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Old 04-14-2013, 08:21 PM   #46
gregdee OP
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Tijeras, NM
Oddometer: 495
Day 7

Today’s goal was to make it through the twisties, lots of twisties. The route was to be from Deming, NM over to Hillsboro on 26 and 27, up 152 over Emory Pass into Silver City, and then up 180 to 78 and over to Three Way in AZ where we’d catch 191 and ride through the mining town Clifton. We didn’t really know how far we’d get up 191 as we had a long day ahead of us but we had called ahead to the Hannagan Meadows Lodge and they said we didn’t need a reservation as they were open and were not busy. So off we rode.

Taking highway 26 towards Hatch from Deming was pretty dull and I cannot believe that anyone actually uses these picnic tables, they're actually on the other side of the fence from the parking area.

After about 20-30 miles we headed north on 27 the Lake Valley Backcountry Scenic Byway and this road was much more interesting.

Definitely backcountry and not much traffic to speak of.

We soon arrived in Hillsboro and headed left and up. I had ridden down this road back in November and have driven in my truck several times. Good times ahead for sure. I won’t bore you with tons of pictures of Kerry turning left – they all pretty much look like this. (The way my camera is mounted the right turn shots usually have her out or partially out of the frame.)

We stopped in Silver City to gas up and discussed whether to get lunch. We decided to press on. So up 180 to 78 we went.

Above is a shot of highway 78 as it is heading out of NM. I really enjoy this road and the descent off the west side of those mountains into Three Way is superb. Unfortunately my camera battery died here and I was having too much fun to stop and replace it so I rode on. Good thing I wasn’t concentrating on pictures though because this stretch of highway demands all your attention. It’s hard enough to keep your eyes on the road – I kept finding myself gazing out into the distance. If the Butler Maps guys did a map of AZ I am certain this section would rate a G1.
We both arrived safely at Three Way and then zoomed on up to Clifton. We were hungry and headed for a BBQ joint I had smelled my last time through here. The place is decorated with all sorts of old pictures and paintings of the old West, and there’s even a few stuffed heads hung on the wall. Hmm, just like home – not.

Turns out this place used to be a car dealership but is now a BBQ joint and apparently it’s packed at dinner time. We were there at about 2:00 p.m. and there were only a couple of other customers. Food was good. Brisket sandwich in the first shot and pulled pork in the second one. We're definitely not vegetarians.

With our bellies full we pressed on for to meet the Devil, the Devil’s Highway that is. Highway 191 used to be 666 but the number was changed a decade or so ago. But before you get to the good stuff you've got to ride through the mine. The mine is a crazy place and there's a lot of traffic in the area. After gassing up we sat at an intersection for several minutes waiting for a break in the traffic so we could make a left back onto 191. I actually got through after a couple of minutes but then had to pull over to wait for Kerry to get a clear shot. She's still not all that confident with her take off's so making a quick break into traffic where there's lots of big trucks about is a little nerve wracking.

What follows are a few shots of us coming up on and riding through the mine area.

It's a big place!

This conveyor belt shoots rocks right over the highway!

Here's a shot of it as we passed under it.

Peering way down into the mine. That's one super big hole in the ground. And this goes on for miles.

I don’t recall the exact number, and certainly have not counted them, but the stretch between Clifton and Springerville supposedly has 534 turns in 91 miles, or something like that. That’s a lot of turns. The road climbs from around 3500 ft up over 9000 ft. Here's a shot of me taking a shot of the highway we just rode up.

And the highway.

This is not a road for the super bike but rather it is more for just cruising. Many of the turns have posted speeds of 10 mph and that was about right. On many other roads you can easily run much faster than the advisory signs state but not here, and certainly not this late in a day of riding. In fact, back in November when I had ridden this north to south I was mentally exhausted by the time I had reached the mine after just a little over two hours of riding. The north end is fast with great sweepers but the southern end of this stretch of highway is extremely tight with almost no room for error.

After about an hour of riding we were definitely getting up there in altitude as it was getting really cold. We were both getting tired too as riding a motorcycle, even in good weather takes its toll on you. We’d been in the saddle since before 9:00 a.m. and it was now after 5:30. Kerry was riding slower and slower with each turn. She was now crawling along at 25 mph or so. I was cold and tired and wanted to get there already but you just cannot push someone to ride faster when they don’t want to. Finally we saw a sign for Hannagan Meadows but this was for a trailhead not the lodge. Agonizingly we rode on. Then the Lodge appeared. We had made it. Phew!

We entered the lobby and found a nice roaring fire but no one was around so we just hung out basking in the warmth of the flames. After a few minutes the manager walked in and booked us into a room for the night. He inquired whether we'd be having dinner this evening and we told them we would definitely would be. The alternative would have been our remaining freeze dried Mountain House camp food. There was only one other group staying a the lodge, a group of three from Michigan, and we were told to come down about half an hour after them to give the kitchen staff enough time. The food was good and the staff were warm and gracious. Hannagan Meadows Lodge has a nice country charm to it. It's not fancy, just inviting and comfortable. We enjoyed our dinner and slept soundly through the night. What a day. That was a lot of turns for the day.

