Thursday, 28 August 2014

New Mexico (sand in suspension)

Sand and pretty yellow flowers.  New Mexico's combination of thunderstorms and very fine sand could quickly turn roads into impassable bogs.  Those are rain clouds that have just gone through.

Mud over dry sand.  Tricky!!!

On the very rare occasion where we stayed at a hotel you would find that Camilla's kit soon took over the whole room.  A bit like bacteria spreading across a petri dish :-)

The scenery, like Colorado, was stunning but soon you could find yourself in very remote places.

For some unknown reason we felt compelled to call this 'Nipple Rock'

One day we had some quite tough mud, sand and water to deal with.

and the little yellow KLR kept trying to get closer to the yellow flowers that often lined the road :-)

Having ridden the whole day over rocks, cacti and sand Little Miss Yellow was felled by a fencing nail 10 miles short of our destination.  So on a very hot afternoon in the middle of some desert a friend's question of 'why do you need to repair a puncture?  Just call AAA or wait for someone to come past' was answered.  No telephone coverage hence no AAA and the nearest road that somebody might drive down was 10 miles away.  Oh and when you have a puncture that caused the tyre to go flat in a couple of minutes and it takes 5 minutes to pump it up.  Then it is pointless to pump it up, ride on till it goes flat and then pump it up again etc etc

The result was that by the time we reached the Ghost Town of Grants that was our destination it was too late to camp.  Actually it was not a ghost town but to say that it was lacking in people on the streets was an under statement.

Unfortunately the inner tube I repaired was not a Michelin and therefore the repair patch did bot stick very well.  Either that or I need to replace the glue in my repair kit.  We searched the whole of Grants for a tyre shop so that we could get a proper repair done.  We eventually found that not a single tyre shop was open on a Sunday since the area was quite religious.  Not only that but nothing was open on Monday either.  Perhaps God has decreed that Monday is the new Sunday.

Plan?  What plan?  Use slime that green goo you put inside a tyre/inner tube that seals small holes.  The hole that we now had must me small since the tyre was deflating very slowly.  So I added a bit of slime and no leak :-)  I am a genius well at least until 10 miles into the desert and the tyre is flat again.  B*****ks!!!!!  You cannot patch a tube that has been slimed so we were up S**t C***k without a paddle!  Fortunately we still had a mobile phone signal and the AAA were soon on their way as we sheltered in the little shade provided by the bikes.

Richard soon had the bike loaded and following his recommendation we were soon on our way to Alberquerque, the state capital.  Me following behind on Crazy desperately trying to keep up.

Shortly Richard realised that at the speed we were going it would take us half way through next year to reach A so he decided to load Daisy on the back of the truck as well.

He called 3 motorcycle repair shops on our way and none were open on Sundays or Mondays.  We did find a shop that sold motorcycle inner tubes so Camilla bought two and I fitted one that night.  On investigation it looked as if the slime had reacted with the glue of the patch and the whole thing just blew off.  Lesson learnt.  Use a good quality inner tube and repair kit and do not bother with slime.  In addition Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance so make sure you take the correct sized inner tube.

The hotel receptionist warned that the area was a bit dodgy.  Crazy in the room and The Wasp in hotel reception.

Those whose families were given a Land Grant by the Spanish Monarchy are quite protective of their land and very wary of strangers.

Old Spanish Mission

A very photogenic waist strap!!!!

The first one we saw was on the way to one of the Spanish Missions.  Camilla having a snake phobia almost fell off her bike.  Perhaps it was the Wasp trying to adopt its natural horizontal position :-)

This was some seriously slippery mud.  A thunder storm had just been through and the sand particles were suspended in water.  A bit like quicksand.

On my TCAT trip I took a very similar photo to this of Alex trying to find a straight peg.  Do not use aluminium pegs they are as much use as a cheese straw.

Having lost a bolt from my fuel tank I was desperately trying to find a replacement when Camilla had the suggestion that I could use the bolt from her mole (vice) grips. How did she know that it would fit?  It did perfectly!!  Just needed to cut her leather key fob in half and then I would have a flexible washer.  Both are still there doing the job they were meant to do.  I knew there was a reason for her coming on the trip.

No idea what 'Slash Only' means but we found a campsite just outside the village called Reservation on the Apache Reservation.  Glad we found it since it was late and starting to rain.  Little did we know but 5 miles down the road was a guest house.

Our destination on the Mexican Border at Antelope Wells.  The very friendly 'Border Patrol' told us that we could set up camp right outside the border gates.

The END of the trail :-(

At this point I must say that Camilla despite being a novice to off road riding, a bit like me at the beginning of the TCAT, did exceptionally well.  She was a good riding buddy and only had 4 or 5 'melt downs'.