Category Archives: Motorcycles

Picking up Tuco from New Mexico

I’ve always had a thing for the Kawasaki W650. I bought one back in 2000 when they were available in the US, named it Chitty, and really enjoyed it. So when I found this pristine beauty for sale in Glorieta, New Mexico from a nice man named Nigel, I naturally flew out to Santa Fe to buy it.140423-w650l

Having difficulty sleeping in the days leading up to this trip, I watched the historical companion DVD to The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly one night. Instead of helping me fall asleep, I was dumbfounded to learn that the events portrayed in GB&U actually occurred in Glorieta where the bike was waiting for me! So much for getting to sleep that night.

I’d always chuckled at GB&U’s portrayal of American Civil War battles occurring in the desert, but that was because I had no idea of Confederate Brigadier General Sibley’s failed New Mexico CampaignGB&U was actually filmed in Spain, but it turns out Sergio Leone actually did his homework.140531-w650-tierragrande


Click here to see the route I took. I avoided Interstates as much as possible, because the engine only had 1035 miles on it.





It had been at least 20 years since I’d passed by the VLA (Very Large Array) National Radio Astronomy Observatory along Highway 60 up high in NW. This beautiful German couple took my picture. Germans always seem so happy when I run into them in the desert. 140531-chr-vla


140531-unclebillstableDive bars have become all the rage in Southern California, but Uncle Bill’s Bar in Reserve, NM is the real-deal: sticky, foul, terrible music, only two kinds of beer, and full of second-hand smoke. 140531-unclebillsbar140531-w650-hanniganmeadow140531-w650-hwy171     140531-nm-road3 140531-nm-road1 140531-nm-road 140531-chrste-hwy171

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I embarked from Globe, AZ that morning before the sun came up, to avoid baking in the desert during the hot part of the day. But eventually the merciless sun eventually rose and I chased me all morning. I watched helplessly as my shadow grew shorter and shorter, and finally vanished at about Blythe. 140601-shadow


It was about 110 degrees in Blythe, so I filled up all the pockets of my yellow Aerostich riding suit with ice cubes and tied a wet-shirt around my neck (a trick the Roman soldiers employed when on their campaigns in the hotter lands. )140601-w650-blythe 140601-w650-78desertb

It was hot as Hell

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And since my favorite Eli Wallach masterpiece (anyone who calls GB&U a “Clint Eastwood movie” should just go shout accusations at an empty chair for a few minutes), it seems only natural to name this bike after the great Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez (and any other aliases he may be known as.)