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Old 04-21-2013, 06:41 PM   #1
jahwerx OP
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Hi All - 1st time Adventure Ride, NM and CO - looking for advice.

A friend of mine are going to be starting our ride in Albuquerque NM in early/mid June of this year, and bottom line - we are looking to the community for areas of NM/CO that we simply SHOUDN'T MISS.

About us and our high-level plan:
=> Our timing and route plan are completely open at this point.
=> We've got years and years of street/sport touring experience - multiple times across this great country, however not much back road/off road experience. We want to change this!
=> Our bikes are low mileage '09 KLRs that we'll outfit/equip as determined by the route. If there are simply epic, more hardcore routes that are worth the payoff, we'll go with more aggressive tires/suspension for example.
=> We'll have over a week to ride, and plan on camping, but fitting a cool lodge or two into the trip would be nice too.
=> Bikes will be trucked out to NM in my truck from the east coast, so no major on-road miles are required for the journey.

So, are there certain roads/trails/passes that are "must rides"? ... and please tell me why you think so. I know everyone will have their own opinion, but that's what I'm after! There just seem to be so many great opportunities in NM/CO v. what we have out here in NJ :) I'm hopeful that with the right input, we'll have an awesome route. And once we have it planned, perhaps we can hook up with some folks on the trek.

Thanks in advance everyone! This is a great forum.
Cheers,
Josh
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:56 PM   #2
DADODIRT
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Ever hear of the Continental Divide Route? Dirt route north-south.
Work your way towards Taos and then north and west. I would try to stay west of the Continental Divide.
Places not to miss? Ouray, Lake City, Silverton to name a few.
Too early in June could mean some of the more difficult passes might not be open yet, but it doesn't sound like that will be an issue.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DADODIRT View Post
Ever hear of the Continental Divide Route? Dirt route north-south.
Work your way towards Taos and then north and west. I would try to stay west of the Continental Divide.
Places not to miss? Ouray, Lake City, Silverton to name a few.
Too early in June could mean some of the more difficult passes might not be open yet, but it doesn't sound like that will be an issue.
Yes indeed! I have the gpx file, and I'm sorry I didn't make it clear... I have done a lot of searching, watching video, lurking, etc.

Hmmm.. I am a little concerned that there could be some icy conditions at this point in the season. I'd like to do it later in the summer, but mid-June it is! Thank you.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:20 AM   #4
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Do, you know exactly what dates you will be here in Albq?
I can give you some suggestions. I am sure there are several guys,
that have gps tracks too. I am not good at gps tracks.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtDad View Post
Do, you know exactly what dates you will be here in Albq?
I can give you some suggestions. I am sure there are several guys,
that have gps tracks too. I am not good at gps tracks.
Probably starting around the 5th and exactly ending on the weekend of the 15/16th (which corresponds to a wedding). Its actually in Tijeras... So plan was some sort of "loop".. if feasible.

I'm seriously considering STARTING at the CD in Grants and heading north from there. Any thoughts I how I might navigate from ABQ out to Grants without having to take I-40?

Thanks!
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:48 AM   #6
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A good first-timer's loop from Albuquerque would be to head up thru the Jemez and pick up the CDR and then take it over to Mt Taylor. Then head south following the CDR. Not sure how far south to go. Lordsburg would be nice and there are ways over to Las Cruces, but they wouldn't be pleasant in June.

So it might be better to take Chloride Creek to Winston and then do Monticello Canyon. It is possible to get from Monticello to Magdelena on all dirt. Then maybe cut over to Socorro on 60 and pick up BLM roads east of the Rio Grande north to the Manzanos. Take FR 422 to Manzano and then do the loop thru 4th of July Canyon. Then it's mostly pavement back to town.

A north loop would be to again go north thru the Jemez, but continue north to Abiqui and thru the Carson NF up to near Antonito CO. You can loop back south thru the BLM land west of the Rio Grande to Taos. You can find dirt roads south to about Sipapu. Off hand no good dirt roads come to mind south of there. May want to head back over to the Jemez.

wbbnm screwed with this post 04-22-2013 at 08:58 AM
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by wbbnm View Post
A good first-timer's loop from Albuquerque would be to head up thru the Jemez and pick up the CDR and then take it over to Mt Taylor. Then head south following the CDR. Not sure how far south to go. Lordsburg would be nice and there are ways over to Las Cruces, but they wouldn't be pleasant in June.

So it might be better to take Chloride Creek to Winston and then do Monticello Canyon. It is possible to get from Monticello to Magdelena on all dirt. Then maybe cut over to Socorro on 60 and pick up BLM roads east of the Rio Grande north to the Manzanos. Take FR 422 to Manzano and then do the loop thru 4th of July Canyon. Then it's mostly pavement back to town.

A north loop would be to again go north thru the Jemez, but continue north to Abiqui and thru the Carson NF up to near Antonito CO. You can loop back south thru the BLM land west of the Rio Grande to Taos. You can find dirt roads south to about Sipapu. Off hand no good dirt roads come to mind south of there. May want to head back over to the Jemez.
Thanks for the excellent feedback. Are there tracks (or URL's to resources) available for the itineraries you mentioned? "Dualsportmaps" doesn't load on my computer and gpsxchange requires me to upload a file ... of which I don't have any :( I don't have a Garmin yet...
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:10 PM   #8
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Ive been to NJ, and used to live in MD, so I have a good sense of what you're trying to do. I would definitely not go southwest on the cdr from the Jemez. Not that it isn't nice, but if you're going to come this far from NJ, stay north of I40. If it's a loop, as in, you have to get back to abq in a week or so, I would mix in some of the better pavement so as to make sure you see more of the awesome stuff. First and foremost, go to the Ouray/Silverton area, and do as many passes as you have time to do. You have time to get to Southern Utah, and it's very much worth the time.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:49 PM   #9
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Everyone that has responded has well over over a thousand posts, and that appreciation isn't taken lightly by me. I hope to see you all on the trail - I have a more clear picture now.

