Day 2 of 5000+ Mile, 17 Day Motorcycle Ride (Canyon, TX to Ft. Sumner, NM 173 Miles)

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Today’s ride route down US 60

Today is day 2 of my 5000+ mile, 17 day motorcycle ride. Yesterday I met my riding buddies, Larry T. and Larry A. (the Larry’s) here in Canyon, Texas.

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Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas

Our first stop is the Palo Duro Canyon State Park. We were there yesterday to eat dinner and see the “Texas” show.  Today we will return to ride the entire length of the park before heading down US 60 to Ft. Sumner.  US 60 runs roughly parallel to the better-known Route 66. To me, US 60 is more scenic and more remote than I-40/Route 66. Because things are few and far between on US 60, I would recommend you to plan gas and food stops.

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Riding in Palo Duro Canyon. Photo by Larry A.

I picked up a hitch-hiker at the motel… A ladybug hitched a ride on my windshield and rode all the way to the turnaround (21 miles) in Palo Duro Canyon. I guess it had enough riding or thought it liked the surroundings there better. You will see my ladybug friend riding atop the windshield in the following video. The video is of us riding into the Palo Duro Canyon. The Larry’s can be seen riding behind me in my rearview mirror…

The Palo Duro Canyon lies in the heart of the Texas Panhandle and is the second largest canyon in the U. S. When riding out to the canyon you will be asking yourself, “Is there a canyon out here?”… The scenery riding out is flat and doesn’t suggest canyon country… but then you are in it, seeing spectacular views sloping toward the canyon. The visitor center is a good place to see the canyon from the top before riding into it and to learn about the canyon and its history.

 

Palo Duro Canyon is rugged, with colorful majestic vistas. This morning is overcast with mild temperatures, which made for a nice ride into the canyon. Though there is much to do in the canyon, we will just be riding through, taking in all that can be seen from the seat of a motorcycle… We did make a few stops to take in the scenery and take pictures. State Park Road 5 makes a loop in the canyon, but today the left side of the loop is closed for road construction. They are building bridges over the low water crossings. Over the years they have had floods that stranded some visitors until the water went down enough to pass through the low water. We missed a little of the ride because of the construction, but there is always next time…

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Pit stop in the Palo Duro Canyon

Before the day’s end the temperature did manage to climb to the mid 90’s. A bit warm, but that was to be expected. For this leg of our ride, US 60 is straight, flat and paralleled the BNSF railroad line through miles and miles of ranch and farm land. We saw many freight trains moving tons of freight down the railroad. I spent my time taking pictures of the freight trains as we rolled down US 60.

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One of the freight trains while riding down US 60

We stopped for lunch in Clovis, New Mexico. Clovis is a larger town and offered many choices for places to eat. By the time we reached Clovis, it was getting a bit warm and we were ready to take a break and cool off. Clovis is a hub to farming and ranch activities and BNSF Railway operates a large freight yard there. Cannon Air Force Base, located adjacent to Clovis, has a large impact on the community and businesses. Clovis was a good break before heading on down US 60…

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Old Church at Taiban, NM

14 miles from Ft. Sumner we stopped at Taiban, NM to see an old abandoned church. We spent time taking pictures of the church, its surrounding area and reading the prayers left on the wall by some of the earlier visitors. The members have gone but this little church is still a place of worship…

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Old Church prayer at Taiban NM

Just outside the town of Ft. Sumner is the old Ft. Sumner grounds where the infamous “Billy the Kid” is buried. The old fort is rich in history and worth taking the time to visit the grounds and museum.

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Grave of Billy the Kid at Old Ft. Sumner

On October 31, 1862, Congress authorized the establishment of the military Fort Sumner. Fort Sumner was a million-acre reservation known as the Bosque Redondo Indian Reservation. The U.S. Army forcibly moved the Navajo and Mescalero Apache people to the surrounding area.

A small settlement grew up around the military post comprised of ranchers, stockmen and businesses supporting the fort.

Fort Sumner closed forever on June 1, 1868. The Indians were allowed to return to their former homes shortly there after.

In 1870 the old Fort Sumner buildings were sold to Lucien Maxwell. Lucien Maxwell  turned over his affairs to his son Peter before passing away a few years later. Billy the Kid and Peter Maxwell became friends. On July 14, 1881, Sheriff Pat Garrett killed Billy the Kid in a bedroom of the Maxwell home. Billy is buried along with two of his friends; Charlie Bowdre and Tom O’Folliard, in the military cemetery at Fort Sumner.

The fort is now the home of one of two museums about Billy the Kid. The other museum is in the town of Fort Sumner. The museum is a treasure trove of information on Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County war. There are many firsthand accounts, information about Billy and many period artifacts. It is worth the time and the small entrance fee.

From the Old Fort we rode on to the town of Fort Sumner (6.7 miles) our home for the night.

Once checked in we walked down to the other “Billy the Kid” museum. Five years ago when we rode the “Million Dollar Highway” we stayed here and toured the museum. Since that time there has been thousands of visitors to the museum. On our previous visit we enjoyed visiting with Donald Sweet the owner. Today we arrived just after 4:30.  At 4:30 they didn’t allow anymore self-guided tours. We spoke with Donald briefly and he remembered us from our previous ride! It’s amazing he would remember us after five years. Donald let us tour the museum and didn’t charge us since we had less than 30 minutes to take the tour. Donald is a nice guy and he rides too… Do take the time to stop and see the museum, but you need a couple of hours to see all there is to see. It is a must see while in Fort Sumner. When you stop tell Donald the Texas Rambler said hello…

Tomorrow we ride more of US 60. Come follow along and enjoy the ride over the next 14 days… Hope we see you down the road. Ride safe…

If you liked this ride post, you may checkout the other post from this ride below…

Hera are other rides you may like too…

I hope we see you down the road somewhere… Ride safe…

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