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DAY 3 - "I Am The One Who Knocks" - Bling & Leo's Mile High Motorcycle Run
Posted 5/26/14 by Bling Johnson
 

I've been a big Nascar fan since my Dad took me to my first race as a kid. I've been lucky enough to meet some of the biggest names in the sport like Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. But some people don't get it. They don't understand what the big deal is about watching cars "go around in circles". My question I ask those people has always been the same. Have you ever BEEN to a Nascar race?  It's one thing to watch it on tv, but it's completely different watching 43 cars with upwards of 750 horsepower drive side by side 15 feet in front of your seat at 200 miles per hour. The smell of the tire rubber as it burns off around every turn. There is nothing like it. Unless you go to a race and experience it, you might not ever get it, but if you do, you'll experience an excitement from a sport in a way that you never thought you could.


The hometown of Smokey the Bear, Capitan, NM.

I feel like riding a Harley-Davidson is the same way. Yes, there are other manufacturers out there and plenty of other motorcycles to choose from. But there is something uniquely different and genuinely American about getting on a Harley and feeling the rumble of the V-Twin engine. The sound of the pipes roaring down the road and the endless conversations people strike up with you at the gas station. I work hard, try to be the best Dad I can to my 3 kids and I love my life, but when the pressures of it begin to get to me all I have to do is get on my Harley and ride. Now I'm not saying a Harley will fix all your problems, but sometimes you just need to get away and for me, riding clears my head in a way nothing else does. That's what this ride is all about. And it's working.

I'm always inspired exploring the country and discovering new parts of it I've never seen.  This trip is about riding through Colorado (which starts today) but New Mexico has been a beautiful part of the country to see. From the desert plains to some mountain ranges and rock formations that will blow your mind, it's been an adventure all it's own.

We started the day in Ruidoso, New Mexico. I heard from a lot of people that it was worth stopping in and I could see why. The downtown area was reminiscent of the early 1900's with old storefronts lining the street. With plenty of boutique shops & restaurants, it reminded me a little bit of Fredericksburg.


Randomly met up with a Texan in Capitan New Mexico.

We headed out in the morning with a long ride ahead of us. We wanted to get close to Durango, Colorado by night time so we could begin that leg of the trip Monday. However, that meant 6 1/2 hours of riding. We took Hwy 48/37 out of Ruidoso through some rolling hills for a while until we came to an even smaller town called Capitan.

Turns out, this is the home town of "Smokey The Bear". As we came to the end of the road we were on I pulled over to double check our route on my phone before turning. When we did, we saw a guy down the street taking pictures of us. I was so excited! FINALLY someone in New Mexico recognized that I'm a wildly famous television star! After 10 minutes Leo stopped laughing at that comment and said that my own Mom barely knows I have a tv show, let alone some guy in a random city in New Mexico. That's when we walked up to Jack. He was a cool guy with hair grown out to his shoulders and facial hair that looked like he sold all his Gillette stock 5 years ago. He had my attention when I saw he had the same camera as I did, the Canon 5D Mark III. I whipped out my camera and we stood side by side comparing our lenses. Jack's was longer, bigger and fatter than mine (insert dirty joke here
Rita Ballou).

Jack had retired less than 2 years earlier, hasn't cut his hair since his last day at work, bought a camera and started traveling the country taking pictures for fun. He was a super nice guy, took our picture and talked with us for 15 minutes. We quickly found out why he was so cool. He was from Texas.


Welcome to the "Valley of Fire".

After being reminded that only I can stop forest fires, we rolled out of Capitan. After riding for a while longer we came across a stretch of land called the "Valley of Fire". This part of the long Tularosa Valley contains many square miles of buckled, twisted basalt lava, part of an extensive flow up to 165 feet thick and over 45 miles long that originated from several nearby volcanoes, including one vent now known as Little Black Peak, 9 miles northwest of the dusty, windswept town of Carrizozo. The lava is called the "Malpais" which is Spanish for "badlands". We stopped for some more pictures and hit the road.


Riding the "Valley of Fire".

Our next stop was about 100 miles away in Albuquerque. Since I'm a huge Breaking Bad fan, I had to stop by Walter White's house. After some Google searching I found the address and entered it into the gps on my phone. Now one thing we haven't told you about is a secret video we have been working on since we left Austin last Friday. While we can't share the details of it yet, I can tell you there is some dancing involved. Which brings me back to the Walter White house.


Break time

We drove by the house and stopped around the corner to get our gear setup. When we went to the house we snapped a couple pictures and just as we were about to film for the video I mentioned, the garage door opened. Great. She was gonna call the cops on us and we were going to jail. In Albuquerque. Leo looked at me and said that we were screwed, so we "Better Call Saul". After spending the next 2 minutes explaining to Leo that Saul Goodman was a television character, not a real lawyer that could help us, the owner of the house kept looking at us out of her garage. While Leo was looking for Saul's phone number, I walked up to the garage and let her know that everything was fine and that I was a huge television star in Texas. After she got done laughing at me she said as weird as I looked, she's seen much weirder over the years. Turns out she was really cool and asked where we were from and I told her about our trip. She told me that she has owned the house since 1973 and she is even in the background of the video we shot there. Then Leo walked up and asked if Flynn still lived here and how he was doing since his father passed away.

 


"I am the one who knocks". Walter White's house from Breaking Bad.

As irony would have it I was listening to Garth Brooks as we rode into Albuquerque. Just as we finished our conversation and antics at Walter White's house, I looked up into the sky, saw the dark clouds and saw that the "Thunder Was Rolling" right at us. It started to rain so we booked it to the nearest covered gas station. We pulled out our rain gear, put it on, made sure all our electronics were protected and made the decision to roll out even though the storm was all over us. We had another 2 1/2 hours to go in the rain. To add to the fun the elevation increased to 7,000 feet as we rode to the north and west. It got cold, we got a little wet, but no matter how bad the weather was, a wet day on a Harley is better than a dry day at work!

We finally made it to our stopping point in Bloomfield, New Mexico, checked into the Best Western and within 5 minutes from checking in we were both in the hot tub. And it felt good. The hot tub. Not Leo being in there with me. Lucky for us there was a Blake's Lotaburger across the street so we got some food to go, Leo walked to the gas station next store and got me a fow-tee (40) of PBR and we sat in our hotel room watching the end of the Nascar race. The perfect way to end day 3 with two of my favorite things. A Harley ride and Nascar.

Today we're heading into Colorado for 5 days of riding starting with Durango. Stay tuned, the scenery is about to get even better.

 


"Rain Rider". Coming to a theater near you.



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for the ride including:


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Central Texas Harley-Davidson



 







 

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