Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico’

Not a Motorcycle, but just as exciting, the Miata sees the SW…

It was a holiday of indifference. Not that I don’t enjoy the company of my two sons, but without the grandboys, Christmas just didn’t seem like Christmas. Gary, who decided to make it difficult for all other husbands, gifted a 2010 Miata to me for my being “a very good girl”. He had two mandatory weeks off from work so the combination of new vehicle and no real reason to stay home, got us out and about with mostly me at the wheel!

We celebrated the holiday with my sister who recently relocated to her boyfriend’s home on the CA coastline. The weather though a bit chilly was sunny and alluring. We had fun traversing the five villages around Pismo Beach, checking the Monarch migration, and eating and drinking to satiation and just plain hanging out. Time flew and we had plans to meet friends near Tucson at the Essence of Tranquility Hot Springs, so we high tailed it to the south the day after Christmas.

Winter in CA on Christmas day…

Anyone for a pint?

Watching some practice kite surfing.

Gary and Randy, two very handsome gents!

The CA Monarch Migration which is absolutely breathtaking!

Randy is a windsurfer and he took us to his favorite surfing spot, but sadly the water lever was extremely low. All the local windsurfers await the possibility of rainfall or any other course that would alter the dropping of Lake Lopez.

The Miata is a real trooper. It’s a blast to drive, comfortable and amazingly enough, easy to pack. Maybe my extensive motorcycle journeys had my focus on just how much one can pack in small spaces. It was somewhat like a puzzle, but we were able to get all our goodies and more into the Mighty Miata., my Black Beauty.

We left Sharon and Randy’s house fairly late so knew we probably would not get as far as we would have liked, and ended up in Indio, CA for the night in a very cute vintage motor lodge, the City Center Motel. The following clear cold morning we loaded up and headed for Safford, AZ, in the muted sun.

Our motel in Indio and it had all the three “c”s, cute, clean and cheap.

A motel version of the Sistine Chapel.

At dinner, I coerced Gary into a selfie at an awesome Mexican restaurant, the Pueblo Viejo Grill.

When we left Indio, the sun was shining, but the temperature was a whopping 36 degrees. It was the beginning of COLD morning temps and I knew just how good the hot springs were going to feel!

Ahhhhhhhh….

Essence of Tranquility is a funky place, but one that I adore. It’s probably not for everyone since there are no upscale amenities, but the water is hot, the surroundings beautiful and it is run by kind and caring people.

The casitas are clean, with shared bathrooms, a full communal kitchen and living room with cable tv and wifi. The price is inexpensive and includes as many soaks as one can enjoy! For what more could one ask?

Well…maybe no frost.

We spent two nights soaking and enjoying our friends company and parted ways at “The Thing” and infamous AZ roadside attraction.

Photo by Roxi of The Good Luck Duck.

A selfie with friends Mark and Deb as we parted company at “the Thing”.

I have been asked to describe “the Thing”, but really one needs to see it for themselves. 😉

There is the re-creation of a torture chamber with each character made from a piece of solid wood. Hmmmmm, why??

There are plenty of these branch characters…

And though it seems sacrilege to disclose the real thing(s), here they are in all their mummified glory.

My friend Roxi said it best, “Thing 1 and Thing 2, may they rest in peace.” She also added, “Sorry, but if I was gonna see this stuff, so were you”. The photo credit goes to her!

Well, after the chills and thrills of “The Thing” we knew we both needed a pint or a margarita so headed directly to Bisbee and our new favorite watering hole, St Elmos.

Photo credit: Nina Fussing 2013


I suppose this would easily be considered a dive bar, but for us it was a great place to meet the locals, have some stimulating conversations and decent booze.

We were booked into a very nice old hotel, The Letson Loft Hotel.

Google Image


Though the room was beautifully furnished and the bedding comfortable, the experience left us feeling a bit luke-warm. I believe if we had a room over the street, we would have enjoyed it more. As it was our room had a sun porch behind it, where the guests could have their provided morning breakfast and lively conversations. At 7 am, I could have done without them!

This was our first time to Bisbee, AZ, which I had been hearing about for a number of years from both friends and my father, who raved about the town. It’s really quite adorable and very artsy but built on a steep mountain and some areas could only be reached by climbing the many long stairways. I must say it’s definitely exhilarating!

