Riding Challenge

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Riding Challenge

Postby SandyBallard » Fri May 15, 2020 2:43 pm

OMG! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW? I took a little tour down south and visited the 9 remaining historical markers. I'm done. Whew! Now what? Is there life after the Riding Challenge?

On Tuesday, I hightailed it south on I-25 to Augustin Pass east of Las Cruces, then headed over to nearby White Sands Missile Range. Well guess what? The White Sands Missile Range historical marker is on an Army base and a huge, mean-looking guy with a huge, mean-looking gun told me I couldn't go there. After kicking him in the knee a few times to try to get him to change his mind (not really) I just took a picture of the sign at the entrance to the Missile Range (gps: 32.38808, -106.47981). If richard doesn't accept that, he can go down and argue with the guy (and his gun).

Next I headed across the Tularosa Basin and up to Cloudcroft where I enjoyed the 20 degree drop in temperature very much. After visiting a couple of historic markers in the area, I took off down two-track Forest Road 223 looking for a place to bed down for the night. What a beautiful place! Cool, green, gorgeous! In the morning, I pointed the headlight north through Ruidoso, Lincoln and Capitan (Smokey!) and made it to White Oaks where I visited my final historical marker of the Challenge. After that, I headed home through Claunch and Mountainair.

So what did it take to complete this years Riding Challenge? I basically got it done in 9 outings spread out over 17 days: 3 day trips, 4 overnights and 2 three day weekends. Here is a link to the 9 routes: https://www.google.com/maps/d/drive?state=%7B%22ids%22%3A%5B%221evJckCjS7JNFt4HVApYqy9tfShS912gt%22%5D%2C%22action%22%3A%22open%22%2C%22userId%22%3A%22115877859506172159022%22%7D&usp=sharing

In all, I traveled about 4500 miles, averaging about 87 miles per marker. I could have done it more efficiently if I had headed out for fewer, longer trips but I guess efficiency, while a consideration, was not my top priority. Using a conservative estimate of ~50 cents a mile to run a motorcycle, my t-shirt will cost about $2200. Better be a damn nice t-shirt! Ah well, the entertainment value of riding around our lovely state is worth much more than that.

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Which markers were my favorites you might ask? For shear riding pleasure I have to pick Emory Pass. The twisty road up to the pass and down the other side is arguably the best motorcycle road in the state. In terms of the coolest historical marker, I definitely choose Fence Lake. Awesome poetry on a beautiful, unique monument in a rinky-dink little hamlet in the middle of absolutely nowhere. For scenery, the area around the Cloud-Climbing Railroad historical marker near Cloudcroft is hard to beat. For adventure, there is no surpassing Bonus Marker #7 down in the boot heel. Way fun to get to, and back from, in a beautiful setting, and the marker tells a compelling story.

You can find all of my historical marker photos here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/hfFhH1qBExy5L7XN9

Many thanks to richard Strohmeyer for organizing an outstanding Riding Challenge! You can find all the details of the Challenge here: https://loebmwr.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5237. Remember, it is not a race. Everyone who visits the 50 historic markers will share the podium at the club Christmas party in December.

Well, thank god that's over with and I can get on with the rest of my life.

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