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Old 03-04-2012, 10:51 AM   #1
AaronB OP
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September to New Mexico and CO, AZ, NV

This one is big for me. As a reward for working ten years at my job, I get three weeks and little money to go find myself (really my employer is that cool). For me, that means a motorcycle adventure around the west (concentrating on New Mexico). I expect to do between 4,000 and 5,000 miles in about 20 days. This should give me time to enjoy the trip and the adventure I hope to find on the way.





Objectives:
· Survive
· Don’t spend a lot of money
· Meet new people
· Visit towns and cities that are candidates for future relocation (I know, I said, I had a cool employer but I am tired of the rain and the employer may quit someday soon)
· Explore dirt roads (CO, NM, AZ and NV I can do the northwest anytime)
· Eat good food (cost permitting)
· Tour Algae Biofuel startups
· Survive
Steed: KLR 650 2000
Accommodations: Tent with a few stops at friends and family
Cast: Me, and just me

Tentative itinerary
· Sep. 1 Bellingham WA to Pasco WA (Stay with family)
· Sep. 2 Boise ID (Stay with friend)
· Sep. 3 UT?
· Sep. 4 CO maybe Grand Junction?
· Sep. 5 CO maybe Durango?
· Sep. 6 Chaco Canyon, Taos NM
· Sep. 7 More northern NM and Santa Fe
· Sep. 8 More northern NM and Albuquerque
· Sep. 9 Las Cruces
· Sep. 10 Roswell NM
· Sep. 11 El Paso TX
· Sep. 12 Silver City NM
· Sep. 13 Tucson AZ
· Sep. 14 Flagstaff AZ
· Sep. 15 Grand Canyon, Las Vegas (Stay with family)
· Sep. 16 Somewhere NV or CA (NV has vast dessert but CA has other stuff)
· Sep. 17 Somewhere NV or CA
· Sep. 18 Somewhere OR
· Sep. 20 Home
Questions:
Is this the right time of year to be in these places?
Are there places I should skip or spend more time in?

AaronB screwed with this post 03-06-2012 at 10:51 PM
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:47 AM   #2
Barlucci
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I live in Albuquerque, and travel all around the 4 corners states. You will be fine in September riding around these states.
Just remember, it may be cold in the evening, early morning. A heated vest goes along ways to keeping you comfortable.
I've seen 20' snowbanks at the top of Rocky Mountain Nat'l park around the 4th of July, as well as snow on Independence pass around the same time of year. that should all be gone by September.
Give me a yell as the dates get close, I can ride some of New Mexico with you, and possibly some of Colorado as well.

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Old 03-05-2012, 11:17 AM   #3
DADODIRT
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Labor Day Weekend....

.....is a frigin zoo around Durango. Two large Harley rallys. One in Ignacio, the other in Mancos.
You will be fine on dirt roads and early morning on Hwy 550. Plan on camping or reserving hotels in the area soon.
September is the best month for Colorado.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:12 PM   #4
eakins
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lots of way cool road in ID your missing
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:35 AM   #5
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Your itinerary shows you moving so fast that you will be missing a lot of the beauty of NM. It is a huge state (#5) and if you hope to ride any dirt at all you will be way off on your timetable IMO. There is a lot of great dirt riding in the SW corner below Silver City /Deming area also that you are not looking at. You could easily ride the whole mo. just in NM alone.September is very nice weather.
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:37 PM   #6
AaronB OP
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Good Advice

Thanks for all the good advice. I am going to make some changes based on the advice I have recieved.

Quote:
A heated vest goes along ways to keeping you comfortable.
I've seen 20' snowbanks at the top of Rocky Mountain Nat'l park around the 4th of July, as well as snow on Independence pass around the same time of year. that should all be gone by September.
I have made the mistake of starting trips to early, but I am glad you mentioned the heated gear. I was really debating that.

Quote:
.....is a frigin zoo around Durango. Two large Harley rallys.
Wow! Thanks that could have been a rude awakening. I would have assumed that campsite were going to easy to get.

Quote:
lots of way cool road in ID your missing
Fortunately, ID is close enough to me that I can get there during a more typical one or two week trip.