There is an abundance of charm.

and some definite questions…

Some questions were answered by the downtown street images and the awesome Bisbee Museum whose state of the art displays were created with the Smithsonian’s assistance.

Much of our time was spent wandering and eating. 😉

Dinner at the Cafe Roka was divine and though I don’t usually do food porn, I simply can’t help but show you these!

My Lobster, scallop and shrimp.

Gary’s Duck Breast

We look quite content.

After dinner we took a nice evening walk with the town still aglow from Christmas.

We left Bisbee on New Year’s Eve heading for Truth or Consequences, NM.

A last look at Bisbee, the vintage trailer motel, The Shady Dell.

The drive to TorC as it’s called by the locals was stunning. The sun was sharing some warmth but the wind began howling and by the time we reached Lordsburg, NM, it was showing its blowing desert power. Dust was billowing in the distance and though the Miata sits super low, I could still feel the strong arm of the wind.

We were staying with friends in TorC, but had booked New Year’s Eve at one of the town’s most posh hot springs, The Sierra Grande. Our friends were in Albuquerque that evening, so we were on our own!
It’s a lovely resort and they are charging for it.

The oversaturated photo provided by Google Images.

We had dinner at the Los Arcos, a local steak house that was amazingly crowded and served a good meal but with a serious over an hour wait! Gary was getting antsy, but I was just going with da flow.

It’s a tough call when Gary resorts to Sam Adams!

Post dinner soak selfie!

New Year’s Day with a light dusting of snow!

The outdoor soaking tub, where I spent a very relaxed morning!

Onward to our friend Annie and David’s home.

And the home of Merle, the best dog ever!

Gary gets a tamale session from master chef, David.

Merle oversees the effort.

While in TorC, we looked at a property for sale. We still haven’t heard the outcome of this place, but have fingers crossed to make it our own.

I can’t help but add a couple of past photos that show why I so love TorC.

We spent a few glorious days with Annie and David. Ate the best meals of the trip, played a silly quote game, and imbibed late into the evening. What a relaxing time, one we can’t thank Annie and David for enough!
While there we were treated to a glistening sight of new fallen snow.

We hated to leave, but knew it was inevitable. We headed home, knowing it would be a two day process. We did see some lovely country but as we listened to the book, The Bone Clocks, the miles flew by. Before we knew it, we were back in CA drinking in a gorgeous sunset.

Big Money Rally continues across NM into AZ and UT

The next chapter!
I actually slept in a bit and didn’t get up until nearly 8am. The wind was already blowing, although without nearly the power that would come later in the day. I geared and packed up and headed to my friend’s home 30 miles east of Albuquerque but stopped on the way to get a BMR shot of the Madonna statue.

It was early in the day when I arrived at Colleen’s home but not without challenge. The directions she provided were impeccable and the GPS followed them perfectly, however I was not convinced they were correct and turned a dirt road early and ended up having to do a 6 point u-turn as she watched me from the correct street. We both had a good laugh when I finally arrived!

Colleen’s lovely home

The wind picked up with high warnings for the next couple of days and I found myself enjoying the hospitality of my friend and her two wonderful children. I even watched a few episodes of Kino’s Journey a great anime tale of a motorcyclist traveling in dystopian society.
Perfect…

Good Morning Chickens…

Fancy pants or is that stole?

The morning is truly special in the desert. Just look at that light!

(more…)

Love those Vintage Post Cards!

Sorting through an old box of ephemera, I discovered a stack of old postcards. Some of these were from my grandmother’s collection, but others were ones that I have found through the years. What made them interesting to me was not only the old colorized artwork, but searching to find if the places were still in existence. Obviously, places like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz were still around, but what about an old resort in Roswell, NM or the YMCA Hotel in Chicago. Well here is what I discovered.

YMCA Hotel 826 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL

NOW from google–no longer a hotel but businesses

Lea Lake Bottomless Lake State Park, Roswell, NM

Now from TripAdvisor–still existing, but had moved more to and RV and Campsite less elegant but still maintained and visited!

From google–a larger image of the area. I’m definitely curious enough to want to go and check it out.

Love this one!

