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Old 03-02-2015, 04:13 PM   #1
Evomx971 OP
Defrosting in NM
 
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Joined: Mar 2010
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Defrosting in NM 2015

“but now it’s time for me to go” ~ Ramble On, Led Zepplin



As a native Iowan I have grown to seriously dislike Winter. I think Midwest Winters should be like the military or a state job – 20 or so years of service and you’re out – the state should then help fund “retirees” to be gone from about Dec 1 to April 1. Maybe Iowa should buy a chunk of AZ/NM/TX for us all to go. Contact your local congressman.



In Jan 2013 I found myself between jobs after 19 years. I took advantage of the time off and spent about 7 weeks riding from Des Moines down through quite a bit of Texas, out to San Diego, then back. Great time. I did a ride report – see my sig. Fairly expensive though. Really too cold to camp… I think my average cost was around $100 day for the trip. Even though I’m only 42, I was really digging the whole snowbird thing and started thinking about how an RV setup might fit into future escapism plans.

Fast forward and I’m currently between consulting gigs so have decided to head south to New Mexico for a few weeks of riding and R&R. I’ve had several friends and family ask if I’m going to do another ride report – so here I am. I like doing it… its sort of the more manly way to scrapbook the trip for future reference.

So for this trip I decided to try the “RV” approach… and I really stewed over getting an RV – what class, what size, motorhome, travel trailer, toy hauler. Obviously I need to be able to bring 1-2 motorcycles with me. I wasn’t quite ready to fully pull the trigger on an RV so took a baby step. Pretty sure I’ll end up with a motorhome of some sort in the next few years and if I do I’ll probably end up pulling a trailer with motorcycles so went ahead and bought a new H&H (made in IA) 6X12 V-nose enclosed. I already had an extended Chevrolet cargo van for all my riding and racing activities (it’s actually my daily driver – I have to be careful and not circle elementary schools and banks too many times when trying to find an address). Decided I’d set it up as a “camper van” and I’d be set. Yeah… I’m living in a van.

Why New Mexico? On my trip in 2013 I met fellow inmate Jeff (buls4evr), crashed a few nights at his place and did some road riding with Jeff around his place in Deming, NM… about 20 miles from Old Mexico. Jeff has been snowbirding here from Michigan for 13 years. Jeff really got my attention with the off road riding he does down here… at the time he was on a DRZ400 but has now went full zoot with a KTM 500EXC.

Warm weather and a local expert on the roads, trails, and food – sounds good to me, let’s go! You say some guys are riding trails around Truth or Consequences, NM on Feb 28? Let’s try to get there for that…
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:03 PM   #2
Evomx971 OP
Defrosting in NM
 
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2-26-15: Leaving Iowa

Time to roll. Nothing like a bitter cold morning to finish loading… and further solidify that this trip is a good idea. That's 1 degree fahrenheit my foreign friends. Actual temp… and it was windy so that just increased the suckage.



Got my trusty van, new trailer, 2011 Triumph Tiger 800XC and 1994 Honda XR650L.



As usual, the hardest part is saying goodbye to The Girlfriend. We hugged really hard and really long… the goal is that she’ll be able to go on these trips with me in the next few years. We’re thinking a few months on motorcycles in Baja in 2017… how are you doing on your Spanish lessons hon?

Say “hi” Pam:



Toasty warm in the van and on I-35 headed south from Des Moines. Sunny day, clear roads – good driving day. Missouri state line, Kansas City, Kansas state line, Wichita… jump off on highway 54. Hoping to angle down to Tucumcari, NM and maybe stop there for a few hours of sleeps at a truck stop or something.

At a truck stop someplace in KS I came upon this end-cap having quite the moral dilemma and thought it was funny:



Stopped for a Subway in Liberal, KS and felt my phone buzz in my pocket. Well howdy-ho, there’s a Winter Weather Warning for the area that just exactly impacts my planned path. I guess I should have looked at the weather in the morning. Took off hoping I could still make it to Tucumcari before the roads got too bad.

I didn’t make it.

