Laughing Sheep [news]

03/02/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Out of Roswell, peering out at Mt. Capitan (10,083 ft elev.) standing in solitude amongst tilted plains leading only upwards, we were fooled into a false sense of 'flatness'. Around a steep bend the road tilted greatly downward into the Hondo Valley. We found ourselves barreling into a rather fertile and ancient valley home to small ranches alongside the Hondo River. The smoothly sculpted hills were salt and peppered with dark green creosote bushes and spots of snow on the northern faces. The composition of the hills reminded me of the pale yellow colour in Colman's Mustard. Finally after so many weeks of the shallowest grades through the Deep South we had some elevation worth riding; As well as some of the regionally most unique geology and flora to the southwestern states.

We kept climbing, up to 2,000 ft. per day. Finding ourselves in the Capitan Valley (expecting snow accumulation) we sought out Historic Lincoln for some shelter. Regarded as one of the more current pure western towns, embracing western architecture and lifestyle, Historic Lincoln was home to fugitives such as Billy the Kid. On a Saturday night however this particular town appeared to hold residence to cows, songbirds, and phantoms.

Scouting for a campground just West of town we stopped short at the Laughing Sheep Orchard & Ranch. I felt compelled to ride down and inquire for a place to stay. Note to Reader: The surprise of welcoming hospitality has yet to lose it's luster. I feel that I may always be surprised, especially accompanied with the random instances of a proper adventure, with those individuals whom have no knowledge of myself, but of the traveler.

We bunked there for the night; Paul was in the greenhouse, and I was in the framework for the new restaurant on site. We learned that this particular ranch was self-sustaining and organic. Most likely holding true to the aspirations of many whom own farmland and ranch for a living.

We left late in the morning to the overhead eviscerated clouds that only meant the storm had passed and clear sky was to come. We promptly headed West (an ongoing theme to our travels towards the Pacific) and out of the Capitan and San Francisco Ranges. We shot out of Capitan (location of Smokey Bear's home and rescue) and into an elevated plain home to lava fields and white seas of gypsum.

We were not Abducted [news]

03/01/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

We left Throckmorton, NM and headed West on 380. We passed through such towns as Clairemont and Aspermont. Arriving in Post we found the local Family Dollar and had intentions of only keeping on keeping on (Paul & I have come to the subtle conclusion that Family Dollar & Dollar General compete for our patronage). A married couple in queue with us asked if we would accept their offer to drive us farther down the road. We normally would have pleasantly turned down the offer and opted to physically make the travel. They were persistent in that it would be wise to accept the offer. We obliged and only asked to travel half the distance they were traveling; We wanted to visit Roswell, NM.

We loaded up their pickup and started traveling up to eight times faster than we were used to. They bought us lunch and treats at a Mexican bakery We soon found out that the route we had chosen was barren of all water source, food source, and grounds for camp; Ranch land might have been desolation for almost two hundred miles. The ride was necessary.

They bought our motel room which allowed us to stay a day in the city and tour the National UFO Museum near the center of town. With the local area being steeped in extraterrestrial controversy we watched our backs and hesitated when sudden unearthly impulses beckoned us to stare at the sky. Touring the museum led to a revelation that not all fact has to be accountable for in this part of the desert.

We left the following day refreshed and well on our way through our eighteenth state. We were advised of the natural wonders and enchantment that were soon to follow as we traversed the barren desert plains leading up to the continental divide ranges and high altitude plains.

Throckmorton, TX [news]

02/28/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

We have only seen accumulation of snow in Texas. West of Dallas the terrain and geography changed drastically along with the weather. Mesquite trees and brush dotted the landscape. Towns became farther spaced and less and less populated. In some counties the population density almost matched one person for every acre (and two cows for every person). Stopping in at a local hunting and sporting shop we were offered a stay, 40 miles down the road, in a town called Throckmorton.

With temperature dropping rapidly from the setting sun and an onset of a cold front, we humbly accepted the offer. Riding out to Throckmorton we focused on having someplace out of the elements and possibly a warm meal. Our directions were to Coalson's Grocery.

Upon arriving the daughter of the family picked us up in a pickup and brought us to the Ray home. We then proceeded to a home-style diner; Where we were told saw the face of every resident throughout the day. After meeting the family we were set to bed, Paul in the shed and myself in the back room. We stayed the next full day.

I got a chance to ride out with the daughter and meet up with a few of her friends. It was an opportunity to visit with kids my own age. Astonishingly, that very group of kids mocked my home town group of friends perfectly, you could say the only difference would be the cowboy hats.

Amie Ray, the daughter, took me out for the daily chores around town while the morning snow showed no immediate signs of melting. We fed the pigs and the horses and still had time to make it home before high school started.

Our morning of departure aligned with the family's preplanned trip to a stock show. We said goodbye and wished them luck with their pig Spartan. Throckmorton is titled as being 'the gateway to the west.' An achievement we were proud to reach. We now have to contest with endless ranch land and flat terrain as we move farther from the Gulf of Mexico's humid affects on climate.

Scouts and Pioneers [news]

02/23/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Entering Texas we hoped for clear skies and warm weather. Ironically we got our wish while staying with friends in Plano. One of the many subdivisions of the massive Dallas metropolis; We made our nest in room 227 of the Day's Inn. We stayed there nearly a week, a very sunny week.

While there we planned on resting up and getting ready for the third and final leg of our journey: The Southwest. We enjoyed the company of Ben & Sherri just about every night and even arranged a Meet & Greet at the second Dave & Buster's installment in the history of the company. There we met many individuals interested in our journey (and maybe a good meal as well). Our banners from Marblehead, MA were shipped over and we were official enough to draw out a news reporter.

Through the countless efforts of folks in Massachusetts and Texas, the National Council for the Boy Scouts of America arranged for me to be honored the highest rank in scouting's national museum. I was welcomed by the staff and executives in charge. John Newbury from Massachusetts flew down for the occasion to award me the pin. It was an opportunity for all parties involved to benefit and an experience I won't soon forget.

Leaving Dallas we gave our goodbyes to Ben & Sherri and started our trek west. We had two things on our mind: We were told the weather would be less humid and overall nicer west of Dallas and secondly that we may wish for a little humidity as we enter the more desolate and arid part of the country, the desert.

Once more, with spirits renewed, and new terrain at our treads we continually pushed forth. Envisioning ourselves as pioneers in a land where one often wonders how many folks have exactly walked on the same soil as yourself. And possibly how many of them lived to tell about it. We will have to consider rationing our food and conserving our water. Not to worry however as most towns are withing 100 miles of each other. Next stop, Roswell, NM where hopefully we make it through unabducted and rather sane with such a repetitive landscape ahead. Most thoughts are usually of hatred or love but undeniably all agree that the terrain passing us by is some of the most beautiful.