Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Days 8 and 9

8/15-16/11  Well, it's another multiple day post.  This one will cover 2 days.

On Monday, we got up and packed the bikes and headed into the park.  Our hotel was only about a mile from the park entrance, so it was an easy roll into Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  We stopped for a picture at the park sign--the one to prove that we were actually there.  I noted that in the 10 weeks or so since last visited with my sister, a fire had burned  most of the vegetation on the hills and mountains, leaving burned stalks of yucca and cacti along the way.  I learned that the fire occurred on June 12, just two weeks after the trip with Bar.

The trip into the caverns was great.  I've been in many of the caverns in the eastern part of the USA, but none of those compare with Carlsbad.  I believe Carlsbad is the Grand Canyon of caves.  Gary enjoyed them as well.  For more descriptions, refer to my blog at www.threeweekswithbigsis.blogspot.com  .

We had lunch at the caverns gift shop, and then got back on the bikes headed for Roswell NM.  The 80 or so miles between the towns went pretty fast; the speed limit was 75mph, and traffic was moving at about 85-90 mph.  A good ride to Roswell.

In Roswell, we stopped at the UFO Museum (same as visit with Barbara).  I think Gary enjoyed the museum, although it is a bit weird.  It does cause you to think about whether there is any validity to the stories or not.  I haven't decided for myself.

After Roswell, we hit the road to get to Las Cruces NM for the night.  It was about 200 miles away, and it was getting a bit late.  Along the way, we found the White Sands National Monument.  It is an area with bright white, very fine sands forming dunes that look like sand dunes on our NC beaches.  Weird!!  We went into the area, first on paved roads, then on sand-covered, hard-packed road surfaces.  It felt neat to ride the heavy RT on sand roads.  But in truth, since the surface was hard and solid, it was no problem at all.

As we were leaving, we noted black skies to the southwest, just where we were headed.  So, Gary put on his rain gear and I put my bumblebee on.  We just knew we were riding into a bad storm and we wanted to be prepared.

The road was dark, and the wind gusting a bit, so the ride was a bit hairy.  However, the heavy rain we were expecting never showed up.  We did run into rain, but it was not bad at all.  I found the hotel okay, and we checked in.

It was about 9pm when we started trying to find a place to eat.  The place we chose had closed by the time we got there, so we had to walk a little further to find a bar at the Ramada Inn, where they were serving food.  Nachos supreme were good!  Then the walk back to the hotel.  We got in about10:30, and I was too tired to turn the computer on, so there was no post for Monday.

This morning we headed out to Yuma AZ, our destination for the night.  It was showing as 505 miles, so the distance was not too bad.  When we started out, the temperatures were great; 70s and low 80s. Perfect for a good ride.  We were on I-10 with a 75mph speed limit, so the miles went pretty easy.  Just before Tuscon is the East part of the Saguaro National Park, famous for its large number of saguaro cacti.  Since it was just off the Interstate, we decided to take the 15 mile ride to the park.

Once inside the park, we took the 8 mile loop through the park.  While it was an easy ride, and it had some spectacular views of a forest of giant saguaro, it was HOT.  On the loop, the temperature reached 104, the highest for the day, and the highest we'd experienced in several days.

Working our way back to the Interstate, the GPS took us by the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.  We stumbled upon the place where the military stashes their surplus aircraft.  Hundreds if not thousands of aircraft are stored in this location.  Old, not so old, huge, and small aircraft are stored here because it's a good location to preserve metallic items.  No rain!  So, rust and decay is delayed here, whereas in other places, the aircraft would simply decay away.  It was amazing to see them in rows as far as you could see.  A special treat for the trip.  We took a few pics and moved on towards Yuma.

The ride from Tuscon was VERY HOT.  The temperature went from 104 to 106 to 108, where it stayed for a while.  Then 110 and 112 degrees.  The last two hours of the ride was between 109 and 112 degrees!  We stopped twice in the last couple of hours, once to take in some fluids, and later for gas and fluids.  The air was so hot that it was painful to have any skin exposed to the air--it felt like sticking your hand in an oven.

All in all, we did okay, but we both pledged to each other that we'll never be back in the southwest on bikes in August.  It's just too hot to really enjoy being here.

We found the hotel ok and checked in.  Drank a beer and rested a bit, then had dinner and called it a day.

Tomorrow--on to San Diego and other new places.


  1. Good Grief. I can't imagine 112 degrees.
    Very nice pictures! Especially the white sands.
    Hope it cools down for the rest of your adventure.

  2. I hope you got me an alien doll souvenir when you were in Roswell this time. You forgot to get me one when you were there with Barb.