Albuquerque to the Rocky Mountains

Hi Folks. I am having one of those rough Saturdays. It is the worst day of the week for the spontaneous traveler. Campsites fill up quickly or are completely reserved ahead of time and hotels cost more. Plus the tangent to Rocky Mountain National Park was a whole lot of extra miles. If you see what I did on a map, it’s down right silly. But let’s see it in photos. 

On the outskirts of Albuquerque is Petroglyph National Monument. It consists of miles of volcanic rock that the Natives decorated with symbols. No one is exactly sure why they did it or what they mean. 

This is Coronado State Monument. All that remains are the foundation bricks from the original pueblo.

This the first picture I have taken of a hummingbird that wasn’t sucking on one of those plastic feeders. They are so fast. Very difficult to catch in a photo.

The Spanish entered the Jemez Nation in 1598 and built this church amongst the other pueblo structures.  This is taken from the entrance looking in. American history is a funny thing. An Italian sailing for Spain gets all the credit for the discovery of this nation, but the Spanish explorers were considered foreign as the colonies in New England were British. Then we became a nation built by immigrants. And now immigrants are outcasts. Rodney King might be dumb as a post but the man had something to say. Can’t we?

In the end of course it ended badly for the Natives. War and disease decimated the population.

The church from afar.

Soda Dam. Soda Dam was built by calcium deposits over thousand of years from the water that travels here. It is a bizarre and beautiful site.

I am having a seat under the cavernous veil.

Back to the woods with my invaluable tomahawk.

I pulled over for some typical scenery in New Mexico. 

Last year I went on my adventure with a theme in mind. I was looking for Native American ruins. This year an unplanned theme seems to have occurred as I keep running into abandoned churches. This one is along Route 17 in Colorado. For the record I didn’t know the Jemez Pueblo consisted of the ruin of a Spanish church until I got there.

A lone house in an open field. In the background you can see the Great Sand Dunes and the Rocky Mountains.

A closer look at the Great Sand Dunes. The size of the dunes is magnificent. How Lawrence of Arabia survived in the desert is beyond me. I started up one of these dunes and was wiped out when I got to the top of one of the baby hills you see at the bottom. The motorcycle boots didn’t help.

Notice the small wild fire to the right of the mountain range.

This little buggar was fairing better then me across the dunes.

That night the whistling winds ripped through the valley. The sound of sand beating on the tent was intense. When I woke up I discovered I had a leak in my air mattress. This will make camping less pleasant.

Another abandoned church in Villa Grove, CO.

Here we have the ruins of an old mine in Leadville, CO. Leadville was a huge mining community where millions of dollars of precious metals were unearthed in the 1800’s. It was also the location of Doc Holliday’s final shoot out.

Besides old churches one comes across the occasional one room schoolhouse.

Above the tree line in the Rockies. I had to stop to put on my jacket.

And finally Rocky Mountain National Park. In this park I rode on the highest paved road in the United States that doesn’t dead end. Over 12,000 feet high.

Rocky Mountain National Park is a fine refuge for the Elk and Moose, but I don’t consider it the most scenic section of this vast mountain range. But I am glad I came.

As the sun set and I headed back for camp the temperature dropped dramatically. I had to continuously reach down and warm my hands on the engine to keep the blood flowing. Below is a herd of elk grazing and chilling in the sun before it drops behind the western mountains.

CLICK HERE to see the route.

2 Responses to “Albuquerque to the Rocky Mountains”

  1. I accidentally clicked on your blog when I was going down my bookmarks and lo and behold you’re doing it again! Thought I’d say thanks, as your 2009 trip was an inspiration for getting a T100 (tuxedo) and planning my cross country trip I’ll be doing in September. Any luck we could get a rundown on your gear/closer view of your bike setup?

    Good luck and keep the rubber-side down
    Mike

    • Hey Mike,
      You know I have been meaning to update the gear page for a while. So YES, I’ll get on that. As far as the bike itself I have done almost no modifications, I just make sure to keep the maintenance schedule and replace parts as needed. That rear bag is the key to the travel. That is on my gear page if you want to check it out. Twisted Throttle is a great site with a menu to cater to one’s specific bike. There are many other things I have learned to carry with me for pleasurable camping. I will update that list ASAP.
      Take care brother and enjoy that T100.

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