JadeRider Journeys


Day 13: The Long Straight Away, Into Texas and Out Again

by on Oct.01, 2009, under 2009, Adventure, Danger, Motorcycle, Risk

The journey is nearing its completion, and yet, it does not feel like I am heading home. Every day continues to be rich in experiences, and tonight, while it sit in my cabin in Elk City, Oklahoma, having covered over 3,700 miles of the trip, I feel that I have lived another amazing day.

I left Raton, New Mexico, this morning. The ritual was pretty much the same as the previous days. Load up the bike, bundle up in layers, pray for the ride and my family, ride to the gas station for a fill-up, and go. Getting gasoline across the country has become pretty much a guessing game. It seems that every locale I ride through, has its own ideas about using ethanol in the gas mix, and what octane rating represents regular, medium, or premium. I confess that I am pretty much playing roulette every time, even though I do try to hit the 88 octane rating.

The route took me West across Northern New Mexico, and into Texas. A few miles out Raton, I came to the Capulin Volcano area. In 2007 I had traversed this same area on a 2003 Aprilia Futura. I managed to find the spot where two years ago I had taken pictures of the now departed Futura, and had to re-shoot them with the V-Strom. The road followed the railroad tracks, and a crisp wind, like the one that keeps your veggies crisp in the refrigerator, blew from the North/North-West. Yes, it seems like the word wind is now a common thread on the daily fabric of this trip, but, like ol’ Rick Peterson used to say, ‘It is what it is’. At least the weather men must have heard my thoughts from the last couple of days, since it was now blowing from my left, making me lean the motorcycle to the left too, as opposed to the right, which is what I was doing the days before. This pretty much my plan to walk into the motorcycle parts store to ask for the left right half of a front and rear tires of a V-Strom DL-1000, black and silver, even though this is of no consequence, to replace the unevenly worn rubber donuts on my bike. By the way, donuts is a really hard word to spell when English is not your first language.

Riding East, the last of the Mesas of New Mexico, and Texas began to disappear. The landscape became filled with the smells, and views of agriculture. Gigantic crop circles, generated by rotating irrigation systems, covered the land with corn, sorghum, and cotton. The power of the beef industry became self evident, as feed lot after feed lot, with thousands, if not millions of cows, filled the air with the smell of bovine waste. Strangely enough, I did not want to vomit. I took more as one of the many things that people locked up their 4-wheeled HD-TV cages saw, but never experienced. Smells are some of the many things that you never feel when your travel by car, just like temperature changes, or, wind. I must say that the most unusual smell of this trip was that of kettle corn. I do not remember where I was, but I caught me so much by surprise that I exclaimed out loud, ‘Where the heck did that come from?’.

Towards noon I arrived in Dalhart, Texas. Having decided that, unlike the previous days, I was not going to skip lunch, I deviated from the route to make it through the town. At first I thought I was going to eat at a local place whose name included the word Caboose, but the way the parking spots are laid out on the street, and the inclination of the street made it impossible to put the V-Strom on its side stand. I looked for something else, and stumbled upon the Extreme Cuisine. It is a really interesting place, housed in a brick building, and when you step in you have the feeling of having stepped into an art gallery, with clear wood tables set up spaciously. It has very welcoming feeling. After looking through the menu I choose catfish and salad. I must say it was the best meal of the whole trip. They made fresh coffee for me, and apologized since it would take them some time to cook the food. Apologies? This was great news, this meant the food would be freshly cooked, not a reheat from a red lamp. My coffee cup was always full, and the chef came out and talked to me about the trip, where I was going, and the neighborhood. I must say, this was one of the highlights of the day.

Into the afternoon, I made it a point to travel through Borger. This is the home town to Waynel S., one of the most amazing persons, and married to my friend Joe. Waynel should be Education Secretary, but she is way to smart for that.

I also rode through Pampa, which honored its name, being surrounded by extensive grass fields, which shimmered in the wind, as the grass stalks had turned to that yellow-white that announces the end of a season. Another town caught my eye because of its name, Skellytown. Need I say more? But the one that took the price during this trip was Nimrod, Texas. Can you imagine, someone asking you where you are from, and all you say is ‘Nimrod!’ ?

They day was a constant battle with the Northern wind blowing from the left, but as I arrived into Mobeetie, a hawk flew across the road from the right, and a scissor tail from the left, as it to announce that I was entering a new area. Trees began to appear on the side of the road, creating welcomed wind curtains, and the hills began to roll, event though some of these deep rolls were over a mile long.

I finally rolled out of Teas and into Oklahoma, home state of my brother DT2.0, and was welcomed by the red clays of the area. Elk City was not far away, and one of the seemingly numerous Route 66 museums marked the end of my journey for the day.

The route may seem like an infinite straight away. It may look like a mind numbing bore. The reality is that, away from the intestate, the ever changing landscape, and the foot steps of humanity create a fabric that can nothing short of amazing. That is, unless you are a nimrod.

As a side note, if you are amazed by the fact that I remembered Mobeetie, be not. All I remembered was that it started with an M, and had a double vowel. All you have to do is type ‘Texas towns that start with M’ on your favorite search engine, and you know there is a web page for that.

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