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Old 10-18-2009, 06:23 PM   #1
EnderTheX OP
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9 Days, 3000 Miles, Searching for Dirt and Mountains in New Mexico and Texas

Hi yall, I just finished an awesome ride through Texas and New Mexico with my new adventure bike, a sexy BMW F800GS! I have been thinking about writing this report since I started the trip so I had all of you in the back of my mind while I was riding. This is my first true adventure report and it will be rather picture heavy!

Here is the map of my travels, recorded by my GPS. For some reason all the tracks only record 700 points on my Garmin 276C therefore the resolution is not that great when you travel many miles. (Let me know if someone has figured out how to do this easier) If anyone wants parts of these tracks or wants to know where the pictures were taken I still remember most of it.

I traveled most of the trip solo but I started out riding with a guy I met locally who wanted to do some cool trails out through NM, AZ, UT, and CO. He spent a lot of time on the route and did a good amount of research on the trip. As the trip progressed weather and natural instinct changed our plans as you will see.

Here are some stats from the trip:
Miles Traveled: 3062
Hours spent moving: 64
Bike Drops: 8-10
MREs eaten: 4
Longest Day: 604 miles, 10 hours moving, 12 total
Pictures taken: 514
Pictures to be used during this ride report: 173


Before the trip we went out and did a few drills at local off road sites. I was learning how to turn and ride through sand correctly. Byron knows his stuff; he has been racing for many years and gave me pointers on my technique. Sorry, no pictures, I was busy trying to survive!

I had a bunch of gear from previous camping trips with my SV650S but we streamlined my list and included a bunch more survival gear. My goal was to be completely self-sufficient and be able to handle any situation. I had all the tool necessary to disassemble the bike, tons of spare parts, enough food and water for 72 hours, and emergency medical and survival kits (Byron said I don’t need the survival kit but I took it anyway lol, it is small).

Day 1:

I sit at my cubicle frantically working on a few documents I had to complete before being gone for a week and a half. Finally I am done and I rush home to jump into my gear and head over to Byron’s house.

Packed and ready to go: I had done the 6k service myself before I left including a full nut and bolt check.

Since we left pretty late in the day we only made it to Abilene but it was a good start. I have all my pictures ready to go so I will try to post as much as I can today!
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:29 PM   #2
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sounds like fun I'll be following this post
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:45 PM   #3
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I am here waiting for more of this RR and photos.
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:50 PM   #4
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Day 2

DAY 2:

We start heading down the long and lonely highway through the plains of Texas towards Roswell, our destination for the day. I am thrilled at the effectiveness of my heater grips, this is the first time I really have gotten to use them. The miles come easy on the seat of the F800GS and I have time to enjoy the scenery. Both Byron and I have plans to get new rubber in Roswell before we hit dirt.

Here we stop for a minute to put on some warmer gear, most of western America is under a huge cold and low-pressure front bringing rain and snow prematurely.

I love being out there where no cell phone can reach you. Some of my friends think I am crazy to enjoy traveling solo for several days, weeks at a time with minimal human contact… I believe it is the perfect contrast to my hectic cube life back in DFW.

We get a pit stop, get some fuel, electrolytes, relieve some liquids, you know the usual.

Success!!! We are in Roswell at Champion Motorsports getting ready for the new tires we ordered to be shod. So far I have only had one model rear tire on my bike, the Metzler Karoo T, and I keep it that way. Great tire, awesome in the dirt and twisties but not really that great mileage. I experiment with a new front this time, the Metzler Karoo 2 instead of the Karoo T, result is positive and I enjoy the tire for the rest of the trip.

Champion Motorsports is a cool place, friendly people and nice environment. We spend a good couple hours there waiting for service and purchasing rain gear while watching the weather channel. I ride off happy with no problems until a few days later when I would strangle their service techs if I would be within reach, but that will come later…

Byron and I arrive at a local steak place to close the day. Honestly every time I am outside Texas for a steak I am disappointed lol, this place doesn’t change that. You get a good look at his rig, he was planning on riding his 990 but since that is in the shop he is on his 690 super enduro with an extra gas can so we get about the same range.

Byron isn’t feeling too good so while he crashes in the motel I walk to the bar. This crazy weather sure makes for awesome sunsets!

And I can’t resist a good Texas beer (Shiner) and some Red Label.

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Old 10-18-2009, 07:12 PM   #5
oot & aboot
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:24 PM   #6
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Day 3

DAY 3 (woot dirt!):

So our plan was to start out at around 7am and get an early start on the day to attack out aggressive schedule. I get outside and start packing only to discover we are in the middle of a cloud! Oh well, I can’t go back to sleep when there is riding to be had!!!

We decide to wait out the fog but eventually say fuck it and start out for some gas and dirt! Here is another shot of Byron’s rig. Note the neck brace on the seat, this guy means business!

In this shot Byron questions a guy with a muddy 4x4 about trail conditions in the area. Unfortunately he is from out of state and is in the same situation as us. His news about the conditions in Utah confirm our fears… rain and snow! I am too busy filling my camelbak with fresh water, I am carrying 11.5 liters of water on myself and the bike at the moment. (Plus water purification tablets but supposedly they taste like shit).

