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Old 09-19-2012, 05:51 PM   #21
gregdee OP
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Tijeras, NM
Oddometer: 506
The last day

Day 11
This is the final day of our trip and it was going to be a long one. We had to get from basically South Fork, CO all the way home to Tijeras just outside of Albuquerque. The day's ride turned out to be right at 300 miles taking us 9 hours 44 minutes and 19 seconds, according to the GPS. While we were packing up that morning we were visited by one very curious hummingbird. This little guy was checking out every colorful thing we had in hopes of finding a quick meal. Sorry dude, no sweet stuff here.

From our camp we headed up Park Creek Rd., past the turn off to Summetville, and headed south towards Stunner Pass and Platoro. There is a several mile section where you just cruise across the top of the range. This is a great place to be on a morning like this.

Descending towards Stunner Campground we rode under this peak which I think is Lookout Mountain. All the iron in the ground turned this peak a nice red color. Unfortunately the sky had clouded up some so the picture doesn’t do it justice. The camera stayed put away for the rest of the day.

Following the CDT route we rode over Stunner Pass to Platoro and then headed south along NF250 to highway 17. The south section of NF250 is super busy as far as dirt roads go. Fortunately it was raining as we rode along it so the dust wasn’t bad at all. We ended up riding this again over Labor Day weekend and the dust and traffic was less than pleasant. I would avoid this route in the future. Instead, coming up the other end of NF250, getting to it from just north of Antonito, past the Terrace Reservoir and through Jasper to the north side of Stunner Pass is a much more pleasant route. That was the route we took back on day 2.

Once we got to highway 17 we decided we wanted to come down into Taos for lunch instead of following the CDT route south from Cumbres Pass south into NM, saving that for another time. We rode down 17 into Antonito and then headed east through Manassa, crossing the Rio Grande and catching highway 522 south into NM. The ride across the valley was actually pretty cool and would be better suited to bigger more street oriented bikes, but we managed just fine.

We later learned (thanks to Big Dog) that there is a very cool (if you are into wide open endless views) mostly dirt route that can be taken from 8th street in Antonito all the way across to Costilla just over the border in NM. This shot is from a different ride but it gives you a sense of the openness of the area. I find it exhilarating to ride through such places.

We rode through Taos and stopped at the Gudalajara Grill on the south end of town. We’d eaten here plenty of times before as we have been known to ski bum more than a few winters at Taos Ski Valley. I had the giant pizza-sized Aztec quesadilla and Kerry had the fish tacos. The place isn’t fancy but the food is pretty darn good and they have roasted jalepenos in the condiment bar.

With tummies full, from the south end of town we took highway 518 and flew the High Road to Taos south into Pojaque. I love this route and never tire of it. I highly recommend it to anyone passing through the area. From Pojaque it was 100 miles of slab skirting Santa Fe and then down 14 through Cerillos and Madrid to get home. Not a bad way to end a trip. We were tired and satisfied and we still had one day to readjust to real life before getting back to work on Monday. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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