Saturday in southern New Mexico in June, and it's muy calido. Time to bustamove. Make like a bakery truck and haul buns, or a hockey player and get the puck out of here. It's already afternoon, but the days are long, so I drop the hound off at a friends' place, and fire up the motorcycle. Just putting the plan in motion begins to cool things off a bit, and once the bike and I are rolling yo estoy fresco. It looks like it's raining in the mountains, but I just don't care. It's got to be a bit cooler up there, and I've got my rain suit in the saddle bags. Within 20 minutes I've gained over 4000 feet in elevation and am into the clouds. Now it's raining and I'm a little too cool. Stop at a minute mart and don the rain gear. Five minutes later I'm on my way through a light drizzle. My temperature's good and I'm dry in my goretex cocoon. Since it's raining I decide to ride a direction I don't normally go, which will take me back down the eastern side of the mountains, and theoretically away from the rain showers. Twenty five minutes later. my decision seems sound, as the rain clouds dissipate, and the sun begins to peek through. What a beautiful corner of the world this is. Rain or shine, there's no denying that. Starting to get hot now. Stop. Doff the rain gear and keep riding. Not too far. If I keep going this direction, I'll be entering the Permian Lands. Kinda like Mordor, with it's oil and gas infrastructure everywhere, only it's sunny.
I turn North, and man, it's hotter on this side of the mountains than the one I just left. Brutal heat. But there's nothing here, and the roads are straight and long, and all I can do is just keep riding. And my ass is getting pretty sore. It's been two hours and my circulation is impaired. How far to that next town? I'm riding fast, but the miles are passing slowly in these flatlands. Finally I enter the town, and gas up the bike. Days like this you appreciate the canopy over the pumps for the shade. I need a break, and keep my eyes peeled for a cervezeria, but I'm not seeing any Budweiser™ signs anywhere. I'm starting to worry that I've wandered into one of those anachronisms here in the southeast part of the state, the dry county. I'm almost out of this ratty little town when I pass a tattoo parlor with a bunch of motorcycles parked out front, and about 15 vatos hanging out on the porch. I recognize kindred souls when I see them, and double back around the block, pulling up beside them, and ask, "Is there a place to get a drink in this town?". One of them asks, "What kind of drink?", and for a moment I'm confused, then rejoin, "A beer.". They all chime in and direct me to a local bar just a few blocks away. I thank them and we all wave goodbye. I can't help but wonder what most of middle America would decide if they needed directions, and this motley crew was the only option available. My guess is that most would keep driving and hope for the best. Damn shame.
I pull into the bar's parking lot and dismount, and as I'm taking my helmet off Goober and Gomer walk out from behind the bar and Goober says, "Hey, it's Evel Knievel!", and guffaws. And I know in my heart that there are way too many cousins marrying cousins in this great land of ours. Inside the bar, the clientele is salt of the earth, not overly friendly, but not hostile either. This is however, not what the 21st century version of a fern bar is, so I select Budweiser™ as my drink of choice. It's very cold, so I have no complaints. Behind the bar are hand written signs reading, "Beer. It's better than a breakfast drink", and "In God we trust, all others pay cash". We get in a discussion of Michael Jackson's degree of freakitude, and what a great musician he was with a minor digression into how to control ants inside the home, and on the ranch. These are OK people in my opinion.
Time to hit it. It's good to be on the bike again. The road is 4 lanes through rolling hills, there's no traffic, and I'm mellow. For some reason, Michael Franti's 'Yell Fire' is stuck on 'repeat-play' in the mass of synapses I'll call for lack of a better term, 'my brain'.