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300 Miles. I do remember how to ride.

Written on: Saturday July 9th, 2011

After that very hard 2nd day of the re-education of myself as motorcyclist, I spent the next several riding the gorgeous Northern New Mexico highways. Rediscovered that singularly stunning experience of coming up over a hill and finding an expanse of land, large and incredible, relating to it knowing I am passing through it. Breath catches with sweet tension in my throat. I started to remember some other reasons why I ride.

With the help of my pal Poki I tried some mechanic-ing to fix some bothersome issues. I was having trouble shifting (hurt my toe through my thick leather boot trying to shift from 1st to 2nd) and I thought the culprit might be my very loose shift lever. When an extra washer made it worse, I was worried, imagining transmission issues. Thanks to the telephone consultation of my fine Santa Fe mechanic Marc, it turned out the clutch lever tension was poorly adjusted and the solution was just a twist of the little screw at the lever. Ha! Easy!

The ride to Silver City was good. It was good to feel the weariness of a few hundred miles in the saddle. It was good to know I could do it. It was really good riding through the Gila National Forest on the long twisty curvy. Fantastic cornering practice on the 60 miles or so of 25mph speed limits and so many 10mph curves. After about 2 hours of that intense concentration, unrelenting curve negotiation, and the heat of the afternoon setting in, I was done. Brain baked.

Zack was traveling in our car.  We kept meeting up with each other, he'd take off before me, then I'd pass him. We had planned to camp in the forest, but the camp site looked awfully dull, so we pressed on to Silver City. Feeling accomplished and exhausted after a healthy day's ride, I announced I'd be buying my first ever hotel room for us as a special treat. I've stayed in plenty of hotels for gigs or conferences or on someone else's tab; but never in all my travels did I just up and pay for one my own self. (Hostels and boarding houses are a different story). On this particular evening it was the perfect choice.

Silver City is a marvelous little town with the best antique/junk shops ever. Oh the treasures. Zack and I enjoyed an espresso milk shake at an airy funky coffee shop called the Javalina and when I questioned the fella behind the counter about a clever place to pass the evening, he suggested the Palace Hotel, which was right around the corner. The Palace Hotel looks and feels untouched since the 1940s, right down to the charming detail of having no air conditioning. We got a wonderful small room, cowboy themed, a scratchy bead spread of galloping horses nicely complimenting the John Wayne collaged headboard. We had the most lovely evening relaxing in our well earned charming, though hot, hotel, strolling the Silver City streets, and Zack dutifully listened to all my enthusiastic motorcycle chatter.

The 200 miles to Tucson the next day was easy and done by 11am.