- J

another ps

My wife used to live in Rio Rancho, and I'd spend as much time as I could out there in the late 90's.. hearing balloons flare over my head while I had the whippets out chasing rabbits...

.. skied sandia crest (no, wait! I was snowboarding then!) and wolf creek...

.. did some sailing on elephant butte too. not a stranger to the area, but a novice to adventure riding.

I thank you all.
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:11 AM   #10
gregdee
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Did this last summer

Last summer my wife and I did pretty much what you are wanting to do. We are still fairly new to the adv scene and have similar bikes to what you will be riding. Check out my post on our trip from last summer linked in my sig below. The goal was to get to Moab and back on as much good dirt as we could find. We did not confine ourselves to strictly dirt so we could get north quickly and then get home again. This is why we ride 650's.

From Tijeras we took highway 14 north to the bypass around Santa Fe and then headed north towards Abique. I would recommend stopping at Bode's in Abique (the only gas station there) to grab a breakfast burrito and gas up. In June you will want to get this stretch out of the way early as it will be miserably hot by mid-day. (You can knock this section out in under two hours and be on dirt before mid-morning.) From Abique you can back track a few miles following the CDT route through El Rito and get up into the high country.

On the way home there is a cool route from Antonito, CO across the Rio Grande and into northern NM that is nice to ride. You can stop for a late lunch in Taos and then take the High Road south. By the end of a trip I am tired so cruising scenic twisty pavement isn't such a bad thing.

I have gpx files for the entire trip. PM me if you want them.

You mentioned wanting to take the CDT route from Grants across towards Cuba. While this is an amazingly scenic route it will be wicked hot in June. There is zero shelter out there. Starting in Cuba and riding up into and across the Jemez on the CDT would be more bearable. This route will drop you into Abique about 50 yards north of Bodies.

In June there may be fires and loads of forest closures. We had a fairly dry winter and the local trails are already covered in moon dust. I won't be surprised if the forests are closed before Memorial Day.
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selaznog View Post
Ive been to NJ, and used to live in MD, so I have a good sense of what you're trying to do. I would definitely not go southwest on the cdr from the Jemez. Not that it isn't nice, but if you're going to come this far from NJ, stay north of I40. If it's a loop, as in, you have to get back to abq in a week or so, I would mix in some of the better pavement so as to make sure you see more of the awesome stuff. First and foremost, go to the Ouray/Silverton area, and do as many passes as you have time to do. You have time to get to Southern Utah, and it's very much worth the time.
Selaznog gave you good info here, but be aware that your timing might cause some headaches, as many of the passes around Ouray and Silverton MAY not be melted clear yet by early June. That said, they may be entirely passable, depending on the snow and temps between now and then. It may pay to check back with the Rockies gang a week or two out, and find out whether the passes are open yet, and whether they are likely to open by then. You may need to make some last minute adjustments to your route. (Welcome to route planning in the Rockies!)
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:03 PM   #12
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With our current snowpack here in the San Juans, there is a good chance Ophir pass will be open by your timeframe. If Bolam pass to the south is open by then as well, you could do a nice ride from Silverton side over to Ophir pass, visit Telluride and then head south on 145 to Rico for lunch, then return over Bolam which puts you out on the highway by Durango Mountain Resort. Those two passes are easier than Imogene Pass, which might be safer as you get your feet wet in this adventure riding thing..or just do Ophir over from Silverton and start working towards Southern Utah...
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:13 PM   #13
jahwerx OP
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you folks are great.. keep it coming. the culmination of this will be a published route plan for review. i hope to have this nailed w/in a couple weeks - i want to build a lot of flexibility into it - sounds like june is crazy hot in NM and still "potentially" icy in CO. I love the challenge.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jahwerx View Post
you folks are great.. keep it coming. the culmination of this will be a published route plan for review. i hope to have this nailed w/in a couple weeks - i want to build a lot of flexibility into it - sounds like june is crazy hot in NM and still "potentially" icy in CO. I love the challenge.

IMHO the CDR track north out of Grants will be just fine in June as far as temps go, ridden it many times--if it rains the route from San Mateo to just south of Cuba can get--sticky. Side road is mostly possibly from ABQ to Grants.


Selaznog's info is good. CDR up and over near the CO border will most likely result in wet and muddy in the wooded areas I've hit snow there in mid June. Backtrack is the only option out if you don't go thru. We did go around this. Fire roads up to the top--bit knarley at the top then fireroads down to the highway.




Based on my Jemez riding last weekend up and over above Abiquii should be great, I would suggest west to Grants up to Cuba, out 126 and north on the CDR to Abiquii then north out of El Rito up and over if you decide to chance it to CO. Stay low in CO and head toward Silverton as Selaznog suggests and ride what is open. Plenty of two lane to come back on in a number of directions to cut your return ride days to one if you wish.

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Old 04-24-2013, 10:52 AM   #15
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Jeez, you guys, it's spelled Abiquiu -- and you call yourselves New Mexicans!
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