Tucumcari, NM to Red River, NM
Our motorcycle travel goal for the day was Aspen Park Guest Ranch in Red River, New Mexico. And with only 205 miles to go, we put the brakes on our motorcycle travels and went into full time vacation mode. From here on out it would be slow and steady for us until that far-in-the-distance day when we would have to turn the motorcycles in the direction of home and put the metal to the pedal once more.
Heading out of Tucumcari we passed several historic motels, like the Blue Swallow Motel and the Motel Safari and then it was the open road of Highway 104 heading towards Conchas Lake.
After a brief stop at our old boating days stomping grounds of Conchas Lake, we continued on Highway 104 to Las Vegas (The OTHER Las Vegas).
New Mexico is home to the famous Hatch green and red chili and we were ready to drink it up by the gallons. Red chili is just the mature green chili and has a slightly sweeter, smokier flavor than fresh green chili.
In Las Vegas we stopped for lunch in at El Rialto, which is a family-run restaurant with swinging saloon doors and great green chili stew. Besides the stew, Rich and I split an order of Chile Rellenos, requesting “Christmas” which is half smothered in red chili and the other half in green chili. What a treat this was!
Back on the road again, we headed north on Highway 518 towards Mora. Our next stop was the historic treasure St. Vrain's Mill located on Highway 434 in the Mora Valley. This is a tumbling down three-story, stone-constructed gristmill built around 1864 by Ceran St. Vrain to supply flour. The mill produced 100,000 pounds or more of flour per year and operated until 1922. After this the building fell into disrepair, but thankfully was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Efforts have been underway to restore the mill to its former glory.
On Highway 434, deer, elk and antelope abound, so a word of caution to those venturing this way. This byway is a beauty. Though it doesn’t sport any center strip, it’s now fully paved and wanders along a winding creek, eventually dumping you out at Angel Fire.
Highway 38 – aka The Enchanted Circle
Hopping onto Highway 38 it was a short trip through Eagle Nest, then a 13 mile accent to Bobcat Pass through the beautiful Moreno Valley. After this mountain pass there’s a 4 mile steep descent to Red River and on to our final destination of Aspen Park.
The driveway into Aspen Park Guest Ranch has always been a bit of a bear for me. In fact, up until now I have never ridden my bike up it – always being able to coax a son into riding my bike up the hill while I humbly walked behind. This time there were no willing kids to help an old mother out – and Rich wasn’t taking any hints. Sooooo, after much fear and trembling I finally realized that it had to be done and away I went, riding up the rocky path and traversing over to my new home away from home – a cabin built in the 30’s.