The entire month of April was spent planning and finally embarking on my first motorcycle trip, solo. My boyfriend tried to talk me out of it, citing the fact that my stamina probably wasn’t up to snuff, but I was itching to go. I may never get another chance to do something like this again for a long time, now that I’m not working at the moment (or at least very little!) He was also, of course, worried about me being alone.
I was originally supposed to ride out for Arizona Bike Week, but far less than ideal weather threw that idea out the window. I had to turn around at 50 miles desperately trying to make at least Saturday of the rally because Northern New Mexico, my first stop for the night, was getting heavy snow.
The conditions were still not perfect when I finally left, but my confidence was upped a bit from that test run. I can do this. That small, bright voice of positivity was doing its best to shoo away the thoughts of me getting killed by a semi truck, as I’m sure Rob and my mother were also struggling with. I was also hoping that I wasn’t being naive like Rob was trying to convince me of. I have never ridden over 200 miles in one day. Now I was to be logging 300 miles for three days in a row.
I was taking the scenic route on my way down via CO 93, then 85, 105, and 115 on my first day. Seeing that it was early spring, Colorado was still dormant, or in other words, ugly. Flying through the air in 50 degrees might as well been 30. I was stopping so much to warm up (which you never really do) that I was going to be getting to Jonathan’s ranch in Amalia, New Mexico after dark. I decided to take the interstate, I25, down the rest of the way to make up the time—something that I’d carefully avoided in my planning. When you’re a vulnerable little skin bag straddling a cage-less machine, you become very concerned about freeways, or at least I do. People just do not pay attention, and paired with cars doing way over the speed limit of already a high limit, it’s a bit unnerving.
But it was a Sunday, and I was relieved that there was light traffic. I ended up hanging behind a silver Honda CR-V from the same year I once had that was gently doing about 70 miles an hour, technically 5 under. It was my faithful road partner as cars and semis alike roared past us, but I didn’t mind, and obviously neither did they. I was still making up a generous amount of time. When it pulled off at an exit at some point, I wanted to wave them goodbye.
The sun was dipping below the horizon as I barreled up a mountain pass off the freeway— it was my final leg of the journey for today and I just wanted to be there. The sun’s warmth was gone as the wind picked up, making it extra chilly with the significant gain in elevation up to 8,000 feet. The final test was a two mile long, washboard dirt road, but I made it! I took a few pictures with the last glow of fantastic ‘magic hour’ light. I was pleasantly surprised at how little my back hurt, but mentally I was trashed. Jonathan’s wife cooked an amazing dinner for us inside their beautiful adobe style home. I was happy to have survived my first day.