Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Mexico Photos and Ride Report

So, after much delay, here are the promised photos from my trip to Albuquerque and Los Alamos!

This is the Speed Four, loaded up and ready to roll. I later figured out the smart way to bungee my backpack to the back seat.

This was between Payson and Holbrook, where I started to realize that it was going to be a cold, cold trip. My research into New Mexico's weather was faulty, so I was wearing my Joe Rocket Phoenix jacket, and a hoodie. The problem with the Phoenix jacket is that, when moving, it does not block the wind. This is great in the heat, but not so great when it's chilly.

The awesome gas station in Holbrook with old school gas pumps. I loved this place. I was even able to pump my gas before I paid. Just like old times!

Next door to the gas station were Dinosaurs. There are dino sculptures everywhere around Holbrook. Some were good, some were laughable, and there sure were a lot of them.

I rode the I-40 all the way to Albuquerque from Holbrook, so I didn't get any pictures on that stretch of the trip. You've seen interstates before. This was my hotel room. If you look closely, you'll notice the art is upside down. It was that way when I got there, and it's also firmly attached to the wall. Prank, or lazy workers? And how many people had stayed in the room and not noticed?

On Saturday morning, I went to the National Atomic Museum. This is a replica of the "Fat Man" bomb. Below is a replica of the "Little Boy" bomb. Seeing these up close gave me chills, because they're so small when you consider the destructive force they contained.

They also had exhibits about how radiation is used in medicine, and atomic power. I didn't take any photos of the medical stuff because it gives me the jibblies. If you're in Albuquerque, check this place out. It's pretty neat.

This was on my way out of Albuquerque towards Los Alamos. Not much to say about the picture. It's my bike. By a stop sign. Somewhere in New Mexico.

This Phillips 66 is in the running for most scenic gas station. Well, gas station in the most scenic location. The gas station itself wasn't very nice. The "restrooms" were just a couple of porta-potties.

This is the Soda Dam. It was right next to the road! Spots like this are why state roads are preferable to major freeways and interstates.

This was Valle Grande. The photo doesn't do it justice. For one thing, the photo doesn't show how cold it is. Or the snow that was on the ground a couple miles ahead. One of the great joys of motorcycling is coming over a hill/around a bend/whatever, and suddenly being in a vast, wild space. The experience is nice in a car, but on a bike, one is IN the scene and can really appreciate the surroundings instead of looking at them through a window.

I didn't get any photos on the way in to Los Alamos, but the place has a weird vibe. The road to Los Alamos isn't in particularly good shape, but when you turn left to head towards the city, all of a sudden the road is smooth and perfect. There's a security checkpoint you have to go through to get into the town, which was a little spooky. They just waved me through, of course.

Los Alamos is striking because it's in the middle of nowhere, but it's a nice little town that obviously has money to keep up the buildings and roads. Frankly, I was expecting a run down small town like any other tiny dot on the map.

This photo should give you a feel for the awesome chaos that is The Black Hole in Los Alamos. Well, actually, it doesn't. If you multiply the awesomeness of this photo by 56, you might get closer to the actual awesomeness of The Black Hole.

The implication of this device scares the hell out of me. On first glance, it's just an exercise bike with a fan. But then you notice there's an electric motor connected to the fan. And the fan does not blow towards the rider. Which means the bike is a backup mechanism. Which means that fan was so important that if it stopped, some unlucky guy had to get on the thing and pedal like crazy to keep something cool or ventilated.

Which is scary, when you think about it.

If you visit the Black Hole, be sure to spend some time chatting with Ed, the owner, and the rest of the people who work there. They're kooky, but good folks with a hell of a lot of knowledge about Los Alamos and what goes on there. I could have easily spent the entire day hanging out at the Black Hole.

I bought a vacuum tube as a souvenir (A GE 829B, if you want to know. I didn't see any Mullard 12ax7s or EL34s, or I would have snatched them up.). I told Lady Luck that I could have filled a van with stuff from there.

I also got a thermal undershirt as a "souvenir" at CB Fox.

That pretty much sums up my trip. I did get pizza in Albuquerque (the pizza joint in Los Alamos was closed while I was there), and will have a review of the place up tomorrow.


Becky said...

I love this post! It looks like you had a fun, scenic trip and enjoyed the sights as they happened. I like the bomb museum. Now let's hear about the pizza....


Lucky said...

Thanks Becky! I'll try to get the pizza review up ASAP.

irondad said...

I too, enjoyed the vicarious trip. It may be lucky you didn't get pizza at Los Alamos. That place makes me think nukes. Would the pizza glow in the dark? Come to think of it, what a review that would make!