Quote:
Your itinerary shows you moving so fast that you will be missing a lot of the beauty of NM. It is a huge state (#5) and if you hope to ride any dirt at all you will be way off on your timetable IMO. There is a lot of great dirt riding in the SW corner below Silver City /Deming area also that you are not looking at. You could easily ride the whole mo. just in NM alone.September is very nice weather.
Yeah, I am thinking about making some major adjustment to my itinerary based on what all of you have said. I think, I will may change the direction from CW to CCW. It seems all of the best trips are CCW. This way, I can make my OR and NV days a little longer and possible get an extra day or two in NM. I am surprised no one has spoke up about adventures in NV. I have seen some great trip reports from there. Is it smart to trade time in NV for time in NM. I have been reading about the Silver City area and I have been looking forward to that.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:04 AM   #7
JDowns
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It looks like you are avoiding California, so I'll skip that. Although some of the most fun on a motorcycle can be had in that state. And you probably know Washington, although I might suggest heading down through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest past Trout Lake to White Salmon on the Columbia River Gorge is a nice ride.

Eastern Oregon has some really great riding that you might enjoy. In the north there is 19 south of Arlington that takes you down to Fossil and some curvalicious riding through the fossil beds all the way to the John Day River. Or even better, cut over on 402 at Kimberley to Long Creek and drop down 395 to John Day. There are some great forest service roads in the Ochoco and Strawberry mountains, but lets face it, you only have three weeks. Since you don't want to go to Idaho and all the great riding over there I'll skip Sumpter, the Wallowas, Hat Point, Hells Canyon, Cuprum, and all the Idaho back country goodness. South of John Day on 395 is a twisty climb. Cranking and banking at its best. And a few miles south on the west is Post-Paulina road that takes you over to the gravel road down to Burns just before the ghost town of Izee. It is FS 47 and connects to Hines logging road and drops you onto Hwy 20 just west of Burns. From central Eastern Oregon there are some nice roads south to Nevada. But the Steens are magic, heading south on 205 just east of Burns. And the Steens mountain loop from just outside Frenchglen up past Fish Lake and to the overlook vista over the Alvord desert is not to be missed. Then down to Fields for a milkshake and burger before heading to Denio Junction in Nevada.

You could spend weeks in Nevada. It is the most mountainous state in the union. From Denio Junction you could head west on 140 on the long lonely highway to Adel and cut south through the Black Rock desert and hit every pass in the Sierra. Or head south to Winnemucca and take the dirt road south for 100 miles to hwy. 50, but thats a lot of straight line riding between two mountain ranges. Same with the paved option of 305 south from Battle Mountain. I would probably head east to Elko and south on 228 to the Ruby Mtns for some camping in the mountains.

Nevada is nice, but southern Utah is so beautiful at that time of year I would spend the majority of time exploring southern Utah and the four corners area. This is turning into a novel, but other nice places would be the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Hovenweep, Canyon de Cheilly, Bryce, Moab, Monument Valley, 89 south of Flagstaff through redrock canyon, Sedona and Jerome, ShowLow, Snowflake, Petrified Forest, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, San Juan National Forest, every back country mountain pass in the Colorado Rockies etc, etc.

You will like Silver City. With your interest in biofuels and keeping costs down, I would assume you are a liberal minded eco-friendly thrifty sort. Plenty of folks like that in Silver City. New Mexico is the land of enchantment for a reason. And the cost of living is lower than say Portland, Eugene, Santa Cruz, Mendocino, Marin County, Telluride, Flagstaff and such. Which are also places you might consider moving to from Bellingham. Bellingham is pretty nice though. Well okay, I grew up in the Willamette Valley and don't mind liquid sunshine as we liked to call the winter monsoon of drizzle.

Have fun!

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:22 PM   #8
AaronB OP
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Good NV information

JDowns,
That was very good information about eastern OR and NV. I have never spent any time there, but I have seen some incredible reports from this area. This will help me plot a potential course through NV, but I would love to hear what you have to say about CA. I have not yet settled on NV for this leg of the trip.

By the way, I have been reading some of your panama trip report. I would appreciate any advice for traveling light.
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:32 PM   #9
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A paid vacation, how good is that?

I see on day one you are gettin' outta dodge. Here is an alternate to day two. It will let you bypass SLC and that horrible traffic.

South at Mountain Home to Eureka, Ely and Hwy 50 to Great Basin Park. SE thru Minerville to Crescent City. This sets you up for Zion Park and Hwy 12. You are now aimed toward Moab. Lots of Sagebrush ranchlands out of Idaho then over a bunch of small desert mountains to Zion. Fast roads and great scenery till Zion. There are secondary north south roads around Great Basin. hwy 93 is my choice to Vegas. You could go south on 93 then east to Crescent City, etc.

