With only three days to spare for exploration, the choice of Santa Fe and its exhilarating surroundings is a wise one. The weather is fine and the way unwinds as smoothly as silk beneath our Road Kings.
A number of people have asked me recently to define a shamrock tour. Simply put, it's an exploration of the roads in an area that branch off in three or four directions - like the leaves of a shamrock or clover - from a central location (usually a small town). On this trip, we spent a few days cruising our shamrock in a different way, and chose a much larger site than normal - Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico - as our base of operations.
The Turquoise Bear
At two in the afternoon Mike Miller, an old friend, and I arrive in the sauna called Albuquerque. I'm curious and a little anxious because this occasion marks a baptism of sorts - it's my first time touring upon a Harley.
An hour on, we enter the city limits of Santa Fe and I pull over, interrupting our smooth ride for a moment to consult the map. My companion Mike uses the opportunity to sing the praises of his Road King. I quickly find our way "home," to the Inn of the Turquoise Bear. Five minutes later we turn onto the driveway of this inviting adobe Bed & Breakfast. And when reporting on our safe arrival to my wife, I didn't forget to tell her what a great job she did finding our lodgings in this historic home on the old Santa Fe Trail.
The First Big Leaf: Indians and Mushroom Clouds
A big breakfast with mounds of fresh fruit, freshly baked breads, and delicious coffee amply prepares us for the first day's giant leaf, a 265-mile tour. Robert Frost and Ralph Bolton, the inn's owners, wish us luck and we're out the door.
The Harleys purr in the early morning breeze. It's cold, actually a bone-chilling cold, undoubtedly because Santa Fe's elevation is approximately 6,400 feet. We take 285 to Pojoaque and later, on 4, we swing the wide sweepers to the Bandelier National Monument.