The Grants New Mexico Experience
By Stephen Cantrill

†††† This is about a place most of us have ridden motorcycles to, perhaps many times - but where we have spent little time. This seasoned biker had the chance to stay four nights - something you will probably never intentionally do, unless you want to visit their mining museum. Circumstances landed me here not really in the heart of motorcycle season, although you can still squeeze out some rides in the sun-belt states and hit Death Valley in January, as long as youíre not with Brass Balls Bob [another story].

†††† Having been impacted by a minor chain of events† - the crash of the real estate market, loss of my business, a late life divorce after 25 years and the September 2008 financial mess - I found myself selling yard sheds. O.K., the guys I work for in Texas call them custom, portable, steel buildings - and they really are swell sheds. I donít want to diminish the importance of my senior-years avocation. After all, weíre not selling smart-board and OSB!† If particle board is so good, how come they donít make cars out of it? [Although now with the crash of Detroit, we might soon be driving cars made of paper and glue, just like our houses.]

†††† Thereíre a lot of old guys out there who never planned any toy space in their garage when they decided to follow the crowd and buy a cruiser. So: VOILA! Thatís where I come in, as always, with all the motorcycle answers. Do you think they are going to park these rare, one-off, valuable gems outside, where someone could steal them? Thatís about as likely as putting them on their center stands.

†††† Witness this: for five or ten large, I can set them up in a nice, high-quality, custom, portable building, that we can set right down on the property. We can include a couple of windows and a roll up door. The floor warranty is 40 years, steel 30, paint 20. And we donít even care if you contact your HOA or the town planning and zoning department. Just think how much longer this will last than the bike [or them]!

†††† If youíre really with the in-program, this has to be your next purchase, right after the doo-rag, pick up truck, the trailer and the leather chaps. And Iím telliní ya right now, when you crank Ďer up and rap that engine right up to the 1,200 rpm redline inside that 12 foot by 16 foot genuine 26 gage, corrugated-steel building, itíll sound like 5 million horsepower!!! The neighbors will love it too! These proud motorcyclists are going to think twice about the gen-you-wine increase in real power. Hell, itíll make that building move right down the yard. As soon as they tell all their buddies about this, who also do not have and cannot afford a REAL man-cave, Iíll be rich on these sales.† Who says the economy is bad? It just takes ingenuity - the right idea at the right time! Iím going to put aftermarket muffler guys out of business. These buildings have terrible acoustics. Nothing can match the volume or lack of noise control.

†††† O.K., letís get back to the scene where I will be making a killing. I am starting to think I have MUCH more entrepreneurial ability than the last two CEOs of Merryl-Lynch and Governor Greedy-vich of Illinois combined: this IS old U.S. Route 66. Almost everything down town is boarded up and out of business. The leaves have finally succumbed to the strong New Mexican winds. If these winds were a fart, Hurricane Katrina was the end of the world. You can see a bit of China from here and can only imagine how much we import. All you have to do is turn around and watch the Santa Fe RR 100-car trains go eastbound every 15 minutes. Sales are going to be good!

†††† Itís been a long time since I was the Newsletter Editor for the PITSTOP news [the Phoenix BMW club] and between customers crashing down my door to buy yard sheds, if felt good to put pen to paper. You can imagine that I still had some trepidation about a Christmas onslaught of customers. Remember the front-door customer-crowd killed someone at a New York Wal Mart. Several times at mid-morning I scooted my chair further away from the propane heater. My toasty micro-fiber jacket was starting to smell like burnt plastic.

†††† I have this pensive time to sit here in a portable steel building enjoying a 50į Decemberís afternoon sun and formulate a new appreciation of noise. In little old Grants there is a high percentage of ďadult childrenĒ who believe that being seen and heard is essential to their happiness. There has to be a statute on the books in New Mexico which requires all new pick up truck owners to change out their mufflers as soon as they drive off the lot. The Harleys and pickup trucks in front of me on Santa Fe Street are every bit as loud as the 4-engine diesel-electric Santa Fe trains a hundred yards behind me. Sales are going to be good!

†††† The first day saw no sales. A more pleasant interlude was to be found at El Cafechiti. The 2nd morning greeted me with a 20į day, so I prolonged my work duty in a 12í x 16í yard shed by taking in a warm breakfast, giving time for the sun to do its work. At the counter, the menu was on a 5Ē x 7Ē card. Evidently the chef had the favorite numbers down to a science. This was no Chinese menu. If only I could bet horses or football games this well, Iíd be rich. The huevos rancheros seemed like a good idea - ďgreen pleaseĒ.

†††† I remember a June ride in the 1980s, west out of Denver when I-70 was closed for snow. We took old U.S.40 and stopped to take snapshots of my R75/6 and the mountain snow alongside the road. The warmest gear we had were our rain-suits. Coming down a mountain into a small ski town, we stopped for breakfast and I had huevos rancheros for the first time. Did that EVER fit the bill! Obviously that 25 year old experience has not faded into the past very much and that meal made an impression [coming and going]. [Momentary thought: maybe THIS was a part of my marriage experience leading to the divorce - you know - both the riding gear and food selection.]

†††† I was hoping the El Cafechiti version of huevos would warm the cockles of my heart as well as the Colorado memories. Eating hot, spicy food is kind of indicative of sado-masochism: It kind of hurts to eat it, but at the same time tastes so good you canít quit until you finish it off. The cook staff included three full-size, pure-bred, Navajo gents with long black braided hair. These were real wide-body guys and they could have been down-linemen for the NFL. If they had played football for the Grants/Milan Pirates, they should have won the state championship that year. It made me ponder Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest theory. History has it that Kearnyís Army of the West set out from Santa Fe and killed about every Navajo they could find and starved the rest.

†††† You had to be a pretty tough hombre to survive and these guys did. One had a t-shirt that said ďoriginal outlawĒ on the back. I was starting to put 2-and-2 together. If THESE guys were some of the chaps steering those pick-em-up trucks and Harleys, perhaps it would be best to keep my opinions about noise to myself. You have to wonder though how far they could go in life these days if they had only gone to pirate graduate school in Somalia. These guys did not stop by to pick out a yard shed after work.

†††† Actually, Grants does have a number of motorcycling memories for me. In 2006 Rick and Dave and I took the ďlongĒ way to the Bavarian Mountain Weekend in Sipapu. We added an extra day on the front by riding US666 [Devilís Highway] from Alpine to Clifton and back north again, staying in Grants. Most of the Phoenix club took the straight route through Payson and I-40 and rode in the rain the whole day. Based on the wisdom of our 2006 trip, we did it again in 2007 - this time WE got to ride the whole way in the rain. For some dumb reason we all found it easy to have a good belly laugh at the end.

†††† My first technical exposure to writing a short story was in 9th grade English class. One of the hardest things to learn was how to get your point across, make it interesting, keep it short and end it gracefully. Letís just predict that in 2009 I wonít be making cruiser guys happy with yard shed sales. Doggone it - that hurts my feelings. I really like to make those guys happy - except when we are together at a stop light. I just donít like to be behind them. Iíve been trying to be austere this year, frugal, conservative and lay low. But Iíve been planning my rides for 2009 and I plan to be fine.† See you on the road. I have to get back to my sales now. Happy New Year. 

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