Ride Report: Day 16 - 17

Day 16-17 / Saturday-Sunday, September 12-13 2009

The journey back had begun, with 1,600 miles to cover over the next two days. Kerry led me out of town and pointed me in the right direction. I had hoped to visit White Sands National Monument with surreal scenery of white sand dunes, but it required at least half an hour and I had to keep up my overall average speed to make it through Texas and Oklahoma by the end of the day, so I skipped it. I went through Roswell, the famous UFO town, but didn't see that many alien references and it looked like any other small city.

Spending the night at Kerry's (from ADV's Tent Space List) south of Las Cruces, NM.

It's always good to connect with other ADVers. Kerry, riding a KLR650 is hoping to ride the CDR at some point. He escorted me to the correct highway leading out of town and northeast towards Chicago.

Crossing over the Sacramento Mountains and the Lincoln National Forest, the birthplace of Smokey Bear. These would be the last mountains I see as it was flat plains from here on east.

Passing through Roswell and this was all I could see of its alien fame. I didn't even find a welcome sign.

Trying to keep the journey interesting through the flat plains, I passed by Blackwater Draw, near the town of Clovis. This is an archeological site where evidence was found of early human tools that were used to hunt mammoth and sabertooth cat before the last Ice Age (Pleistocene) ended. This site is also considered a good model of Clovis Culture as cultural progression can be studied through the various sedimentary layers of the rock.

A bit further north, into the Texas Panhandle, I swung by Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo. Seeing the line of tailfin Caddys half-buried in the ground sure makes for an interesting picture. It was dreamed up as a fun art statement and ended up having a life of its own. The cars were entombed in concrete nose first at the same angle of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egpyt. They're meant to symbolize the great American Dream, evoking an image of driving a Cadillac on the open highways and being successful. And thanks be to these great roads of America, making motorcycle dreams come true.

As I entered Oklahoma, the ride turned wet and it didn't stop raining through the whole state. It was pretty heavy at times, but my rain gear was holding up. I had to get as close to the eastern edge of the state so that I could get to Chicago by the next evening. Approaching midnight, I made it near Fort Smith, Arkansas having covered 830 miles.

In the morning, the weather report showed the depression hanging over Arkansas, so I headed north into Missouri and made my way northeast to Chicago. My time spent in the wilderness and on the road had come to an end and it was time to head back into modern urban civilization.

Passing through Blackwater Draw near Clovis, NM, the archaeological site where Clovis remains are being dug up. These were the first people to inhabit North America, around 13,000 years ago, even before the Native Americans. Their disappearance is still a mystery and research is ongoing.

Swinging by Cadillac Ranch, west of Amarillo, TX on I-40. It's an art installation depicting tail fin Caddys from the 50's.

On the last leg of the journey, heading north to Chicago. A fantastic two weeks out on the road and in the forests of the Rocky Mountains along the Continental Divide. A superb ride.

Next: Epilogue

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