Last day on our magnificent Harleys. Previous posts will give you the first parts from Denver to Santa Fe, via Monument Valley and Arches National Park to Mesa Verde and Durango. We decided on a more direct route to Albuquerque, since we wanted to return the bikes this day before Eaglerider closed, and we needed to do some shopping before heading home. From Durango we headed south on the US Highway 550 via Aztec, Bloomfield and Nageezi to Cuba. This was mainly plains, with straight roads to the horizon and beyond. For some this might sound boring, but for hillbillies from Norway, straight roads are hard to come by, so we tend to love them and see them as something rare and exclusive. Our original plan was to take off the Highway at Cuba and ride the 126 to Jemez Springs and meet the 550 at San Ysidro. It looks like a very cool road to ride, and to stop at the springs for a soak looks very comfy.
But we opted to have lunch in Cuba at the fantastic Cuban Café. You can’t miss it, there is an old neon sign by the road showing the way. Filled with locals, we had the green chile (you need to eat chile in this area) and the supernoms Navajo Frybread. One of the most local, and best food stops on our tour. From Cuba we rode towards Albuquerque, ending up at Interstate 25, driving the spaghetti 4 storey loop and joining the I40 East to get to Eaglerider. After a seamless return of our bikes, we packed our stuff into the car and drove a mile to The Sheraton Uptown Albuquerque next to the Coronado Center Mall of Albuquerque. We spent the evening shopping and eating American style at the mall.
Albuquerque to Colorado Springs
We wanted to drive the Turquoise Highway on our way back up north. Just continue east on the I40 until Exit 175 to NM 14 and Cedar Crest. This road is designated National Scenic Byway, the old road links Albuquerque to Santa Fe and is a favourite daytrip for bikers in the area. The road itself is about 50 miles, and the main stop along this road is the town of Madrid. Made famous by the road movie Wild Hogs, it has many cool artisan shops, as well as the usual tourist shops.
After our stop in Madrid, we did the 5 hour drive to Colorado Springs on the I25 in one go. We really wanted to drive up Pikes Peak, but we came a bit too late and the road up was closed for the day. Famous for its hill climb race, you can drive all the way to the summit at 4300 meters above sea level (14 110 feet). Someone (Ørjan) in the car was a bit disappointed.
You also have the Garden Of The Gods just on the outskirts of town, but again it was late and we wanted a beer. We stayed at the swanky Antlers with great views of Pikes Peak and the mountains. We found great beer and delish food at Phantom Canyon Brewery just up the road from the hotel.
This was a transport day; we had a flight that afternoon. Stopping by the nice people at Pikes Peak Harley Davidson to pick up some pre ordered stuff for our bikes back home. Always cool to see those huge American Harley shops, they are bigger, better and more epic than any other Harley dealerships in the world. It was Easter Saturday, so the shop was filled with kids and families looking for Easter eggs, BBQing and having a great time. Back on I25 it was a little over one hour, and we were back in Denver, returning the car, and boarding our flight.
This road trip was a good one. It covered a lot of different landscapes, some of the best national parks, and gave us plenty of breath-taking roads along the way. A true High Desert Adventure!