Sadly Herman’s Seafood is long gone, but was a force for many years serving the “best” seafood in Oklahoma City. It was a family run business started downtown and eventually moved to 16th and Classen where a Mexican restaurant is now housed. I liked its curb view better in its heyday. It’s currently looking a little shoddy.

In San Francisco, CA there are always a treasure trove of old vintage post cards. My mother was born there as was I and my grandmother lived there for years, so I found these next cards in my grandmother’s collection.
The Golden Gate Bridge on which my grandfather working painting the surface.

Google image and awesome shot!

My mother danced at Treasure Island’s Golden Gate International Exposition. The building there were amazing works of art constructed of SF Bay mud and 19 months of construction. The link I provided will show you several of the building which were deconstructed after the fair.
My mother!

This card shows the Temple Camp.

One building remains from the event and that’s the Treasure Island Administration Building which was once adorned with Pacific Unity sculptures numbering 20. The building alone still stands with a few sculptures intact. I find the history of the island really interesting especially when the fair was the event of the time!
From google

From google…

Hotel Herald on Eddy St room rates were quite reasonable at Single with bath $2.00, Double with bath $2.50 and Twins with bath $3.00. Almost funny when you consider what it costs to stay in SF now and you get to pay an additional amount for parking!

From Google

What visit to San Francisco would be complete without seeing Alcatraz Island??

Today from google images

Many of us ride through Bishop, CA everytime we go south on Hwy 395, but I have never see this Deco gem! I searched everywhere and could not find any information on this vintage motel. Too Bad!

Last for this post is a not near as old but still vintage postcard of the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City. This was my stomping ground when I was 15 and 16 yet mostly able to get into the bars on the Comstock. My mom always wondered where I was all those nights I said I was going to the library. 😉 I got to see some amazing music there, Big Brother and the Holding Co, The Charlatans, and other Family Dog Productions. It was the certainly a great time to be young and daring! I must admit, I did experience being thrown out a time or two, but one of my pals used to let me watch from the kitchen. It was COOL!

From google…the RD now…awwwwwww damn!

One of my favorite sports while moto-traveling is finding old post cards. I have collected a few and gotten many from my grandmother’s collection but it’s always a treat to add another to my collection! It’s like having a time machine into the past. 😉

Riding the World…2012

Every year I like to do a culmination slide show of the year of riding. This year I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to ride with one of my best pals, Tyler Risk. We did a 3500 mile ride up to the great Northwest and Canada in the summer, seeing some absolutely gorgeous country and wonderful friends. Me, a mostly solo rider, totally enjoyed my time with Tyler, sharing motel rooms and stories and having what I would consider a wonderful “girly” escape. The only thing we lacked was some spa time and we’ll have to remedy that this year. Upon our return to CA, Tyler got this lovely shot up on a ridge somewhere above Hwy 299 near Red Bluff. Look at that amazing sky!!

I also went twice to the Southwest, once going as far as Amarillo, TX. Those trips both were about 3500 miles each. And my other noted weekend ride was the Pashnit Girly Ride with an amazing bunch of women riders. We toured the Northwest corner of CA, consumed libation and ate wonderful food. What a group of hooligans, one of which I am proud to be part!

My last journey involved riding to Solvang to view the motorcycle museum there. What an adorable little town and the museum was simply amazing and if you love antique motorcycles, it’s a must see!!

All in all this year held nearly 15,000 miles of smiles, but a bit less that my usual year of riding. Guess I’m more easily homesick these days and missing my amazing husband who supports my moto-wanderings around the country. I am fortunate to have this dream of touring North America come to fruition. It’s a life I would never trade for anything else…well, that is unless it involved touring the entire world! 😉

I do hope you enjoy this year’s video presentation. Be sure to select the HD mode. It’s a much cleaner copy!

Riding the World…2012 from Donna Rees on Vimeo.

For your enjoyment, here are the links to the last two years of moto slide shows.

Riding the World…2011 from Donna Rees on Vimeo.

Riding the World…2010 from Donna Rees on Vimeo.

