WanderlustBy Sam Lepore

Subject: WanderSouth 4 - New Mexico and Pecos, Texas
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2002 14:49:33 -0800

Mental road kill.
Bits and pieces from 'quiet mind days'.

    It is said wines are made in all 50 States now. I suppose you can grow grapes anywhere there is sun, but it takes more than fermenting grapes to make "wine". Although it was the last place I would expect in Arizona to find vineyards - right at the Mexican border, I wasn't really surprised to see the Welcome To Wine Country sign outside Sonorita. There are some serious wineries in the area, and what did surprise me is the serious prices they could command. Writing this, I sit sipping a late harvest estate Zinfandel from Callaghan Vineyards (Elgin, AZ), truly a desert dessert. Hey, anything that says on the label "Best with Chocolate Decadence cake" is worth the effort to evaluate. Such sacrifices I make ...

    While in Douglas, barely a stone throw from the border, I tried to make a cellular call. No matter how I tried to dial, each time I got "Lo siento, no puede completar su llamada." Apparently my roaming signal came from a Mexican cellular site and although the phone was identified on the network, there was no reciprocity for calling. Has anyone else experienced this with an American phone in America near either border? Or know how to "marque su llamada otra vez"?

    Southeast Arizona has some of the most rugged forbidding terrain on this continent. It is the ancestral home of the Chiricahua Apache. A couple miles east of the four-building town of Apache is Skeleton Canyon, the worst of the worst. This is where Geronimo went to outwait and outlast the Army pursuing him. A 'historical marker' blatantly celebrates the surrender which "ended the Indian wars forever". I qualify 'historical' because it reads more like 'hysterical': "The bold scouts entered the hostiles camp and waited at risk two days for the answer." Who exactly was the 'hostile' in this action? Well, just remember, the side that wins the war gets to write its history. (Ok, so what does that make me, writing the history of this trip? Don't get hostile, now ...)

    Riding in New Mexico can be described in a four letter word: _w_i_n_d_ . It is expected in the spring. (Sorry, you guys still shoveling in Wisconsin ... the seasons have already changed. My peach tree at home is in full bloom, and New Mexico is in full blow. It IS spring.) The secret to riding in the wind is keep a firm but loose grip on the bars, lean with the currents, but *keep moving*. The gyroscopic effect of the wheels is amazing. And on a day like this I could ride along in a perfectly straight line while leaned over far enough to check for crusted dirt under my fenders. :)

    Is the F-122 flying already? As I was passing Holloman AFB in White Sands, I saw a plane doing cornered circles over the base. It had a silhouette I didn't recognize, and it was black on top while silver underneath. Not a F18, but definitely not a F117 (Stealth). This thing was amazingly quiet for the speed it was going, and no more than a thousand feet up. Holloman always gets the advanced fighters first, so I wonder ...

305 miles
Douglas AZ80/NM80 NM9 NM146 I10 US70 US54 Valmont (Dog Canyon), New Mexico

    Continental drift must be expanding. It used to be 1200 miles from San Francisco to Alamogordo. This trip has taken me almost 1700 miles to get there. Spend enough time on the road and a thousand miles doesn't seem to go as far as it used to. I can not imagine ever retiring to a small island in the Caribbean, as is some people's dream. Riding there would be like trying to run a marathon on an indoor track (about 16 laps to the mile, times 26.2 miles = dizzy). Hell for a motorcyclist is not being unable to ride - it is not being able to get out of first gear!

    A friend and Wander Reader wrote a response to my comment on appreciating my motorcycle. I said I appreciate "it". He responds:

I must take exception, Gentle Wanderer.  It?  She is not an it.  She is a Very Much Appreciated She.  She would also probably like to have a proper name
    Very thoughtful. But I retort: This bike is above gender distinction. It has the best of both genders, but is neither, hence I do not limit it by ascribing only one spiritual form. Bike genders are both anomalous and amorphous, changing as they need.
    As for a name, another one of our societal traits is the penchant and practically the perversion of naming everything. Part of the codifying process of scientific examination is first - describe it, then - name it. Naming it is the first step to controlling it.
    Perhaps using a proper name shows respect among the human form, but I do not think it bestows respect among natural entities, such as calling those magnificent mountains Le Gran Teton (The Big Tits), and what about Devils' Hole ?
    No ... I respect the motospirit of the machine by not claiming it in a one word nominative description. (But this view does not intend to deprecate those who choose to do so. Rich has two bikes which bear their given names happily, as far as I can tell.)

283 miles
Valmont US54 (TX)FM2529 TX375 US62 Ranch652 US285 Pecos
Sam Lepore, San Francisco

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