Saturday, June 12, 2010

June 12, 2010 Willcox, Fort Bowie, and on to Silver City, NM

I think I may be addicted to Grape Nuts Flakes…. That seems to be the basis for most free breakfasts when motels include them. Given no other choice and I don’t consider Fruit Loops as a serious “other choice” that’s how I started today off. I like to include a bit of protein in my morning fare so I tried a mini-bagel thingy with a large glob of cream cheese pile on top. Eww… One bite and I knew I needed something more so on went the “mixed fruit” jelly glob.

Not exactly the breakfast of champions so I’ll switch back to Motel 6 where they only provide a place to sleep and hose off if you’re so inclined. Breakfast can be found elsewhere, i.e., the Golden Arches where you not only get protein but also a full complement of fatty stuff. Yum.

OK, enough dietary info, on to the day’s ride. It was just 9:00am when I set out on I-10 heading east, still in AZ but the topography was beginning to change a bit, bigger boulders and rougher terrain. The cross-winds were less than yesterday and riding was pleasant for the most part.

Before long a sign advertising Willcox, home of the cowboy museum and a slug of other tourist attractions beckoned so I left the slab and took the tour through town. I didn’t go through any of the shops as I’ve no room for souvenirs but it was fun cruising around.

After Willcox the next attraction was the small town of Bowie and historic Fort Bowie, claimed to be only 14 more miles further down the road.
I’m easily sucked into these things so after prowling around the town taking pics I decided to ride out to the fort.
I passed orchards of almond trees along the way and paused for more pics, then continued on to the fort.
At one point there was an interesting “No trespassing” sign but I thought I was OK so I kept going. Hey, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Death?

The last half mile to the fort turned into a gravel road so I slowed to a crawl and tested Green Girl’s footing on loose gravel. She’s OK as long as you don’t lose your balance. Wait a minute, isn’t that how all bikes work?

Next I arrived at what was described as the trailhead leading to the fort. Hey, you have to walk a mile and a half to get there? Both ways?

Having invested time and gas to get that far I figured I might as well so I trudged off down the rocky path. Ain’t nothing like a good ol’ hike in the hot sun wearing motorcycle boots.

To their credit the park system has done a good job with their signage and I learned a lot about the fights between Cochise and the settlers and ultimately the US Army.

I was about half way in when it dawned on me I hadn’t locked my helmet to the bike; I’d just hung it on the handlebars and walked off.

That wasn’t the smartest thing to do and after considering the odds I might lose it I decided to turn back. I’d had a good walk and seen quite a lot so it wasn’t that disappointing. When I got back to the parking lot my stuff and the same cars were still there so maybe they were all still hiking.

Back in the little town of Bowie again I stopped for gas and lunch at the local gas and lunch place. Choice of one, thank you. While I ate my homemade chicken-bacon sub sandwich I kept an eye on an old cowboy sitting alone at a table near me. He seemed a bit jittery and since he had a huge six-gun strapped onto his hip I figured he’d be worth watching.

Outside the window next to his table there were 4 tough looking city boys hanging out, looking for all the world like they’d just rolled in from the hood.

The old cowboy had an ancient Ford tow truck parked close to them and evidently deciding he needed to fetch his oversized water bottle from it he got up and swaggered cowboy style right through the gang. Maybe having a huge six gun hanging on your hip works for that sort of thing because all they did was eyeball him warily and keep their distance.

Hey, lunch break was about over for me so I mounted up and hit the road, no sense hanging around to see whether fireworks developed. I wanted to get pics of them all but the best I could do was his truck.

I rode on and shortly arrived in New Mexico where I was witness to some fine dust storms.

Not long after that I rolled into the tourist information center where the attendant guy gave me a couple of maps. When I crabbed about not liking to ride freeways he pointed me in the direction of Silver City, a short ride of less than 40 miles and the gateway to a number of scenic byways.

The ride through the countryside and Gila National Forest was really nice, warm sunshine but not hot and the road nearly deserted.

I arrived in Silver City early enough to score a ground floor room at my home away from home, Motel 6.

Tomorrow I’ll start on some of the scenic byways rides. So far so good, eh?


  1. Ahhhh...those New Mexico dust storms! Still blowing since last month with gusts at 40-50 mph? I remember it well.

  2. Another must do trip in that area is up NM 180 from Silver City to Alpine AZ then down AZ 191. 191 use to be named route 666 until political correctness corrupted it. Going down 191 is a must do twisty road with great vistas and very little weekday traffic. If I remember right no vehicles over 40'are allowed, thus why 666 got its number. You Blog is a fresh breeze to be enjoyed.