South of Quemado to Cuba NM
I wake up bright and early, what a beautiful morning.
Kevin already has the water boiling. He functions much better in the morning than I do.
A cup of coffee, a bowl of oatmeal, pack up and get on the road.
We continue north along the route, but instead of following it to Pie Town, we take a dirt road that goes northwest to Omega, closer to Quemado.
We saw this cool old structure along the way.
We stop at the gas station in Quemado to replenish our water, fill up with gas, and use the phone/internet for a bit.
Then we head east to Pie Town to catch dirt north, back on the trail. It is pretty smooth dirt from US 60 up to 117.
Just south of where we hit 117 we meet Gary. He is a nice guy from the Pacific Northwest doing the CDR south. He was glad to see us, and as we rolled up he said, "you are just in time," you can see why.
He dodged some sand and the back end spun around on him, but he was fine and was pulling the luggage off to make it easier to stand the bike back up. We gave him a hand and hung out and talked with him while he got his stuff all put back together and he was on the road.
117 is a real pretty ride, I have been up through here a few times before, there are some cool lava flows and rock formations. Unfortunately we only stopped to take pics once at a pull off.
We get to grants, top off our fuel and camel backs, and head out. North out of grants is 547, a nice twisty paved road that would have been more fun on a sportier bike, but still nice on the Xchallenge.
Shortly after this we hit dirt and venture into ranch land. I think this was probably the best part of NM. However NM had a lot to offer. There were lots of gates, we got into a good rhythm where we each basically opened every other gate, so I would open a gate, Kevin would catch up about the time I got it open and he would ride through to the next gate while I closed mine and got going, then I would ride through that one that he opened. It worked well and we were making good time.
The ranch land was pretty rough, This is the section where I had my first mechanical issue. I Snookered my front fender. My Xbike brothers and sisters know exactly what that means.
The problem was poor engineering on my part, I had built a steel bracket to support my KTM fender, any Xchallenge owner knows the OEM fender is really just for decoration, and does little to prevent the bike/rider from getting covered in water/mud. I guess I need to take a couple engineering classes as the bad boy snapped right off from the bumps, and probably the weight of my fender bag with spare tube and tire irons. The good thing, I got it on video.
But I secured it to the back of the bike so technically I am still legal in NM, i think.
And here it is, proof that I am a dumbass.
So we continued on towards Cuba, stopping for water and a snack, as it is really mile after mile of nothing. We didn’t see another person for hours. Bring lots of water if you do this route!
We roll into Cuba and it is time to call it a day. Kevin suggests we get a motel but I think the 2nd night is a little too early to wuss out and not camp.
Boy, was I wrong, because about 10 minutes after we checked in, it started to storm, and man did it storm. Thunder, lightning, pouring rain, fortunately I had walked to the gas station next door and picked up a 6 pack.
We sat outside the motel, drank beer, relived the day, enjoyed the storm like people from the desert do, and embraced the fact that I was wrong about wanting to camp.
Here is a shot of me, being wrong and happy about it.
It was a good day and we were dry, day 2 is in the books.