Out of Vegas aim for Shoshone and Death Valley. Death Valley is the one Nat Park that most surprised me. Visit The Racetrack.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:10 PM   #10
Head2Wind
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Aaron,

Not matter how you do it, and where you go.... it will be a epic ride and life experience I am sure.

You are fortunate that your employer is offering you this kind perk for sure.... my previous employer of 11 years gave me a payoff which included a extended awaycation, oh and don't worry about coming back


mmmmm biofuels
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Old 03-09-2012, 05:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronB View Post

Tentative itinerary
· Sep. 1 Bellingham WA to Pasco WA (Stay with family)
· Sep. 2 Boise ID (Stay with friend)
· Sep. 3 UT?
· Sep. 4 CO maybe Grand Junction?
· Sep. 5 CO maybe Durango?
· Sep. 6 Chaco Canyon, Taos NM
· Sep. 7 More northern NM and Santa Fe
· Sep. 8 More northern NM and Albuquerque
· Sep. 9 Las Cruces
· Sep. 10 Roswell NM
· Sep. 11 El Paso TX
· Sep. 12 Silver City NM
· Sep. 13 Tucson AZ
· Sep. 14 Flagstaff AZ
· Sep. 15 Grand Canyon, Las Vegas (Stay with family)
· Sep. 16 Somewhere NV or CA (NV has vast dessert but CA has other stuff)
· Sep. 17 Somewhere NV or CA
· Sep. 18 Somewhere OR
· Sep. 20 Home
Questions:
Is this the right time of year to be in these places?
Are there places I should skip or spend more time in?
Roswell? Forget anything East of the Sacramentos. El Paso is nothing to look at. If in Ruidoso take 244 to Cloudcroft then 82 to Alamogordo and Whites Sands and across to Las Cruces. There is a new algae plant on the West Mesa in Las Cruces. From there backroads to Hillsboro and 152 over the mountains to Silver City. Black Hills scenic byway just across the border in AZ, maybe take 191 South from Alpine to access it, one of the best twisties roads in the country (191).
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:35 AM   #12
Gale B.T.
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You are welcome to ride some dirt with us here in Pagosa if your schedule allows such. Each mid September/early October we do a color ride on part of the CDT between here and Chama..WE pig out at the lodge in Platoro, CO and then burp our way back home.

There is a to die for narrow guage rail line in Chama http://www.cumbrestoltec.com/that travels up and over the mountains back into Colorado at Antonito.

Let me know if you need any assistance.

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Old 03-10-2012, 07:57 PM   #13
plateau
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+1

for the trip from Hillsboro>Silver City> Pinos Altos>Gila Cliff Dwellings. Good German Restaurant near Lake Roberts (only served Saturday!) good combo, plenty of excellent places to camp/hot springs.

http://www.spiritcanyon.com/menu.html
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Old 03-11-2012, 01:32 PM   #14
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i understand.

i would jump back and forth over the cali high sierra passes heading north vrs slabbing it though NV. rt50 across NV is fun, but all the rest suck the life outta me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronB View Post
Thanks for all the good advice. I am going to make some changes based on the advice I have recieved.



I have made the mistake of starting trips to early, but I am glad you mentioned the heated gear. I was really debating that.



Wow! Thanks that could have been a rude awakening. I would have assumed that campsite were going to easy to get.



Fortunately, ID is close enough to me that I can get there during a more typical one or two week trip.



Yeah, I am thinking about making some major adjustment to my itinerary based on what all of you have said. I think, I will may change the direction from CW to CCW. It seems all of the best trips are CCW. This way, I can make my OR and NV days a little longer and possible get an extra day or two in NM. I am surprised no one has spoke up about adventures in NV. I have seen some great trip reports from there. Is it smart to trade time in NV for time in NM. I have been reading about the Silver City area and I have been looking forward to that.
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Old 03-11-2012, 01:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post

You could spend weeks in Nevada. It is the most mountainous state in the union.
Kindest regards,
John Downs
i don't fully understand what you are saying here?
how are you defining that?

he is on a paved road tour and most all the roads in NV just follow the straight valley floors. the mountains are in long bands and thus roads can avoid them, except in a few areas. in the other mtn states the roads go through the mountains (as the mountains are continuous) and thus are twisty or follow waterways (none in NV) and thus are twisty.

maybe you're seeing some twisty roads i can't?
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll...506836&t=p&z=5
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