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Old 11-13-2010, 01:12 AM   #1
Buddy_Holly OP
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Gallup to Chaco Canyon a dirty Dual Sport Adventure

Veterans day being a day I had off, I checked with a colleague of mine at work and discovered that indeed there is a way to get from Gallup to Chaco Canyon (a world historic site info here) by taking just dirt roads.

I have tried before and been turned back by the confusing maze of roads that should exist but run into locked fences and worse houses that are right next to the road with a fence in front. Typical for the Navajo Nation where the occupant of that house has the grazing rights to the land you want to ride through. The roads I would want to take would take me through a lot of grazing lands in the Navajo Nation so my source came in handy to clue me into roads that wouldn't be locked.

With this info in hand and a .gpx track of what I thought would work I headed off into the cool New Mexico air on my XR650R. By the time I hit dirt I was getting cold hands from the cool weather (highs were 46 deg F), but I was already enjoying the dirt not 5 miles from my front door.

Heading toward Coyote Canyon from Gallup I roll through some great roads, and then head east. From there I meandered east until I hit what is known as the pipe line road, this road let me keep a pace of no less than 30 mph easily and it heads north to Standing Rock. Upon reaching Standing Rock and heading past the Chapter House (the Navajo Nation is organized into Chapters instead of states or counties) my hands were numb and another layer went under my riding jacket- this time a down jacket. This layer made all the difference in keeping warm for the rest of the day.

True to the information I was given this area did turn into grazing lands and soon I was slowing to let cattle get out of my way, I was heading north and east but not on what my GPS said was the route- oh well, adventure.....the riding must have been good because it seemed like in no time I was to the only highway I knew would have to be ridden for a bit NM 371.

Looking to the GPS I knew the road I wanted to find would be just a mile or two north of where I connected with 371.

Soon I was riding east on a road I thought would connect to 57 which would take me right into Chaco. While doing a little route finding I discovered an impressive Chaco Canyon outlier- Kin Bineola.

Kin Bineola is an impressive site because so much of it is standing and so little visited. I enjoy visiting Pueblo Pindato, and have seen Pueblo Bonito and the other major buildings of Cahco Canyon several times, but this site was very impressive not only for its size but its lack of visitors.

After stopping for some photos I knew I must hurry if I was to make the rest of the trip. Heading down the road I found that the views were open and excellent. The rest of the ride included a washed out road, several gaes and a gated yard with on one home but the dogs.

By nearly sunset I had reached the park and instead of going to Bonito I made my way to another outlier Kin Klizhin. It was less spectacular than Kin Bineola, but still worth the trip.

Knowing that folks were studying the stars and living a complex way of life in 900 AD makes New Mexico and these sites worth every trip.

Enjoy the video:

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Old 11-13-2010, 03:41 AM   #2
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Very nice, quality video!
thanks for sharing
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:49 AM   #3
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Looks like a great ride! Thanks for sharing it
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:16 AM   #4
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Good stuff, thanks

BTW, how do you get such a smooth pan on those shots?


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Old 11-13-2010, 06:16 AM   #5
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Loved the video! I'd like to do this route, too.
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:28 AM   #6
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very cool video ... what software did you use ?
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:41 AM   #7
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just did a great ride through the El Malpais, El Morro and the Back Cuntry Scenic Byway, great riding out there.
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:58 AM   #8
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Dang, that looked like fun. I've been to Chaco several times and last Wednesday attended a lecture given by an Astronomer on the astronomical knowledge demonstrated by the people of Chaco and Chimney Rock in Colorado. Visiting CR would add to your picture of what these people were up to. Archaeology has proven that there was regular travel between the two places.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:14 AM   #9
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Thanks to al for the compliments on the Video!

I to get the pan shot I used photoshop to make a panoramic still photo, then used the "Ken Burns" effect in iMovie to pan across the still shot.

Knowing that the ancient ones here had such an established system of travel always blows me away. Seeing other smaller settlements that are littered all over this part of NM, just makes those folks seem all that more impressive.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:32 AM   #10
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Great video. I visited your area last summer and was blown away by the vistas. Nothing like it here on the West Coast. I really wanted to get off road but was intimidated by the fences and my lack of local knowledge. I did venture into a ranch? south of Shiprock but the locals did not appear to be welcoming, and I wanted to be respectful of the Nation. Really appreciate your documentation of an amazing culture, and perhaps next time I will be more adventurous...
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:38 AM   #11
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Great video! Professional quality. Didn't know about those old cities... neat.

More questions I guess...
What camera and mount (etc) are you using? (I think you should probably should put that as a post, lots of folks will want to know.)
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:59 AM   #12
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Great vid.

I just visited Chaco for the first time last weekend. My wife and I have been fascinated after visiting Chimney Rock last summer on a trip to Pagosa.

I was super disappointed (and maybe it was silly) to find that Fajata Butte is totally closed.

I think the ruins are cool but the astronomical stuff is what really gets me.

I wanted to see the sun dagger, etc.

I want to go back on my bike (maybe w/o my wife and son) to really spend some time connecting Chaco, and Salmon Ruin and other outlying ruins.

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Old 11-13-2010, 03:18 PM   #13
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all the above!thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:35 PM   #14
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Great report. Great Video.
With all the cultural history and archeo history and interst, I was thinking that an Adventure ride would really be neat organized from this site to make a tour of all the Ancient ones ruins and parks that we can access. I know there would be alot of interest in this and a tour could be set up pretty easy with all the adventurers that are versed in the locations and routes to get there.
We have many here in AZ and NM is full of them. A loop tour could be set up pretty easy for a 3 or 4 day adventure.
Anyone interested in this type of thing.
Sorry did not mean to hijack your thread but it just seemed that those that might be interested in this type of thing would be looking at your thread.
By the way. Can you give a route track for how you got there so some of us won't make the same mistakes on hitting fences etc.
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:49 PM   #15
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Video Answers

So here's a rundown of how I shoot and more importantly edit my video:

For equipment I use a VHolder Contour HD video camera mounted to my helmet.

For stills I use a Canon G9- its a great camera that lets me shoot in raw format. (I also like the G10 and G11)

While riding of course I use the video camera, but while walking around the G9 comes out and the best way to communicate the wide openness is through a panoramic photo. So I will shoot overlapping photos. Those overlapping photos will later be stitched together using the photomerge automate function in Adobe Photoshop CS3.

I have Apple Mac Pros that come with several software programs that make pulling together all of the video and photos easy. iMovie lets me import the video and stills. Raw footage is trimmed down with iMovie, you can add transitions and a theme is automatically applied. For this reason the added cost of a mac is offset by iMovie and the other programs that come with it. Especially one of those used to make the soundtrack- Garageband.

With Garageband I was able to piece up some bits of sound that come with the program into a song that runs in the background- after making it it goes into iTunes and then it can be seen in iMovie for import into the video.

I hope that helps with some answers. I am sure if you have a PC similar programs are out there- maybe someone else can give a rundown of these programs for a PC.
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