The fog stays with us for quite a while, soaking us while we ride. I am wearing a good bit of layers to fight the cold. I don’t really mind being cold but I am seriously trying to avoid getting sick (especially since Byron does not feel good).

This is our first taste of dirt, my mouth is watering, heart racing, this is exactly what I have been dreaming of for the past year! The obligatory pictures are in order, I would never leave you guys behind.

The fog produces a spectacular effect as we ride. I feel as though I am living a dream…

How would you like to live out here in the desert? This house is not too far from town but definitely far enough to feel as though you are in the middle of nowhere.

If you guys didn’t notice, in the middle of the above picture are some wild turkeys.

Few words can describe the feeling…

We run into the first gate. Byron looks confused, he had called the local sheriff department to inquire about these roads and they assured him it is open. We take a few detours (awesome roads, sorry no pics) and even come on another dead end into another person’s yard.

This was very surreal… the old man on the porch eyes us and we stare longingly at the gate on the far side of the yard where the gps tells us the road must go. The road completely disappears beyond the gate and there is no use asking the old man to let us through. Some quick casual conversation and we turn around after he confirms there is no road past the gate.

Here is a picture of the first real gate, sorry no pics of the surreal old man and fading road.

Don’t forget the dirty GS! This is what you get for following someone through the fog on a dirt road lol.

day 3 to be continued…
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:03 PM   #7
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Day 3 continued...

DAY 3 Continued:

I have always wondered how they create these wonder roads… I think I found a part of the answer, this was not the last one I would see during the trip.

The road grew into a more primitive farm road, I am sure the farmer was the most frequent traveler among this route. Byron and I surmised he was probably on horseback watching us traverse his property since we had found his abode empty besides his army of dogs, puppies, horses, etc etc…

Windmill in the desert, and adventurous and fun dual track.

We crossed more gates than I can count during the trip. This one represents a typical gate and terrain.

It is a good thing they posted this warning… I was about to run around naked in the desert biting their cows!

Lets head to the mountains!!

Damn, we ran into another dead end. We have to route around it on pavement. There turned out to be many of these locked gates.

Dirty bike woot!

I was using the GiantLoop Great Basin bag along with the waterproof duffle from Wolfman. I had an ultralight stool from REI too which was nice when I needed it. This luggage hung together well and it when it really counter it felt like it wasn’t there and allowed me to move around enough to bounce over stuff.

More dirty bike!

We got back onto the highway and blazed towards one of our waypoints during the trip. In the distance you can see the White Sands of NM. Byron had attempted to obtain passage across the sands but the military base denied our route, and we passed by on the super slab.

Following a power-line road we came across an unexpected dead end in the middle of nowhere. Damnit, what is with people and locking their gates? Geez lol.

At least the weather was awesome and I felt great!

We started to blaze our own path in the desert where the GPS told us there were no roads. There were many paths and we met up with a couple desert junkies who had an ATV and a 4x4 truck. They began to show us the way out and we ran into my ultimate nemesis… deep sand!!!

I dropped it of course and the one guy who was hanging back with me found another route he though I could manage. Unfortunately his light ATV with huge tires could handle the deep sand better than I could with my 500 pound bike.

Hey this doesn’t count as a drop lol! It is just standing up by itself.

After digging out the rear tire a bit, Byron rode my bike out of the sand, I was exhausted and kept thinking of how I could have gotten out of that situation if I would have been solo (probably turned around earlier instead of going through all this sand).

To be continued…
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:08 PM   #8
poop is fun
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aww shucks, you can't stop here! It looks like the fun is just starting!
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:51 PM   #9
EnderTheX OP
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Day 4

Day 4:

The next day we wake up and it is really nice outside, we get gas in Hatch, NM where I hear some of the best chiles in the world come from… My dad keeps on talking about them so I took a few touristy pictures, no room to carry any home though.

Quite promptly on our route we encounter a dead end . This one had a few warning signs explaining dangerous activity or something going on. We saw a route around it and it was an easy decision to backtrack and try it.

Good thing we did, there was a small dusty tunnel under the interstate we could take. Fun to blast through!

We ended up at another locked gate that led into someone’s property. A little ways up the hill was another road… looks like this road hasn’t been traveled in ages but it is still on our maps and GPS. You can see the remnants of the road but the barb wire fence does not even have a gate.

Luckily there was one more option and it started off pretty rocky. Byron blazed ahead and I started behind him. I felt like I was stuck on the really rocky right side and was trying to fight my way to the left smooth side but I caught a big rock and went down. I had to unpack the bike to get it upright and rest a bit before I could go on.

Hey the path was really rocky and it is steeper than it looks (of course lol).

