Woke up in Socorro NM, the temperature was about 55 degrees. US-60 would take me from Socorro to the Phoenix area. 45 miles west of Socorro near Magdalena is the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, also knows as the VLA (Very Large Array) and also known as S.E.T.I. (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence). This site was featured in the opening scenes of the movie “Independence Day”.
About 40 miles later I crossed the Continental Divide. It was a little chilly at nearly 8000 feet, but not nearly as cold as the ride through Oklahoma City on day 7, or from Amarillo on day 8.
I made it to Springerville AZ (159 miles) before stopping for gas. The ride from Springerville to Show Low is about 47 miles and is a beautiful stretch of road, grassy, rolling hills with few trees and a lot of nice easy curves. I stopped in Globe (137 miles) for gas, and by now the temperature was around 80 degrees, so I dressed appropriately and ate lunch. I was only 85 miles from home, so this was the last section of my ride.
I arrived at home at 3:00 PM. It’s good to be back home again.
Total Miles: 367.7
Some statistics for my trip:
Total miles traveled – 3054
Lowest gas price – $3.799 in Mena, AR (my bike requires premium fuel)
Highest gas price – $4.279 in Antlers, OK
It was 33° degrees this morning at 09:30 AM when I left my hotel in Amarillo. The sun was out and the sky was blue, but it was cold! It stayed cold for the first 100 miles or so, but the air temp gauge on my bike started to slowly creep upwards. I stopped for lunch in Vaughn NM and the temperature was around 70°, so I stripped off some of my layers and was very comfortable the rest of the way. When I arrived in Socorro NM, my destination for today, it was a very welcome 83°.
Tomorrow is the final day of my trip and while I expect it to be chilly early on, it will warm up considerably as I get closer to Phoenix.
No pictures today, there just isn’t much to see between Amarillo and Socorro.
Total miles for the day: 355.
I slept until 6:00 AM, and after waking up I started getting my gear ready to start loading my bike for the ride home to Arizona. When I went outside around 7:00, the heavy clouds of the day before had given way to blue sky and sunshine. Although it was only around 40 degrees, the sunshine was a huge improvement over the gloomy skies of the past two days.
I left Antlers at about 7:45 AM and headed west on OK-3 towards Atoka. When I arrived in Atoka, I hit some rain showers and the skies were cloudy to the west and north, which is where I would be going. I stopped in Norman OK for gas and since it’s the home of the University of Oklahoma, I found the football stadium that the Sooners call home. As you will see in the picture, there was some blue sky and sun, but it would be short-lived.
I then went to Moore OK, which was just a few miles north to visit Fort Thunder Harley-Davidson. This was the only dealer open on Sunday in the Oklahoma City area and my only chance to get a t-shirt from an Oklahoma dealer. The skies were gray again and it looked like it could start raining any minute, so I went to Braum’s and had a quick but tasty lunch.
After lunch, I got back on I-35, exited to I-40 and rode 270 miles to Amarillo TX, where I am right now.Even though I had heavy leather chaps and 3 jackets, I still shivered the entire way to Amarillo. There was no place to eat within walking distance of my motel, so I ordered a Domino’s pizza for dinner.
A meal fit for a king!
Tomorrow’s ride is to Socorro NM.
Total miles: 430
The plan for today was to ride to Krebs, OK – a small town just outside of McAlester for lunch and a tour of a micro brewery. The restaurant was called Pete’s Place and it was very nice and the service was absolutely great. I had a ravioli plate and the meals included salad, a cheese plate, spaghetti, meatballs, and garlic bread all served family style. The meal was excellent.
After lunch, we walked to the building next door for a guided tour of the Choc Brewing Company. I didn’t catch our tourguide’s name, but I believe he is the head brewmaster and was the person who originally set up the brewery in 1994.
It was very cold and raining again today, so I decided to take the Indian Nation Turnpike back to Antlers since it was the quickest and most direct route.
Later, back at the motel we visited some more, had dinner at the Mexican Cafe next to the restaurant (for the THIRD time!) and then said our goodbyes as people would be leaving at varying times the next morning.
Total miles : 131
Sorry – no photos today.
Today was a “free” day, with no planned rides. I wanted to ride to Fort Smith, Arkansas to visit Old Fort Harley-Davidson, and wanted to come back through Mena to stop at a place I had seen the previous day. My friend Gene, his daughter Catherine, and her daughter Jessica accompanied me. Today was much cooler and it was just starting to rain as we left the motel. It rained lightly on and off for the whole ride. We arrived in Fort Smith around 10:30 AM and walked through the dealership where I picked up a t-shirt. When we left, we stopped for a quick lunch and then started back towards Mena.
Our dinner this evening was to be a barbeque feast prepared by our host, Victor. He smoked the meat right at the motel. We returned from our ride a little later than expected and everyone else had eaten. It was very windy and cold, but we bundled up and after we ate, there was a small raffle drawing.
Here we were at the Arkansas state line. You can see from my windshield it was raining.
Total miles: 355
Today was the first official day of the rally. We started by eating breakfast at the Shell station in Antlers. I know it sounds weird, but they have a little kitchen and serve a pretty nice breakfast at a very reasonable price.
Here we are all queued up at the gas station, waiting for everyone to finish eating so we could get underway.
Next, Vic led us on a ride across the Talimena Skyway, it’s a highway that travels along the ridge of a small mountain range on the Oklahoma/Arkansas border. Here we are at one of the overlooks:
I’m not sure what the official bike count was, but I’d guess it was close to 40.
After we crossed into Arkansas, we entered the town of Mena. It is a gorgeous place, and Vic had arranged for a lunch at a steakhouse. We had the upstairs dining room all to ourselves. I shared a table with a couple from Lawton, OK. We ate lunch and had a good visit. After lunch, we gassed up and headed back to Antlers. Dinner this evening was planned for the Mexican Cafe next to the motel.
Total miles: ~250 (estimated)
Today was the final leg of my journey to Antlers. Not being used to the Central Time Zone, I was surprised that the sun was just starting to rise at nearly 7:00 AM. I had to make a quick stop at a Walmart, then I hopped on I-20 in Abilene and was on my way towards the Dallas Fort Worth area. I stopped for fuel in Weatherford, about 20 miles from Fort Worth, but it is really the western edge of the DFW metro area. Traffic began to get heavier and the freeway widened from 2 lanes to 3, then 4… I was keeping an eye on both traffic and my GPS, so I didn’t have a lot of time for rubbernecking, although I did see the skyline of downtown Dallas in the distance, through quite a bit of smog.
I stopped at American Eagle Harley-Davidson in Corinth, TX (just north of Dallas) to walk around a little and pick up a t-shirt. From there, my route took me to Sherman TX on some country roads that were quite a treat. Saw lots of nice ranches and a couple of lakes. I stopped for a bite to eat at Dickey’s BBQ in Sherman and then headed north on I-35 into Oklahoma. I arrived at the Antlers Budget Inn around 3:00 PM, many people were already there. I was immediately greeted and handed a cold beer and I felt right at home. It was about 90 degrees when I arrived.
Since dinner wasn’t planned for this night, most of us walked to the Mexican cafe in the parking lot of the motel for a nice meal of some pretty good food.
More folks rolled in throughout the late afternoon and evening and the party was in high gear.
Miles today: 382.3
No pictures from today, sorry.