“Ridin’ the storm out”
It only seemed an appropriate title considering the MASSIVE storm we took cover from and eventually had to ride through to get to Trinidad Colorado today. In case you don’t know me that well, I grew up in Central Illinois and the band who made that song a huge hit, REO Speedwagon, was from my area and played in little bars and clubs around my hometown before they made it big. I remember my friends and I sneaking into the Red Lion to watch them play when I was about 16. Later had the pleasure to meet Kevin Cronin and Gary Richrath after they made it big.
The day started awesome as I wrote in yesterday’s blog. If I suddenly move to Elkhart KS, you’ll know it was because of the beautiful Mexican lady who owned the café. I’ll just leave it there, but Rod had a REALLY tough time getting me on the road especially after she came outside to tell us goodbye and have a safe trip.
Spent most of the morning weaving in and out and between fields in Kansas and Oklahoma. We stopped a really cool old homestead that was clearly from the 1800’s, complete with the remains of a wooden wagon that was completely intact in the Oklahoma tall grass. Then we rode through another ranch around the border. Seems there aren’t many fences and most cattle herds are branded and free ranging. Later in the day we ran into a couple of HUGE mud holes that had to be bypassed. One leading us onto private property and right into the pissed off rancher who owned it. We also wend down a “road” that quickly turned into deep, deep, thick mud. I didn’t catch it in time and buried the 690 up to the chain guard. Rod quickly adjusted and powered around me and out into the dryer field dirt. I got out and we doubled back to the hard road to bypass.
FINALLY, we got the New Mexico border and immediately the scenery and plant life changed almost as fast. Beautiful rolling hills covered with mesquite trees and small cactus. Not long after, we saw our first sign of mountains or mesas. Rock formations started cropping up and it was a welcome change from the 4 days of laboring through Oklahoma. An awesome, steep and rocky climb up Long Canyon and we’re up to 6000 feet elevation and we REALLY start seeing mountains and rock. Then we saw it! A gigantic storm system rolling straight for us from the south west. We checked the radar and there was no way to avoid it, so we geared up with the rain suites and headed for the little town we saw in the distance. It ended up being Branson Colorado. We got there just in time to take cover in front of their “City Hall” building. Several locals saw us and came by to offer shelter, but we elected to stay where we were. The main cell of the storm moved past us to the north (super lucky because it had damaging hail and winds) and we just got some high winds and rain.
The temps plummeted to the 50’s and we saw a small window of opportunity to head for Trinidad Colorado, so we geared up again and rode west. Rain and 50 degree cold DO NOT make for a pleasant ride. We arrived in Trinidad freezing and soaked. Looks like another motel night. All our gear is soaked through and tomorrows temps don’t look promising. If the riding gear doesn’t completely dry, it could be a very miserably cold day. Stay tuned , it's just getting good!