Started snowing just as I left Liberal. Really light dusty snow. Not sticking but getting heavier and heavier and starting to affect visibility. Radar was showing that Tucumcari was already getting it and it looked heavier there. Rolled into Dalhart, TX and made the game-day decision to stop for the night… it’s about 100 miles from Dalhart to Tucumcari and there is a whole lotta nothing between. Not a good place to need to stop or worse yet, end up in the ditch. Forecast for Dalhart showed a low of 10 degrees for the night. Dang… that’s a bit cold to sleep in the van with no heat. Woke up the owners of the Rodeway Inn in Dalhart at 11:30pm and got a room. Hmm, could be interesting come morning.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:37 PM   #3
DonL
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Liberal Kansas winters

That`s why I left Liberal in 1994 and vowed that I would never return. My mother left in 2003 and vowed never to return. Sorry to hear that the weather is playing it`s part in your adventure.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:38 PM   #4
mitchn06
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Interesting. My old boss is from Cumming, be safe. Have fun.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:52 PM   #5
Evomx971 OP
Defrosting in NM
 
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2-27-15: Dalhart, TX to TorC, NM

The goal was to get to Truth or Consequences (TorC to the locals), NM by 2/28 to hook up with Jeff and two other guys to ride a desert loop in that area before heading on down to Deming.

Woke up in Dalhart to about 3 inches of new snow on the ground and around 12 degrees and still snowing pretty hard. Road reports warned of packed snow and ice on the highways. Bleh.



Had a particularly good waffle at the hotel – must have been my technique for pouring the batter into the flippy thing. Hung around a bit to let the snow slow down a little and pulled back onto the road around 9:30. I was assuming I might end up having to come back if the roads were too nasty.

Yeah, pretty nasty at first. Hard packed snow on two-lane highway. Couldn’t see the centerline or the edges but they had rumble strips in both the center and the sides so could go by “feel”. Lots of blowing snow, especially when meeting trucks. Rough ride on the snow pack… this will be non-fun if we have to do this all day.

Then I crested a hill and could see the white highway turn dark all of a sudden. New Mexico state line. Texas road crews get a D-. New Mexico road crews get an A+. Roads were sloppy but clear and easy driving after I got into New Mexico. Still couldn’t believe I had driven over 14 hours and was in New Mexico and there was fresh snow and the temp was about 15 degrees. Winter was chasing me! “No means no”!



Got onto I-40 in Tucumcari and had an easy drive up to Albuquerque… 18 degrees in Albuquerque and still snowing on and off. Pointed the rig south on I-25… surely the warmer weather is this way.

Sure enough… pulled into TorC at 54 degrees and sunny. Rolled the window down to suck all the driving stank out of the van and let the warm air in.



Interesting story behind TorC… the town, originally named Hot Springs, won a contest in 1950 put on by the “Truth or Consequences” game show looking for a town that would change their name to match the show. In exchange the game show would air from the town.

Jeff had driven up from Deming and got us a room at the Desert View in TorC. Met the owner, Franz. Good guy… German folk musician from Munich – lederhosen and all (but not on this particular day). Sounds like a pretty typical career path – folk musician to hotel owner. A big dog and an accordion were in the lobby. I should have asked him if he could play “Squeeze Box” by The Who. I assume all accordion players know that one…



Jeff had a cold Corona waiting when I pulled up (he’s good like that). We caught up a little and shortly George pulled up on a plated WR450F, then Jimmy with his highly modified plated TTR250. They had got there a day early and did some riding. Although it sounds like most of the day had been in the 40’s and they’d crossed a lot of water… bad combo. George had a snot-cicle that told me all I needed to know about the conditions.

Jeff and I “slimed” the tires on my XR to ward off cactus thorns and met George, George’s wife Sharon and Jimmy for dinner at La Cocina. I had a three tamale dinner – was ok but not spectacular. Good conversation with good people. Saturday we ride!
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'11 Triumph 800XC ABS / '94 Honda XR650L / '06 Yamaha YZ125
Thanks to my 2015 Sponsor: Motorex
What Next Wander Tour http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=853663
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:57 PM   #6
Evomx971 OP
Defrosting in NM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonL View Post
That`s why I left Liberal in 1994 and vowed that I would never return. My mother left in 2003 and vowed never to return. Sorry to hear that the weather is playing it`s part in your adventure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchn06 View Post
Interesting. My old boss is from Cumming, be safe. Have fun.
DonL - made it through, just a minor inconvenience in the end.

mitchn06 - thanks! Always amazed at really how small the world is. The owners of the RV park I'm in are from Iowa… and why do they own an RV park in NM? Cuz winter sucks in Iowa.
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'11 Triumph 800XC ABS / '94 Honda XR650L / '06 Yamaha YZ125
Thanks to my 2015 Sponsor: Motorex
What Next Wander Tour http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=853663
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Old 03-02-2015, 07:22 PM   #7
refokus
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Good Start

Well, you got a good start to your ride report. I grew up in northern NM and now live in the Phoenix area. The riding is awesome here and in NM as well. Keep the report coming and I will stay tuned.
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:45 AM   #8
Evomx971 OP
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2-28-15: TorC loop to Hatch and Palomas Gap

Saturday and sunny in TorC. Bikes unloaded, got some fuel then Jeff and I stopped at the Sunset Grill for breakfast. Good eggs/bacon/hashbrown/OJ breakfast to get ready for the day. Jimmy met us at the motel about 9:30 and then we took off and met up with George on the south side of town. Was mid 40’s when we took off and the first section was about 15 miles of highway… glad I wore my balaclava. Off into the dirt and the first section of trail wound around behind Caballo Lake – really great flowing two-track with just enough tricky bits that had us all grinning. Ended up on a dike-top road that took us down to Hatch, NM – Chile Capital of the World. Neat town. Ate at “Sparky’s”. People were lined up outside to get in and order.





