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Discussion Starter #1
Over a year ago I had a bad crash and burn on the bike, it has been a long slow recovery time to get back in the saddle again, but I am back.



I want to say that I have missed corresponding with a lot of you good people, so sorry for the long time gone. I do think some of you know how life can have us head down other roads as we travel through life. You could say that is what I have done, but I am back.



This is a little ride report that I have posted on ADV, it is about being back to riding again.



Oh how Little City Mule is so pretty, all fixed up from her last trip, unknown to me by the end of the day she will have some blemishes as I will too.



As I departed from my house I noticed, ok who would miss it? There are about a dozen police cars, a large crime scene mobile office just four house from mine. The police are taping and closing off the neighbor’s house, also they are setting up a detour to block off my street, time to get out of the neighborhood before I too am blocked off. Sad to say but living in the City and having a bunch of police cars in the neighborhood dragging off a neighbor, well I usually pay no attention to these little daily things so as usual I barely give this a thought and did not bother to take a picture.



Time to go, but first a quick stop to have a chocolate milk to start the trip the way I like too.







A little 30 mile trip across town into the upper valley and I take a small break after crossing the Rio, Just makes me fell like - I'm back in the saddle again, yes indeed for sure - I'm back in the saddle again



I do a lot of motorcycle riding but this is my first on\off road trip in about a year.



 

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Discussion Starter #2
The actually true start was just a couple miles up the road in a little town called La Union. Home to the La Vina Winery which claims to be New Mexico’s oldest winery, maybe, though they do make some tasty wine just the same. If you were to follow the valley road to Las Cruses you will find there are a few good winery’s along your travels.



A few words on La Union – La Union is home to around 300 residents, La Union, New Mexico boasts a history and culture as lavish as that of a major city. Two early Mexican settlements in the 1800's combined to form "La Union". These settlements were "Los Ojitos" and "Los Amoles". Everyone suffered from periodic flooding of the Rio Grande River washing out home and crops. Therefore, they moved to higher ground. Today locals are aware of both "new" and "old" La Union. The "new" community is "La Union Nueva", along NM Highway 28, and the "old" is "La Union Vieja", west along NM Highway 182.



Oh on a side note - La Union is known for some great annual events that draw hundreds of visitors to its quaint streets each year.





Ridin' into town alone

By the light of the mourning sun

I'm looking for some ol Eye Candy and maybe a little wine

That's when I caught a glimpse

She turned to give me a wink

That make a grown man cry



I'm back

I'm back in the saddle again






 

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Discussion Starter #3
Just a few miles out of town I ran into some workers laying out some mighty thick rolls of fiber optic cable, just past the railroad tracks there is a large amount of equipment and rolls of cable. Throughout the day I will be truly amazed to all the people that I will see and all of the other stuff I will run into in the empty wastelands of the desert, or what I have always imagined my backyard in the desert to be is so much more.



After I cross the railroad tracks my plan is to head up northward following the railroad tracks to a place marked on the topo map called Lanark. Looking at satellite pictures of Lanark it looks like rolls of bushes or something like that.



Lanark is where I will need to change dirt roads in order to head to Kilbourne Hole, this is were I plan to have some lunch and do a little hiking. I figure I cannot miss the turn; after all I was just hiking at Kilbourne Hole just a little over forty years ago.

If you lookup Lanark on the net it will say Lanark had a U.S. Post Office from 1905 until 1923. Extant is a "small collection of buildings, water tank, and fuel depot built for trains on the Southern Pacific Railroad track from El Paso, Texas to Los Angeles. Well I could hardly tell this from what I saw.









A few miles down the trail and Little City Mule decides to lay down and take a little siesta.



 

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Discussion Starter #4
The damages to the little mule, well I smashed the instrument panel again, smashing the speedometer again, bent the spare gas can bracket, if I need more gas I will need to take a rock to the bracket to free the gas can. A little wire to tie down the instrument panel and all is good, well anyways it is good enough to keep on going.



Damages to myself, well the Little City Mule decided to take her siesta on my leg, ouch that hurt the ankle and City Mule was a little heavy to remove from my leg. Got a gash on my left kneecap and when I went down I also managed to score my chin and neck on the handlebars. Not good, not dropping the bike, after all going off road you know you have a good chance of dropping the bike. No the cuts on my chin, evidence that City Woman will see, not good at all. Still a little sore and hard to swallow, but the trip was more then worth it.



I would have little to no damage to my legs if I had taken the leg armor and had my motorcycle boots on rather then the hiking boots. I did not wear them knowing that I was planning to do some hiking. Lesson learned, wear them, you can always carry a change, after all you will not be carrying the stuff in a pack on your back.



How many years can a person get out of a new motorcycle helmet? A big zero if you are like me, I find that my off road helmets are usually good for one off road adventure, I needs to try a little harder.