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Old 04-22-2013, 05:06 PM   #47
gregdee OP
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Tijeras, NM
Oddometer: 495
Da 8

The final day on the road. We awoke early and headed downstairs to the dining room to enjoy a "country" breakfast. I had the biscuits and gravy and what a pile of food it was! Ummm. Here’s a shot of us in front of the lodge packing up getting ready to head out.

Nice lodge. Rustic but very comfortable. I’d stop there again but in the warmer months I’d probably just camp as there seems to be lots of primitive camping around those parts. In fact this is an area I think I will explore more of on the smaller DS bikes as it’s only 4-5 hours away.

But that’s 4-5 hours of backcountry roads through some rather remote parts of New Mexico. One route through is across the Plains of St. Augustine. There’s about 30 miles of super straight road running across the plains. Our route for the day took us from the Lodge along 191 up to Alpine, AZ where we jumped onto 180, headed east picking up 12 through Luna and then over towards Reserve. Alpine was a nice little town with a frozen lake, a campground, and nice picnic area. We noticed one fellow out bird watching from his truck. Apparently the lake is known for the eagles that hunt here. Rolling over the border in Luna, NM, the difference was stark. While far eastern Arizona has nice well maintained summer homes and cabins, Luna is run down and forgotten. Reserve isn’t much better.

After Reserve the next option is to turn north at Apache Creek and head up to Quemado but we’d been through there several times and opted to stay on 12 into Datil where we’d join 60. Twenty or so miles after Apache Creek the road got straight, real straight.

There was almost no one else on it so we flew under the radar so to speak. We hadn't stopped for gas since Silver City so we paid our dues in Datil. Fortunately buying 8-10 gallons of gas isn’t too painful. There was a fella in front of us at the pump who was not only filling up his beater F150 ranch truck but about ten red plastic 5 gallon gas cans as well. Guess he was going to be out for a while.

We pressed on to complete our run across the Plains of St. Augustine. Typical NM foliage can be seen collected at the base of this sign.

The only thing that makes this section of highway 60 worthwhile is seeing all the dishes at the very large array. Caught of few pictures of the radio telescope dishes at the VLA as we went by.

Guess they going for high resolution as the dishes were all super close together. Finally reaching Magdalena we decided to stop for some lunch at the Bear Mountain Gallery and Restaurant.

We’ve been here several times and the food and service are always good. The owner is a retired lady who moved to Magdalena from Berkley, CA. They have great quiche and awesome pie. The specials are usually pretty good too. This day I tried the green chile chicken enchiladas and they were excellent. I have had the chocolate pecan pie in the past and it rocks!

Being tired we opted to pass on the dirt route through Riley and then on to 60 to Mountainair which would have allowed us to bypass Soccorro and the super slab north. We suffered through Soccorro and then about 20 minutes on I-25, exited to join 60 once again going east to Mountainair. We were now back on our regular weekend routes. It was too early in the year to catch FS422 up through Red Canyon and through the Manzano’s so we just stuck to the highway. We decided to stop at the Abo ruins west of Mountainair for a coffee break. The ruins are a cool spot to see if you are passing through. Unfortunately most of the ruins in this area close at 5:00 so getting pictures in good light can be tough.

Cruising north along 55 the light was nice so I snapped a few more “selfies” on the way through. Here’s one that came out.

I truly enjoy riding back up South 14 through the Manzano’s. This is a wonderful stretch of highway. Great trip. Thanks for tagging along.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:36 PM   #48
Chasin' the Serb
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Joined: Apr 2009
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Great report. Big Bend is high on my list. Nice that you did it together.

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Old 04-24-2013, 10:59 PM   #49
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Bay Area
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Awesome RR! Great read for a quick break! Never been to NM but now i definitely will plan to! What would you suggest is a good time of year?
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:43 AM   #50
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Joined: Jul 2004
Location: Concord, CA
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Great RR. I see you upgraded your bikes over the winter. What a difference over the KLR and DR... I love my 800 XC. Glad you guys didn't go KTM. You'd still be out there...

It's nice to see a couple like you guys enjoying moto trips together. Easier to do without kids.

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Old 04-29-2013, 09:05 PM   #51
gregdee OP
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Tijeras, NM
Oddometer: 495
Originally Posted by y0y02369 View Post
Awesome RR! Great read for a quick break! Never been to NM but now i definitely will plan to! What would you suggest is a good time of year?
Late September through to Thanksgiving is when the weather is the most calm. Depending on what you are wanting to do earlier is probably better than late.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:13 PM   #52
gregdee OP
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Tijeras, NM
Oddometer: 495
Originally Posted by live2ridetahoe View Post
Great RR. I see you upgraded your bikes over the winter. What a difference over the KLR and DR... I love my 800 XC.
Indeed, the triples are nice bikes. I really liked my Sprint ST but no way that thing was going off-road. And we didn't exactly upgrade, we expanded our collection. But it's getting tougher to find excuses to ride the Japanese bikes when we're doing stuff like this on the Tigers.

Originally Posted by live2ridetahoe View Post
Glad you guys didn't go KTM. You'd still be out there...
No kidding. I have a dear old friend, we'll call him old fart, who has a stable full of KTM's. Every time I ask if he wants to join us for a ride I get the same story - gotta do maintenance on such and such. I prefer to actually ride my bikes.

Originally Posted by live2ridetahoe View Post
It's nice to see a couple like you guys enjoying moto trips together. Easier to do without kids.
Yes but we have this little problem named Buster the beagle.
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