You don’t mess with success so I ordered the ‘world famous’ Green Chile Cheeseburger and a fresh squeezed lemonade. Damn that was a good burger – easily one of the best I’ve ever had. The lemonade was killer as well – I hate to say it but it put the Iowa State Fair lemonade to shame.



Warmed up into the mid-60’s and turned out to be a really good day for riding with just enough breeze to help move the dust out of the trail. After Hatch, we made our way back across the interstate, navigated some sand wash to get to a bigger dirt road I believe they call the El Camino Royale. After several fast miles, turned off and took the trail through Palomas Gap. This was the most challenging section of trail. Climbing up, then back down, fairly narrow with lots of loose rock and the ever present cliff edge to keep you on your toes. The big XR was a handful but luckily I didn’t experience any pant-fillers. Fantastic views. My pictures don’t really do it much justice. In the first pic you can see the gap road curving down around the mountain.









Jimmy and George… where is Jeff???


I think George had a helmet camera going for the ride, if he uploads a video of the ride I’ll put a link out.

After George, Jimmy, and I got down from crossing over the gap, we realized we had lost Jeff somewhere. So… we got to ride the second half of it two more times Jeff was leading and had taken a wrong turn and found a nasty trail that went up higher on the mountain then dead-ended. Extra fun for him.

Reunited and back down the mountain we got on a section of red-dirt trail I really enjoyed… really twisting with great flow and lots of dips and washouts. Ran along the Rio Grande quite a bit and ended up on the north end of TorC just shy of Elephant Butte State park. Motored back to the motel and celebrated the ride with a cold Dos Equis. 130 mile day. Was great to meet George and Jimmy… great riders and everyone’s pace seemed very compatible. Jimmy is quite the character. Has a new hip and needs new knees but still goes great. He raced XR600’s in Baja in the 1990’s and it was great swapping Baja stories with him (I raced with a Sportsman team in the Baja 1000 in 2007 and 2008 on XR650R’s… my XR650L is actually the bike I used to pre-run).

Jeff and I stayed the night again in TorC and walked down the street to the Pacific Grill. Had a fantastic coconut-lime cod dinner.



Got back to the room just in time to see the end of the 450 main of the Atlanta Supercross. Before long I was fighting to keep my eyes open and it was night-night for old Kelly-boy.
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'11 Triumph 800XC ABS / '94 Honda XR650L / '06 Yamaha YZ125
Thanks to my 2015 Sponsor: Motorex
What Next Wander Tour http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=853663
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:27 AM   #9
NMTrailboss
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Old 03-03-2015, 01:42 PM   #10
SnoPro753
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Fellow Iowan subscribing for the ride. Looks fun. Woke up to .1" of ice here this morning.
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:06 PM   #11
Roland44
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Originally Posted by SnoPro753 View Post
Fellow Iowan subscribing for the ride. Looks fun. Woke up to .1" of ice here this morning.
That's not too bad

Great report so far OP, subscribed!
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Old 03-04-2015, 03:02 AM   #12
DonL
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I've got family in the Albuquerque and Las Vegas areas of NM. I was always envious every time we went down to visit them when I was growing up in Liberal. Looks like your trip is turning out better than expected given the crazy weather conditions. I'll be following along.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:01 AM   #13
AteamNM
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NMTrailboss
+1


I have ridden around the Gap and it is a spectacular area to explore. Here is a video I put together. If you come back through ABQ area, there are several hosts including my place not far from I-40 east of town.

Not trying to clutter up your thread here but also yes the 'BOX" is spectacular.





AteamNM screwed with this post 03-04-2015 at 10:17 AM
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:15 AM   #14
Jwats
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Monticello

If you have time, ride the Monticello box up to Mt. Withington and loop back, great riding. Riverbend is our favorite spa in T or C. Elephant Butte Lodge or Hotel also has a great Bar & Restaurant. Its down by the state owned boat ramp.
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Old 03-04-2015, 12:58 PM   #15
edstoll
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Looks good keep writing please.
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