Come easy, go easy

All right until the rising sun

I'm calling all the shots tonight

I'm like a loaded gun

Peelin' off my boots and chaps

I'm saddle sore

Four bits gets you time in the racks

I scream for more








I'm back in the saddle again

I'm back


The trains kept a coming, the trains they kept a coming all day long.



The railroad workers were busy working miles and miles of track sections today (The different light signals and all, who would guess there would be railroad warning lights on dirt road intersections in the middle of nowhere). I had the privilege to enjoy some conversations with a few of the young men throughout the day whenever I stopped to take a break.





 

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Discussion Starter #5
Stopped here at the entrance to the home of the Lean Cows ranch, from the satellite pictures I knew then that I missed the turnoff road to Kilbourne Hole by a few miles. First time I have ever used satellite views before taking a ride into the great desert regions and beyond. The rows of piles of chunks of torn up asphalt that I had already passed were the rolls on the satellite pictures that I thought might be rolls of bushes or something, well they were rolls of something alright.



No way was I going to turn around to go hiking, after all I have already damaged one of my legs, Kilbourne Hole will be a trip for another day.









The first of many, you cannot get there from here. Actually this gate was not locked like some of the gates I will run into. Still I decided to cross the railroad tracks and follow the trail on the other side. Just happen to have a handy spot to cross the tracks here.





 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm back in the saddle again

I'm riding, I'm loading up my pistol

I'm riding, I really got a fistful

I'm riding, I'm shining up my saddle

I'm riding, this snake is gonna rattle










A locked gate, lucky there was another weaker gate to the side of the locked gate. The other gate was already half dangling on the ground, after I crossed the gate I took the time to fix it, after all it is decent of the ranchers to allow passage through their land. The trail on the other side was much more challenging.







 

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Discussion Starter #7
Found a good spot to cross the railroad tracks to get to a better road.



I'm back

I'm back in the saddle again



All right until the rising sun

I'm calling all the shots tonight



I scream for more










Much better trail to run on, though there were those bad A$$ trail bandits trying to block my run.





 

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Discussion Starter #8
The Cambray Overpass, Sometime referred to as the bridge to nowhere

Cambray Overpass at a glance:

Constructed: 1929-30

Materials: Timber, concrete, steel

Total length: 2,000’

Length of bridge: 229’

Number of spans: 2



The New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance announced the listing of the Cambray Overpass to its 2009 “Most Endangered Places in New Mexico” designation. The alliance advocates protecting the state's heritage, especially at places it considers imminently threatened.



It is unconfirmed that the Cambray Overpass will be demolished and replaced. While there is no definite time-table, demolition could start as early as Sept./Oct. 2012.



If the bridge is replaced, so will go one of the last 1920s highway bridges in New Mexico and the thrill of driving up-and-over a railroad out in the wild spaces of open lands.









A view from the top of the bridge looking at were I came from and were I am heading.





 

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Discussion Starter #9
The border patrol agent leaving, I had the chance to talk to him under the bridge. Was an interesting conversation to say the least.



Come easy, go easy

All right until the rising sun

I'm calling all the shots tonight

I'm like a loaded gun








I just love old places like this, has one’s mind playing games of what was, what could have been, each one has it’s own story to tell.



Actually right behind these old buildings is another old, but newer house still in use.







A quick stop at the Doctors office.



Akela Flats (Gost Town?) - Akela, like lisbon or luxor, is a railroad name chosen in the 1880's by some railroad official or the relative of an official, and the reasons for such choices are not known. Once a railroad siding, Akela now serves time as a roadside souvenir stand. Akela is a very red place, and it's like that for a reason. The redness and the garishly-cool false fronts of a make-believe Old West town catch a passing motorist's eye as surely as a pretty flower attracts a bee.



Got some gas, a Popsicle and a little rest break. This will be my turn around point. About 100 + miles traveled so far.



 

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Discussion Starter #10
Headed back down on SR 549 for around 10 miles to the end of the road, about ten years ago I road about 10 miles of the dirt section on my old HD Dyna Wide Glide trying to find a back rout home, the dirt road had sand drifts and became impassable on a street bike forcing me to turn around. The road is in much better condition this time and I am on a bike made for the trails, so riding this section was much easier this time.











A picture of my helmet, it used to have a section on the front to shade your face, but that got ripped apart when City Mule decided to take a rest stop.



That's when she caught my eye

She turned to give me a wink

That make a grown man cry








Decided to take a different way back, not sure were this trail will lead to, I found that for some reason the map that I down loaded into my GPS was not working, still I could use the GPS to give me around about idea of were I am.



 

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Discussion Starter #11
When trying to find a new way when you are traveling the roads that are least traveled one must stay flexible. I know I’ll just follow the Telephone poles; after all surely they must lead to civilization.