A Week of Firsts…New Bike part 3

I left Taos fairly late since the a temperature was a brisk thirty five degrees. I can’t believe how much time I spend being cold on this trip. Yes, it was the first time I have been without my heated gear this time of year as it’s still a bit early to take to the roadways in much of the county. Taos was no exception. I layere­d up and hoped for the best, and got it, that is until I reached the scenic high mountain pass between Tres Piedras and Chama. The mountain climbed to over 10,000 feet and the roadsides were covered in snow. It was a chilly ride, one where my fingers went numb and I was bone chilled. It’s difficult to keep your mind clear when you are so cold, somehow all you think about is being cold. I was glad to reach Chama and get inside to a cup of HOT tea which I not only savored but hovered over soaking up the heat!

Leaving Taos around 10am. I messed with the perspective for fun and decided my Versys looks pretty tough from this angle.

A versys streetfighter!

Rio Grand Gorge

­My plan was to reach Moab on this day and after looking at my newly acquired maps, I discovered that I could do so fairly easily. The rest of the ride was gorgeous but several miles were very brisk. I was thrilled to get back down to the desert country around Monticello, UT where the air was dryer and warmer.

Outside of Taos is a area where Earthships are built. It’s actually quite the site, and sadly I didn’t stop so my photos are not the best but it will give you the idea. All these homes are off the grid, making their own power, composting waste and using the earth for warmth and cooling. They were pretty cool and I was wishing I had more time to check them out.

As I rose in elevation, I began seeing snow on the roadside. I had no idea how much more was ahead!

I had hot tea and homemade fries here and they were delicious. In fact all the food from the kitchen looked fabulous and freshly made. The portions were huge.

I don’t know what this butte is called, but witches tit seemed appropriate.

By the time I got to Moab, I was certainly ready!

Motels are not cheap in Moab, but I did find a good one that seemed a great deal. It was the Big Horn Lodge and while everything else in town was at least $100+ this was $78. The room was really cute, all knotty pine, with a great bed and plenty of hot hot water! 😉

Map Taos to Moab

I began by actually getting up early and getting on the road after a quick cup o’ coffee. I wanted to see Canyonlands, which I had not yet visited. Don’t skip this park if you get down there, as I did the first time Gary and I rode through the area. We went instead to Arches, which is also not to be missed, but this park is not overly crowded, great for hiking and with few tourists. I spent way longer than I should have, but enjoyed it immensely.

The Grand View

The combination of colors, I found amazing!

This is what traveling solo does to the portrait! Nice hair!!

Not a lot of wildflowers growing, but this flowering plant was seen now and again.

Versys queen of the desert!

Heading towards Hanksville.

Riding into Capitol Reef area, my very favorite National Park! There are many reasons why I love this place, but one is because it has all the beautiful warm colors of the sandstone desert, but also has water running through it. There are petroglyphs, wonderful hiking trails, and they even have amazing homemade pie at the historic Gifford Homestead. You can even pick fresh fruit when in season and see a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) extending almost 100 miles. The park is truly am amazing place, one that is really quite undervalued.

What could possibly be more awesome!

I have to admit…I’m inclined to consider camping here…and that means a lot!

The astonishing Hwy 12.

Hwy 12 is probably one of my all time favorite highways. I simply never tire of the sights or the twisties. Only the speed limit vexes me, and that I push as much as I dare!

Hwy 89

This time I decided to make Cedar City so took 89 to the hwy 14 cutoff. As I turned onto the road I saw a reader board saying that the road was closed at Duck Creek Village only about 10 miles up the road.. I was frustrated about the prospect of routing another road when I saw a guy riding an ATV and flagged him down to ask if there was any other way around. He told me to take the Forest Service rode 061 right before Duck Creek and it would eventually connect to Hwy 143, unless there was too much snow and ice. Uh huh…how long is eventually?

I set off on another adventure over a road that seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t see another vehicle until I reached the ski area on the other side. Before the ski area, I experienced a very cold but gorgeous ride the summit being over 10,000 feet, but let me tell you just how pleased I was to be losing elevation and I careened downward to the valley below. Hwy 143 and the subsequent forest service road was a delight and one that I will be sure to ride again, in warmer weather.

Love seeing the progression of my dirty windscreen.

The summit of Hwy 143 near Brian’s Head ski area.

When I finally reached Cedar City the time was nearly 8pm. I was ready for a hot shower and a quick bite before bed in yet another motel room.

Map Moab to Cedar City

Next: the unexpected wind storm!