- Hello, I'm Bearnard (a.k.a. Bernie) B. Behr. I travel around the United States with my human Gary, who is a professional tour guide for California Sunriders motorcycle tours. We both come from Conifer, Colorado, a nice little town in the Rocky Mountains. We travel all over the country finding beautiful places and meeting all sorts of people from around the world. I keep Gary from getting in trouble and help him keep the guests on his tours happy, not an easy job! We have a lot of fun together and see a lot of really great places, and since Gary is a professional photographer too, we have some great pictures too (usually starring yours truly). Gary also likes to write a lot, (he's a little long-winded but tells a good story) so there's usually a lot to read. It's a good thing too, I can't type very well with these paws, so I'll have Gary do most of the writing. Keep coming back and enjoy the blog. Feel free to post a comment or make suggestions (like how to keep these crazy humans in line!) and we look forward to reading them. Sincerely, Bearnard B. Behr And Gary Fleshman
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
New Mexico, The Rio Grande and The Navajo Nation
After a day of rest we’re ready to hit the open road again, back on old route 66 through New Mexico. Today we start out from the hotel before breakfast and ride hungry for a hour down to Albuquerque, to Church St. Cafe. Here we sit in their beautiful patio out back and enjoy a wonderful breakfast. One of our favorite cafes along the route they offer both a typical breakfast, and a good selection of southwestern influenced breakfast items (I strongly suggest the breakfast burrito with green chili, It’s so big that even Gary has a hard time finishing it!).After we eat the group has some time to do a little shopping in old town before we hit the road again.
Before we leave Albuquerque however, we stop at a local park and walk down to the Rio Grande river. This is the only opportunity we’ll get to see it up close before we leave the state. Starting in central southern Colorado it stretches south, forming the border between Mecico and the United States. An important waterway in this parched high desert environment and the only source of water for both agriculture and people all the way until it empties in the Gulf of Mexico.
Back on the road we continue on down the old route leaving Albuquerque behind us for the wild west, former stomping grounds of Billy the Kid, Pancho Villa, real cowboys, and spanish conquistadors.
Looking across the land it’s very easy to imagine a cattle drive stretching across the sagebrush, cowboys riding alongside with the chuckwagon bringing up the rear. Moving down the old pecos trail to the stockyards of Dodge city Kansas.
As we move further west we begin to see large fields of black stone, lava flows from volcanoes from millions of years ago, interrupting the red color of the Navajo sandstone so common in the southwest.
After a brief rest stop in Grants for an ice cream to take the heat off, it’s back on the bikes to our destination, Gallup. A nice town with even better people. Before we get to our hotel we stop in downtown for one more shopping trip. Gallup is the center of trade in New Mexico for Native American jewelry, rugs and art. The main street in town is the place to shop and the many trading posts and pawnshops are the best sources of affordable Navajo jewelry. A $1200 piece of jewelry in Santa Fe and Taos will only cost you about $600-$700 here at the source for the exact same piece.
After shopping we then go to the local plaza for a demonstration of traditional tribal dances put on by the locals as a way of sharing their rich cultural heritage with the rest of the world. Afterwards it’s just a couple of miles down the road to our hotel.
After we all have an opportunity to wash the road dust off and get revived it’s time for dinner. We always eat at the historic El Rancho Hotel, a landmark frequented by movie stars, and former presidents. Many fims produced in the area called the El Rancho home while shooting the movie and housed many famous actors including Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez, Roy Rodgers, John Wayne, Errol Flynn, Ronald Regan, and many, many more. One of our motorcycle guides, Don, is the President of the local Wind & Fire motorcycle chapter had arranged for the local chapter members to escort us through town to dinner. During dinner the Wind & Fire members welcome us to New Mexico and keep us company, and give everyone the chance to meet real American bikers! A really great group of active and retired firemen who love the motorcycle and the freedom associated with it.
On our most recent tour we had several firefighters from England with us, and the Wind & Fire chapter members were nice enough to give us all a guided tour of the Gallup Fire Department's main station. They went above and beyond the call of duty and everyone really appreciated the chance to see how things are done in the United States. Thanks a lot guys, we really enjoyed it.
After a good dinner and even better company we are escorted back to our hotel for another good night’s rest. Tomorrow is another great day on old route 66!