Burritos and Blue New Mexican Skies over Sierra Blanca
Scorched branches tongue the cotton-on-blue New Mexican sky in Ruidoso, flicking from the rolling green jaws of the Sierra Blanca Mountains. I almost lost my guts on the way up; that’s how fast the elevation climbs.
At the time, I lived in Texas, right at sea level. It was like I was seasick as I followed the master-ripper biker guiding me up and around a mountain to the highest lookout. I adjusted to the rapid altitude gain while alternating which of my Chieftain Limited’s pipes were dragging across the pavement. So I’m wobbling to and fro on a growling stomach while the cool, clean air had my sea-level lungs screaming.
I got to the top and let the gas station burrito I’d stashed in my saddle bag warm my chest–a green chili miracle, to be sure.
The 380 into Ruidoso by way of Rosewell takes a wild and welcomed turn when you hit the river and start climbing. Just that morning it was dusty y’alls and the smell of burnt plastic in the panhandle. Then dust becomes sand shortly before Rosewell, but a few hundred miles (total guess) or so before Ruidoso, earth’s unfoldment gets rocky, curvy, and green.
New Mexican clouds are the color of Bugs Bunny’s gloves, they were that day anyway, and they look like they’ll smack you in the Elmer Fudding mouth as you weave over what was a typical state highway, not 5 minutes ago.
Now it was a roller coaster of high desert mountain paradise, seemingly untouched by the squishy-alien-key-chain culture they had going on in Roswell earlier that day. S is for sweepers, curves that are shaped like the letter S, and as you can see in the photo above, the shape of the road ahead spelled sssmiles as Zanthia the Chieftain ate every switchback the 380 threw at us on our way to… wait… is that a gem mine?
“You wanna dig for stones?”
“Nope, I wanna ride motorcycles.”
Sometimes I play a game where I pick my feet up while I’m backing my 750-pound rockstar of a daddy-bike down a gravel hill at an almost-90-degree curve so I can pop the clutch and hit the throttle at the perfect time and take off like it ain’t no thing. Works pretty well when the bike’s in gear–that day, she was in neutral, and I lost said game. Luckily the crash bar kept the gravel from winning. The three old ladies heed and hawed when they saw I could lift my geared-up hard-bagger all by myself just by knowing where to grab.
“Have fun riding motorcycles!”
I waved and laughed and hit the throttle for real this time.
On to Ruidoso to meet my buddy at his garage, Your Mom’s Motorcycle Shop, so I could spin my way up a mountain to eat a burrito and spin back down.
The road was calling. I aimed to make it to Bottomless Lake State Park by Sunset; I leaned back in the saddle, cranked up the cruise control, and set the tunes to make the monolithic clouds dance with ancient wisdom in the land of enchantment. Be freely, boys.