rider which I am not. Somehow I made it past that section only to encounter another one near the top. Even though I managed that section as well it had not bolstered my confidence. The cache had been down below me but as I said there was no place to turn around so I had to go all the way to the top. I turned around on top and again made it past the bad place up there. As it happened the cache was just off the road from the really bad spot lower down the road. I stopped the bike above the bad spot and went for the cache. I figured if I crashed I would at least have that cache. After finding the cache I walked through the bad section and tried to plan my descent. Finally I let `er rip and although getting off my planned route I made it through shaking like a leaf. I vowed I would not try a stunt like that again on this trip.

After returning I performed my daily routine of lubing my chain. Sam rides a BMW 1150 RT with shaft drive so he was relieved of the chain lubing chore. We had pizza in the Cactus Pete casino and turned in after traveling 452 miles and logging 7 geocaches with 1 DNF (did not find) for the day. To be continued.


Chuck said...

You vowed you would not try a stunt like that on this trip, but what about other trips. Will you get over your resolve?

Mike said...

Not unless someone is with me to help pick up the pieces.

Kathy said...

It feels like I'm living staycation all over again.