June 13th – Day #2
Raton New Mexico to Gunnison Colorado
We woke up to an overcast morning in Raton. The temperature was very nice hovering in the mid 40’s. I slept great and was up before everyone else. I decided to enjoy the smell of clean air. Nothing beat waking up in a tent and enjoying the smells of the great outdoors.
Everyone started getting up and mulling around somewhere around 7AM. Everyone was excited, ready to ride NM and CO. We closed up camp and jumped on the bikes headed for the Enchanted Circle. US 64 is a pretty remote stretch of road and it was pretty boring but the mountains in the horizon was calling our names. It sure made every mile easier to ride as the thought of cooler temps, fresh mountain air and breakfast was on our minds. That stretch is a tad scary from time to time as it is open range and there are many little critters eating and hanging out. The good news is they are comfortable with traffic and never made a move.
I have always loved that feeling of riding in the mountains. I grew up riding in NM so I have been spoiled. My father and I would ride these mountains for breakfast rides on Sundays; love the fresh air and the views around every corner. Mountain twisties are the best! We rode into Eagles Nest NM. It is so cool when you round the corner and see the big lake. It finally becomes a reality. We will be riding roads with these views and twists for the next 5 days.. Yeah baby! We were starving, so when the Cowboy cafe came into view, we pulled in without hesitation. The food was great. The guy behind the counter was a tad rude, but we did not care. We were on vacation.
We headed out to NM 38, this stretch of road is called the Enchanted Circle. The roads are great and the views spectacular. We cruised thru Red River and Questa before jumping on 522. This is not the best road as there is not much out there, but it was the fastest way to our goal. We stopped at the Colorado sign to snap a few pictures. We rolled in Alamosa CO and decided to fuel up. This is a small town, but damn it was noisy! Car alarms, loud pipes and cars honking their horns. It was maddening and really made it easy to leave town. The first gem of a road you come to is CO149. This stretch is one of my all time favorites in Colorado. We enjoyed the roads and the breath taking views.
We were introduced to the local law enforcement at the top of Slumgullion Pass (11,530FT) We passed a local sheriff on the way up the pass and actually thought he was going to leave us alone, until we pulled into a look out to put on gloves and take some pictures. He rolled up, lights in all of their glory. He got out, said he clocked us going a little to fast (15 over) and wanted to see our information. It was freezing at the top of the pass. He ran us and when he returned, said it was too cold to stand their to fill out the paper work. He let us off with a warning. He said he rode and understood the appeal to this area. He explained that the road tightens up and that we needed to be careful. It was a great warning as the road does get tighter. I really enjoyed the ride that day. it is so beautiful, so colorful.
We dropped down into Crede Co and had a piece of pie. The cute girl taking car of us, was very nice. Come to find out she had just moved back to Crede and she mentioned that her mom was the Mayor of the city. We were being served by royalty. Crede is a great town. We also spoke with a guy from Vermont on a Suzuki 400 (I think). It had BMW badges on the side. All he had was a backpack, a sleeping bay and osme little roll. He seemed nice enough. If you make it to Crede please make sure to stop into Kips Grill. The pie was awesome.
The last bit of the ride into Gunnison was very enjoyable. We were ready to check in and get our camp set up. It looked like it could rain, but again we seemed to dodge it all. We set up camp and actually ordered take out pizza from town. We were roughing it. We had dinner and then passed out. it had been a long day. Were were here and everyone was safe and sound. Tomorrow we will explore more of the Colorado beauty.
The picture below is one of my favorites from 149. It will make for a great desktop image for Pete and Kim.