Now that I’m mostly done building Overkill it’s time to take her out and see what she can do.
On the Road, Finally
From Albuquerque I headed east on old Route 66 for awhile. There is a stretch of RT66 eastbound, that plays music, and I wanted to check it out. The rumble strip on eastbound on RT66/HW333, between mile markers 4 & 5, just outside of Tijeras NM is inside the white lane marker. When you drive over it at the speed limit of 45mph, it plays America the Beautiful. Sadly, it does not work on a motorcycle, still it’s a cool little piece of Americana.
Eventually I made it to my destination, the KOA about 12 miles north of Carlsbad NM. Time to pitch my tent and enjoy a beautiful sunset.
Pretty much everyone knows what Roswell is famous for… Aliens!
Not surprisingly the International UFO Museum and Research Center is in Roswell. Judging from the outside, the building used to be a movie theater. General admission is $5, military (current and vet’s), police and EMS are $3. I paid my $3 and started wandering around.
First, a little history: On July 8’th 1947, something crashed in a ranchers field. Initial reports, and even newspaper stories, say it was a flying saucer. The official story is now that it was a nuclear test surveillance balloon from Project Mogul. Whatever you choose to believe, the museum does a good job of presenting both sides of the story. Obviously the exhibits lean towards the UFO side of things, but they do a good job of letting the visitors decide for themselves.
The museum has a lot of great artwork too. The picture below is one of my favorites.
In 1952 a Mexican archeologist found the tomb of a Mayan king. The cover stone on the crypt had a unique engraving on it. According to the original archeologists, it depicted the journey of the Mayan king to the underworld. Others think the engraving shows an astronaut riding a rocket. This interpretation has become known as the Palnque Astronaut. The pic below is an interpretation of the original carving.
Enough museums. It’s time to do some exploring. The KOA I was staying at is right next to Brantley Lake. This seems like as good a place to find dirt as any.
This would be only the second time I’ve taken Overkill offroad since I finished the build, and by far her longest offroad stint. First, I’d like to say, I love my new Cogent suspension. I had so much fun running up and down the dirt roads that I forgot to take more pics. You’ll just have to believe me when I say, it was a lot of fun. Until it wasn’t.
After about 50 or so miles of dirt, I got back on the pavement and started heading towards Hobbs NM. About 7 miles east of Hobbs, my GPS dies, along with all my other electrical accessories. The motor is running great, but I decide to pull over and see what the problem is. They say its not an adventure until something breaks. Well, lets have a small adventure.
The first order of business is to pull the seat off and check the fuses. Yup, the 15A light fuse is blown. That makes sense. The relay that turns on power for my accessories is connected to the tail light. Now I need to figure out why it blew.
This is where my offroad noob-ness shows through. I installed a Chameleon automatic chain oiler and I secured it to the subframe with 2 plastic zip-ties. My offroad shenanigans earlier in the day broke said zip-ties. This allowed the oilers power cable to flop around and eventually it wore through and pop goes the fuse.
A chain oiler is not strictly required, so instead of trying to fix it on the side of the road, I just cut the wire and zip-tied it out of the way. All I had in my tool roll was more zip-ties, so I used those to secure the oiler to the subframe again. I was done with offroad for this trip anyway.
While I was tearing into my bike on the side of US62, 4 people stopped to ask if I was OK. One guy wearing a Harley-Davidson hat and driving a Harley-Davidson F-150 stopped. He said he had a bike at home (I wonder what brand?), and I was welcome to use his shop if I needed. By this time I had found the culprit and I was getting ready to button Overkill up, so I politely declined his offer.
After that it was a quick run into Hobbs for a late lunch and some fuel. I had to meet my Mom and Sister in Carlsbad for dinner, so I didn’t get any time to explore Hobbs.
The Carlsbad Caverns are the largest caverns known in the world and they extend about 230m (750ft) below the surface. There are two options for getting down to the Great Room. There is the easy way, an elevator, or if one is brave enough (masochistic enough?) they can walk. My Mom and Sister took the easy way down. I chose to take the old fashioned way down and walked.
Here are my favorite pics from the bowels of the earth:
As a mini-dress rehearsal for for a RTW trips goes, this one went pretty well. I did learn some things. First and foremost, zip-ties are not to be trusted when riding offroad. Also, while the 685cc upgrade did drastically reduce engine vibrations, after several hours of riding, my right hand still goes numb. And finally, 80 liters of cargo capacity is used up quickly. I had thought, after living out of a suitcase for the last 3 years, I had learned how to pack lightly. Apparently I’ve still got room for improvement.
Stay tuned for more posts in the life of the Traveling Twiget. I’ve got a couple more posts to make before my official departure date. Speaking of departure dates, I’m aiming for 30 May 2017. Be sure to sign up for my mailing list so you won’t miss anything!