Enjoying the land of enchantment in Santa Fe

After crossing into New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, and visiting the tourist centre for maps and hotel/motel discount vouchers, we get to Tucumcari on Route 66. Originally founded in 1901 as a construction camp for the railroad construction, it was called Ragtown, it then became known as Six Shooter Siding, due to numerous gunfights and finally was renamed Tucumcari. You can imagine what it was like in its heyday, especially at night with all the neon lighting.

Blue Swallow motel, Tucumcari, NM

Blue Swallow motel, Tucumcari, NM

As we ride through, I notice one place has burnt down, then a second and wonder whether the fires were lit by desperate owners wanted to recoup some of their investment after their business went bankrupt. Then we see a third. It can’t be coincidence that 3 businesses have burnt down in the space of a few miles. So sad… I decide I no longer want to follow any of old route 66 as I found too many sad deserted places. I will remember Vega where we met the 2 local lawmen yesterday instead.

Burned down Shell petrol station outside Tucumcari, NM

Burned down Shell petrol station outside Tucumcari, NM

Finally a petrol station on Route 66 which is still open

Finally a petrol station on Route 66 which is still open

The stretch between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa was extremely gusty. Good neck strengthening exercise!! More storm clouds building and moving rapidly but we manage to dodge them. We spend the night at Santa Rosa, staying at a sad motel, after sharing a huge salad at the roadhouse across the road for dinner. It is good to see a Route 66 roadhouse that has not just survived but is thriving.

It is windy on our way to Santa Rosa

It is windy on our way to Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa roadhouse

Santa Rosa roadhouse

Anthony had heard of a good motorcycling road to Santa Fe. It feels great to finally get off the main road. Our pace has now slowed down wonderfully. We have plenty of time to get to Denver for our 24th June appointment for our 24,000 miles service for both bikes.

As we ride, we are reminded of our first trip to New Mexico in 1980. We loved it then, had promised ourselves to return on day in the summer, and here we are, loving it just as much. The smell of pines thanks to the heat takes back to that first visit. Isn’t it amazing how powerful smells can be?! I want to camp!! I really want to be out there. We see more and more bikes – all going much faster than us. We get to a little village called Madrid, spot a pub with a few bikes and decide to pull over and stop for lunch. Little did we know this old mine turned tavern was a well known stopping off pub for bikers!! Today, 80 Harleys are expected for lunch (86 turned up). What a sight!! And the noise!! This tavern was featured in the science fiction comedy movie Paul.

86 Harleys arriving At Madrid's Mine Shaft Tavern, New Mexico, for lunch

86 Harleys arriving At Madrid’s Mine Shaft Tavern, New Mexico, for lunch

Love her pigtails attached to her helmet -  marshall for the 86 Harleys arriving at the tavern

Love her pigtails attached to her helmet – marshall for the 86 Harleys arriving at the tavern

At Madrid's Mine Shaft Tavern, New Mexico

At Madrid’s Mine Shaft Tavern, New Mexico

At Madrid's Mine Shaft Tavern, New Mexico

At Madrid’s Mine Shaft Tavern, New Mexico

At Madrid's Mine Shaft Tavern, New Mexico

At Madrid’s Mine Shaft Tavern, New Mexico

Typical US letter boxes

Typical US letter boxes

Shortly after leaving, poor Streak began spluttering, badly. After a while, I asked Anthony to ride it so that he could feel what I was trying to explain to him (the jerking of the bike dying and suddenly restarting is hard on the body) and so that he too could explain Streak’s problem to Denver next week. Streak was worse than ever. We somehow managed to limp into Santa Fe. I knew, somehow, we would drive past a BMW dealer, and… we did! Very helpful, a service advisor rode my bike around the block. He is pretty sure the fuel injectors are clogged. He gives Streak a good dose of special fuel injector cleaner concentrate which will eventually work itself through the injectors. After a bit of a chat, we leave for a hotel I booked while at BMW, Anthony having put its location in his GPS. As usual whenever we are in cities with an address to go to, I follow as Anthony has the GPS. Streak is behaving. Thank goodness. We get 200 metres heading back to the main road, down the hill to the lights, start going through the lights and Streak dies. My first thought is of the red car behind me – I don’t want to get rear ended and put my flashers. Impossible to restart it. I turn around to let the car know I cannot move. I am in the left hand lane as we were turning left at the lights. Awkward spot to be blocking traffic!! I push myself as best and quickly as I can off the road. A biker waiting in the traffic at the red lights spots my predicament, calls out at cars next him to let him through, parks his bike and rushes over and pushes me off the road. Very very helpful. Anthony rejoins me having had to turn back to get back to me. Eventually Streak restarts, briefly then dies. Anthony offers to ride it back to BMW.

It is now 4.30pm Saturday afternoon, they close at 5 and tomorrow is an annual motorcycle fair in town for which BMW are the major sponsors, so it is frantic. On hearing and seeing us return so soon, all the mechanics comes out to see us. They offer to take Streak and clean out the fuel injectors and hopefully get to the bottom of this problem. This will take them 3 hours but they can only do that Tuesday morning as they are closed on Mondays. So they offer us a loan bike for the week end. Wow, so helpful. They only have 1200GS, which is too high for me, so Anthony will ride that one while I ride Storm. By the time we paperwork and I go to Streak to get my overnight bag out, Ben, the chief mechanic, has already started getting to the fuel injectors. Wow, what service!!! And dedication. It is now 5pm on Saturday.

Streak is now very sick - being looked at by BMW Santa Fe

Streak is now very sick – being looked at by BMW Santa Fe

I am now in charge of navigating with the GPS for the first time!! That means riding with my reading glasses at the tip of my nose, lucky it is long, so that I can read the GPS.