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Old 10-19-2009, 04:53 PM   #10
Seat belt tight babe?
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.... .....
Do you support the sport? How do you give back?
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:15 PM   #11
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Up top on the hill the road smoothed out a bit and it felt like we were on a huge plateau, we couldn’t see any of the highways or cities in the distance and it was an awesome view. This was one of my favorite trails… I began to get attached to one of the ruts (the right side at first) and felt like it was my friend. I would look at the left side rut and find reasons I was not in it such as “damn did you see that rock!” or “that sand was really deep there”.

I found my BMW hand guards worked equally against cactus as they do trees. I was very surprised the first time I hit a cactus at full speed those suckers are heavy!

Found numerous gates. This one could be rather bothersome if you don’t see it and try to blaze through.

More gates, after this gate (we went strait) we ran into a locked one and had to turn around. Byron was worried about having enough gas to get back to town, we had been on this road for quite a while. When we got back to this particular gate we followed the path you see on the left side of the photo along the fence. It was not on my GPS and I was worried because who knows where these fence roads go?

We dead-ended at a windmill with a water tank in the middle of nowhere. It was a short and fun road so in the end it was worth it. Oh yeah. We made it back to town on the same road OK too.

Gratuitous cactus shot!

While we are on the cactus trip, this was a tiny one but it looked like it would take no mercy on your tires!

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Old 10-19-2009, 06:35 PM   #12
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Day 4 continued...

When we got back into town we took a rest at the gas station. Byron was not feeling too good and we set out for some food in the city to the north.

After some rather mediocre pork ribs, we set out to the local clinic. Byron was going to get checked up and there was no way I was entering that infested place. I stayed outside to catch a quick rest with the bikes. Only after I loaded this picture did I notice the old guy walking out, lol. When Byron came out he reported he had the flu AND strep throat. Seems he doesn't know much about strep throat and how contagious it is but I tried to stay far away from him the rest of our time together.

The rest of the day was spent slabbing it to Silver City. There was an awesome mountain road we took rather slowly (and safely) after we saw two or three of every emergency vehicle up near the top and lots of guys staring over the edge. We didn’t stop to ask but we assumed some poor sap took the risky way down…
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:57 PM   #13
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Day 5

The next day started in Silver City, NM and we crossed the Continental Divide early. That is me under the sign, I’ve got the biggest grin under that helmet!

We started on some innocent looking dirt…

Canyon road with plenty of sand, I was getting used to the 2-3 inch deep stuff and the tire tracks were relatively strait so I was not thrown around too much.

Beautiful day! Could not ask for better weather!

This is where stuff started to get hairy. The road continues on the left but traffic seems to go to the right… Time to take off some warm layers too, getting warm!

This is the view to the right, unfortunately it dead ends into a locked gate about a 1000 feet from here…

On the left, the path less traveled, we quickly find ourselves in a very deep sandy riverbed.

Luckily someone had cut the fallen tree to allow our passage. This stuff was deep and I struggled to keep moving and not bury the rear tire on my heavy bike. Byron on the other hand seemed to enjoy the sand.

Well crap, not too far from the downed tree I get squirrelly and go down on my leg. My boot got caught under the bags and my body kept going. I am really glad I opted for soft luggage because I don’t know if I could ride out of here if I had aluminum panniers on…

The only thing hurting was my right hip and since I am short and it takes effort to throw my leg over the bike especially with luggage it hurt for the next few days. “Walk it off” of course is what most think including myself but I am an out of shape cube worker living his dream, things were not looking too great.

Ahead Byron found the canyon had collapsed on itself and he showed me a picture on his camera. He helped me pick up and turn my bike around and we headed back to the main road. He shot ahead and I caught up with him while he was talking to some ladies on horseback about the route (they were unsure about the road as they do not usually travel that far). I was having a lot of trouble with the sand and my leg. I said I would only hold him up or get hurt so we split up. After lunch he went back to the same road to try another route and I continued on my own. Luckily we were both self sufficient and never planned to share tools or assistance. The rest of the pictures are me solo.

I usually travel solo and it was strange traveling with someone I don’t really know but I learned a lot. Hopefully Byron will get on and share some of his pictures, I am sure he saw some cool stuff in AZ.
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Old 10-20-2009, 03:53 PM   #14
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So after splitting up, I was looking at the map and found some really cool mountain roads heading in the direction I wanted to go.

I know this road would make any rider smile! This is on the way through the Gila National Forrest.

A peaceful area near the Gila Cliff Dwellings. I did not walk up to see them since I had some mileage to cover…

Blasting out this hill to make the road revealed some cool colors in the rocks.

This is one of my favorite paved road pictures that I took:

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Old 10-20-2009, 05:16 PM   #15
Where did I put that
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Fantastic photos, bummer about splitting up, I find it much more enjoyable when I can share with someone.
Maybe a lighter bike would have helped? I am partial to the smaller bikes though in all regards, so my two cents is worth only that.
Thanks for sharing!
Hope there is more.
"Even though my trip turned out badly, I don't regret the kind of life I chose to live. Adventure!" RIP-Clay Schwartz 9/14/07
The bike never has been, never is, and never will be the limiting factor in my, your, or anyone else's ability to have an adventure. -jake28-
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