Thursday May 20 and Friday May 21, Escape from Oklahoma
Met Ron here in Miami who has a contract to clean up some olde lead mines around these parts. Because it’s raining and doing other bad weather stuff his operation is in shut-down mode. Ron and a few other guys are planning a loop trip around TX, NM, CO, and back him to TX. All on dirt. I asked him to keep me posted on their plans and the trip.
I went North out of Miami into Kansas to put a little distance between me and the storms. The original objective road had some touring value, but I’m thinking it might be better to go for the big straight roads and get as far away from stormy Oklahoma as fast as possible. Took US 69 North to pick up US 166 just North of the sate line. The roads in Kansas run due West in very straight lines. I make it about half way across Oklahoma up in Kansas and then go South back into Oklahoma so as to get aligned with my objectives in New Mexico. I ran into only one small wet spell and the sky got less cloudy as I moved rapidly West.
Covered lots of ground zipping through many very small places. Several seem to be place names with nothing there. Others have a little stuff, but no gas and no motels. Finding motels is a major problem when you’re exploring the boonies on the tiny-line roads. And it’s compounded out here where the land is big and there aren’t many people. You never know that if you bypass a motel opportunity it might be 200 miles to the next one.
We’ve seen many dead towns almost every where we’ve ridden. Dalhart TX was a classic case. The original downtown is a ghost town. M someone must have had the idea that if the downtown streets were paved with bricks, people would flock back and revive the place. Didn’t work. And now the brick streets are decaying along with all the boarded-up buildings. Not a pretty sight.
I have brunch at a local place that has the owner’s name on it. She tells me that Haliburton had an office here at one time. When that moved out the town collapsed. Now the place seems to be based on feed lots for cattle. Lots o’ feed lots. Lots and lots and lots of cattle.
I’m not in the grits belt anymore. Spuds for breakfast.
Rode US 166 to South Haven to get US 81 South back into Kansas where I picked up OK 11 and continued West. OK 11 runs right into US 64 and I kept on racking up the miles, usually in one to one-and-a-half hour chunks. Now we’re getting into seriously straight roads. Stopped in Buffalo to inquire about motels on down the road. Guymon City was said to be the only bet. So I fired up for another couple of chunks. Along the way, US 64 picks up a few other US roads, including 270, 83, and 54, I think.
It was a very long haul today, well over 400 miles of plain hard riding on The Big Roads.
All zero star roads today.
Friday May 21 Guymon City OK to Las Vegas NM
US 64 heads too far North and will go directly to Taos NM. I’m thinking I would like to see some country South of there and try out a few thin-lines roads to get me back into Northern NM. So I take US 54 out of Guymon City.
I continue down US 54 southwesterly toward New Mexico. The objective road is NM 39 out of Logan NM. I have considered heading deep South into NM, but it’s already getting to be very warm, and most of the roads won’t be very good. Generally, there are chunks of NM that offer excellent roads and scenery, but these are scattered around the state. And, while the roads will be great after you get into a chunk, the chunks are connected only by The Big Flat and Straight Roads. And it’s very hot down there.
NM 39 turns out to be an excellent choice. Very good surface but, as expected, very straight. Out of Gallegos the road climbs up to the top of a high, and very, very flat Mesa. Probably the flattest Mesa I’ve been on. I stop in Mosquero to take a break and let the joy sink in. A beautiful ride and it’s much cooler up here. Mosquero is exactly like any small isolated village / town out here in the West. It’s very quite, there’s not much in the place, but there are always places to get food and drinks. It the case of Mosquero, you get these in the same place. There’s a juke box and pool table along with the bar and tables. All-in-service. And the juke box will have mostly olde cowboy and country classics available. There’ll be beer drinking and pool games accompanied with juke-box tunes tonight, I’ll net.
I continue riding the top of the mesa to Roy where I pick up NM 120, another wonderful road. Not far out of Roy the road starts to drop down off the mesa. I know what’s coming. There’ll be a river at the bottom, we’ll cross the stream and then head back up to the top of another mesa. And so it is.
NM 120 takes me to Wagon Mound NM. It’s another wonderful ride through beautiful country-side. And as a bonus, the elevation continues to increase and it’s nice and cool up here. At Wagon Mound I inquire about motels in the intended direction of travel. There aren’t any. Las Vegas NM is my only choice as it’s been two long hard riding days. And I have to make the last leg on the I-State. I hate it when that happens.
Well, it hasn’t been easy getting here, but I’ve made it. And the last two roads are just a taste of what’s to come. Biker Trash Paradise is just a twist of the throttle away now.