I'm back in the saddle again

I'm back



Ridin' high

Ridin' high

Ridin' high already














The picture does not do this cloud justice, clouds in the distance all around me, this one was hovering on top of me, it was thundering, it was threatening, it was time to make a quick get away, ok I crawled at a snails pace away.





 

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Discussion Starter #13
The easy way back



I'm back in the saddle again

I'm back

I'm back in the saddle again

I'm riding, I'm loading up my pistol

I'm riding, I really got a fistful

I'm riding, I'm shining up my saddle

I'm riding, this snake is gonna rattle










Back home I find out from City Woman that the police have arrested the young woman just up the street. It appears that her 6 year old would not stop crying, so she beat her to death to stop her from crying. Sometimes I do not understand, sometimes I just do not want to understand why some things are what they are. Such a waste and shame.



Was an exhilarating little adventure into the wastelands of the desert.



I'm back in the saddle again

I'm back
 

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Nice Photo's and a great story, really enjoyed it. I also went down a couple of weeks ago on my TW wearing only hiking boots, happened so fast my foot got wedged between footpeg and bike, crush injury still limping, proper boots would have helped, but I was just riding with my 5 year old grandson on his pw50 nothing crazy, but it will get you when you least expect it.
 

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City Man, Its good to hear that you are "back in the saddle". You need to work on your confidence level. Some of us have too little, you may have too much. Keep the dirty side down and try to get more mileage from those helmets. Stay well and keep in touch. I too enjoyed the pics. Looks like New Mexico alright. We've had so little rain, everything is turning to "flour" and when you run into it from hard pack, you had better be ready to take control within reason. Cheers, Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #16
peruano - It may seem that I have a high confidence level from the report, the bike is just fun to ride. The truth is I know that I am well below average, or well below even a beginner off road. When I dumped the bike I was traveling around 25 to 28 miles an hour. Had I down shifted and removed my butt from the seat in most likelihood I would not have dropped the bike. I new this as the event was unfolding before me, still did not do what I should have done. Though for the rest of the trip I got a little better on the sand (learned to keep it slow in accordance to my limited skill level), still suck off road. The problem is I usually only get off of the road about once a month if I am lucky, that should change by nest summer, I am about to retire next year.



The wife wants me to sell the TW and just keep the HD, staying on the blacktop. I have traveled across the US on street bikes many, many times - no problems, but then we all know that something can always happen, keeps a person on their toes.



One of the problems, besides not enough off road time is that I ride solo. Riding solo and learning how to ride off road do not mesh well. Riding solo keeps me very reserved in what I will try when I am practicing to learn some good off road skills. There are to little hills down the road from me, I have seen the young ones shoot over both of them. I myself have only made it half way on each of the hills. I just do not go at them aggressive enough, only tried them when there are no people around to help if I should drop the bike. So I figure as my skills improve, one day I will make it to the top of the hills, until then, when ever I ride were the hills are I give them a try just the same.



Reason that I keep fixing the TW and going at it –



Well I love backpacking, someday the old legs will not take me were I am going, the TW can.



Love hiking and camping, The TW can take me to places that few people go to.



Am a member of the Archaeological Society and the TW can take a person to places that one would need a mule to get to.



Oh – the fun factor



So really my confidence level is low, might be a problem in a way, at the sametime I have to many plans for the TW to give her up. Though at the same time, thank you Tom, all advice is good food for thought.



Voyager – I know what you mean, I’ll just start taking the hiking boots on the back of the bike.
 

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City man, really enjoyed your adventure and your writting style in particular. Seems I am finally of an age where I am inclined to learn by the mistakes others make. Retired my Redwing work (ridding) boots and purchased something more official and befitting the task to which they are subjected. My skills both on and offroad are limited, luckily I enjoy hearing the birds as I travel through the woods, should engine sounds begin to overpower the sounds of nature, I know I am traveling to fast. Still, at 13mph I take a tumble though generally the damage is very minimal. Take care, stay safe and report back often. Gerry



 

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Discussion Starter #18
Mrgizmow – Good to hear from you, the help that you and peruano have given me in fixing up the TW, well I owe both of you more then I can put into words. I am sure that you noticed that the XT350 gas tank is not on the TW. The instrument panel, handle bars with hand guards, gas tank and Happy Trails panniers were all but destroyed in my crash and burn last year. I do have a Clark gas tank, just came in last week. I have not added it to the bike yet, fixing the instrument panel again first. I think I will be able to salvage the speedometer, lots of epoxy will be needed for the housing section this time. To bad that Yamaha is unrealistic about the price of a new speedometer.

.

As far as traveling fast, well we all know that is not why we own the TW, if fast was what we want there are way to many bikes we could own that can kill us real fast, but they can not take us were we want to go.



Best to you, it is good to be on the trails again.
 
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