We've got a two-day ride ahead of us, starting in Albuquerque, where we spent the night in a motel after getting off the river. Got a late start in the morning after spending hours reviewing and adjusting our route and plans to account for the realities of the road. Dad's abilities, weather conditions, border safety. Finally hit the highway around 2 PM.
Highway riding can be pretty numbing, and I-25, which leads south out of Albuquerque and parallel’s the Rio Grande until it reaches the border, is about as straight a highway as you’ll find in the U.S. After about two hours on the road we took a break at this lonely truck stop, the Sante Fe Cafe …
Then decided to leave the highway for a while and ride NM Route One, which parallels 25 but has a lot more curves. It seems less tiring to ride with your brain engaged.
Taking another break. Dad’s resting while I check the map. We’re outside of the city of Truth or Consequences, which was originally named Hot Springs, but changed it’s name in 1950 after the host of the classic NBC gameshow “Truth or Consequences,” Ralph Edwards, said he would air the program from the first town that renamed itself after the show.
Finally left the highway for good at the town of Hatch. Unusual place. Tons of chile stands, irrigated agriculture, and …
… an RV dealership that featured this giant, creepy statue.
We ended up riding pretty late into the night after we couldn’t find a place to stay in the town of Radium Springs.
Spent the night in Las Cruces instead, at the first hotel we saw from the road. Took me a while to clean all these bugs from my faceshield in the morning.
The view from the parking lot of our hotel as we were setting out the next day. We left early in the morning to get a jump on the heat …
… but got seriously delayed after Dad got a flat on I-10 west of El Paso.
Border patrol check stations held us up a couple of times as well.
Tim shot this great sign just before we turned off I-10 onto Texas Route 90, which is the southernmost main road in the state and the one that takes you to Big Bend. Guess they sell diesel. And fried chicken.
By the time we hit the tiny town of Valentine, which is a few hours west of Marfa, where you turn south toward the park of of Highway 90 both dad and I were …
… seriously beat.
We were also a little beat up from getting smacked with these grasshoppers, which were the size of large mice. Even though the heat was intense I rode through it with my face shield down after one of these guys hit me in the cheek at 80. It stung like a b*tch.
Tim shot a photo of this radar (?) blimp just outside of Valentine. Border patrol uses them to monitor smuggling and illegal migrants. You can’t tell from this photo, but the thing is huge. It’s a couple of thousand feet up in the air in this photo.
At the town of Marfa we turned due south toward Presidio, and the terrain started rumpling up pretty good. Gorgeous riding, though we were so tired by this point it was a little hard to enjoy it.
Texas has these great signs on its highways reminding other drivers to watch out for motorcycles. Tim shot this one a few miles outside of Presidio
Finally close to Big Bend. We’re in the state park n its western edge here, looking for a place to pitch our tents. That’s a border patrol truck in the background.
Rattlesnake on the road. Saw him just before we found our campsite for the night.
Riding into camp. In the morning we’ll have a 70-mile ride through the park, then another 30 miles on a 4-wheel-drive trail to reach where we’re dropping the boats in the water. I’d hoped to camp closer to that spot tonight, but Dad’s flat put us too far behind schedule, so it’s going to be another long day tomorrow.
Last fall, Field & Stream Online Editor Nate Matthews and his father, Bruce, spent 15 days fishing the Rio Grande River from its headwaters in Colorado’s Continental Divide all the way to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. These excerpts from their journals tell the story of their 2500-mile motorcycle ride along the historic river, taken during momentous times in the lives of both father and son. Photographer/vidographer Tim Romano documented the excursion. Look for the print feature in June 2011.