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Started out at 8:30 this morning from home base Tucson
on my AN400 - able to leap tall mountains with a single tank.
Took I-10 out to Road Forks NM (Mi.5) to fuel up at the Shady Grove truck stop.
20 years ago, the company I worked for in Tucson got an order for a
bar cash register and front desk system for the brand new motel there.
I was the Programmer / Installer for the job.
Now, tumbleweeds roll through the abandoned motel and hide its better days.
I took a picture of it as one of the Nichols boys drove up in a pickup to ask
me what I wanted there.
It looks like they're opening it again in a few weeks at $29 a night.
I'll be back.

On to Lordsburg to start the north leg to Silver City.
Every mile of of state route 90 north out of Lordsburg
climbs higher in elevation until I reached the Continental Divide (6,350 ft).
Todays post-solstice June sun was bright as can be as I crossed the divide.
The smell of high desert and pines and flowers was nearly overwhelming
but very enjoyable. There's places to camp next to the woods along dry
riverbanks way up there. Some charge money and others didn't have a
sign.
Riding into Silver City reveals a hilly town much like Pittsburg, PA
but here, corrals with anxious horses were situated next to modest houses.
After lunch at the new KFC next to Wal-mart, I began the return trip toward
Arizona along State route 180 west that winds through hilly ranch country just
outside of Silver City. The Gila National Forest is a sight when water is
discovered trickling down the Gila River north of Buckhorn and I wanted
to just jump in from my Burgy.

The northwest leg of 180 met with westerly state route 78 that winds
up switchbacks then tightly back down while I watched the milemarkers click
down to 1, approaching the Arizona border.
No guard rails and no phones, route 78 is a challenge to perhaps
any rider who cranks through the 25mph warning areas to take a turn "their way".
It was good, leaning over to other areas of tire tread that took the switchbacks with ease.
If I hadn't been wearing foam earplugs, the descent into Safford Arizona would have kept my ears popping.
So high in the mountains was the start down that I could see the Clifton/Morenci mine to my
right, off in the distance where man
makes colored walls out of mountainsides.
The run along 191 south into Safford was frought with dusty crosswinds
that wanted my little 400 to leave the road, but I persisted.

A couple of smoke plumes were visible in two areas on the eastern side of
Mount Graham in its 9,000 foot level forest. A verga downpour teased the southern
end of the mountain as if to say "drought".
Re-entering I-10 for the 135 minute ride back, my
nature ride became the truck watchout trip approaching Tucson at 5:40pm.

Now I know where the great ride is for me; up in the mountain switchbacks between
home cooked meals and wide open spaces.
 

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Thanks for the ride report! That's the kind of ride I like too. Just out exploring with no particular destination in mind, some different terrain - and some curves. Gosh, here in the plains states, finding a new set of twisties is a special event!
 

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I sometimes miss those plains where at night, I can see the glow of a city more
than an hour away.

> Rolled grain beside the Interstates.

> Sighting wolves that follow behind harvesters, looking for mice.

---

Paul,
You must have river roads to explore, before the insects get bad.
 

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ajwood said:
Paul,
You must have river roads to explore, before the insects get bad.
The problem is that most of the roads like that around here are unpaved. And they are so dusty - you see a pickup going along a gravel road and it is kicking up a dust cloud so big it looks like a forest fire. I just don't have the heart to take my new Suzukis down those roads...

I've toyed with the idea of buying a used KLR650 - some dual purpose machine thats cheap enough and already has a scratch or two on it. It could certainly open up some new horizons. I'd guess that almost half of the roads in Nebraska and Iowa are unpaved.

One day last fall I'm out riding through the Loess Hills across the river in Iowa. I find this nice paved 2 lane I hadn't tried before. Some hills, some curves - I'm having fun. I'm going 70 mph and I go across this little bridge. I reach the other side of the bridge and look down. I'm going 70 mph. On gravel. On the scooter. Yikes! No real drama though. I just let the engine braking slow me down (no problem on a 650...), stopped, carefully turned around - and headed back to the wonderful world of pavement.
 
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