Saddlesore 1000

Jerry Gilbert

We all have our favorite things we like to do and sometimes and for me it is the call of the open road.  Whether it is hoping in my car or riding my motorcycle, sometimes the call is too strong and I just have to go.  One morning in mid-October that call came.  I was already planning on a ride to Pecos, Texas and back, and this was the morning. 

You may ask, why Pecos?  Well it just so happens that Pecos is just a bit over 500 miles away and meets the qualification for an Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000, which is 1000 miles in under 24 hours.  After several delays in the previous weeks due to a new motorcycle, new phone and a few technical glitches in order to get my tracking set up, I was finally able to hit the open road running.  The route was simple, I-10 to Texas and veer off at the I-20 interchange and straight on to Pecos. 

Leaving in the early morning and heading east always has it challenges.  As you go through eastern Arizona you find that the valleys are bit chilly this time of year – I saw 37 degrees several times.  You also have to deal with the pesky sunrise.  That big bright ball in the sky coming up over the eastern Arizona Mountains is amazing – until it isn’t.

As the road beckons, I make my way to Lordsburg, New Mexico for my first gas stop.  Back on the road and headed for Anthony, Texas. Not much in the way scenery along the way, a few cars, several trucks and the occasional motorcyclist passing the other way.  This was the way things went as I traveled my way through El Paso and down to Van Horn, Texas for my next gas stop.  From there it was just a short ways to Pecos.  In Pecos I took a break and had a quick lunch.  My daughter texted me since she noticed I had made my half way mark.  After fueling my body and answering a few more texts, I was back on the road.  The same route back, it was well know at this point and why change the gas stops?  Back to Van Horn for a quick fill up, through El Paso, on to Anthony for more gas.  For those that don’t know Anthony is on the New Mexico/Texas border, so when exiting you find your GPS doesn’t quite get the fact that you are in Texas, and will at times say Welcome to New Mexico. After leaving Texas, I was just a few hours away from home.  Making my way back to Lordsburg.

Just like the morning light can cause issues, chasing the sunset has its issues as well.  As you head west on I-10 the sun is conveniently right in front of you.  I-10 is a great road – until it isn’t.  At times there are no bends in the road to help alleviate that big bright ball in the sky setting over the eastern Arizona Mountains.  Once the sun starts to set over them mountains you are left with an incredible view of the night sky.

Why do another SaddleSore 1000 when I can already have several under my belt?  Well it is the challenge, it is the call of the open road, and it is a time when I can be one with myself and my thoughts.  One of the great things about riding a motorcycle is with your helmet on and open road in front of you, you have plenty of alone time to work out anything that might going on in your life, or you just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.  For the next one though, I might head west in the morning, so I can admire the sunrise in my mirror.

 

In the pictures you will see my first stop for gas, somewhere out on the open road in Texas, Pecos Texas, the sunset along the eastern Arizona mountains, the Google map I used to get to Pecos and back, and finally a Spotwalla map tracking my every move along the way there and back.

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