Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Riding a Motorcycle in Crosswinds, Day 16

i-25 new mexico
Sand blowing across the I-25 in New Mexico
Leaned over at a 60 degree angle? I'm not sure it was quite 60 degrees, though riding a motorcycle in crosswinds often feels like it.

New Mexico along the I-25 heading southbound from Raton to Socorro was all crosswinds today, hitting at us from the west as they blew down from the mountains across the plains. My dual compound Michelin Pilot Road 2 tires must have worn down a few millimeters of that softer rubber as I rode leaned over to my right side for all of the 304 miles that Google Maps said we traveled.

The wind can blow at you from one of 360 degrees. So when it blows directly at your back, you figure you're pretty damn lucky. But it seems I've never been that lucky. Still, I'd rather take a headwind than a crosswind.

My Dianese summer riding jacket seemed to be better suited for the winds, allowing the air to pass through so that it didn't create that balloon effect you often see with some riders. My Honda ST1300 has a power windshield, allowing me to adjust the height with a push-button. I could have raised the windshield and created a comfortable little pocket, but I found that the crosswinds caused the bike to rock left and right more, so I kept the windshield down.

As for Sash, she was having a rough time on her Yamaha V-Star 650. She kept trying to keep her head down below the windshield, which seemingly exacerbated the shoulder muscle pains she gets with her fibromyalgia.

Myself, there was sands blowing across the Interstate, blasting me with their pin-prick sprays.  At one point, a tumbleweed blew into my bike as I was riding at 80 MPH and exploded into tiny fragments.

So there we were, in the morning, leaving our hotel in Raton, so eager and happy to get back on the road and rip off another 300 miles. And there we were later in the evening in Socorro, pulling into our next hotel, exhausted and walking like ducks.

I was rather proud of Sash, however.  I guess somehow I'm not really fascinated in the uber-feminine chicky-bunny kind of woman.  I like to know that my girl can withstand the elements of a long day's ride.

Before we arrived at our hotel in Socorro, we stopped at Walking Sands Rest Stop, about 16 miles north of town along the I-25, which apparently had been voted as one of the worst rest stops in the United States by truckers.

Tomorrow, we head west, up over the mountains.

And now for the pics...

happy biker chick
Leaving Raton in the morning, Sash is all happy to take to the road.
motorcycle rear view mirror
Sash is still happy after 15 minutes of riding down the I-25 in New Mexico
I-25 new mexico horizon
New Mexico between Raton and Las Vegas is wide open country, just like Montana and Wyoming
I-25 new mexico motorcycle
Another shot of Sash along the I-25
i-25 new mexico motorcycle
At this time of year, the grasslands in Northern New Mexico are awash in lavender color
sexy six burger dicks las vegas
The "Sexy Six Burger" at Dick's Restaurant in Las Vegas, NM, it's six different chile peppers mixed into the ground beef.
motorcycles downtown las vegas nm
Parked in downtown Las Vegas, NM.  That's Dick's Restaurant across the street from us.
walking sands rest stop new mexico
Unfortunately, rattle snakes are not the only snakes hanging out at Walking Sands Rest Stop
shadows and motorcycles
Walking Sands Rest Stop, just north of Socorro, NM


  1. I always get hit by hard winds coming over a bridge that's about a mile long between Wales and England. It is definitely a bum-clenching experience. That whole thing of just staying loose is hard to do, but I'm getting better at it. And I just keep repeating to myself: "Gyroscopes. It's the nature of physics that I will not get knocked down. Gyroscopes. Gyroscopes..."

  2. Nice happy dance picture of Sash.

  3. Crosswinds are tiring but riding in crosswinds is still preferable to sitting at a desk all day staring at a computer...

    Beautiful photos. I like the area north of Albuquerque.

  4. If you ever make it to the rock for a ride, these recent riding conditions you've experienced; the wind, low temps and unexpected snow, will be good practice. BTW, I have the same issue with my windshield on my ST. In crosswinds it acts like a sail.

  5. Excellent post as usual, Steve. I'd wager that any rider with over 1000 miles under his or her tires can relate to the wind issue. "Later" it always makes for a good story. But while you're in it...not much fun.
    PS: I'm with Trobaritz: I like Tina's happydance, too!


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)