The hotel I have booked is a couple of blocks away from the old town square, so after a shower and change, we go for a lovely walk around the old town, share a salad for dinner with a glass of locally brewed cider and retire for the night early. We are both exhausted after the emotion of Streak dying and riding a loan bike.

Santa Fe cathedral

Santa Fe cathedral

Statue of Kateri Tekakwitha, first North American Idian saint

Statue of Kateri Tekakwitha, first North American Indian saint


After a leisurely breakfast and chatting to a few bikers over from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, we pack up and head for the classic Motorcycle Show in Eldorado, outside Santa Fe. We see some interesting machines, lots of custom bikes, some lovely characters.
This 6 horsepower diesel bike does 35kms/hr uphill and is one of only 2 in the US

This 6 horsepower diesel bike does 35kms/hr uphill and is one of only 2 in the US

Damian -  such a gentle soul

Damian – such a gentle soul


This biker's dog has sunglasses on!

This biker’s dog has sunglasses on!


It is a hot day, we retreat to an air conditioned restaurant for a cool drink. It is now 1pm. Do we still feel like riding out to Taos today, we ask ourselves? No, too hot and listless. Let’s find another hotel out of town, read “cheaper”, and stay here until Tuesday morning.

We stop at a factory outlet and get a couple of tops to replace our old ones – they have done well and it is now time to donate them.

Our new hotel is across the street from a movie theatre so we go to the movies for the first time this year. We saw Spy – a 007 spoof – very funny. I really enjoyed being entertained, the laugh out loud moments and loud music. You could say that we have been on sensory overload since we started this trip, having had so many experiences, visual, emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, cultural, culinary and olfactory but seeing this movie made me realise that I had missed a couple in particular: being surrounded by music, and being entertained by comedy – senses we hadn’t experienced for a while. We have watched movies downloaded onto our iPad which we listen through a great little speaker friends gave us before we left, but that sense of being completely surrounded by a story and music suddenly felt new. I am finding it hard to explain…

Monday comes and goes with a few walks, emails, banking, planning, chain tightening for Storm.

Some mobile homes also tow/carry boats, bikes in addition to cars!

Some mobile homes also tow/carry boats, bikes in addition to cars!

Evening storm cloud  building in Santa Fe

Evening storm cloud building in Santa Fe


Tuesday, we pick up Streak. Ben at BMW Santa Fe cleaned the throttle bodies, cleaned idle actuator & passages in the airbox, cleaned the fuel injectors and reset all adaptation values. He has gone for a good ride and all is well with Streak. We ask where to go to pay for this service. There is no charge. No charge?!?!?! Absolutely no charge. I cannot thank Ben and Teo enough, or recommend them highly enough.

Teo and Ben from BMW Santa Fe - such helpful guys!!!

Teo and Ben from BMW Santa Fe – such helpful guys!!!


We leave Santa Fe for Taos and Streak is purring beautifully.

– Anne

15 comments on “Enjoying the land of enchantment in Santa Fe

  1. Once again you manage to find yourselves surrounded by the good guys, somebody ‘up there’ loves you both. Is Anthony tempted to trade up to a bigger bike ? Would things be different if you were riding trikes for future adventures. There seems to be a great biking fraternity around in the States with all nationalities made welcome. Long may it last. Good pics too.
    Throttle on

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    • Yes, those angels have been busy with us! The 1200GS is too high for both of us – it is useful to have bikes we can both ride. We have talked about a trike being a possibility when our legs get too weak!!

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  2. Once again, so lucky to get poor Streak fixed so quickly and for free….amazing! Good fortune is definitely on your side and long may it continue XX

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  3. Oh some more heart sinking moments but your guardian angel is busy and I am so pleased you have been helped and all is well with Streak. Sounds as though you had a wonderful time . Great! Love to you both !xxx

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  4. Streak’s chronic illness must be so frustrating and requiring so much of the attention needed elsewhere. Asto. Fingers crossed she will now behave so you can enjoy to the full the beautiful skyscapes. xx

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  5. You did well to get through this without losing your cool. What a fantastic set of people you seem to meet on this global epic, like attracts like.

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  6. Well said John! Interesting notion of Route 66 being picturesque in my minds eye so I am sure the burnt buildings would colour your view. Santa Fe looks quaint and so glad that BMW came through for you and Streak is behaving again – what great service from Teo and Ben. Your patience is remarkable. If you only bought Streak would you be less tolerant of the “Friday assembly” edition? xx

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    • I am sure that if both Streak and Storm had had similar or even different problems, it would cloud our view of BMW reliability. Luckily, Storm hasn’t missed a beat. Streak has brought me this far so I am grateful but not having been able to go off track to go camping because of its chronic problem is disappointing to say the least!! Xx

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  7. Anne, ton nez est nettement moins long que le mien alors t’as dû avoir du mal avec tes lunettes pour le GPS… Malchance pour Streak ! Mais heureuses rencontres, tant mieux, vous les méritez😍

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  8. Hey guys, hope all is well, I just wanted to see and make sure that the gs is behaving itself. I was worried about wether or not you made it to denver.
    Ben

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    • Hi Ben, we made it to Denver yesterday lunchtime!! Sorry, I should have contacted you as soon as we arrived. My bike purred beautifully for 47 miles and started up again just as it did in Santa Fe for the next 40 miles. It was stop-start until we stopped for the night. We deliberately chose the straightest and most level road to Denver, just in case, from there. And it only spluttered once. So I am hoping the spluttering/dying has been fixed!!!! It is now with BMW Denver to investigate the throttle lag. Thank you again so much for all your help!!!! Warmest regards. Anne

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